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I was shopping around for an oven in June 2015. We visited Totts, Harvey Norman, commercial kitchen equipment suppliers, Best Denki. We read up online reviews of various ovens. Finally we decided to purchase the Hitachi MRO-AV200E.

It has microwave, steam, convection oven, super-heated steam and programmed combinations of the above functions. It can sense the amount of food and automatically adjust the baking time accordingly. It has one-touch automatic programmed functions as well as the normal manual oven controls. I have been enjoying using this oven until this happened.

After several weeks, the edges of the tray grooves began to shine. This means the outer coating was wearing off. As it was still under warranty, I contacted Hitachi customer service. They looked at the pictures and said this is still a working oven and they will not repair nor replace.

A unique feature of this oven is that the microwave function does not use a turn-table like most microwave ovens. It uses the special internal coating to reflect the microwaves. So having this coating come off so easily is not a good design nor a good manufacture process.

Notice the parts circled in red highlighting the edges of the groove for the trays to insert and rest. The special black coating has rubbed off from normal use after only a few weeks.

This is not a cheap oven. At about S$1,200 ( after discount) there are many ovens from reputable brands. However, Hitachi’s attempt to do away with the microwave turn-table  has  put it in an unsatisfactory state.

If you are thinking of getting an oven, my recommendation is to avoid Hitachi. Avoid having a sad and disappointing Mother’s Day.


Update June 2016

Following 3 unsuccessful attempts in getting Hitachi to repair or replace the oven, I resorted to the Small Claims Tribunal to resolve the issue.

The process is fairly simple: go online to fill up a form, pay S$10. Alternatively go in person to the State Courts located behind People’s Park Center. There will be 2 rounds of consultations for mediation and submission of a summary of events.  During the consultation, Hitachi offered to extend their warranty by 6 months which I rejected as the 3 earlier attempts during the warranty period yielded no positive action from them. If unresolved then a hearing before a referee / judge will be held. Lawyers are not allowed to represent the claimant nor respondent. 

 The exclusions of the warranty  are for accessories and external cover, it does not cover interior cavity, hence the judge said that my claim for the interior coating is under covered under the warranty. Hitachi said the trays should not slide in nor out along the shelving racks but should be lifted up and gently placed down. The judge found this to be impractical and unreasonable, and is not normal industry practice. In any case, Hitachi only communicated this instruction after I wrote to them with my problem, they did not tell this to me prior to my purchase and before the contract was made. The coating is not merely cosmetic but because this design has no turntable, the microwaves rely on the interior coating to be reflected within the oven. Based on the evidence, the judge said the product was of unmerchantable quality and there was material failure.

Subsequent to the judgement, I told the Hitachi representative that the free vacuum cleaner that came to induce purchase of the oven had been given away. Hitachi insisted that I source for it and return this free gift together with the damaged oven in order to get the refund. You may smile as you read this but they were serious about this and told me by twice by phone and again by email. I told them since the invoice stated this vacuum cleaner as $0 zero dollars, I will write a cheque for $0 in return. ( yes, face palm!)

On the last day of the refund deadline, Hitachi came with the full refund, took back the damaged oven and did not insist any further on the free vacuum cleaner.

In all these communication, whether by phone, email or in person, at no time did Hitachi express any apology for the inconvenience and for their poor design and workmanship. You can conclude from these various instances that Hitachi lacks customer service and has a profuse amount of arrogance.

Now I’m looking for another oven. But this time  I will get single function ovens – one for convection, one for pure microwave and another for pure grill and conventional oven. I already have a dedicated steamer. My experience with multi-functional ovens has not been good. When one thing is faulty, the whole oven is  affected. While baking and roasting, which usually takes 30 minutes to over 1 hour, during which a simple reheat for dinner by microwave cannot be  carried out. A simple microwave will do this job perfectly. In any case, replacing it when it breaks down will not cost much at all.

What has been your experience with multi-functional / single use ovens and which oven(s) do you have?

 

 

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