It’s an investment, but you figure you’ll make good use of it, and you have reason to believe it will hold up for years to come.
But then it stops working. Or a part breaks.
I review kitchen equipment for a living, and I’d say I’m almost as good at breaking things as I am at testing them. Stand mixers, burr grinders, blenders–you name it, I’ve broken it. You might even say it was an area of expertise.
So take it from me. Don’t panic. Here’s what to do.
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1. Make Sure It’s Actually Broken
Some home appliances will stop working temporarily when they start to overheat. Step away from the machine and give it a little time to cool down—at least an hour, but maybe a day. Then try turning on the machine again. If it revives, congratulations! It is not broken. Carry on.
2. Contact Customer Service
Alas, sometimes appliances really are broken. This is when you should call customer service and find out what they can do for you. Often it’s quite a bit!
The ATK Reviews team has dealt with a ton of dud products over the years, and we’re frequently pleased by how responsive and helpful many companies can be. We’ve had good experiences with Breville, KitchenAid, and Baratza, among others.
Depending on the type of damage, whether or not the product is still under warranty, and the company’s service policies, the manufacturer may be willing to either repair or replace the product. It is always, always worth asking. Sometimes there might be a fee to repair the product, but often that fee will be a lot smaller than what you’d pay to replace it.
If nothing can be done, companies will sometimes give you a discount code or voucher toward a new purchase.
3. Try Fixing It Yourself, or Getting a Repair Locally
Unfortunately, not all companies are generous or helpful. So if customer service fails, try fixing the item yourself. If you or a friend are handy, you can often fix minor issues or replace parts yourself, and relatively cheaply.
Many companies, including Breville, KitchenAid, and Cuisinart, sell replacements for parts that might break, though it’s possible to fix some things with generic parts as well. My boyfriend once fixed our blender by subbing in a 25-cent skateboard bearing for one that had gotten worn down in the machine!
But if you’re not particularly handy (or simply can’t be bothered), look for local shops in your area that do small appliance repairs. It might still be less expensive to repair than to replace your item.
4. Give it Away
If you can’t fix it, or find someone to do the job for you, it’s time to finally accept that fate has dealt you a bad hand. But don’t chuck more stuff into the landfill if you can avoid it. Instead, try putting the item up for free on Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, or any local community bulletin. Somebody might have better luck than you with fixing it.
You’re still going to have to buy a replacement for the product. The prospect of shelling out a large sum of money–again–probably fills you with dread. But there are lots of ways to save money on expensive products.
Wait for sales if you can. If you don’t need to replace the item immediately and it’s available on Amazon, you can track its price on sites such as camelcamelcamel, which will notify you when it gets down to your desired price range. Often, you can also save a lot of money by buying refurbished models, too.
And sometimes you can get perfectly good appliances or cookware at low prices through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Lots of people buy stand mixers or fancy blenders only to realize they don’t bake or make smoothies quite as much as they thought they would.
Be aware that you’re assuming some risk here—unlike buying a product in a store, there’s no return policy when you buy off someone on Craigslist. Do as much as you can to make sure the item works properly before you hand over the cash. Examine it carefully, turn it on, and run it through its paces.
You have options! Oh, and sorry for your (hopefully temporary) loss.