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How to Avoid the 4 Biggest Appliance Delivery Nightmares

June 3rd, 2021 | 4 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf

How to Avoid the Biggest Appliance Delivery Nightmares

For the first 15 years of my career, I dealt mostly with service issues and staff issues.

This one always stuck with me because it was the last time this type of problem ever happened.

About 20 years ago, one of our lead delivery guys visited me in my office. He seemed troubled, so I listened.

His helper stole a PlayStation out of a customer's garage.

I called a friend of mine who is a private detective and told him the situation.

We brought in the delivery man the next morning. I told him he had a choice: go to jail or go home and get the PlayStation.

When he played dumb, I told him this was his last opportunity, and the private detective would go with him to his house.

He relented. I received the PlayStation and delivered it to the customer that same morning.

I won't forget that day because I called our HR attorney to push for CORI certification.

CORI gives us access to the criminal database before hiring anyone delivering or performing service in your home.

What surprised me was that the same delivery guy was delivering for another company one week later.

Appliance delivery ranks as probably one of the worst experiences you will ever have to contend with.

In this video, you will learn to avoid all the four major problems you have probably read or heard about.

As a bonus, you can download our delivery checklist to compare all the retailers, box stores, and internet storefronts based on all the variables associated with delivery.

In it, you will find a comprehensive list of every possible delivery consideration.

You will learn about early water leak detection, how to ensure your delivery person isn't a convicted felon, and how to protect your soft wooden floors before and after delivery, even with an 800-pound Sub-Zero refrigerator.

This article may not be as flashy as comparing professional ranges, but it could be more important.

First, let's start with an easy solution to many of the worst delivery problems.

How to Avoid the 4 Biggest Appliance Delivery Nightmares

1. Never Sign for Anything Without Inspection


Never sign for anything without inspecting the items thoroughly first.

If you do, most companies will not allow you to place a damage claim after the fact - not just damage either but wrong products delivered that you install.

You are on the hook for any issues once you install.

Whatever you do, take your time inspecting your appliances on delivery. Don't be rushed or hassled into signing.

Please don't leave it in your garage boxed either.

Always unpack and inspect any delivery from appliances to furniture to accessories.

2. Document Damage to Your Home or Appliances


How to handle appliance damage could be its own article. First, let's look at why it's such a big problem.

The number one complaint is damage.

It happens 3-9% of the time or more, depending on the store.

Many of your appliances are made in Korea, Europe, and Mexico.

There will be some shipping problems in moving appliances multiple times over the oceans and transporting them across the country using multiple warehouses.

But appliances have also become heavier, especially stoves and refrigerators, while floors have become softer.

Damage can also refer to your house or the actual appliance.

We video every delivery of the products plus the delivery path to your home.

However, we are not perfect. So, we insure ourselves for every kind of scenario to ensure you will be taken care of if damage occurs.

You could ask for your store's insurance policy, especially if you live in a tower. Water damage could flood multiple homes below you.

In Case Damage Happens to Your Appliances or Your Home Upon Arrival:

Often the store will give you a discount for keeping a damaged appliance, but you want to make sure it will not affect the appliance's operation.

It would be best if you took pictures, document everything, and have the delivery guys sign their delivery form verifying the damage.

Call the store while they are there.

You need as much documentation as possible, especially with property damage. Most companies will lowball estimates, so you will have the added burden of providing a real contractors estimate.

If you do not verify that damage, you will have to go through your homeowner's insurance.

A bad enough problem will certainly increase or even cancel your homeowners' policy.

Most companies want you to own their problems because your insurance will increase, not theirs.

The damage is the biggest problem.

3. Prevent Hidden Delivery Fees


Another common issue is unforeseen yet increasingly common extra fees charged at the time of delivery.

Free delivery is great, but most of the time, it's a drop-off at your curb, and that's ok if that's a smaller package or appliance like a dishwasher.

However, you need to ask the right questions at the time of the sale, not when the delivery team is at your door.

Here are the most common hidden delivery fees

  • Stairs: anything over a flight seems to be a $20 charge
  • Removal: How much does each removal cost. The going rate is $20-40. Not just the appliance, but the removal of packaging can be a separate charge as well
  • Basic connection: for electric ranges, dryers, and washers. How much is the charge?

What you want is to know the delivery price into your home with stairs, including connection and removal of old appliances plus packaging.

4. Prepare for Delayed Delivery Times


You would expect delivery times for appliances to be better. After all, we now get edgy when we wait more than 6 minutes for an Uber.

Many companies can narrow it down to two hours because the routing technology exists, yet many more will still give you a full day and half-day lead times.

We have an app allowing you to trace the truck to your house within 30 minutes.

Delivery of appliances into people's homes is not an exact science, especially in Boston and other cities during rush hour traffic.

However, you shouldn't wait half a day or even more than a few hours.

You will wait if you buy from an internet site with no local warehousing.

It leaves New York (most internet retailers are in New York) then makes the journey to your home from faraway terminals.

You would never know because those outsourced delivery teams have other customers and deliveries.

Have questions? Click here to check out our Learning Center.

Key Takeaways

Scared? Don't be.

Just ask the right questions beforehand, especially how much a delivery will cost with stairs including installation, and removal.

Take your time inspecting any delivered appliances or anything. Document any problems at the time of the delivery

Wasting a whole day, delivery damages, and installation issues are often more costly than a good delivery with a fee.

To learn more about what to expect for your appliance delivery, click here for our delivery checklist.

Our delivery checklist covers water leak prevention, how to protect your floors during delivery, and answers to the many delivery problems, including an easy-to-use checklist comparing appliance stores.

Additional Resources

Get the free Yale Appliance Buying Guide. It has features, specs, and inside tips to all the brands like Sub-Zero, Thermador, Bosch, and Miele. It covers built-ins, counter depth, freestanding vs. slide-in, and much more (plus a ton of good product shots). Well over 800,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our appliance buying guide

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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.