Monday, July 05, 2010

You CANNOT rely on Defy

Defy is a major local appliance brand and their catchphrase is "You can rely on Defy!"

On 1 June I found myself with a rapidly dying freezer, half of my side-by-side refrigerator, and I called my local service centre. You can imagine my dismay, while on interminable hold, to hear the phrase "you can rely on Defy" repeated over an over in place of the ordinary annoying music that us supposed to soothe our temperaments as we wait endlessly for the attention of a bored and unhelpful customer service rep. You see, this was the fourth major breakdown of this fridge in the four short years I have owned it...on Defy, I was learning, I could not rely.

It took 24 knuckle-biting hours to get a technician out to fix the fridge. It cost R700...the equivalent of a week's fix the freezer. I managed to save most of the food, but expected that it would be another year before the thing cropped up with a new problem. No such luck.

Barely a month has gone by and Saturday my husband opened the freezer to find the ice cubes had turned to water, the ice cream to cream, the frozen veggies soft enough to chew as they were. I popped a thermometer inside and found the freezer to be warmer than the fridge!

Since it was 4:30 on a Saturday...and Johannesburg retailers roll up their sidewalks and go comatose at 5 on Saturdays we hurried to our nearest discount outlet to buy a freezer. Unbelievably, every one of their stand alone freezers were out of stock!! Hubby managed to talk the floor manager into selling us the display a discount, no less...and to round up some guys to deliver it for us ASAP. By 6:30 I was cooking those thawed veggies and rebagging them for their return to a frozen state. This time we bought Bosch, a premier German brand, makers of my eminently reliable washer and dryer.

So this morning we await the return of the technician. This is the fifth major repair in four years, four of them to the freezer. If this is what Defy defines as reliable, I want absolutely nothing to so with them or their appliances ever again.

Learn from my misfortune: you CANNOT rely on Defy!

** ** **

Below is the "comment" I left on their website. I expect neither a reply nor compensation:

My husband and I bought a 660 litre side-by-side [Defy] refrigerator freezer from Makro approximately four years ago. In the few years we have owned it, the machine has required five major repairs, including replacement of the compressor on the refrigerator side during the first year of ownership.

Today I am awaiting a technician for the second time in less than five weeks for yet another freezer repair. So unreliable is this machine that we went out and bought a separate freezer this weekend when the Defy freezer failed for the third time in less than a year.

It is bad enough that the machine is so unreliable, but to have your service centre act like a freezer with 200+ litres of rapidly thawing food is not an urgent situation is absolutely maddening. Whoever runs your service centre needs to understand that a dead freezer has a much greater urgency than a groaning tumble dryer or a grumpy washing machine. Food is not only expensive, spoiled food can cause major health issues. A pair of jeans that doesn't get dry because the dryer is malfunctioning will not compromise the owner's health and safety...or their budget... the way a freezer full of spoiling meat will.

I have come to the conclusion that not only are your products grossly unreliable, your service department is essentially useless: not only cannot they not appropriately triage the incoming failure reports and dispatch technicians first to the most urgent calls, e.g., dead refrigerators and freezers, there is no service...not even at a premium charge...for appliances that fail after 5 pm on a Friday. I find this absolutely inexcusable.

It may not occur to you that losing a refrigerator and/or freezer full of food is a problem because, perhaps, you can afford to go out and replace the lot without a qualm. I assure you, however, that people whose financial situation does not allow them to purchase top of the line appliances like Bosch are not people who have a stash of cash with which to go out and replace the entire contents of their refrigerator and/or freezer at the failure of a compressor.

I think is it irresponsible of your company to not provide repair service for after-hour emergencies and to fail to appropriately triage repair calls when they come in: waiting 3 days to get my dryer fixed will be annoying; waiting more than a few hours to get my refrigerator fixed is potentially hazardous, definitely costly, and wholly irresponsible on YOUR part for forcing such a situation on me.

