Own GE Appliances? Get To Work On Your Upper Body Strength

With the approval of your physician, there’s no time like the present to start a rigorous exercise program. Doubly so if you own any General Electric appliances. See, Jack owns a stackable General Electric washer and dryer. GE was happy to sell him a 5-year extended service plan, but balked at actually sending a repair person to his house. Once he finally talked them into sending someone to fix his washer, he learned that he and his wife would have to move the dryer from on top of the washer themselves. What’s the problem? It only weighs 150 pounds.

Three years ago my wife bought a new stacking GE washer/dryer combo, paying an extra $200 for the 5 year extended service plan. A month ago the washer stopped working (seemingly a broken spin cycle) and she called the service number to get it repaired.

Initially, she was told that there weren’t any service providers in our area (we live in rural Vermont), and that she was on her own for getting it repaired. When she asked why it was that GE would sell a service contract to someone who lived in an area that they didn’t actually service (especially as GE seemed perfectly content coming out to do the installation in the first place), they said they would get back to her, and eventually (after a week’s wait) a provider was located.

Later, when the provider called to set up an appointment, we were told that we needed to unstack the dryer for the repair to occur – GE would not pay for two people to come out, which is what would be required for the dryer to be moved. We called the GE extended service number again to confirm this. The service rep told my wife that the dryer is “only 150 pounds”, and that the repair could not occur if access to the washer was “obstructed” (in this case, by the dryer which was designed to be placed on top of the washer, and which was placed there by GE installers). My wife observed that this seemed to be putting GE in a position of liability, in terms of instructing an untrained person to lower a large 150 pound object from chest height to the ground. She was told that, of course, GE could take no responsibility for any actions we might choose to take with regards to our dryer (like doing the thing we were explicitly told to do if we wanted GE to provide the service we had al
ready paid for).

Our takeaway is that we should consider the money we paid for an extended service contract as being down a hole, and find someone who will actually fix our washer.

Comments

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  1. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    GE diva much?

  2. u1itn0w2day says:

    GE’s fault for not factoring in ‘stackable’ in the service plan they pray & hope the average consumer will never use.

    • Billy C says:

      Oh, they factored it in all right. Because the followup article to this is going to be “So we ended up moving the dryer as required, but GE says our moving/disconnecting of the dryer qualified as unauthorized servicing, which voided our warranty.”

  3. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I doubt you can successfully argue that an extended warranty should include any and all circumstances required to get to the thing needing to be fixed. If you have a plasma TV mounted in some weird display behind a 1000 gallon saltwater fishtank, you don’t get to tell the warranty repairman that he has to drain it and move it and oh yeah also keep the fish alive and put it back when he’s done. Same thing here. He’s not there to move stuff. He’s there to service the machine.

    • Rocket says:

      But in this case, the dryer was installed by GE. Did Sony install your fish tank?

      • RandomLetters says:

        I agree with you Rocket. To access and diagnose the problem with the washer you have to disassemble it. Step one in disassembling it would seem to be “remove the dryer from on top of the washer” for this model. Is GE going to require that the OP have the washer disassembled and ready for the service man to make his diagnosis? The fish tank/TV analogy just doesn’t hold any water.

        • TinaBringMeTheAx says:

          “The fish tank/TV analogy just doesn’t hold any water.”

          I see what you did there.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        They didn’t do an “installation” of a washer and dryer. They delivered it.

        • longfeltwant says:

          Either you are mistaken, or the article contains a lie: “…and which was placed there by GE installers”. Since most of us, who don’t know this woman personally, must draw conclusions from only the evidence given in the article, we have to conclude that the washer and dryer were installed by GE professionals.

          • TheMansfieldMauler says:

            That wasn’t really my point. No one “installs” a washer and dryer any more than you “install” a clock radio by sitting it on a nightstand and plugging it in. Unless the things are built in to a wall and it required some kind of special expertise, they were only delivered and set up – not “professionally installed”.

            • IphtashuFitz says:

              You’re getting very nit-picky with your terminology. “professionally installed” and “delivered and set up” are pretty much the same exact thing when dealing with any sort of major appliances.

              When we recently purchased a new washer & dryer we switched from side-by-side to stackable units. We had them delivered and installed by the appliance store we purchased them from. As part of the installation their employees (who I would consider to be called “professional installers” since they are paid and they are installing the appliances) made sure that the water lines, etc. were all installed properly. They also knew that the laws in our state had apparently changed since we had purchased our old washer/dryer and the dryer vent we were using had to be replaced with one that met more rigid safety standards. That kind of knowledge also indicates to me that they are professional installers.

