Knoxville college student learns to beware of buying used washing machines

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You can often save big by purchasing second hand refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, but a Knoxville college student regrets buying a used washer.

It was sold as-is and she trusted the seller who said there was nothing wrong with it.

When people move, they sometimes unload their old appliances, but one downside to buying a used appliance is you don’t know the full usage and repair history of the unit, so you end up putting a lot of trust in the person selling it to you.

When you’re young, you may not know the right questions to ask.

Dakota Healey paid $400 for a used washer and dryer last month.

“This has black mold all over, inside of it through it. This is the second time I have run bleach through it,” said Healey.

Despite her best efforts, the mold is stubborn and there is a lot of it. Also, the tube doesn’t drain thoroughly. There was water and moldy goo inside the door’s rubber seal.

The people who sold the washer to Healey recommended using washing machine cleaner tablets to remove and dissolve residue built up in the unit. Healey did even more than that.

“After running bleach through this and white vinegar it should have cleaned it, ” she said.

She also pointed out water that did not drain after the washing machine ran.

Healey found the two appliances on Facebook Market Place. The 22-year-old a college student also works full time.

At $400, the appliances sold by Bob and Betty Gerth, were within Healy’s tight budget. The first washer she bought leaked. Healey contacted the sellers.

“They said they had another washer to trade me and I could bring that cracked washer back,” she said.

She was told the replacement washer works good and there were no problems with it. Healey said she contacted Mrs. Gerth about the second washer. However, text message responses from the Gerths ended in mid-November. 

WATE 6 On Your Side went to Bob and Betty Gerth’s appliance repair shop in East Knox County.

Mr. Gerth said on all used machines, he takes out the water pump and cleans it, puts clothes in the washer and runs it through a quick cycle, making sure it works properly. when told about the issues with Healey’s replacement washer, he said she can return it, and said she knew there was no warranty.

“My thing is they have no 30 day guarantee, they have no receipt, they have no nothing,” said Bob Gerth. “[They have] my word of mouth. They, they accepted it. I do not force it on them.”

Inside his appliance shop, Bob Gerth said he buys washers and dryers from from Craigslist and Facebook, repairs and cleans them thoroughly. There were also a few washers outside and behind his shop.

WATE 6 On Your Side explained that the rubber seal on Healey’s washer was dirty, filled with mold and dirt. Gerth says he cleans that when he sees it, but doesn’t run his fingers through to check for it.

Saying she trusted the Gerths, it’s been a tough lesson for Healey.

“I just want my money back. That’s it,” she said.

She said after two faulty washers, she’ll shop elsewhere.

Bob Gerth says he’s done nothing wrong and when you purchase an appliance from him, he’s checked it out. However, he said you buy it “as-is.”

When it comes to buying a used appliance, it is vital to conduct research before making a purchase. Check for any recalls, along with independent lab tests to ensure it’s safe and reliable. Rather than purchasing from random individuals, you might want to purchase from people you know. If customer reviews are made available, check them out.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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