October 21, 2014

Jenn – Air’s “Designer Dialog”

Jenn-Air is offering those planning or considering a kitchen remodel a fresh way to get professional advice and answers to their kitchen design questions. Designer Dialog, a newly-launched discussion tab on the Jenn-Air Facebook Brand Page, allows visitors to tap the expertise of a rotating lineup of  kitchen designers recruited from throughout the country.

“Input from a professional kitchen designer can make the difference between a good and a great kitchen,” notes Juliet Johnson , Senior Manager of brand experience for Jenn-Air. “Beyond offering stylish, high performance appliances, we see providing access to design expertise as another way to help make great kitchens possible.”

Professionals moderating Designer Dialog discussions are members of the Jenn-Air Design Advisory Council, a group that meets regularly to share insights on industry trends and product design.  East Coast designer, Morton Block , and , Juditch A. Neary from the West Coast are the first two moderators sharing input on the page. Morton Block is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD), holds professional status in the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and is a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS). Judith A. Neary is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD).

“This is a forum that lets consumers ask seasoned professionals their design questions and get different perspectives from designers with diverse experience,” says Neary. “Anyone embarking on a design project will appreciate this resource and should take advantage of it.”

Block recommends that prior to beginning a kitchen redesign the first step should be conducting research to understand the extent of the project and the costs involved with what you want to achieve.

“Many consumers today begin a kitchen research project by doing online research,” notes Block. “When new appliances are part of that plan, the Jenn-Air Designer Dialog provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to tap into the knowledge of veteran design professionals and obtain  advice to ensure a successful project is achieved.”

In addition to being on hand to answer specific questions, moderators will share ideas and insights on a new design topic each month. To join the conversation, click the Designer Dialog tab on the Jenn-Air Facebook Brand Page.

 

Check Your Cart at Sears.com

Is Sears.com tacking on added purchases without your consent? Automatically adding on a service package is up-selling and Sears.com may have been doing just that.

Edgar Dworsky, a nationally-respected consumer advocate and founder of the website ConsumerWorld.org, says he went on the site on Black Friday weekend looking for a refrigerator. He found a model he liked, put it in his cart and noticed that a five-year service contract for $469 had been added without his consent.

Dworsky points out that the charge for the service plan is easily removed from the cart if the customer spots it. If not, they could overpay from $110 to $550.

“How many shoppers have in their mind, ‘Oh, I’d better check the cart just to make sure they haven’t slipped something in there that I didn’t order?’”

Dworsky shopped for various appliances on Sears.com and he says the same thing happened every time: an expensive five-year extended warranty turned up in the shopping cart.

After Mr. Dworsky contacted Larry Costello, Sears’ public relations director, who says the company has received “very little negative customer feedback” about its up-sell policy,the company says it will change the way its website operates. Sears will now make their extended warranties an optional add-on, just as other major appliance sellers do.

Kenmore Debuts Two New Kitchen Appliances

Kenmore has announced two new additions to its kitchen appliance offerings, the Kenmore Elite Double Oven Free Standing Range and the Kenmore Elite Trio 31-cubic foot Refrigerator with Grab-N-Go™ Door.

The Kenmore Elite Double Oven has two, 3.5-cubic foot ovens that perform equally and independently. Main dishes, such as full-sized turkeys or hams, can cook at the same time in separate ovens and at different temperatures for greater cooking convenience and versatility.

Each oven features true convection to provide maximum air movement and to deliver more even cooking throughout the oven. Additionally, Electric Turbo Boil technology rapidly brings pots to boil quicker than any other leading freestanding range brand (Compared against leading freestanding range competitors.)

The new double oven is available in white and black at $1,899 for model 97512/9 and $1,999 for model 97513.

The Kenmore Elite Trio Refrigerator with Grab-N-Go Door keeps users’ most-often-used items within reach. With the most storage space of any Kenmore refrigerator available (Based on capacity measured through AHAM Standards; storage space measured through Kenmore Brand Standards and among leading brands with capacities measured using AHAM standards.), this 31 cubic foot model has a separate compartment accessed with a simple push of a button. Removing the need to open both refrigerator doors and letting cold air escape, the Grab-N-Go Door is accessible via the exterior door and is best used for items such as snacks, drinks, leftovers.

The model’s integrated water dispenser virtually disappears into the door and is large enough to fill tall items like pitchers, coffee pots and water bottles. As an enhanced version of the recently released Kenmore Elite Trio Signature Refrigerator, this model is currently scheduled for national availability at Sears in January 2012.

Energy Star’s New Most Efficient Designation

It seems that every appliance in the stores these days has qualified for the Energy Star label. A look around the local appliance store is dotted with the ubiquitous bright yellow tags.

Energy Star, in an effort to improve the system – everything can’t be the BEST – has added a “Most Efficient” designation to their listings.

“This new designation will help Americans save money and cut pollution by quickly pointing them to the best Energy Star products have to offer. Highlighting Energy Star’s Most Efficient products is a great way to encourage the strides in innovation that bring even more energy and money saving choices to our stores,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We know American consumers are eager to make purchases that save them money on their utility bills and reduce the pollution in the air we breathe, and these labels will help them identify the best ways to find those purchases.”