As it stands, given that this refrigerator/freezer has been grossly unreliable from the first, I think Defy should replace it free of charge AND refund every rand we have been obliged to spend on this lemon since we brought it home. I know you won't do that, though, and that is why I will never, EVER purchase another Defy product, nor will any of my friends, family members, or anyone else I may have the opportunity to influence.


  1. Hah! Now I wonder if Defy is going to defame (you). Poor products are so infuriating. Good luck (in the best possible way) in resolving this. You might also Twitter this. In the US, major manufacturers are very Twitter conscious.

  2. The only reliable appliances from Defy are their ovens otherwise their products pretty much suck. Sorry you had to find out the hard way.

  3. Sorry you have had such issues. All our kitchen appliances are Defy. In fact I will not purchase anything else. Our washer and dryers are now 11 years old, with no issues, and the Fridge/freezer is over 7 years old, again - issue free.

  4. For your sake, I hope it stays that way, because if you ever have to call their Service Centre, some of the bloom is going to come off your rose. Ultimately they fixed the freezer for free, but it took 4 service calls to my house plus a trip to the workshop for my husband adamantly refused to pay R800 for each service call after the second one: we have now spent enough in repairs for this piece of dirt to buy another fridge. We actually had to spend R4000 to buy a separate freezer to preserve several thousand rands worth of meat because it broke late on a Friday afternoon and there's nobody answering their phones after 16h30 on a Friday. The last time the repairman came to the house and "fixed" it, the fix lasted a whole 6 hours. It was not until it spent a week in the workshop that it has remained functional.

    The telephone centre operators think nothing of lying to callers: the first time I called I was promised a technician same day; when the day was winding down and no tech, I called back and was told that I had NOT been promised a tech on the same day because all their repair calls are booked 24 hours in advance. But when my husband called them for the next breakdown, they sent out a technician that same day. Pray that when your DEFY product breaks down, it is not your fridge or freezer because they don't seem to think thousands of rands worth of spoiling food is as important as somebody else's groaning dryer...and if your fridge conks out on a Friday afternoon, you will have to wait until Monday to call for a tech...and may have to wait until Tuesday to get him to your door.

    I will never EVER buy a DEFY product again because the whole idea of having to deal with their service department again makes my stomach knot.

  5. I repair refrigeration equipment, and in the past four years, many Defy's, hardly out of warranty came into my workshop. Issues related from refrigerant (gas) leaks, to faulty thermostats, to burnt out compressors. I have heard horrifying stories about their assembly lines and the use of R22 (a gas normally used for Aircons, now being banned due to Ozone Depletion ratings) being used to "flush" the system before final assembly. Amongst other gases, fridges sometimes use R134a, and the two refirgerants and it's components are not only incompatible, but the oil used in R134a fridges, as well as the filter driers, should never be subjected to R22!

    Their products used to be excellent. Used to be...

    Then Again - most South African built regrigerators, regardless of brand (incl those assembled in Swaziland) are simply crap. And like you said, After Sales Service - non-existent!

    A final note - buying a fridge with electronic gadgets are looking for trouble (especially in lightning prone areas). The best ones are simply those that are nothing but a fridge. No little lights, no displays - purpose built straight old fashioned fridge.

  6. Wayne Muller 4 October 2012

    I fully agree with all of you. Defy side by side fridges are crap. I have lost thousand of rand of twafted food and meat. On repairs, I thing I paid the fridge more than twice. My freezer is currently broken again. I decided not to phone Defy to fix it. I am just waiting for the fridge to give in for me to trow it away. I cant torture myself with this freezer. Don't ever rely on Defy.

    Wayne Muller

  7. We have also had issues with our Defy fridge/freezer. The freezer works but the fridge just slowly got warmer and warmer. A technician said it was a gas leak and 'fixed' it and regassed it. It stayed cold for about a month and then I called the technician back. Instead of regassing again and trying again to fix the leak (work which was under warrantee) he replaced the thermostat. It made absolutely no difference. The fridge is barely 3 years old and I am about to throw it off a cliff. A friend has the same issue with their Defy fridge. I will never buy a Defy appliance again. Absolute rubbish and waste of money.

