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How Do You Get the Best Possible Appliance Service?

October 22nd, 2014 | 3 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about appliance delivery. At that time, I mentioned delivery was the second biggest problem in the appliance industry, especially in vertical brownstone Boston.

Now its time for the undisputed number one…..appliance service. You should read this post before you buy a major appliance.

I started the service department in 1996 because I was tired of begging independent service companies to help our customers. Then I was tired of asking them to treat our customers right without being rude or ripping them off.

Now it’s the largest single department at Yale with 23 techs, 10 phone agents, 3 parts handlers, a courier, router and 2 managers. Look at these guys.

Yale Appliance service team training

They didn’t know we deliberately sabotaged 4 new products. They have to find and fix the problem within 20 minutes. We teach and test these guys often, so they are prepared when they get to your house.

yale appliance repair team training

The Lifespan Of An Appliance

When I started back in 1986, the average Maytag washer lasted 16-18 years with fewer than 2 service calls. Now, due to globalization, cheaper manufacturing, materials and more stringent energy requirements, the average appliance lasts 6-10 years. In other words, not to malign my industry, but the products are not the same quality as when I started.

Some of the products are also really tough to fix. This is a video on changing a light bulb in a wall oven.

Who Fixes Appliances

Presently, most appliance manufacturers and retailers have little or no service. Brands like Samsung, LG, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Thermador, Bosch, Miele, Gaggenau, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, AGA and Viking have limited service or more commonly no service at all.

Retailers like Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowes as well as most independent retailers do not directly employ a single service technician. The much maligned Sears at least has their own department. If I was in your place as a consumer, I would research the service agencies, especially in the free one year warranty period before buying an appliance.

yale appliance service team training class

Why Appliance Service is Broken

You will have a very difficult time even finding service for your new appliances within the free warranty period. is why: The manufacturer sets an artificially low labor reimbursement of $80-100 to complete a service call.

Run this through your mind as a business model. For $100, you have to answer and prediagnose the call, order and pay for the part, send a truck (gas, insurance) and a technician (salary, more insurance) to install the part.

If you diagnose the problem wrong or have the wrong part, you repeat the same sequence without being paid. It is on you. We view service losses as a marketing cost, because we want to help people, especially when needed the most. Service is also the number one reason people buy here - even before the delivery, sales and install departments.

However, independent service companies without that purchase connection will usually not touch a warranty call. Why would they lose money on someone they do not know? So you need to be very careful.

Best Possible Service Scenario

If you are a Yale customer, we will email you before the warranty expires to remind that free service will be ending after the first year.

After that, you will need to pay for service. Now we have charged every conceivable way over the last 10 years. There is a Blue Book of average service rates for New England that charges by the job. We charge that rate.

It's more fair than charging by time, because there is an incentive for the tech to go slower. With job prices, the technician will be paid to finish the job. If he returns, we pay for his time, not you.

It is, however, more expensive on easier jobs and cheaper on the harder fixes. We also add a free 5 year warranty on all purchased parts, so you won’t be billed for the same repair.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ask about repair before you buy an appliance. It will save you a ton of headaches later
  2. Check every agency beforehand. Yelp and especially Google are great resources for reviews
  3. When you need repair, ask upfront how much you will be charged for the job. Usually you will not know what the problem is, so ask the technician at your home BEFORE he does the work.
  4. Ask questions about diagnosis

Nobody likes paying for repair especially when it is not budgeted, but you can protect yourself with the right information and by asking the right questions.

Why Should You Trust Us?

It seems that every appliance review has nothing but glowing comments about almost every product, yet you read customer reviews and they are almost universally bad.

We are here to fill in the disconnect. We'll give you the best features, and the drawbacks as well, including reliability based on over 37,000 calls performed by our service team just last year. Our goal is to give you ALL the information so you know what's right for you.

Please consider subscribing or adding to the conversation in the comments below. We appreciate you stopping by.

Steve Sheinkopf

Steve Sheinkopf is the third-generation CEO of Yale Appliance and a lifelong Bostonian. He has over 38 years of experience in the appliance industry, and he is a trusted source of information for consumers on how to buy and repair appliances.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

Steve is passionate about helping consumers find the best appliances for their needs, and he is always happy to answer questions and provide advice. He is a valuable resource for consumers who are looking for information on appliance buying, repair, and maintenance.

Despite being the worst goalie in history, Steve is a fan of the Bruins and college hockey, loves to read, and is a Peloton biker. The love of his life is his daughter, Sophie.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.