How Long Can I Expect A Fancy $700 Microwave To Last?

Beep.

Beep.

The GE Café Series of appliances is very nice-looking: sleek and covered with stainless steel. JLP renovated his kitchen a few years ago, and bought this lovely suite of appliances. There’s a problem, though: the over-the-range microwave. The touchpad has stopped working, and will cost $450 to replace. The real question is this: is it unreasonable to expect a microwave with a one-year warranty to last for five years? What about a microwave that costs as up to $1,000 to replace with the same model?

He blogged about the situation
:

We did a family room/kitchen renovation back in October of 2007. We replaced all of our appliances (range, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher) with the GE Café Series. It was a brand new series at the time.
So, we bought them and had them all installed according to GE’s specifications. Things were pretty good but I was a little disappointed with some of the quality issues. The door to the refrigerator lined up so that there was barely any contact between the front of the fridge and the door’s magnet. So, over time it would lose suction and cause the refrigerator compartment to ice over. One of the burners on our gas range didn’t seem to work as well as the other burner. Other than that, things were good until recently.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife noticed that the touchpad on the microwave started acting funny. Then, one day I came home and found that the touchpad was lit up and appeared to be part of the way through a cycle (it was stopped at 2:00). I thought maybe one the boys was fixing something and just didn’t clear out the screen. Later on that night, I was in bed and one of my sons came and woke me up to tell me that the microwave was acting weird. I unplugged it that night. The next morning, I plugged it in and noticed that the touchpad was unresponsive. I left it alone for several hours and checked it again. It seemed to work okay. Then, the next day it was dead again. It’s been dead since then.

I did a search on google and found a couple of places where people were complaining about the touchpad on this particular microwave. Then, I found this video:

This is exactly my microwave and exactly my issue. Read the comments that follow. Ours wasn’t the only microwave messing up. Some microwaves went out a lot sooner than ours did. My theory is the reason ours didn’t go out sooner was that the gas burner directly below the touchpad (the right side of the microwave) didn’t seem to work very well so we rarely used it. Otherwise, it probably would have caused the touch pad to go out sooner.

I called GE over the weekend and they suggested I call GE’s Consumer Relations center. I called them today. The woman who assisted me was very nice but ultimately was not a help. The microwave is not under warranty (it had a one year warranty in the first place) and was not under a recall. Basically, I found out that I’m out of luck. Oh, and a new touchpad is $450 PLUS the cost to get it installed. I can’t remember how much we paid for the microwave. I can’t find my paperwork anywhere. But, I’m thinking it was around $700. A replacement appears to be about $900 – $1,100. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, $700 – $1,100 is too much for a microwave. Yes, I could go out and buy a cheap microwave to replace the GE model. However, I want GE to make this right. They’re the ones who made the inferior product and sold it under a “premium” line. They’re the ones who should make things right.

The question is: will they?

They haven’t yet.

The GE Café Series Microwave is Inferior [AllFinancialMatters]