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The Increasing Importance Of Appliance Service

Steve Sheinkopf  |  December 03, 2013  |  3 Min. Read

Appliance Service  |  Appliance Repair

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importance of appliance repair serviceI wrote an article comparing KitchenAid vs. Bosch Dishwashers last year. There are now 20 comments, half upset at Bosch and the other half KitchenAid. I like both products and will recommend either based on the needs of the customer. I am not insensitive to customer problems, but after completing about 25,000 service calls a year. We can say this:

Appliances now need some kind of repair within the first year 25% of the time regardless of the brand - Tweet this

Customer service is the largest part of Yale encompassing 21 service techs, customer service manager, courier, 2 parts handlers as well as 8 people answering the phones. The department costs the company about $500,000 per year to operate after salaries and overhead.

As the guy who used to talk to frustrated customers before we had service, the expense is well worth it. Our reputation is based on what the techs do daily. Lets face it: If you are buying a kitchen of appliances, you will need service on at least 1 in the first year. After the one year manufacturer warranty expires, that number just grows.

The Current State Of The Appliance Industry

When I started, the Maytag washer lasted 17-19 years with 1.8 service calls. Now the average appliance lasts 6-9 years according to the American Servicers Association. What happened?

First, appliances are now way more energy efficient, mostly by governmental regulation. That new Maytag washer will save between $150-$200 dollars per year versus the old workhorse and pay for itself. The flip side to the new technology is it's tougher to repair, with more temperamental circuits instead of switches and manual controls.

That old Maytag was also designed, manufactured and built in Newton, Iowa. A new washer could be designed in Europe, the US or Korea and manufactured in Mexico, the US, Canada or Korea with parts from who knows where, so there can be a service disconnect.

I also personally think some appliances are over engineered. Watch this video. We are just changing a light bulb in a wall oven.

The Lack Of Service In The Appliance Industry

Most appliance stores offer no service at all. In fact, out of the box stores, only Sears services appliances with their joint venture with Whirlpool, A&E service. Most manufacturers do not service either, including: Frigidaire, Electrolux, Bosch and Thermador (5 techs in New England, doesn't count given the volume), Miele has 1 or 2 techs, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Whirlpool and Amana are all serviced by A&E. It's a shame, because store and product reputations are based on what happens after the sale.

Some of the repair is really not hard, just simple adjustments like this Thermador orifice repair. But customers deserve to have their products work properly.

Some of the products are not easy to fix unfortunately, especially refrigerators and wall ovens. This is a 6 second video of a 2 hour repair.

As I said throughout the article, you will need service on your new appliances sooner or later. You should absolutely shop where you are comfortable. HOWEVER, you also need to inquire about the service experience before the purchase or risk a really bad experience with a product you really need like a refrigerator, stove and washer. Google any appliance for reviews. It isn't pretty.

There are a number of my competitors still offering service like Agrens in Maine, Barons in New Hampshire, Porrier in Norwood, Hunter in Littleton as well as George Washington Toma in Weymouth...all good guys. I actually like Sears. At least they try.

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A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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