Well, well. After doing all the research, we learned yesterday that there's a class-action lawsuit against Maytag for problems with the Neptune washers -- evidently they develop mold in the door gasket, the motors break, and other things go wrong. So we went to Home Depot where we bought those devices and asked. Nobody there knew anything about the class action suit. So I called the regional Maytag sales director. I'll see where that winds up.
I was pretty irritated at Home Depot and the fact that they sold us a washer that could have such problems. I even asked explicitly about known issues with the washer because some of the Web searches I did (e.g. on epinions.com) indicated that the Neptunes could be very hit-or-miss, and he said they got no returns. Maybe they don't. Then again, if mold starts showing up in a month or so, I'll be returning mine.
Updated April 9, 2006: I've received hundreds of thousands of views of this blog entry and, while the comments are closed, I get a regular stream of emails seeking advice or help. I'm afraid that I've had to stop answering each email. I'm rather appalled at what I'm hearing about Maytag's service and its reported lack of response to calls and unwillingness to repair the units for anything less than several hundred dollars as well as the reticence of large chain stores that sell lots of these units to talk about the lawsuit. I will say that so far I haven't seen any mold growing in our washer, but I do keep the washer door open except when we're runing laundry. I posted subsequently here and here.
I'll also point people to the Maytag Front Loading Settlement site (US -- Canada is here) as well as a search for other sites that talk about the suit. Based on all the emails I've gotten, I can't say I would ever buy another Maytag anything -- the company seems deeply in denial about what appears to be a widespread problem with its products.