Bosch dishwasher recall

Several days late and who knows how many dollars short, Bosch is blitzing the purchasers in its records with recorded telephone calls to let them know their fancy dishwashers may set fire to the house. An overheating part has caused something upwards of 50 incidents, of which 30 (or more) have caused property damage. Well…those figures are as of last January, when the recall went out.

Because I let my subscription to Consumer Reports lapse, I didn’t hear about this until the company’s phone robot occupied some space on my voicemail.

Naturally, not only do I have one of those in my house, M’hijito and I bought one for the downtown house. Both of machines seem to have been recalled.

Yesterday I called the toll-free number and was told to quit using the machine (yeah. right!), to wait until they get around to sending the part, and then call Sears and wait until they get around to sending someone to repair the thing. Of course, I didn’t have the model and serial numbers for M’hijito’s dishwasher, so that means I’m now sitting interminably on the Bosch’s hold button. At least they pump classical music into your ear, instead of the usual drech.

What’s annoying about this is not that they installed a defective part in God only knows how many units but that they waited until mid-August to blanket the country with phone calls. It means both my son and I (among who knows how many other hapless consumers) have been using a hazardous appliance for at least eight months. Don’t know about you, but I often turn on the dishwasher and then leave the house, or turn it on right before I go to bed. To frost that cookie, this could not be a worse time to have to deal with Sears’s often rude and usually difficult service department! Classes start the week after next; I’ve got to go to six meetings next week, plus of course I’m supposed to show up at work, of all the ridiculous things!

So I’m less than perfectly thrilled at the prospect of waiting around from 8:00 to noon or 1:00 to 5:00 for some Sears guy to show up, knowing he probably won’t show up in that window.

♦ ♦ ♦

Just got through on the phone to one Chris, a CSR of considerable charm. Mercifully, the second dishwasher is not on the recall list. Good: only one round of the Workman Waltz, not two.

Well, I’m glad to know about the hazard and glad to have them fix it for free. But I sure do wish they’d clued me when it came up…eight months ago! If you have a Bosch and haven’t heard about this, better check out the recall notice. The phone number to call, if you think your model might be among the recalled, is 1-800-856-9226.

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John Doe September 9, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I don’t know why you weren’t contacted until recently, but the majority of customers were contacted early on. Letters were mailed on the SAME DAY that the recall was made public. How do I know this? I used to work for a call center that was contracted by Bosch to assist them during the recall, and I took those calls for five months starting in January, before I left the job.

Did you register your purchase with them? Bosch can’t contact customers they don’t know EXIST. Letters were sent to potentially affected customers whose products were registered with Bosch after purchase, and letters were also sent to customers of major retailers such as Sears who keep records of customers’ purchases and serial numbers and so forth. Beyond that, Bosch paid to have large advertisements placed multiple times in more than 2000 newspapers throughout the US and Canada. The recall was covered on TV, posted in retail locations, and detailed in other sources such as Consumer Reports and online. Bosch did everything it could conceivably do to contact customers about this issue. Unless the recall has recently been expanded, you would have been contacted in January if Bosch knew about you.

From what I’ve heard from former co-workers who still take these calls, Bosch is now doing additional notices via phone and/or mail to customers who have been previously notified but have not responded. So they are STILL trying. I have more respect for Bosch than for a lot of companies that do recalls, because Bosch wasn’t forced into it. They discovered the problem, and THEY notified the relevant government agencies and voluntarily issued a recall. Most companies these days require a lawsuit or government pressure to take those steps.

funny September 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm

@ John Doe: I’m sure I sent the registration card in, because I always do for large-ticket purchases. The only way they could have had my phone number would have been from such a card, because I do not give my number to Sears, which uses your number for telephone solicitation even when you ask them not to. I asked Sears to remove my number from their database, watched a representative do so, and have never given them my home number again.

I don’t frequent retail locations that sell appliances, and when I’m there, I don’t hang around reading bulletin boards. I don’t watch television, because I don’t have time to watch television; I get my news from the Internet, and if it had been on any of the local news stations’ sites or on Google News or on BBC or on the NY Times site or on CBS MarketWatch in any easily visible way, I would have seen it. With my employer cutting my pay by $500/month through furloughs, some expenses had to go; one of them was Consumer Reports. You have to pay to get into the CR online site; I don’t pay for online content.

My son also has a Bosch dishwasher, same model. Had such a whirlwind of notices been swirling around us, I expect he, his roommate, or his roommate’s girlfriend (none of whom wish to be immolated) would have picked up on this recall.

When frugal people are pressed financially, they tend to go off the grid to some degree: that’s what happens when you don’t kill time in front of the television (because you’re working three jobs), when you cancel the magazine subscriptions, and when you stay out of stores.

One thing’s for sure: I did appreciate having the Bosch mechanic fix the unholy loud noise the machine has been making, something previous repairmen could not accomplish. It was a simple fix — a device securing the machine into the opening under the counter had worked loose and was bent — and did not require the $250 overhaul one guy proposed.

John Doe September 9, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Understood. Hard to say how you slipped through the cracks unless, as I suggested, the recall has been expanded. I do know that Bosch mailed something on the order of 200-250,000 letters right away when the recall started back in January. That’s only about half of the affected units, but then again, I suspect that less than half of consumers register appliances. I never have because I don’t trust big companies to protect my information. Regardless, from what I saw while taking those calls, I do believe Bosch gave it their best effort.

funny September 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm

@ John Doe. Absolutely! You’re certainly right that trying to track down a half-million consumers would be a monster job.

Those registration forms are problematic, but I’ve learned to enter only the most basic information on them. Usually I put my office phone number on them, which at least deflects the dinner-hour sales pitches from all the “affiliated” companies that get your personal data. Still, for an expensive item like a kitchen or laundry appliance — or really, anything electrical that could pose a fire hazard — I think it’s a good idea to send in the registration.

Deb Fisher November 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Yep, I was part of the recall also. Dishwasher worked fine until the Sears guy put in the new control panel, has not worked since. When I call Bosch, they tell me to call Sears, when I call Sears, they tell me to call Bosch. Can’t get anywhere with either company. WILL NEVER BUY FROM SEARS AGAIN AND CERTAINLY WILL NEVER OWN A BOSCH APPLIANCE. I AM OUT OVER $900.00 FOR SOMETHING NOT MY FAULT.

I now need to purchase a new dishwasher. Thanks to all who have been so incredibly helpful.

chris December 15, 2009 at 9:17 am

I can’t even get sears to come out to put in the part. 3 months and several phone calls to sears and bosch later the part is sitting on the shelf. Sears service sucks.

funny December 15, 2009 at 10:05 am

@ Chris: It wasn’t Sears that sent the guy to install mine. It was Bosch. Try calling or contacting Bosch: you usually can find a number by googling something like “Bosch contact” or “Bosch headquarters.”

roxane October 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

We bought our house last year – it was built in 2004. Yesterday our Bosch dishwasher caught fire. Luckily I was only steps away when it happened. I only happened to hear about the recall when I was doing internet research on what to do.

funny October 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm

holy mackerel and OMG, Roxane!!!!! I hope you’re OK and not too much damage was done to your home. And that Bosch’s insurance company will cover what damages you did suffer.

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