Plinth Blog Special Needs Parenting


An Open Letter to General Electric

To whom it may concern,

Normally, when I have an issue with a product, I take it directly to the company that produced the product. I often will write a letter which I euphemistically call a nastrygram expressing my dissatisfaction and what steps I would prefer the company to take in order to make this right. Most companies go through the effort to do this. When a problem is so egregious that I can't think of a single thing that I would be willing to accept from the company to make things better, then I make the letter public because this problem is so awful that I feel the public should know.

Congratulations, General Electric! You have earned this status.

I live in a small community that has a number of houses that were all built within a short period of each other about 3 and a half years ago. We were offered a set of appliances for the kitchen with the base level being products that you manufactured. In our house, this consisted of a stove, an over-the-stove microwave, a dishwasher and a refrigerator. With the exception of the stove, we have had issues with every single appliance.

Microwave, model JVW1540DM5WW: the door handle came off in the hands of my 10 year-old son. The replacement handle direct from GE cost 1/3 of a new comparable unit. Screw you, I made my own using a 3D printer and spare parts in my house. The plastic piece above the door has cracked from being removed and replaced twice.

Refrigerator, model GSH25JGDDWW: both food bins are cracked, one of the light covers is broken, the ice maker routinely makes stalagtites which require defrosting the unit to remove.

Dishwasher, model GDF510PGD1WW: both racks have many patches of coating that have worn off, exposing raw metal that is now rusting. The heating coil for drying the dishes no longer works for either drying dishes or for "boosting" the temperature of water used in the washer. The unit routinely doesn't dissolve all the detergent. The upper rack washer arm routinely falls off. Dishes routinely come out dirty with a greasy coating on them. The filter needs to be cleaned every 3 days in order to have passably clean dishes.

The stove still works reasonable well. Good on you.

All of these failures have happened withing a few months of each other. This is indicates that this is the result of careful engineering. I feel like each of these appliances was designed to have a lifespan of 3-4 years. Now, critical readers may think that I just won the lottery in terms of device failure, but my community is relatively tightly-knit so I reached out to my neighbors to see if they have seen similar problems. Here are a few choice quotes:

We had an issue with the dishwasher, but it was from the very beginning. Repaired in first month over a year ago.

My 5 year old microwave already replaced!

We have had issues with our dishwasher. We have been here for two years.

This isn't surprising, Steve. I [know] someone who was pretty high up in GE, and he said the only appliance worth having was the oven. He said there were a lot of issues with all of the other kitchen appliances 🙁

So there you have it. My expectation for major appliances such as these is that they should last 20 years with light maintenance, yet 3/4 of mine have failed within 4 years. You might have thought "we'll cost optimize these products so that they are attractive for the price point and will wear out in the short term so that our customers will buy replacements after they fail." And some people may think that, but not me. No. Let me make this perfectly clear: you fucked up royally. Starting with our dishwasher, I am replacing GE appliances with products made by other manufacturers and I will never purchase another GE product ever, and I strongly encourage other consumers to take a similar stance.

You made poor engineering decisions and this is what it has cost you.


Steve Hawley

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I would not call it an engineering fuck up. It is routine to do mean time to failure studies to optimize cost/profit/quality. This is a management decision. The engineering is great! All your products’ failures were beautifully synchronized; so great engineering and quality planning. Greedy Management.

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