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Appliance Repair Ripoffs?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Rich, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Nov 7, 2012 #1 of 51
    Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Is the practice of charging a small fortune for a "service call" prevalent throughout the the States or just in NJ? We're getting charged ~ $100 for each service call. Some repair shops do blend in the service call charge with the repair costs, but some don't. Is this even legal?

    I've started taking steps to make sure I don't have to call anymore appliance repair shops, but it seems to me that this is just an unfair charge.

    Rich
     
  2. Nov 7, 2012 #2 of 51
    jimmie57

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    I paid $70 a couple of years ago and that became part of the service call if I let them fix it, which I did.

    I have a relative in Georgia in that business and their service call is $85 and is also part of the charge if you let them fix it.
     
  3. Nov 7, 2012 #3 of 51
    tenpins

    tenpins AllStar

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    Last month I had a 8 year old ref/ freezer go out, called a service company and was quoted 2 options. 1) cost $275, covered parts/ labor up to $500 or 2) $75 to diagnose. We chose option 2 and now have all new stainless steel appliances, the price one pays when the SS clashes with white appliances.
     
  4. Nov 7, 2012 #4 of 51
    Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I wouldn't have minded it so much if I hadn't had so much trouble with service charges in the last couple years. I gave up and have begun purchasing new appliances with a company that has a 5 year warranty for ~ $99 for each appliance. As soon as they go off warranty, I'll buy a new one. The last few years, each repair of any of our appliances has either exceeded half the cost of a new one or near half.

    Rich
     
  5. Nov 7, 2012 #5 of 51
    Rich

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    Gotta wonder how they arrived at that first option. It's not like these guys are tradesmen.

    Rich
     
  6. Nov 7, 2012 #6 of 51
    hilmar2k

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    Jeez, how many appliance repairs do you need? Since I bought my current house in 2002, I've only needed one appliance serviced. It was my washing machine, and the parts were covered under warranty. I *think* the initial service visit, and the return visit once the parts came in came out to ~$275. Since it is a ~$1200 washing machine, that was a no-brainer.

    Other than that, I haven't needed any service (quickly finding some wood to knock on).
     
  7. Nov 7, 2012 #7 of 51
    sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    I was wondering this, too. In 35 years, we've only had 3 appliances break...a washing machine, refrigerator, and dish washer. We've had 2 of everything, though.
     
  8. Nov 7, 2012 #8 of 51
    Phil T

    Phil T Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Last year I had the main gas valve on the furnace go out. I figured I would get ripped off but needed it fixed right away. I was prepared to pay between $300 and $500 to install and supply a $50 part. After the service tech arrived for a $100 service call, I was quoted $1200!! I went ahead because I felt it was a safety issue and didn't want to have to evacuate the house. 24 hours later I had to call him back out because we still had a gas leak. :(

    Another time, several years ago, I had the main sewer line back up into the house. I called Roto Router to clear the line. They charged $300 and could not clear it. The clay pipe had collapsed. I had them mark the pipe and then called a pipeline company to dig out the driveway and replace it. The pipeline company discovered that Roto Router was off by 10 feet. It cost me another $300 to correctly locate the pipe and then have the front porch torn up. Total cost for the project was $12,000. :(
     
  9. Nov 7, 2012 #9 of 51
    Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    That's wonderful, that's the same thing you told me about the Lenovo laptops. Apparently you're luckier than I am. How's that laptop you sent in to the new PP doing?
     
  10. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    For the 4 calls that we had over the last two years.

    Sears was $150 for the service call, credited to to the cost of parts and installation if the problem was found... so a minimum of $150, service call ended up about $275

    The next 3 times, I used mom-pop shops.

    The first one was $150, not sure how much was for the 25 minute repair, and how much was for the part.

    The next one was $89... why? That was the minimum service charge for the call.
    Turns out a wire simply came loose inside, that was connected to a sensor.
    He was required to charge for the 20 minutes he was there, to open the dryer

    The last one just a few weeks ago...
    $100 for the service call to come out.
    The part was a $7.89 PVC union (Hot Tub).
    But I called them out, because it was in a spot that I am sure I would have done more damage trying to fix, then was already done.

    So yah... you are looking at least $100 now adays if you call anyone.
     
