Consumer Alert – Appliance Servicing

July 2024

When an appliance stops working, it can be difficult deciding if it is best to repair or replace it.  For major appliances, the first step is to have a reliable appliance repair specialist diagnose the problem and provide a repair estimate.  Depending on the cost, a decision is made to repair or replace.

A great deal of trust is placed on the integrity of the specialist who should be capable, truthful and offer good advice.  Trusting the first company appearing in a Google search is ill advised.

In today’s world, we rely on the internet to find virtually anything required including appliance servicing.  For consumers, this convenience comes with risks for those failing to do basic research.

After one Toronto woman’s clothes washing machine stopped working, she searched the internet for appliance repair services and saw the accompanying screen.  Unbeknown to her, the top of her search results displays companies that pay to ensure their listings appear at the top.  Without further research, it is impossible to distinguish between good and bad service companies.

The woman contacted one of these companies without undertaking research.  This was a mistake.

The company she contacted has a history of problems documented by hundreds of negative reviews and a poor service rating.  The Better Business Bureau has a current alert for this business that states “BBB files indicate that this business has a pattern of complaints concerning service and repair issues.  Specifically, consumers allege that the company is unable to properly diagnose and repair appliances effectively, there is a lack of follow-up and resolution to issues, and the cost of parts is grossly inflated.”  BBB further notes that “Consumers are advised by the company that a service call will cost $80 however, once the service technician arrives, that amount is increased to approximately $300 to diagnose the issue. The consumer is then told the appliance can be fixed and they are given a repair agreement which outlines the cost of labour.  When the document is signed, the work begins and upon further inspection new parts are required and the repair quickly escalates in price.  In many cases the repair suggested to the consumer is ineffective and the appliance is still not in working order.”  Additional warnings about the company can be found from CTV and CBC Marketplace.

The woman paid an initial $295 labour fee for diagnosing the problem which is excessive compared to the many similar services charging less than $100.  The total repair estimate came to nearly $1,400, considerably more than to purchase a new machine.  Yet the technician advised her to replace a nearly 20-year-old machine for which parts would have to be ordered and final repairs taking up to an additional 30 days.  Finally, the only acceptable forms of payment were cash and debit.

There are many reputable appliance service companies to call on.  Research prior to contacting a servicing company can save hundreds or thousands of dollars over working with one that is less reputable.