  8. Call the service centre and ask to speak to the service manager. When we did that and told him what a moron the tech was (his fix lasted 6 hours!) the guy made arrangements to send out a "loaner" fridge and pick up mine and take it into the workshop. It stayed in the workshop for a full week, but when it was returned to me, it WAS fixed and now, two years later, it is still working fine. Yours probably needs the same thing--a trip to the workshop where they can do work the techs can't do on site.

    But I still won't buy any more of their appliances. NOBODY should have to jump through these kinds of hoops to get a company to do their job!

  9. Oh--and the first thing that went wrong with my unit was the fridge kept getting warm---they had to replace the compressor to fix it. From then on, the fridge has worked fine...but the freezer became a nightmare.

  10. Defy fridge issue, I am also a victim. The deep freezer portion works well, however, the normal fridge compartment is completely warm. Thjis is now the 3rd time in just 2 YEARS that this has happened. I will now call their department once again to repair the fridge and will then try to sell it.. This is really unnaceptable. Luckily i did not have much food inside it, but now I have to buy take aways until its fixed.

  11. I am a technician and all I would say is don't rely on defy! They are shit! Sorry no other word to describe it!

    1. Funny you should write today...yesterday I had a brand new Whirlpool fridge delivered and the DEFY hauled away. It died AGAIN, and this time on a Friday afternoon...given that DEFY's service department has no emergency number and no weekend service, I finally told my husband that I was thoroughly fed up with this piece of crap and I wanted a new one. Bless his heart, he took me shopping over the weekend and on Monday morning my beautiful new Whirlpool arrived.

      No more DEFY appliances for me---even if the product is decent, the after sales service sucks. No thanks!!

  12. My Defy C300 packed-up over new year : freezer is very cold and fridge compartment is warm. I spoke to a technician and apparently this is a common fault of these fridges but because its not possible to disassemble them, they are moulded together, it is not practical to repair. The fridge is only 3 years old!

  13. And here I thought I was alone with problems with Defy. Our fridge started making some very funny noises 5 months after the warranty expired. (Funny thing that.) Anyway the Defy technician came out (R400 callout fee) and said that the compressor needed to be replaced at a cost of R1800 but the warranty on the new compressor was only 3 months!!! He was however prepared to buy the defective fridge from me for R800, and he would put in the compressor for himself,which did not make sense to me. He would end up paying R2600 in total for a fridge that he could buy brand new for R3100. I smell something fishy here (and its not what's in the non-working freezer either)

    1. I replaced the compressor in my Defy fridge within its first year, and then in its fourth year, replaced the other compressor. Over the term of my 6 year ownership, I paid more in repairs than I paid for the fridge.

      It packed up AGAIN in October and I told my husband "I am done...I do not want this piece of sh!t in my kitchen any more!" We bought a new Whirlpool, which is the brand I had in the US and had no service calls in the 4 years I had it before I sold it to move overseas. By the time the Defy was 4 years old, I had had at least 6 service calls on it. Piece of crap yourself a boatload of money and don't fix it...throw it out and buy a reputable brand like Samsung or Whirlpool.

    2. Go to Hello Peter and see how many complaints there are about Defy products. Tons. See how many responses there are from Defy themselves. Zilch. Shows how much they care

    3. It will not help to complain! No one is listening. Just enjoy the "do not rely on Defy" moment with thousands of other people. I am also still waiting for the technician after many, many calls and excuses.

  14. Worst fridge/freezer I ever had. Have to close all doors leading to the kitchen if I hope to get some sleep. Speaking of a noisy fridge! I have learnt my lesson. Never again!


Your comments welcome! Anonymous comments are enabled as a courtesy for people who are not members of Blogger. They are not enabled to allow people to leave gratuitously rude comments, and such comments will not be published. Disagreement will not sink your comment, but disagreeable disagreement will.