Greg Coats purchases a high-tech Marathon laundry machine that comes with some big promises. The company claims that this all-in-one washer and dryer is “smarter than your dog” and will save space and time. But can it live up to those lofty claims?
I ordered a Marathon laundry machine in 2016. I received it over a year later in June 2017.
At that time, Marathon informed me that the Marathon laundry machine operating instructions manual was not yet available. The Marathon appliance does not have any buttons, nor dials to control its operation. And I had no manual to read.
Less than two days after the appliance was connected, I reported to Marathon that clothes that previously dried in 20 minutes weren’t even dry after 8 hours. The company never fixed the problem. So I continued to report to Marathon support that their appliance didn’t work.
Marathon sent out a local technician (Mr. Appliance) to take a look at my machine. Mr. Appliance arrived and told me that he had not previously seen a Marathon laundry machine. He did not know what to do, and so he left.
In fact, this Marathon laundry machine has never worked for me.
Below is a summary, extracted from 132 emails. I can provide copies of all the emails. Marathon Laundry support has never talked to me via telephone and provides no telephone contact info on its website.
The CEO of Marathon Laundry Machines, Glenn Reid, said he would give me a refund and take the machine away. But that was two months ago. Is there anything you can do to get my money back? — Greg Coats, Reston, Va.
What an interesting concept.
A Marathon laundry machine can wash and dry clothes and is smarter than my dogs? That’s quite a claim! My dogs are pretty smart, but it is true that they can’t do laundry. However, this particular Marathon laundry machine didn’t seem to be able to do laundry either.
For the sake of brevity, I didn’t include your 132 emails to Marathon Laundry here. But it’s safe to say that you have had a frustrating experience with this appliance for which you originally had high hopes.
The Marathon laundry machine
The Marathon laundry machine is a single machine that, in theory, has the capability of washing and then drying your clothes. It’s a great idea, especially for consumers with limited space in their homes.
That is if it works — and if the owner has a manual that explains how to use it.
But you didn’t have an instruction manual, and the technician couldn’t figure out this Marathon laundry machine either. So you were stuck with a big problem.
Although we are unaccustomed to this type of machine here in the United States, it is an appliance that I’ve seen in Europe. And I say “seen” because I can’t say I used one. I tried. I really did.
While renting a home in Greece, I had the same frustrating experience that you had with your Marathon laundry machine. The rental agency was kind enough to provide a manual — in Greek. Sadly, I can’t read Greek, and this device is not intuitive. I soon gave up and went to the local laundromat instead. So I can definitely sympathize with your plight.
Your lengthy paper trail showed your growing disillusion with this device. And finally, after almost a year, just like me, you gave up. You asked Marathon Laundry to give you a refund.
Asking for a Marathon Laundry refund
You received an email from Glenn Reid, the CEO of Marathon. Initially, he was sympathetic and agreed to your refund and to remove the appliance. But some months later, the inoperable 200-pound machine was still taking up space in your home. And Marathon had not processed your refund.
Finding no one at Marathon that could explain this lapse, you contacted our advocacy team.
I asked Reid for assistance. He responded by emailing you this:
We will refund your money, and we will be happy to not have you as a customer anymore. We will not be incurring any additional expense to remove the machine from your home.
While you were happy to receive this reiteration of your promised refund, you were disappointed with the sentiment. So I asked Reid for an explanation.
What’s wrong with this Marathon laundry machine?
Reid told me that it is true that there are problems with your particular unit. But he’s confident the problem could be corrected. And he said that you successfully used the machine many times over ten months. 182 times to be exact. So, he says, it isn’t true that the machine never worked.
How does he know just how many times you successfully used this machine? This appliance is computerized and sends data back to the company during every use. (Uh, hello, big brother!) I’m not sure this type of electronic monitoring is something that consumers want, but that’s a question for another day.
Reid went on to say, that:
I just reviewed the data again. My analysis is that there were indeed problems with the spin cycle. This may have been a motor issue (never properly diagnosed, seems to have occurred rarely). If the spin cycle does not succeed, drying times (with any laundry machines) become very long. You can’t dry soaking wet clothes quickly in any dryer.
We worked with him on several occasions to resolve his issues. We ended up fully refunding his money, so I’m not sure why he’s complaining.
I know you guys are consumer advocates, but sometimes the customer is a good bit of the problem. I do appreciate that you contacted us.
In the end, Marathon processed your refund on the day I spoke to Reid. You are no longer looking for a newfangled laundry gadget that no repairman can figure out. You’ll be using your refund to buy a standard washer and dryer.