by Kathy Batesel
This is identical to our model. You can see the ratings from other people are pretty low. I wish I'd known this before I bought it!
Deciding to Buy the Maytag Washer
My young adult daughter tired of laundromats, so my husband and I decided to offer her our three year old washing machine and buy a new one for ourselves - preferably one with a little more capacity.
We loaded up our machine and dryer and dropped it off to her, but not before we bought replacements from Nebraska Furniture Mart. Now I'm a frugal person in the first place, so I was having fits and conniptions at my husband's more expensive tastes.
It took us over an hour to finally agree upon our new appliances! I'd have been fine with a traditional top loader washing machine in the $400-$450 price range, but my husband likes shiny things, so indulging him cost us a couple hundred bucks extra. I had to admit, the Bravos is an attractive washer, and I liked its features, too. Plus, since he got something he liked, I knew my husband would be happy to keep doing laundry!
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Bravos Wasn't Quite this Talkative
Maytag Bravos Installation and Setup
The machines had to be set up and tested when they were delivered. The technician went through a series of tests that reminded me of R2-D2 from Star Wars. The machine made melodic noises that sounded a bit like music. Of course, it didn't really sound like my favorite robot, but it definitely brought him to mind.
It didn't take long for him to complete the installation, though. He hooked them up, completed his tests, and was gone within 15 minutes.
My new washer was ready to use!
Maytag Bravos Advertised Specs
It's not hard to understand our decision to buy the Bravos. Check out their advertised specification list:
- Maytag Commercial Technology
- Power Wash Cycle
- 10-year limited warranty on the washer motor and wash basket
- 4.3 cu. ft. I.E.C Equivalent Capacity
- CEE Tier III Qualified
- ENERGY STAR
- Low Water Wash with EcoConserve
- Advanced Vibration Control
- Faster Cleaning
- IntelliClean Impeller
- Stainless Steel Wash Basket
- 10 Wash cycles
- 5 Temperature Settings
- 800 RPM Spin Speed
- MaxExtract Extended Spin
- Deep Clean Option
- IntelliFill Automatic Water
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? I thought that since it said it had commercial technology, that it would be more durable than a light-duty model. Even though we only had three people in our house, our animals - 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 exotic birds - ensured we would often be washing our small area rugs that aren't terribly bulky but are heavier than towels.
We also liked the idea of low water usage. We live in an area with hard water. Our city rates it at 18, and anything higher than an 11 rating is considered hard. This means we have to use vinegar to soak our shower heads and faucets once or twice a year to keep them from getting clogged. By using less water, our washing machine wouldn't have as much exposure to the line-clogging elements.
Putting the Maytag Bravos to the Test
Using the Maytag Bravos is fairly straightforward. You select which kind of wash cycle you want - normal, heavy duty, bulky, whites, power wash, or a variety of rinse and spin cycles. You add your detergent and fabric softener, bleach if you're using it, and close the lid. Then you press a button or two to start the cycle.
I really liked seeing the timer countdown. No more guessing when the load would be ready for the dryer!
Our first problem was a minor, but annoying one that appeared during the first week we owned the machine. The plastic plug in the fabric dispenser tub popped out. Because there wasn't enough clearance to get a person's finger in to press it down firmly, it had to be pushed back into place with each wash.
We liked that it could wash more clothes than the washer we'd given my daughter. It also did a nice job on our white socks, which came out whiter and fluffier than before. The Bravos doesn't use an agitator like traditional top-loading washers. Instead, the bottom of the washtub has an impeller - a raised bump that creates water turbulence to wash the clothes. It's supposed to be gentler on fabrics, and our socks seemed to attest to that, but some models of Bravos have reportedly torn large items like sheets and blankets.
A few months later, my husband realized he had never noticed the "fabric softener" button that had to be pressed when fabric softener was used, but it didn't seem to have had any effect. Each time he'd washed clothes, the fabric softener compartment had emptied. Perhaps this was because of the loose plug.
Then something odd happened. I reached in to grab a load of socks and put them in the dryer, only to discover they were dripping, sopping wet! The machine hadn't spun them out well. I washed them again, though, and it worked fine, so I didn't worry about it. I'd had the machine about 11 months, but didn't stop to consider the warranty period. I wish I had!
On March 14th, the spin cycle conked out again. This time it didn't correct itself. We'd had the Bravos since January 24th, 2012, so the warranty had expired just three weeks earlier.
I remember seeing these Maytag commercials as a kid. I had often heard that Maytag produced top of the line products. Watching this commercial today has me shaking my head and wondering, "What happened?"
Maytag's Customer Service
My first call wasn't to Maytag. I called a local appliance repair company that has a good reputation. He refused to work on our machine. He said they break down so often that his customers had gotten mad and blamed him, hurting his business reputation, so he stopped working on them altogether.
I called Maytag's customer service line. Their representatives were all on other calls at first, so I took that time to browse reviews. I was shocked at how many low ratings I found on the machine, and how many people reported having the same problem we were having. One consumer even asked if there should be a class action lawsuit! Several reported repair costs that exceeded $450.
The service representative who spoke to me told me how sorry he was to hear of our problems. "We can offer you a warranty for one year for $323, which will cover your repair and give you another year of coverage" he told me.
"No thanks," I replied. "When I buy a major appliance, I expect it to work for at least a few years before it has another breakdown, and it sounds like you're telling me to expect more problems!"
"The other option is to schedule a Maytag repairman to come fix it," he said. "Would you like to do that?" I told him it depends on how much they planned to charge. He replied that it would cost $130 for the service call and diagnostics, plus additional money for parts and labor.
I declined. I figured for $450 I could probably get another washing machine that would do as well as or better than the Bravos. But I wasn't quite ready to give up.
I followed up with a call to Nebraska Furniture Mart. I explained that I didn't hold them responsible for Maytag putting out an inferior product, but hoped they could help me persuade Maytag to extend the warranty or complete the repair since it was just two weeks out of warranty and shouldn't have a failure so quickly. "I'm sure your company has a lot more influence than I do since you sell so many of their products," I pleaded.
Their customer service rep, Colleen, quickly agreed to see if she could help. She asked me to hold while she called them, and then came back on the line to say that Maytag wouldn't budge for her, either. When I asked if the store might be willing to provide us with a discount on a new washing machine since we still were paying on the first one, she arranged for us to receive employee pricing or better on our replacement. Thank you, NFM!
Conclusion about Maytag
I posted a warning to my social network about our experience with the Bravos. My niece replied that her family also has the Bravos, and during their five years of ownership, they've had problems with the unlevel code a few times. My brother-in-law said he's been hearing negative things about Maytag from his friends for the last few years.
I wish I'd done more research before buying it. Although I'd hoped to get photos of the fabric softener dispenser and the impeller, I'm afraid my husband got it loaded and gone before I had a chance. In its place, we now have a highly rated GE washing machine.
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