Saturday, October 13, 2012

I sense a saga is beginning...

It started at the end of August. Our beloved family Xmas present all the way from Italy suddenly stopped heating water half way through making a cappuccino. No hot water meant no steam and you can't froth milk without steam...

Given it had been bought in Italy I first went down the line of trying to find someone to repair it - it wasn't like I could send it back to Italy all that cheap even if it was still under warranty. I found a wee place in Fife that could fix it if I drove it there and back and their minimum charge was £50. Then I found a place in Nottingham that would courier it for £23 and also had a minimum charge to open it up of £40. I then found a coffee repair shop in Govan - bingo! I emailed them and they told me that could fixed any type of cappuccino machine as long as it didn't grind beans... It grinds beans - bugger - back to square one. As I was sitting trying to work out what plan D was I suddenly got another email from the owner of the Govan repair shop. It simply asked if I was aware that Gaggia was a subsidiary of Philips in the UK. An hour later I had spoken to Philips Gaggia coffee repair shop and they'd offered to send a courier free of charge and repair it under warranty! Thank you so much Govan guy!

The machine was picked up and packaged by the courier and a week later it came back with a new thermostat and its innards descaled, all free of charge. We settled down to normality and everything was great for three weeks. Then one day I decided to grab a wee sneaky espresso. That is as basic as things come - one single espresso - not quite as challenging as Sunday morning's seven cappuccinos. I turned it on, hit the button, all the lights flashed, it banged and it died. I didn't even get my espresso.

I sent it back again. This time it took them two weeks to 'fix'. It came back today and we invited mum down to christen it. Marcel, its biggest fan, pulled it out of all the packaging. Not wanting to tax it too much before it was back into the swing of family life, I ordered a simple espresso. He put the cup under the nozzle, and having filled the water and beans compartments, pressed the espresso button. The beans moved, the grinder ground the beans, the water heated, I reached out in anticipation and the water suddenly spat out from the milk steamer as the dry, unused ground coffee powder was discarded into the bean collection tray. Sorry? This had to be a joke. We tried again. Same happened - three times! Some idiot had obviously connected the water pipe to the wrong outlet. I then had a cunning idea. What if I tried using the steamer, would that make a coffee? I heated the steamer and turned it on. It steamed too. So are all water tubes now connected to the steamer? I tried to turn the steamer off. It continued to steam. Eventually I found the only way to stop it steaming was to pull the plug out of the socket! Two new faults! I checked the repair sheet to see what they had claimed to have done to fix the original problem. It said 'Machine has been descaled'! 

So a machine that blows up and dies simply needs descaling (four weeks after they last descaled it) and  descaling it causes the internal pipework to jump around and become rewired? I have a feeling someone is bullshitting me somewhere because they can't work out how to fix it. I may have found someone who couriers and repairs for free but I unfortunately have not yet found someone capable of repairing it!

Emmanuel at Philips Gaggia will be hearing from me Monday...

tbc


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