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Hoover take a tumble in survey of reliability.

Washer-driers are the most unreliable electrical appliances in the kitchen and extended warranties do not represent value for money, according to a report by the Consumers' Association.

More than a third of washer-driers up to six years old broke down at least once, the report in Which? Magazine stated.

The makes most prone to breaking down were Hotpoint and Hoover, while Bosch, Zanussi and Indesit came out on top for reliability, with fewer than a third suffering mechanical problems.

One in eight tumble driers and vacuum cleaners broke down in the same period, but the research found that in both fields price was not indicative of reliability, with the more expensive models performing no better than cheaper ones.

The best tumble drier brands were Crusader, Electra, White Knight and Creda, and the most reliable dishwashers were found to be Neff, Servis and Siemens.

Of all front loading washing machines examined, just under a quarter had broken down in six years.

Big differences between brands were illustrated by the best, Miele, proving fault-free in 93 per cent of cases while as many as 40 per cent of Hoovers needed a repair.

Hoover disputed the findings, claiming they were unrepresentative and unfair.

A spokeswoman said: 'This research is not representative of products that are on the market at the moment.

'Also it only refers to the experience of Consumers' Association members, with the appliances over six years old.'

Consumers should not use the research as a marker for buying a new appliance in today's market, she said.

Researchers at the CA also judged extended warranties as offering poor value for money.

The survey found that an average washing machine repair cost pounds 43, compared to pounds 113-pounds 200 for a typical five-year warranty.

Which? reported that only three per cent of five-year-old washing machines had gone wrong enough times to make an extended warranty worth buying.

Which? editor Graeme Jacobs said: 'Don't feel pressured into buying an extended warranty when you buy an appliance.

'Our latest research shows that these machines don't break down often enough for a warranty to be worthwhile - you're better off simply paying for a repair if it becomes necessary.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 6, 2000
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