Bad Design: Viking Stove Knobs

A high-end Viking stove’s oven knobs are obscured by a metal bar, making the user kneel on the floor to determine whether the oven is baking or broiling.

When Hyman complained about this design defect to Viking, he found the customer service rep indifferent. She also refused to let him speak to her supervisor

Hyman’s letter, inside. We can read his oven knobs just fine: seething. — BEN POPKEN

Hyman writes:

    “Dear Consumerist,

    Long after (too long to cancel the purchase) I bought an expensive Viking range, I discovered an annoying design defect. The two knobs that control the oven are set at a higher level than the 6 knobs that control the stove top. As a result of this, the tops of the oven knobs are obscured by the right-angled metal bar across the top of the front of the range. (The bar is there to shield some wiring which extends across at the very top of the angle in the bar.) This necessitates the need to kneel on the floor to read the oven dials for temperature and mode (bake, broil etc.) determination. The knobs of interest are the second ones in from either end in the attached photo. This is but another example of a design that was never used by the designer.

    The solution to the problem is quite simple and inexpensive. It involves the cutting out of an ellipse in the vertical portion of the metal bar just above each of the two oven dials, without compromising either function or safety. When presented to the customer disservice representative at Viking, she went through the motion of trying to help, but in the final analysis was obstructive with evasive answers and denials. She made it quite clear the the problem was mine and that Viking would do nothing.

    One more time, as in millions of times in the past, the lone consumer is screwed by a major corporation. Thanks to Consumerist, however, the customer no longer need be lonely.

    Let the Viking rep ( know what you think. She just might let her supervisor (whom she would not let me speak to) know of all the generated negative publicity. This might be just what it will take to prod Viking into action. It is not the cost of the “repair” that is irk-some, but rather the attitude of the company, that made the mistake in the first place.

    I look forward to the day that I can write a follow-up email to Consumerist thanking them for this new weapon. It is a sling shot in the hands of David.

    Hyman R.”