Dyson comes bottom of the pile in survey

DYSON vacuum cleaners have come bottom for reliability in a consumer report on household goods published today.

The iconic British invention, whose bagless technology captured the imagination of consumers around the world, came out worst in a survey by Which? magazine, which described Dyson’s performance as "dreadful". Rival firm Hoover came bottom of the table among owners of washer-driers, tumble driers and fridge freezers.

It is another blow for Dyson, which earlier this year announced it was scrapping its range of Contrarotator washing machines after poor sales. The firm transferred all its production from Britain to Malaysia in 2002 with the loss of 800 jobs.

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More than 4,500 owners of upright cleaners and over 2,700 with cylinder models were questioned about reliability by the magazine. Overall, 77 per cent of upright vacuum cleaners and 90 per cent of cylinder models up to six years old had not needed to be repaired.

But among owners of Dyson cleaners, almost three in ten with upright models and more than two in ten with cylinder versions said their machines have had to be repaired.

The best-performing upright makes were Bosch, Electrolux, Panasonic and Sebo, while Miele and Numatic came top among owners of cylinder cleaners.

On upright cleaners, Which? said: "In our surveys over the last six years, Dyson has been unreliable - and our latest results show that it is getting worse. In 2002, 21 per cent of Dyson vacs up to six years old needed repair. That figure is now a dreadful 29 per cent."

On cylinders, the report said the findings were "depressing" for Dyson owners, with the company languishing at the bottom of the pile for the third year running.

It added: "And things are getting worse. In 2001, 14 per cent of Dysons up to six years old needed mending - now that figure is 22 per cent. A Dyson was more than five times more likely to go wrong than a Miele."

Meanwhile, almost two in three of Dyson’s washing machines needed a repair, although it has since announced it has stopped making these.

With Hoover, 42 per cent of its washer driers have played up over the past six years, while 24 per cent of their tumble drier models needed repair, along with 17 per cent of their fridge freezers. Bosch and Miele were top of the list of brands owners would recommend to friends looking for a new product.

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Which? editor Malcolm Coles said: "You have to know when to give up. James Dyson recently packed in his Contrarotator washing machine because it is making a loss. It is just as well. Our latest reliability survey shows Dyson washing machines know a thing or two about giving up themselves.

"Dyson’s cylinder vacs were over five times more likely to go wrong than Miele’s. This is a shame because, reliability aside, Dyson makes some of the best products around. That puts it one rung up from Hoover. Not only are Hoover’s washing machines, washer driers, tumble driers and fridge freezers unreliable, but none performs as well as our "best buys".

"Making reliable appliances that perform well is not impossible. Just ask Miele and Bosch."

Dyson said it was "puzzled" by the survey. A spokesman said: "We closely monitor the reliability of Dyson machines and our best-selling machine, DC14, has a reliability rate of 98 per cent - the 2 per cent of failures are missing manuals or tools.

"People are three times more likely to be loyal to Dyson than any other vacuum cleaner manfacturer - including second-placed Miele. If people have a problem with a Dyson machine they can speak to Dyson customer care where most calls are resolved over the phone."

Carl Cowling, trading director of Currys, said: "Dyson machines are popular with our customers and the reliability rates based on the substantial volumes of Dyson models we sell are very good and compare favourably with the market as a whole."

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