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Why is Kitchen Appliance Service so Bad? (Reviews / Ratings / Prices)

July 2nd, 2018 | 3 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf


Perhaps you are buying or just recently bought new appliances. Congratulations, it is the best investment for the value for your house.

You’ll like the functionality and features of your new appliances versus your old. Your range will have greater output. Laundry has a much larger capacity, and your refrigerator will hold more with customization compartments.

Sub-Zero Design Contest - Live Kitchen

You will be very happy. Until appliances break...and they will. Statistically in a kitchen of appliances, you will need service on at least one product in the first year.

Then the madness will begin as appointments will be missed and the wrong parts will be sent -assuming the service people will even show.

You will wonder: Why is appliance service so bad?

You will learn why it is so bad and how you can prevent this problem from happening to you in the future.

In 2017, Yale logged 30,761 service calls with 35,000 projected in 2018. Eighty people work in the service department making it the largest part of the company by far.

So we have an idea of appliance issues.

Brief History of Appliance Service

When I started in 1986, the major brands had very large service departments. GE was based on University Ave in Westwood, so was Whirlpool. They had fleets of service vans.

There were huge independent service companies as well. Appliance Service Center was in West Roxbury, for example. They have been out of business for 20 years, but I still remember their phone number.

Unfortunately, most brands later saw service as a cost, not as a tool for better customer loyalty. Most brands now offer little or no service.

In 1993, we had to open our own service department due to the overwhelming demand.

90% of the places you will shop for appliances will not employ even one single tech. Combine that with a lack of factory support, and you have a recipe for your future unhappiness

yaleappliance161101_Service_8 (1)

You need service techs to fix service problems

But it gets worse.

Independent Service

Warranty service is now built on smaller service departments and self-servicing dealers. The factories will pay an absurdly low rate for warranty service.

That warranty company has to diagnose your problem, order the part and fix it in your home. If they have to revisit your home, they are paid nothing for the return visit….even if it was the factories issue.

As a result, many independent service agencies (when they exist) will not repair a difficult product because they will lose money.

The reason for poor warranty service is simple. Nobody wants to do it.

Now the bad part.

Appliance Problems

Back in 1986, many products worked for 10-20 years because they were simple. The washers were belt driven. When it broke, you replaced the belt in about 20 minutes by removing the front panel.

That energy hog of a refrigerator consumed a ton of power, but its simple, ancient design worked for years.

Now that washer has a direct drive motor requiring 4 hours to repair. Your refrigerator will use far less energy, but I bet it starts to leak soon (our number 2 repair).

Appliances still last longer than other durables. How long do we keep cars, for example?

However, you will statistically need repair within the first year. You should hope it’s simple because you will problems otherwise.

How to Avoid Bad Appliance Service

This part is easy.

You should first understand there is a difference in reliability between brands. We publish that in this post.

Now that you have an idea for reliable brands. You need to search further to find reliable retailers. BTW, nobody is perfect (Yale included).

Searching is not hard.

Google appliance service and check BBB, Yelp, and even Google themselves will have reviews. Angie’s List is also very good for appliances.

You have the most leverage before you buy as opposed to after you have it paid and then delivered. Ask a ton of questions on service and put everything in writing.


I know extended warranties are a separate issue. However, if purchased from the wrong companies, you will have the more aggravation extended over a longer period of time.

Warranties actually make sense because products break. However, you should buy warranties only from companies who can fix the actual service problems.

Most cannot so don’t bother.

Final Thoughts

Your future happiness is correlated with your present preparation. Do your research. Find reliable companies and products to minimize issues, and you will certainly have in the future.

Additional Resources

Download a Yale Buying Guide covering all topics of appliances and lighting. Over 350,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our appliance buying guide

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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.

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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.