              Something else you need to consider – some dryers use natural gas, not electricity, for heat. Gas dryers most definitely do require professional installation since the regulations around working on gas lines are very strict. There’s no mention in the article if the dryer was gas or electric, so how do you know it wasn’t gas and therefore professionally installed?

            • blueman says:

              You’re really digging yourself a hole here, MM. Your analogy was miles off base, and now you’re basing your argument on facts directly contradicted by the OP.

              These are appliances designed to be stacked that were installed in a stacked configuration by GE installers. End of story.

          • Costner says:

            I’d suggest the article is less than specific. GE doesn’t have retail stores that I know of, so unless they ordered this directly from GE online, chances are they bought it from an appliance store, Sears, Best Buy, or something like that. The delivery people who originally stacked the washer and dryer were almost certainly not GE employees.

            Either way, I would guess the service contract includes language that states it is the responsibility of the owner to ensure the appliance is easily accessible which includes not having obstructions preventing the repair person from working on it. I’ve seen enough of these types of contracts to know that it is highly unlikely GE (one of the biggest appliance manufacturers of appliances in the US) would omit that standard language.

            I don’t want to assume, but it seems we would need more information before knowing for certain.

    • Bort says:

      But what if the plasma tv is specifically designed to be used with behind a weird 1000 gallon saltwater fish tank?
      That may be unlikely, but the washer IS designed to be stacked under its sibling dryer

    • bikeoid says:

      However, it would be reasonable that the repair procedure for stackable appliances also include unstacking.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I would be willing to bet there are actually 2 separate warranty contracts, one on each appliance. Washers and dryers aren’t sold as a set, so just because they’re stackable doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually in a stacked configuration or even that both were purchased.

        The separate warranty contract would assume one appliance, which must be accessible.

        • IphtashuFitz says:

          Most (if not all) stackable washer/dryer units require you to purchase a “fit kit” if you actually want them stacked. The kit ensures that the two units are properly secured to one another so the dryer on top can’t shake loose from the washer underneath. In many cases also offer pedestals you can purchase if you don’t want them stacked. GE would likely have known the desired configuration when the appliances were ordered based on these other items that would have been ordered as well.

    • longfeltwant says:

      I agree with you in most cases, but not in this case. In this case, the washer and dryer are in the configuration for which it was designed, and in which it was installed by professionals under the employ of the same people who sold the extended warranty. It is not reasonable, in my opinion, to call a configuration unserviceable, when that is the configuration in which you yourself (GE) put it.

      If a washer and dryer cannot be serviced in their installed configuration, then either no warranty service should be offered for it, or else the first words in the warranty document should be YER GONNA HAVTO LIFT THE DRYER YERSELF IF YOU EVER EXPEK TO USE THIS WARRANTY, because that is a show-stopping service exception for nearly everybody.

    • jjonathany says:

      That’s a terrible analogy. The washer and dryer are self contained, there’s nothing abnormal like a fish tank blocking the repairman from getting to them. It’s absurd to say, we can’t repair your w/d because it’s set up to be used exactly in the way it’s intended.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Fine, forget everything I said and try this: I guarantee you 100% there is a clause in that warranty contract that specifically excludes “installation” or setup issues and states the item to be repaired must be made accessible by the consumer.

        • jjonathany says:

          I find your guarantee silly, especially since it doesn’t seem like their w/d is “inaccessible” to me. But anyway, the only relevant point to me is this: It is deceitful to sell an extended warranty on a combination unit and then weasel out of it on the grounds that one half of the combo is in the way of the other.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      I’m on the fence here, but this isn’t an absolutely insane request. 150 divided by 2 = something a human adult should be able to deal with.

      However, this has to come up fairly often for GE. They don’t have ANY preparation for this?

      • oldwiz65 says:

        It’s not just a question of weight; not everyone has a good back that can do that kind of lifting.

    • Billy C says:

      1. As others have said, the issue would be different if it was a specifically designed “plasma TV and fish tank combo” that Sony installed as one unit.
      2. Refusing to service the washer because the dryer is in the way would be like your car dealership refusing warranty service on your brakes because the wheels are in the way, or your alternator because the starter is in the way, or your starter because the HOOD is in the way.

      I actually know of mechanics who have tried to charge after-the-fact for things like wheel/brake re-installation because they had to service the wheel bearings. Guess what, that didn’t fly, just like how if the washer buyers pushed the issue with proper authorities, their issue would be resolved too.