Products that receive the Most Efficient designation demonstrate exceptional and cutting-edge efficiency performance. The Most Efficient recognition will represent approximately the top five percent of models on the market in the following categories: clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers. The following Energy Star partners’ products are among the first to be recognized as Most Efficient: Electrolux Major Appliances, Sears’ Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Best Buy’s Insignia Brand, Panasonic, Nordyne, and Rheem. Later this year, EPA will initiate a process to consider additional product categories for potential inclusion in 2012.

Consumers will be able to identify Most Efficient products on the Energy Star website and in stores by looking for the Most Efficient designation. In addition to meeting established performance requirements, products must also be Energy Star qualified and certified by an EPA-recognized certification body. Manufacturers are encouraged to submit products that meet the requirements to EPA for recognition.

More information on Energy Star’s Most Efficient products: http://www.energystar.gov/mostefficient

Recall: Select Chefmate Blenders Due to Laceration Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Chefmate® 6-Speed Blender

Units: About 304,000

Importer: Target Corporation, of Minneapolis

Manufacturer: Select Brands, of Lenaxa, Kan.

Hazard: While in operation, the plastic pitcher can separate from the blade assembly, leaving the blade assembly in the base and exposing the rotating blades. This poses a laceration hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Target and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have received 11 reports of the blade assembly separating from the pitcher, seven of which reported serious lacerations to consumers’ fingers and hands.

Description: This recall affects all Chefmate® 6-Speed Blenders, model BL-10. The model number is located on the bottom of the base. The blender consists of a six-inch tall, white electrical base with five, white speed-selector buttons labeled 1 through 5, one gray button labeled “Pulse/Off” and the word “Chefmate®” in black letters on the front; a clear plastic pitcher with a handle with U.S. and metric volume measurement markings; a white plastic lid with a removable clear plastic lid stopper; and a white plastic blade assembly with two angled, stainless steel blades.

Sold exclusively at: Target stores nationwide from September 2007 to February 2011 for about $14.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the blenders and return them to any Target store to receive a full refund.

Consumer Contact:
For additional information, contact Target Guest Relations at (800) 440-0680 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit their website at www.target.com

blender

The Battle Continues – LG vs Whirlpool

If you have been following the ongoing series of court debates between LG and Whirlpool, you’ll be aware of the back and forth battles regarding steam dryers and refrigerator patents.

The United States District Court in Chicago this week entered a final judgment in favor of Whirlpool in a case filed by LG Electronics involving Whirlpool’s steam dryer advertising. The court had previously ruled that “Whirlpool has established that its dryers do, in fact, use steam,” and that “LG did not introduce expert testimony or credible evidence of even a single Whirlpool customer, retailer, or trade representative who expressed confusion.”

“We’re very pleased with the Court’s decision,” said Marc Bitzer, president, Whirlpool North America Region. This victory means consumers will continue to have a choice in purchasing their steam laundry appliances.”

While this seems to settle the steam dryer case, the refrigerator patent battles continue. LG originally sued to have Whirlpool fridge patents invalidated; Whirlpool countersued. In March 2010, a jury trial found mostly in favor of Whirlpool and awarded Whirlpool $1,786,925. On July 1, 2011, the court granted a new trial and set a trial date of Sept. 28, 2011.

Whirlpool is seeking a judgment that better validates its patent claims; LG seeks to have the claims of patent violation invalidated and eliminate its liability. Stay tuned…

Haier Buying Sanyo Appliance Division

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. plans to sell much of its major appliance business to China’s Haier Group, in an uncommon instance of a Japanese electronics conglomerate allowing a rising Chinese rival take over a chunk of a major business segment.

The sale of the Sanyo operations—mostly washing-machine and refrigerator businesses—is part of Panasonic’s efforts to eliminate overlapping areas since its 2009 purchase of Sanyo. For Haier, the acquisition of Sanyo’s businesses will help it move a step closer to becoming a globally recognized quality appliance brand like Whirlpool or Electrolux.

Haier Group will have the rights to use the Sanyo brand name on washing machines, refrigerators, air-conditioners, TVs, and other consumer appliances in Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia under the SANYO brand for a limited, but unspecified, period of time.

The acquisition of the Sanyo businesses is “an important part of Haier’s overall growth strategy,” said Haier Vice President Du Jingguo in a statement released Thursday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Haier has said previously it was looking at overseas acquisitions to grow. President Yang Mianmian told Dow Jones Newswires in March it would look at opportunities that arise.

The Chinese firm previously held talks with General Electric Co. in 2008 to buy the U.S. firm’s appliance unit. Before the talks with GE, Haier made an unsuccessful bid for Maytag Corp. in 2004 but lost out to Whirlpool Corp.

Haier holds more than 6% of the world’s white-goods market.

Save Money on New Appliances and Help the World Too

We can all use a little help these days. If your budget cuts have you rethinking how to replace an aging appliance, GE offers a solution that lets you buy a new appliance while helping others. At the online GE outlet store, with any purchase of one of their discontinued, closeout or overstock appliances (which includes standard GE warranty and free delivery) they will donate 2% of the price to the United Way.

They have just about every appliance you could need – from refrigerators, and washers to trash compactors and range hoods. The supply and variety varies, with more choices in the larger kitchen appliances than others. The savings also vary. At last look, you could save $200 -$500 on a refrigerator, but just around $20 on a ventilation hood.

It would also be a good resource if you are trying to match older GE Appliances already in your kitchen.