We started living in our new home in India the first week of our move despite the fact it was just a shell barely livable by modern standards. Our immediate needs were for appliances and we spent the second day purchasing just that. Pricing for appliances are all over the map: a basic top-loading washing machine can be had for around Rs 10K (~$225) while high-end front-loading models are available at Rs 50K (~$1125) or so. Refrigerators start around Rs 10K (~$225) and go well into the Rs 1L (~$2250) for side-by-side premium versions. In general, we felt selection was wider in Indian stores compared to its counterparts in the US such as Sears, Home Depot, etc. Pricing stretched differently though – the good news is that no-brand low-end items can generally be obtained at a 30% discount compared to low-end pricing in the US. The bad news though was that the high-end commanded a premium upwards of 50% compared to US pricing – our best guess is that some kind of additional taxes (levied indirectly) is at work here. Below is a list of appliances we purchased during our first week:
As detailed in the spreadsheet, we chose branded items in the medium-high range with good Energy Star rating for the most part. For bigger appliances, purchase includes delivery, installation, and demo. The delivery crew can sometimes be different from the installation and demo crew which can imply a delay – that should not deter one from starting to use it, provided you know the ropes. The experience so far with our new appliances have been positive – we had to call warranty service only for the refrigerator when we detected a manufacturing defect in the magnetic lining on the door a few weeks after delivery – they replaced the door eventually, it took about six weeks and several calls.
2011 Update: In August 2011, the Prestige Induction Cooker stopped working and the bummer was that it was fresh out of warranty. Reviews on that product online are at best average. In our experience, it is a great time saver, although energy consumption is high compared to cooking gas – it is 100% efficient compared to 70% of regular gas cooktop. The service center pleasantly surprised us by repairing it free of cost. In December 2011, the emergency lamp stopped holding charge. The battery was replaced under warranty using a nearby service center - the process was relatively smooth although it took a couple of weeks.
2012 Update: The inverter broke and had to be replaced. Click for details. The main PCB board in the Samsung TV and the Sundirect HD receiver both broke apparently due to power fluctuations in the space of two months in September and November. They were replaced by the respective service reps at ~$2.5K each. Service levels were pretty good - the replacement happened within a few days. With the Sun Direct HD receiver, I had the option of repairing it but the rep could not provide an ETA as he was not sure whether the part is available. So, we went with a new receiver - that also meant we had to forgo the balance in the old receiver - something to keep in mind - never keep a high balance on set-top box accounts as they are tied to the receiver.
2013 Update: In February 2013, the washing machine developed an issue: burned rubber smell with smoke and the display showing Error Code 5D (some noise when working as well). The Samsung rep came by and diagnosed it: Needs to replace drum - the problem happens if incorrect detergent or water with more saline content is used. They replaced it although it took 3 weeks for a total of Rs 4.3K.
2014 Update: In January 2014, the washing machine broke again: the main PCB was toast, apparently due to voltage fluctuations. The rep came by and replaced it within a few days for a total of Rs 4.2K. The rep had a very interesting comment: apparently, the parts for this machine is very expensive. It is a higher end product (front-load, fully auto, with premium features) and as such the volume is low and that is the reason for the parts to be so expensive. Also, some parts can become unavailable after a while. His suggestion was to go with a semi-automatic top-load machine when buying washing machines: they are far less expensive and as they are the most popular product category, the parts are always available and are relatively less expensive - something to keep in mind.
2015 Update: The Exide inverter battery capacity went down drastically and had to be replaced. Click for details.
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- R2I Housing - Shopping to Reacquire Appliances etc in India
- R2I Housing - Handing over to key transfer - a never-ending story
- R2I Housing - New Home Purchase Experience in Kochi