How to tell if I've bought a bad microwave
June 25, 2006 1:40 PM   Subscribe

How can one tell the production history of a microwave oven? I bought a GE JES1656SJ at Best Buy today. Got it for a good price. Went home, Googled the model number. Very few hits. Nothing at epinions or consumerreview. Not sold at amazon. On the GE website itself, I found its page (with some effort). On this page it said "Sold Only at Lowe's" (the chain hardware/appliance stores). The fact that I bought this elsewhere notwithstanding, is there anyway to find out if this is an old/defective/dangerous/unpopular model? Is it unusual to produce specific models for certain outlets? The oven is still in the box pending the results of my investigation. Thanks.
posted by the sobsister to Shopping (7 answers total)
i've had a GE JES738WH for 2 years ... it's a cheapie model, but it still works

truth is, i don't think cheap microwave ovens are worth your time worrying about ... they work for 3 or 4 years, puke, and then you get another cheap one
posted by pyramid termite at 1:50 PM on June 25, 2006

Can't speak to your particular product, but its very, very normal to have certain model numbers restricted to certain retail outlets, especially very large chains like Lowe's or Home Depot. This is done for many reasons (including so that chains can co-brand certain items or advertise them as "exclusively at Lowe's", as well as to make it difficult to return an item purchased at one chain at another chain (purchase item at Lowe's, return at Home Depot for example).

You'll see this with all kinds of products -- not just electronics and appliances, but also toys, sporting goods, even sometimes shoes and clothing items.

If I were you I'd be researching the brand make and model name not the model number.
posted by anastasiav at 2:32 PM on June 25, 2006

Yes it is very common to have chain specific white goods. As anastasiav said it allows for the chain to advertise exclusivity and also to not have to actually price match other stores for these products because Lowes doesn't carry the same product as The Bay who carries something different than Home Depot who has still something different from The Brick.
posted by Mitheral at 2:36 PM on June 25, 2006

Thanks to all who've responded so far.

anastasiav: there's no make/model name per se. just the generic "microwave oven with sensor cooking controls". but thanks for the info.
posted by the sobsister at 3:02 PM on June 25, 2006

I'd look for other GE microwaves of the same basic size & power output and price range. Chances are they'll all be minor variants of the same design.
posted by Good Brain at 4:18 PM on June 25, 2006

If you're worried about leakage, A leak detector will tell you if your particular microwave leaks.

GE microwaves are pretty well represented with serious problems in this database, but I don't see your particular model. Yet.
posted by Orb2069 at 6:28 PM on June 25, 2006

Another reason some chains have specific models not sold elsewhere is for the price guarantees that they offer. If you go to Lowe's and see a microwave for sale at $59 and you go to Home Depot and try to get them to mark theirs down from $69 to $59, they won't, because they're different model numbers...
posted by ajpresto at 6:45 PM on June 25, 2006

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