I received this machine as a Christmas gift and initially was very happy with it. After about a month of twice a day use, I began to notice minor problems. For example, occasionally the coffee would only sputter out of the machine a few drops at a time.
A few days ago, this machine went totally haywire. I started by brewing a double shot of espresso and then, as usual, clicked the steam button to start heating water for frothing. It blinked for a minute or two and then stopped, indicating it was at temperature. When I opened the steam release valve, the pump kicked on but nothing came out of the frother. I then turned the steam release valve off, however, the pump continued to run and proceeded to empty the entire contents of the water reservoir onto my countertop (through the drip tray no less. I didn't even notice until there was a large puddle forming under the machine).
At this point, the microprocessor controlled power switch simply stopped functioning, and I found I was unable to turn the machine off. So I simply unplugged it. I've since plugged it in twice, but the pump seems to be permanently locked in "on" mode.
I've contacted the manufacturer by e-mail from the contact link on their web site, but after two days I have yet to receive a response. I left a message on the phone line during off hours, but haven't received a call back.
At this point, I cannot think of a reason to recommend DeLonghi to anyone. Fortunately for me, I have no out of pocket expenses tied up in the machine, but it's been a frustrating experience nonetheless.
Follow up - 2/24/2005. A DeLonghi rep contacted me this morning and offered to replace my BAR42E with an EC-701 no questions asked. In addition, he said that DeLonghi would pay for any damage to my countertop (there wasn't any - it was only water). He didn't even ask that I ship the defective machine back, which I found a little surprising. All in all, I have to say it was one of the most positive customer service experiences I've ever had.
Unfortunately (or fortunately for me I suppose), I just ordered a Gaggia Syncrony so I guess I'll keep the EC-701 at the office.