I bought mine in January 1999 - I love it. I have never had to call a repairman, but my husband has had to take it apart twice. Once to get a paper clip out of the pump and another time to get my bra underwire out of the pump. (I was not responsible for the paper clip, and I do not handwash anything). You have to use frontloader soap (marked HE for high efficiency) because the regular stuff suds too much for the lower water levels to rinse out properly. It cleans just fine without an agitator - because the drum is sideways, not perpendicular, the clothes get agitated just as much as they do in a standard washer when the drum spins around. It spins around in both directions. Consumer Reports rates them quite highly as well. Be sure and get a good brand, though - some are more repair-prone than others. My friend bought one, too, and she loves it. They are much gentler on clothes than a standard toploading model.