Need an appliance? Beware long delivery waits

Back orders grow for refrigerators, washing machines
Posted at 2:07 PM, Sep 28, 2020

Need a washing machine or refrigerator? You might want to plan ahead if you can, because delivery dates are getting pushed further and further back this fall.

It's the latest shortage this pandemic year, which has seen everything from hand sanitizer to chicken in short supply at some point.

To many homeowners, this appliance shortage is the most frustrating of all, because if you need a refrigerator, you often need it immediately, not in 6 weeks.

"It started with freezers, and it's gradually getting into every appliance. Microwaves, ranges, anything," said Jeffrey Boggs, an appliance retailer.

Boggs and other retailers cite three reasons:

  • Springtime plant shutdowns, where some US plants were closed for 3 months.
  • Shipping delays from China, with crates of appliances stuck in ports around the world for several months.
  • Surging demand, as homeowners redo their homes this year instead of spending thousands of dollars on vacations.

In addition, this past spring's hoarding of groceries led to an instant surge of demand for home freezers that is just now starting to let up.

Check delivery date before you buy

That's why you need to check delivery dates carefully, despite the rows of shiny stainless appliances on the showroom floor.

The website Mouseprint.orgsays you will find plenty for sale at Lowe's, Home Depot, Best Buy, and independent stores.

But Mouseprint found a popular Whirlpool fridge will not be available at Lowe's until December 10.

A refrigerator that first said "3-day delivery" actually won't be available for almost 6 weeks.

And a refrigerator listed on Best Buy's website just says "coming soon," hardly inspiring confidence.

If your old one just quit, and you need it tomorrow, you'll say "doesn't that stink?"

To avoid getting locked in to a long wait, this is not the time to be fussy about brand or features if you need one ASAP.

If the size is correct, and it is in stock, you may have to order that model, at least right now.

Bottom line: If you can be flexible about the model, you should be able to get something in just a few days, so you don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").

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