  11. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Mostly just the dishwasher and the dryer. But they were both 18 years old. What I was trying to say was the price of repairs make it kinda hard to justify when they equal about half the price of new units. I don't like the service charges. $100 just to drive to my house to fix a dishwasher that was leaking. All they did was say, yup that's where it's leaking. An hour after they left, I fixed it myself, but let's face it, 18 years is a long time to have a dishwasher.

    The guys that came to my home were so centered on getting that service charge that all I could think of was this is a scam. I got my new dryer and dishwasher today. Next thing to go is the stove. I just spent $300 getting a new igniter igniter for the stove. Probably the fifth or sixth igniter I've had to put in that thing. Would you like me to try to impress you with the prices I paid for all my appliances as someone else has... :lol:

    Rich
     
  12. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Screw that. I'll just buy new when something happens. My wife's good with that. If I can't fix the problem myself, which I usually can, but almost terminal laziness causes me to call for help rather than do it myself.

    Sears charges $150 for a service call? That's the highest price I've ever heard of. That's awful. The only thing I like about Sears is their carpet cleaning service and their duct cleaning. Aside from that I rarely even think of Sears as a viable option for anything.

    Rich
     
  13. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    I worked as a field tech for a bit although I was not in appliance repair. Each place is a little different. Are you saying the $100 is the minimum charge to get someone on-site, and then they're charging you an additional labor rate on top? In my experience, there's usually the service call charge (in your case $100) and then the customer pays for parts (if necessary.)

    Sometimes it works in the tech's/companie's benefit as the fix may only take 10 minutes. But there are scenarios where they might spend a day on a fix, or have to come back another day with parts. Those days are not very profitable. Typically the good/bad days balance out in this line of work and they usually pick a service call $ amount that's a fair compromise. Many places are mom/pop types, so they have to pay for gas, tolls, etc during travel.
     
  14. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    I am typically the same way... but for the 4 items that were repaired... they are not innexpsive items....

    For something that is innexpensive to replace, I will attempt to fix it myself.
    But those that are not cheaply replaced... I'll pay the min service call, just to find out what it takes to fix it... and each time... it was the right choice.
     
  15. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    I think the price (service charge) matters if it's warranteed or not. If it's not, then you gotta realize repair guys have to factor in stuff like travel time, gas, time to diagnose, possibly fix, etc. Now realize most customers won't have a clue what's wrong other than "it won't work." So, he's scheduled you for an 8-10 window to work. He doesn't know beforehand (usually) if it's going to be a $5 repair or $1500, so he's got to have a base "service charge" just to make it worth it.
     
  16. Rich

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    Some seem to roll the service call price into the price of repairs, some don't. I never called a repair service to do anything but get something fixed.

    I wouldn't mind if they just came to my house and fixed whatever's wrong and charged me a fair price. But the badgering about the payment for the service call is what set me off. That and the fact that I didn't get told about it until the guy was on my court.

    Rich
     
  17. Rich

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    It cost me ~ $10 to fix my dishwasher. They wanted ~ $300. Tell me that's not a ripoff.

    Rich
     
  18. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    I'm sure there's some unscrupulous folks just like any business, but in my experience $100 is a fair price for a service call. I'd be surprised to hear about anything much less than that in a larger city.


    The line of work I was in required a PO upfront (and before dispatch.) This ensured that we would get paid. I imagine in appliance repair they might have a higher occurrence of problems getting paid. Still no excuse to badger a customer or not be upfront on the payment expected though.
     
  19. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    That's a pretty big disparity, but there's many industries where similar scenarios exist. In the Navy we used the hell out of 2222A transisters. You can often buy a bag of 100 ct for a buck or two (and even cheaper when buying in bulk.) The miltary paid approx $1400 for that same bag, but were deemed milspec (military spec.) They were not any different...

    I've also spoken to the electrician down the street about some of his rates. Talk about a ripoff :lol:
     
  20. Rich

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    I got charged for a service call for my central AC unit last summer. First, the guy, who replaced a capacitor, wanted to charge me ~ $400 for that fifteen minute job and then I told him it was still under warranty and he still charged me for a service call. I took my warranty to my lawyer and he agreed with me, but gave me the usual advice.

    I've been doing business with that AC company for 26 years and when the warranty is over and something happens I'll be sure to call them and let them bid on a new unit and then tell them why I won't buy it from them.

    By the way, I used to fix appliances. Easy way to make a few bucks on the side. I never charged prices like these.

    Rich
     

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