(See update at bottom)
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My wife and I purchased this $1000 Maytag Front Load Washer in 2002. We were convinced that spending this extra money would result in cleaner clothes and less water used (better for the environment). It was by far the WORST purchase we have ever made..
Well it is probably old news to everyone now - but you don't see Maytag Front Loaders in the stores anymore. There was a class action lawsuit filed and won by consumers in November 2004. Maytag appealed the decision but the appeal was turned down in May 2005. Frankly, the class action suit is terrible in that it didnt/doesnt compensate us fairly and calls for service calls and a pro-rated credit towards a new machine, and limits the total amount of compensation to 2 million.
We spent $1000 on a state-of-the-art washer only to have mold growing on the rubber seal/gasket by the door. The next time you are in an appliance store - take a look at the different front-load washers. All have a rubber gasket/seal that fits between the door and the unit. In Maytag's case they made a washer with a terrible DESIGN FLAW. At the end of your cycle, the water collects in the rubber gasket and after a while - mold grows. This mold does get on the clothes each time you remove clothes from your washer. It also can leave a smell.
Type "Maytag Neptune mold" into any search engine and you will see tons of posts from consumers like myself. With the appeal being denied by the judge - you would think that we are all set. Unfortunately not! Maytag knows that there is no solution and I mean NO SOLUTION to mold growing in the gasket and water not draining properly from the washer. It was just poorly designed.
One ridiculous solution that Maytag offered was for us to leave the door to the washer open to allow the gasket to dry out. That was brilliant. They forgot one thing. The light burns out. They also said that it was up to us to use a cloth with bleach and to wipe the gasket after every 2nd use. Can you imagine the gall of the company? Spend $1000 on a washer (the most expensive washer on the market at the time) and they want me to Wash the Washer?
Rather than do the proper and ethical thing and issue a recall for ALL Maytag Neptune Front Loaders - they would rather agree to the class action suit. Why you ask? Because the class action limits their liability to 2 million dollars. This is a drop in the bucket compared to their real liability.
We called Maytag (post suit announcement). Sure enough, the customer service reps answering the phone are well trained. They did their best to blame the problem on us. We use too much soap. We use the wrong kind of soap (we use Tide and Era). Thankfully, I have read other posts from other consumers who said that Maytag would try this tactic. I cannot help but walk away from this purchase and experience (it is still not resolved) and swear that I will never in my life purchase another Maytag appliance.
After not being able to convince us that the mold in our $1000 washer was our fault, and even claiming that she has the same washer and has no problems, the customer service rep. scheduled a service call. No doubt, the service person will tell us the same thing. According to other posts, we can expect for the service person to install a PH kit that will not work even though We will go through this with the service people at least 2x as this is standard operating procedure and what is called for in the settlement. At the end, we will be issued a credit which by the time the service calls are exhausted the credit towards another machine will probably be much less than $500. It is a shame because all Maytag had to do was issue a credit or issue a recall on their machines. But - they would rather put us and hundreds of thousands of other consumers through this pain.
UPDATE: The repair man came out and installed a new rubber gasket that fits in the door. Only this gasket has holes in the bottom of it to allow the water that collects in it to drain. You can expect the same remedy. We will see how well this works. Be sure to check all front load washers rubber gaskets. They should have holes in them to allow the water that collects by the door to drain. It does not totally solve the mold problem but helps.
UPDATE 12/2005: The new rubber gasket with the holes in it is manufactured with an anti-bacterial agent. This prevents mold from growing on the gasket. Sure enough, the gasket is mold free. HOWEVER, our clothes still smell moldy directly after the washer stops. Why, the mold is in the machine bristles that run along the rubber gasket. You can run bleach through the machine but this only temporarily solves the issue. This $1000 washer is a real disappointment. We are once again going to call Maytag and have them send the repairman out. At the end of the day- we can only hope they will give us some sort of financial credit to purchase a new machine. I am willing to take a $500 LOSS just to get rid of this machine. The mold/mildew due to the design flaw(s) is too much to handle.
UPDATE 2/2006: After hours of on-hold with Maytag and a long telephone ordeal (will not bore you with all of the details) - Maytag did the right thing and gave us a check for our washer. The check was for a depreciated amount but they were fair about the figure. It was not easy but once the issue got high enough in Maytag that person was very courteous. They removed our machine and gave us our check. We purchased a Kenmore machine. In all - they did admit the design flaw. MOLD / MILDEW which is a danger. Have no idea why so many US sold front-loaders have problems when this technology has been around for years in Europe.
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Amount Paid (US$): 1000