The business of buying a tumble dryer

Screenshot 2014-07-11 17.31.06

We needed a tumble dryer when we were renting a while ago back in 2011. Since we were living on a temporary basis we didn’t want to spend a lot of money or do much in the way of thinking regarding a tumble dryer. We just needed a fairly basic cheap one.

In the end we settled on a Beko model from Currys at £219.

Thanks to the wonders of gmail, I was able to query the original order for the date and price. We placed the order on the 6th of September 2011 and the machine was duly delivered on the 10th of September. Job done.

The dryer has served us faithfully and we brought it with us to our new place.

On the 9th of July — a few days ago — the machine developed a fault. It wouldn’t spin. The ‘dryer’ bit worked but not the tumbling.

This means that we had 2 years, 9 months and 29 days worth of tumble drying service for £219. And I should note that our boys are young so we’ve been giving the machine a good amount of use. Almost twice and sometimes four times daily.

Rounded down to the nearest whole week, we’ve had service for 147 weeks or about 1,033 days.

That equates to £1.49 a week in terms of the cost of the machine. (£219 divided by 147 weeks) Or 21 pence per day.

Not bad not bad.

The question I have been pondering is ‘what next’?

Is it time to grow up — that is — go and buy a more expensive brand from John Lewis and take out the company’s famous X years guarantee?

Well, I’m not so sure.

My parents always bought the best (i.e. Miele). So I was browsing John Lewis the other day and came across both a £600 and £1,499 option. To the totally untrained eye they don’t look that different from the bog standard Beko in terms of capabilities.

I was getting quite excited at the prospect of buying a decent tumble drying machine. A proper brand.

I was circling around the £600 Miele model (this one). I could extend the standard 2-year guarantee to 5-years for £140 from John Lewis.

That’s £740 and already I’m thinking that’s getting into MacBook Air territory (a useful barometer of value, I feel).

Let’s do some sums.

Presume that we can get 5 years uninterrupted service from the Miele. That’s 5 years x 52 = 260 weeks. This equates to £2.85 per week cost — almost double the price of the Beko. I recognise we’re not comparing precise like-for-like in terms of service duration. (Incidentally the Beko has an energy rating of B, the Miele is a C! And obviously I’m assuming both will use a similar amount of electricity.)

Am I better off just buying a new basic tumble dryer every time the old one fails? Yes. I think so.

I was browsing around hunting for someone to come and fix the existing Beko until I found some sample call-out charges. They were pretty shocking. Indeed I reckon a visit from an engineer would probably top out at about £75 once he’s come, discovered the problem with the motor (or whatever) and then come back and also charged us for the (I’m hoping, reasonable cost) for the parts.

That’s almost 40% of the cost of a new machine.

I could mess about with insurance, yes.

However I want things to be easy and simple. I don’t want complications and I especially don’t want to be exposed to traditional British ‘service’ — you know the kind of experience whereby through a whole lot of ‘not my fault, but’ situations you end up without a tumble dryer for 3.5 weeks.

That’s perhaps the biggest problem I’ve got with any sort of insurance or warranty extension. It’s all very well if the issue is fixed free of charge, but if the experience is unpredictable or poor and it takes days for an engineer to visit, I would be particularly annoyed as the boys’ clothes begin to pile up.

As it stands we had to suspend the clothing logistics for just over 24 hours.

Instead of buying from Currys (where we got the last dryer), I went straight to (Appliances Online) and ordered. I clicked straight through to their ‘best condenser dryer‘ page and coincidentally saw a Beko product featured. If you read my recent experience with on Mobile Industry Review you won’t be surprised when I just hit the buy button.

The next day at 11am, the Beko dryer arrived. It went into production within 30 minutes. Boom! Incidentally I paid an extra £9.99 to have AO take away and recycle the old Beko.

Now then: Is this the right thing to do? What is your electrical appliance policy? Am I missing out by not doing the John Lewis thing? How do you handle the unplanned downtime even if you’re covered?

I won’t be impressed if my now beloved £189 Beko conks out next month. Or next year. But on the basis that these things seem to be pretty well made (we also own a Beko fridge!) I am hopeful we’ll get at least 2-3 years without any exceptions.

I would very much welcome your perspective.