  4. josephbloseph says:

    Small claims court? I’m not familiar with the process or whether it’s worth the $200, but they sold you a service they clearly have no intention of honoring. I’m being facetious with this next bit, but I expect that once you unstack the dryer from the washer, they’ll let you know that not only does the service contract not cover moving the dryer, but that it also doesn’t cover parts, labor, or telephone troubleshooting.

    • dchs says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me, that the minute they unstack the dryer without the help of professionals, it voids the warranty because you have disassembled it and so is considered tampered with by the user.

  5. longfeltwant says:

    1. demand all money back from warranty
    2. sue when they refuse
    3. because they didn’t actually provide the warranty service

    They can go to court and see if a judge will accept that “properly and professionally installed” is equivalent to “obstructed and unserviceable”.

  6. az123 says:

    Um

    “Our takeaway is that we should consider the money we paid for an extended service contract as being down a hole, and find someone who will actually fix our washer.”

    Really… that is pretty much what anyone who ever does any real analysis of extended service contracts will tell you… too bad you spent $200 to learn that lesson… just remember it next time you purchase something

  7. Glaurung_quena says:

    While it sucks that GE won’t pay for two techs to come and unstack it, giving up and calling a local repair service seems foolish to me — competent repair techs are not cheap. It’s almost certainly going to be cheaper to hire a handyman to come help you unstack it/restack it, and then have the repair done for free by GE, than to find a competent repairman who will inevitably charge extra on top of the repair for bringing a helper out to unstack/restack the machine.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      GE should be tracking the number of stackable units they are covering and/or have sold in a particular geographic area. They should staff an area based on data and not the hope that there won’t be many service calls. There should a code or special instruction message that should pop up when they pull up the customers information that should note that is a two tech job.

  8. u1itn0w2day says:

    No spin cycle? This might be a problem with digital controls which can be reset sometimes. Unplug for 5 minutes, plug in again. Sometimes you have to operate the door switch several times as well. Did the service company diagnose the trouble that needed unstacking required repairs? Did they diagnose anything?

  9. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    When we bought our stackable dryer from Sears part of the deal was “free delivery and installation”. When they guys came with the dryer they set it down next to our washer and told us “delivery and installation” didn’t include stacking and we’d have to do it ourselves. I called the guy who sold it to us while the delivery guys waited (I wouldn’t sign for the delivery until I got the matter resolved). After much back and forth I got a refund of $50 and my husband and son stacked the thing after the delivery guys left.

    Apparently installing a stackable dryer means plugging in the cord.

    • elangomatt says:

      Do dryers no longer come with a vent that must be routed outside? (or is that just a gas dryer thing?)

      • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

        Oh yeah, forgot about that (but we had all the venting there, it just needed attaching).

    • MylesMDT says:

      I bought a stackable GE set from Sears, and it was installed, stacked and ready to go, no questions asked, because that is how they are made and marketed. They are advertised and manufactured, as a stacking set. I was not silly enough to buy an extended warranty, and I live in a very rural area, as well. A local repair is a lot cheaper than a $200 insurance policy.

      I think it’s unreasonable for them to not include this service in an extended warranty, but hell, I’d either call a friend to come help, or make the repairman help me. My wife is certainly not going to dead lift 75 pounds at chest height. Even jobs that specify “heavy lifting required” usually limit it to 60 pounds.

  10. Pete the Geek says:

    Oh, and after you get the GE dryer unstacked, the service technician will require access to the internal mechanism of the broken GE washer. He won’t be removing any access panels, you’ll have to do that yourself, well before he arrives.

    Hopefully this is just a local issue that will be resolved by good leadership at GE.

  11. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m surprised GE doesn’t have somekind of trouble codes if digital or have jack you can plug a phone line and diagnose from a remote location. The customer shouldn’t have to go through all that especially if paying for service but in the name expediancy if the customer can be talked through some basic trouble shooting it would be worth it. It would be a waste if it was somekind of reset that didn’t even need the unstacking or opening of the unit. There are plenty of d-i-y sites and videos out there.

    I’d ask GE if there was simple trouble shooting they could do themselves and then get a credit or extension or their service plan.

  12. scoutermac says:

    I won’t buy anything GE. I have had too many problems with GE. With that being said my grandfather was an Engineer for GE.

    • Pete the Geek says:

      Another out-sourced brand resting on it’s past laurels. In the late 90s I was an engineer desigining consumer products in the USA for a top-name electronics company. Our products were original, high quality designs (no reference boards or sample code). And then the “tech bust” came along. We were all outsourced and downsized. I changed careers. That top-name electronics company is still selling consumer products, but now based on cheap, generic reference designs from overseas. Sadly, these days a company’s “name” and reputation mean nothing.

