A little more than five years ago, I walked into a very popular appliance store in Roslyn, Long Island, and bought an Asko clothes dryer on sale. It was one of the happiest days of my life. What a mistake.
The Asko model I bought, the electric T761, had a three year warranty. It was as green as grass, sizzling with energy-efficient, Swedish ingenuity. The Swedes are energy masters , owing no doubt to their 24-hour nights and long, cold winters. This thing cost a bundle, and it was not made in China.
My Swedish Meatball
Two weeks out of the bubble wrap, I made my first Asko service phone call. The dryer drum would not tumble. They came and fixed it for free (under warranty). Three weeks passed, and the drum again stopped working. Another repair three months later. And then the following year. I was grateful I had bought a unit with a three-year warranty, so I patted myself on the back for being so smart.
That was five years ago. Then last month, I went downstairs to do the laundry. The dryer was dead. There was no clue this was about to happen. It was so sudden – I pushed the “Start” button, and the unit wouldn’t turn on. The dryer seemed to be unplugged, but the red “on” light glowed. So I knew something was wrong.
My first repair call was to the company that had always fixed my Asko dryer for three years, G.A. Service in Roslyn Heights. They had already fixed this dryer four or five times. They were friendly. They knew what they were doing. Apparently, they also had lots of practice.
Unfortunately for me, G.A. Service was sold a few years ago; the new owners do not fix Asko. And by the way, the new company’s customer service department, which remembered me from years ago, happened to mention “problems with Asko dryers.”
Reading down the “Asko Authorized Service Companies” dryer list on the ASKO website, I called Len Harris, a well respected appliance dealer in Queens that I trust. Len Harris is No. 3 on Asko’s list. A Len Harris manager told me it’s been years since they fixed Asko dryers. And by the way, he also told me that fixing Asko dryers requires special training. So they won’t fix it, either.
Next, I called American Service in Hicksville, which has jump-started my aging sub-zero refrigerator. American’s estimate was complimentary because they were fixing another appliance. That was nice. American is No. 1 on Asko’s “Authorized” list. They told me the circuitboard will have to be replaced and that will cost $700. That was not nice.
$700 to fix a clothes dryer? Replace the circuitboard? That’s like telling me that the battery in my car is dead so you are going to charge me for a new engine.
If Asko won’t teach you how to re-charge a battery, it’s not your fault. It’s Asko’s fault. Right? Let me say that again: IT’S ASKO’S FAULT.
Talk is cheaper
$700 is itself a ridiculous amount to charge anyone to fix a clothes dryer. But it is an outrageous estimate for a VERY expensive 6-year-old dryer that was barely ever used. It is also, according to a real electronics expert I have talked with, a huge overcharge for what is almost certainly a minor repair to an otherwise perfectly good circuitboard.
So, justifyingly outraged, I called Asko customer service. These people are apparently paid to endure the wrath of burned and belligerent Asko owners and to his credit he indeed listened politely to me vent for over an hour. Congratulations, Asko, for hiring people in this economy who will put up with me for an hour. That’s how badly he needs that job. Now I hate Asko even more.
Let me tell you what’s wrong with my dryer. Because I am not going to throw this high priced paperweight out without warning everyone else in the country about this Asko racket. I worked very, very hard to save enough money to buy this clothes dryer, and I will not be taken to the cleaners by Asko USA’s customer service department.
The repairman left. For three days, I wandered around the house trying to figure out what to do.
One afternoon, Dear Husband went downstairs and pushed the dryer “Start” button. Do you know what happened? The dryer turned on.
A circuitboard miracle
“I fixed it!” he yelled proudly. So I headed downstairs and had a look. It was true. Almost. Everything was working — except the heater. The dryer now tumbled clothes. It could not dry clothes.
I consulted my ex-husband, an electronics expert (unlike Asko’s “authorized” people). “It’s definitely not the circuitboard,” he declared. “Because if it was the circuitboard, it wouldn’t start working again. That would be like a burned out light bulb that sudden turns on. A circuitboard doesn’t fix itself.”
Let me repeat: “…NOT THE CIRCUITBOARD.”
So what was wrong?
“Usually, it’s just a loose electrical connection,” said D Ex-H, “possibly from the main processor that turns on the heater circuit. Or a hairline crack that needs repair.”
Now if Asko trained its people properly, instead of this charade they have going, their service people would have known that. But it’s so much more profitable not to train people. It’s so much more profitable to list companies that won’t do the repair because your dryers break down a lot and are too complicated to fix. Or to list them and let them hand me a $700 repair bill.
Consumer Reports, are you listening?
Tell me, how many $80-$90 estimates do I have to shell out before I find someone who knows how to fix this Asko dryer? 10? 20? Will I ever find anyone? Where? Do they have someone in Sweden?
And by the way, why did my Asko break down FOUR OR FIVE TIMES under warranty? I thought 3-year “bumper-to-bumper” was evidence a company stands behind its products. Apparently, it’s just an excuse to overcharge stupid people like me for a piece of junk that you fix over and over for three years and then bam! they’re off the hook. Gee, thanks, Asko.
The Asko website talks about the “relationship” this company builds with its customers. This is not the kind of relationship I ever had in mind. I paid a lot of money for this dryer. I deserve better. I deserve an honest, affordable estimate from a competent repair person on a current list of trained people. Bottom line: Asko doesn’t deserve my business. Go back to Sweden, Asko. Me, I’m buying a dryer made in Germany with a two-year warranty: A Miele.