New Kenmore appliances can talk to tech support -- on the phone

If you've ever had to take a day off of work to wait for an appliance repairman to show up -- 25 minutes late -- just to learn the problem could have been solved by pushing a few buttons while on the phone with tech support, you'll appreciate Kenmore Connect. With the new feature on select Kenmore washers and dryers, a customer can call tech support when an appliance is behaving badly, then put the appliance on the phone so it can tell the support team exactly what's wrong.

Kenmore Connect is free to use for the life of the product and works with standard home phones. When the washer or dryer acts up, you simply call a service number, push a button on the offending appliance, and hold the phone up to the power button. The machine will then start making sounds reminiscent of the days of dial up Internet access. When it's done, tech support should have a clearer picture the problem than most customers could provide on their own.

Minor problems may be fixed by the customer, with step-by-step guidance over the phone. Service visits will be scheduled for more complicated repairs. Kenmore Connect is built into 14 new washers and dryers that start at around $750. They include include the following models.
  • Washers: 40272, 40311/8, 40441/8, 40512/8, 41022/8/9, 42192/8/9 and 29272/8
  • Dryers: 9/80872, 9/80311/8, 9/80441/8, 9/80512/8, 9/81022/8/9, 9/82192/8/9 and 7/69272/8
Kenmore Connect is already built into models that have been sold this year, so if your model is listed above it may already have this feature. The company is notifying existing owners of the service via mail.

We'd love it if our Time Warner Cable box could tell the technician that there was a problem with the company's lines, saving us a day of vacation to wait at home. What other appliances would you like this technology built into?
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