Asko Appliances: Buyer Beware

Asko make dishwashers that cost two to four times what ordinary dishwashers cost and last, apparently, only one-half to one-quarter as long. Ours needed a pump after four years and a control unit—the main circuit board—after eight, not to mention an assortment of small parts that began to break shortly after the warranty expired. From what I have heard, our experience was not unusual.

The circuit board that failed has been causing fires in the United States, enough fires that Asko have recalled them. However, Asko's North American distributors will not recall them in Canada, although they sell the same models here that they sell there.

Not only will Asko not repair the dishwashers, they charge Canadians nearly twice as much as Americans for the parts. In Canada these cost enough to buy a new dishwasher from Sears with enough money left over to buy dishes to fill it. I sent Asko an e-mail describing the situation above. Seven weeks later I received a reply stating only that Asko were forwarding my e-mail to their distributor.

Meanwhile, instead of staring at a broken dishwasher, we asked an American friend to order the parts for us from the distributor, the circuit board plus two other parts that the U.S. distributor told us were part of the recall for our model. One of those parts turned out to be for a different model and the second was superfluous because it was included with the board. The distributor refused to take either of them back. After starting the repair, we found that we also needed two pieces of plastic trim that we bought in Canada for another $141.

The circuit board came with installation instructions that said to check whether the burned area was near certain components, because this would indicate that some other component had caused the board to fail. The burned area was distant from every component listed, so we installed the new board. Two days later the dishwasher failed again, accompanied by the smell of a burning circuit board.

Charles Maurer
5 Grandview Court
Dundas, ON L9H 5C8

Followup

Four years later I sent this e-mail to Asko's head of marketing for the Americas:

Yesterday I noticed that the company I use to keep track of traffic on my personal web site has begun to show when somebody comes to a page from a highly ranked hit on a Google search. One of my pages details my experience with Asko and your North American distributors. You will probably be interested in some of the searches that led people to this page last week, and their rankings from Google in Canada <www.google.ca>:

asko   variously 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
asko dishwasher   6
asko dishwashers   5
asko canada   variously 4 and 5
asko dishwashers canada   3
asko dishwasher canada   3
asko dishwasher in canada   3
asko canada parts   3
cost asko dishwasher   1

In short, any Canadian researching Asko on the web will find it.

The consequences of this ought to be obvious. If my story influences even one percent of the people who read it, then so far your refusal to stand behind your product will have lost Asko and your agents in Texas more than $100,000 in sales.

Perhaps I ought to purchase shares in your company. Canada is a small market for you but Asko must be immensely profitable if you folks can afford to throw away much of it by screwing customers here as you do.

However, Asko would surely be more profitable still if you treated customers honourably, and thus garnered good publicity instead of bad. I am writing this in hopes that you will pass this note around various officers of your company, and that seeing the fruits of their policies will cause them to think. If Asko screws fewer customers in the future, everybody will be better off.

The next day I received a telephone call from Asko's distributors in Texas. They offered to, and promptly did, refund the $500 I had paid for the last set of parts. This reduced the cost of purchasing and repeatedly repairing the dishwasher to approximately $200 per year.