I need opinions again: Should I buy a dishwasher over the Internet or not? Our old undercounter DW has died, but we need a SHORT new one to fit under the counter. We have 33 5/8″ height clearance … and all the new ones are 33 7/8″! Apparently the manufacturers are now making them either ADA compliant (short, usually 33 1/2″) or tall (33 7/8″ and up). The problem is that the ADA ones come in white, black, or stainless steel, but not Bisque, which is the color I need. (I could also live with Biscuit, almond, or any shade of off-white, but again, I can’t find any new short ones in any of those colors.)

So I found an old-school Amana dishwasher online, one that has not been manufactured for a couple of years or so. It is 33 1/2″, and NIB, never installed, perfect shape (they tell me). I just feel very hesitant to buy it, since if anything goes wrong, I will be dealing with the seller at a distance. If I wanted to return it for any reason, there would be a 15% restocking fee plus I would have to pay my own shipping, probably about $150. (Ouch!)

Alternatives to this are (A) fixing the old dishwasher, except that we have had it fixed once for $200, and that fix only lasted for a month, so I am afraid we would be throwing good money after bad, or (B) ripping out the perfectly fine porcelain tile under the DW to create a better clearance. I hate to go there. What a pain. But buying a large appliance over the Internet just makes me nervous. So, has anyone had experience with buying large appliances online? Or do you have any insight into this issue? Just trying to figure out what to do. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

I haven’t bought any appliances on-line though I have bought from dealers “out-of-date” stock with no problems, new, just older models. Have you verified the only colors you can get are black/white or SS? The fronts of DW are reversible and the last time I bought one it was still almond on the back side of the black. Also, I know sears will special order some appliances in the biscuit/almond color at no extra cost – they just don’t stock them.

When this one goes out I’m definitely getting the drawers – a perfect solution for just two people who rarely have a full load of dishes. Initially more expensive but will pay in the long-run.

Thanks for the ideas, Jan and Jerry. I ordered the dw this morning, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed now! I looked into the drawer versions but they are expensive (to me) and don’t hold as many dishes as I need. (We have twin toddlers and go through a lot f sippy cups!) And if you do a stack of two drawers it is higher than a regular one.

I did a lot of calling around about the ADA compliant dishwashers and it seems that no one makes one in bisque in my price range (under $700). It looks like they have just made the changeover recently – so now you choose between a short ADA and a regular that is a minimum of 33 7/8. My guess is that as time goes on, there will be more of a call for odd colors like Bisque in the ADA compliant and they will start making them. But that’s just a guess. Anyway, I hope this all goes well! If it does, we will be set for another few years. Maybe next time around I’ll be willing to rip the tile out, if we need to. But we just finished a major remodel on our house (the county finalled us yesterday! woo hoo!) and I just don’t have the energy for yet another project right now. I’ll try and report back on how this goes with the Internet company and the new dw.. Hopefully this story will have a happy ending. :)