On Friday, my dishwasher finally kicked the bucket. I think the water pump died, AND some rubber parts burnt up (I could tell by the terrible smell)–but I don’t have an “official” diagnosis because I didn’t get it looked at. I know if wasn’t pumping water out any more, and a couple of rubber parts were visibly torn. Not to mention, parts of the racks were developing rust where the rubberized coating had worn through….
The dishwasher came with the house I’m in now, so it was definitely in excess of 10 years old. So, all things considered, it didn’t seem worthwhile to do anything other than replace the thing.
Not having had to replace a dishwasher before, I had no idea they would be so expensive! Of course, I had pretty much ignored them in the home improvement stores, since I wasn’t in the market for one. But now, I stand enlightened.
For all major purchases (and this definitely counts as one of those), I check out the ratings on ConsumerReports.org. This is a paid service that runs me $26 per year, and I’ve held my account for probably a decade now. It’s hard to say how much inconvenience–and money–they’ve saved me, but it certainly makes me a feel a lot better when I walk into the department store with my Consumer Reports printouts in hand. And sometimes the information I get from them isn’t what I expect….sometimes, the most expensive models of an appliance can be among the poorest performing–so I definitely recommend the ConsumerReports.org service for anyone about to make a big purchase.
After selecting the dishwasher I wanted, I did some research online to find out which of my local stores had the best price. It turns out the Whirlpool Gold model I had decided on wasn’t on “sale” anywhere, so it came down to a matter of installation and delivery costs, financing, cashback incentives–that sort of thing.
It came down to Sears and HHGregg. I’ve been shopping at Sears almost exclusively for the past several years for my kitchen appliances, having picked up a new glass top stove and two refrigerators from them–and I’ve been on the low end of moderately satisfied. But in this case, HHGregg had an installation cost of $110 less than what Sears quoted ($120 vs $230). Plus, HHGregg was offering a rebate for another $69 off the installation for products $599 and higher–and the Whirlpool Gold model I had selected was precisely $599. So I figure I saved $179 by going with HHGregg for this appliance.
I paid for my dishwasher on 1/13. HHGregg was able to arrange for delivery of my dishwasher for the very next day–today. The way they work the deliveries is this: the delivery and installation contractor calls you the morning of the delivery to give you a three hour window of when they’ll arrive. They’re also supposed to call you 40 minutes before they arrive. What really happened: they called exactly when they were supposed to the next morning to give me a time window, and they showed up within their window. The installation crew seemed to know what they were doing, and they caused no damage to anything (that I have yet noticed) as they hauled away my old washer. Kudos.
HHGregg Extended Service Warantee:
As a general rule, I don’t buy extended service warrantees unless it’s for a large electronic device that I think may be prone to breaking. Because I saw a ton of complaints online for all brands of dishwashers having one “horrible” problem or another, I decided to go for the extended service warranttee offered by HHGregg.
Initially, I was planning to go with an online SquareTrade warantee. But when I turned down HHGregg’s initial warantee sales pitch, they made me an offer I couldn’t easily refuse: 5 years of coverage for the cost of 3, all for just under 80 bucks. That’s barely $15/year, which I’m guessing is pretty hard to beat on a breakage-prone item like a dishwasher. I guess time will tell!
NOTE: HHGregg only offered me the 5-for-3 deal on the warrantee AFTER I said no…so be sure to turn them down, the first time around. Otherwise, it’s not nearly as good a deal. If they still don’t preemptively offer the special deal, you can always ask, at that point. Without the special pricing, I probably would have gone with a SquareTrade warranttee, which would have run me $69 for 3 years.
Things to Remember when Shopping for Appliances or Other Big-Ticket Items:
- Research products online before setting foot inside a store. (features, pricing, reliability, etc.)
- Research each retailer you’re considering purchasing from. (Posted online prices for your item, financing terms, store-specific rebates, rewards programs, customer satisfaction, and other incentives.) Be sure to compare costs for delivery, haulaway, and installation costs between the stores, as these can very SIGNIFICANTLY. The difference can be even greater if one store is offering a free-delivery option.
- Check to see if your item is in-stock, or is special-order only. If your item is only offered as a special-order item at one retailer, but not the other, you’re better off purchasing from the one that doesn’t require the item be special ordered. (Return policies for special order items are generally MUCH more restrictive on special order items.)
My Final Call on HHGregg:
On this visit–my first–to HHGregg, the salesperson and manager did everything necessary to close the sale.
1. they refunded back the equivalent of 6% Maryland sales tax in the form of a special credit on my ticket.
2. they discounted my warrantee by 40%.
3. they answered all my questions quickly and politely
4. the manager was very polite to my 10-year-old boy, who was asking lots of questions of his own
5. they were able to schedule the delivery and installation of my new dishwasher for the very next day
But basically, where they came out clearly above Sears was with their cheaper delivery and installation. The fact that they would normally have charged state sales tax on an item that Sears would NOT have charged tax on does not work in the favor, because it’s something I had to negotiate–making it a bit less convenient.
Since they did a good job with me on this sale, I’ll keep them on my A-list the next time I’m in the market for a new big-ticket item.