  13. DarkPsion says:

    And the best part, when the repair technician get to your house and sees you have removed the dryer, he will tell you your contract is now void because you serviced the item yourself.

  14. framitz says:

    IMHO the lesson is to avoid GE consumer products, they are built as inexpensively as possible to function as advertised. Other manufacturer’s do the same, but GE takes it to extremes.

    I specifically remember a clock radio, it had no transformer, but instead had a big high wattage resister to drop the voltage, a power sucking piece of crap and they failed a lot, I fixed dozens of those.

    In other words GE cut corners at every turn. I used to do warranty work for them and saw first hand that the stuff they sell to the public is so cheaply made it’s a wonder that it works at all.

    • scoutermac says:

      What brand would you recommend?

      • framitz says:

        You know, I really have no preference as numerous products are actually made in the same factories.

        I no longer do that type of work, so I’m not really qualified to recommend, except to consider avoiding GE consumer products.

  15. GoldVRod says:

    Am I the only one who feels that 75lbs each from chest height isn’t exactly the most terrible weight in the world? That’s a 10 year old boy fwiw.

    I understand the OP may be infirm, old, or just not willing to risk it but surely there’s strapping young folks next door or family members or friends etc who could help.

    I’m not blaming the OP and there may be extenuating circumstances in *their* case which prohibit them moving it themselves. But I think the average couple could manage it without issue. I also highly recommend these forearm straps from amazon http://amzn.to/J7IgXq not only are they a few bucks but they seriously work for moving heavy stuff.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      I think that actually sounds kind of heavy for the dryer. Isn’t it usually the lighter of the two?

    • FrankReality says:

      In my case, I’d have my kids help do it or have a family friend help. I’d prefer three people, though for 150 lbs.

      Since I do all my appliance repair myself, I’m don’t think I’d ever buy a stacked pair due to serviceability issues and I see no need to buy a service contract.

      The one exception would be from the local gas company – they have a very reasonably priced service plan which covers every major appliance in the house – furnace, water heater, kitchen appliances, washer, dryer.- gas or electric . . and they do preventive maintenance too.

  16. Costner says:

    GE can’t control where an owner installs their washer and dryer nor can they control if the owner decides to stack them. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect the homeowners to handle unstacking them on their own if that is an issue, because the owners didn’t pay GE to install them or stack them…. they paid the retail store to deliver and set them up. The retailer would have used two delivery people so this is a non issue, but repair people don’t work in groups of two.

    #firstworldproblems

  17. devilsadvocate says:

    In the use and care manual for the washer and dryer, right next to the warranty is a section called WHAT IS NOT COVERED, it states it does not cover “Product not accessible to provide required service” This could be in a closet where the machines are not accessible. It could be in a laundry room full of clothes. It could be installed into a drain pan so you can’t pull the washer out to work on it. There are so many possabilities, no manufacture could account for them all.

    Second, GE’s name is thrown out the a lot in this article. Delivered by GE, not the store she purchased it from. GE doesn’t deliver, it’s all contracted out to 3rd party installers who probably install for every major brand. It seems to me like all this could have been avoided by purchasing the machine from a local dealer with a service department.

    I run a service department at a locally owned appliance dealer. The warranty doesn’t cover 2 people to unstack a dryer, but we do it for our customers at no extra charge. We accept it as a cost of doing business.

    Long and short, you would have the same issues with any brand purchased under the same circumstances.

  18. AllanG54 says:

    Many times this is not covered by the workers’ comp policy the company has. The equivalent would be a truck driver bringing the load to the dock but not having to help unload the truck and this is what happens in many cases. If you hire a painter or a carpet installer odds are you will have to move anything that’s heavy yourself as well. Get a neighbor to come and help you and it’ll be done quite easily. Hell, it’s only 75 pounds a person.

    • tbax929 says:

      Citation please?

      I have worked in commercial insurance for almost 15 years in multiple states and have never seen such an exclusion on a workers’ compensation policy.

  19. The Porkchop Express says:

    have the husband help the repair guy move the stuff? at least this way only own OP gets injured.

  20. edrebber says:

    Pay the provider extra to send two people out to do the repair.

  21. BETH says:

    Dryers are very light. When I had a problem with my dryer, my teenaged son and I turned it over on its side. If Jack and his wife can’t lift it, I’m sure the repairman would lend a hand..