I know it's frustrating, but every company has lemons. No matter how reliable, how tried and true, they are out there!
I have had a Whirlpool Duet HT for about a year and my wife loves it! I paid $925.00 after tax.
I have an older LXR7144EQ1 top loader in the garage that dosen't do what the Duet does, but hey it's great for shop rags. Not to mention I'm not scared to take it apart.
JW, you know as well as I do that things that work great have to be made obsolete! After all, if it worked too good the repair and parts business wouldn't have the kind of sales and repair calls which they have. It doesn't make good sense but it makes economic sense. Plastic is cheaper, the Mexicans, and Chinese are willing to work cheaper, and pencil pushers are going to save a buck. Not to mention maintain job security with planned obsolescence.