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[Webinar] Kitchen Appliances to Avoid in 2024

Why Your New Appliance Will Not Be Repaired (2023 Update)

July 18th, 2023 | 8 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf

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Why Your New Appliance Will Not Be Repaired
 

"It's not working," she said.

I am the “de facto repairman” for my next-door neighbor, so I walk next door, and it's her induction range that’s not working.

As you probably would, I flipped the breaker to reset the range.

But the problem is recurring.

The burner will turn on and then immediately shut off with a click.

I tried every burner to at least give her one, but the same thing happened.

I have an immediate feeling of dread.

Induction ranges are in short supply everywhere for every brand, so parts are probably worse.

I wonder how long she will have to wait for what I think is a control board.

Your Future

Today is like any other day. Then you wake up, and your refrigerator is warm. Then the mad scramble happens.

You attempt to find a service agent - thinking it's as fast as ordering groceries online and having the Amazon van pull up in an hour.

You will track the repair agent through an app like Uber, and the problem will be rectified before work.

But as you call multiple service agencies and are placed on hold for hours, you have a sinking feeling your refrigerator will not be fixed anytime soon.

I originally wrote this article in 2016. At that time, I never thought appliance service (or any support) could worsen.

The article was updated in 2020 during the pandemic with supply chain issues.

Not to mean, service technicians did not want to go into people's homes and possibly bring home a then unknown pathogen to their homes and families. 

Below are comments from our blog.  None of these viewers purchased with Yale.

Comment One: Samsung Refrigerator Repair

"Steve, You start out stating that Samsung is the most reliable refrigerator This is blatantly false. It is in fact one of the WORST if not THE WORST. You don't pay attention to your own messages. And it is not just the ice maker. Yes, my ice maker quit exactly 3 days after the one year warranty expired. I refused to get it fixed: the estimate was about $400.00. Any ice maker that Samsung makes is worthless & will fail again in short order. Now after 5 years the water dispenser went bad, estimate to fix is about $350. I will be getting that fixed. My sister has a French door Samsung and the entire back of the refrigerator frosted up."

Comment Two: LG French Door Refrigerator Repair

"I currently have a french door LG and it is a nightmare. Did my research, but bought it before anyone knew about the drain issue LG has and won't take care of. We literally get a sheet of ice in the bottom of our freezer about an inch and a half thick. We have to chisel it out. We tried taking the back of the frig off and cleaning the house etc. but that did not work. End result, we shut the water off. So we paid big bucks for a frig with a water/ice dispenser that we can't use because of poor design/engineering. What I want to know do other French door frigs with water/ice dispensers have the same problem from other manufacturers?"

Comment Three: Whirlpool Refrigerator Repair

"Hi Steve, I often revisit your site, to see what the most reliable brands are in various appliances. We’re a Whirlpool and WP brands family. Our microwave was recently replaced and we felt forced to stick with GE based on the fact we wanted it to fit properly into our cabinet, especially buying online. However, we purchased a Whirlpool French door refrigerator four and a half years ago. Unfortunately, the ice maker stopped producing ice and after a few service calls, it’s been decided we have a slow coolant leak in the line somewhere. The estimated repair cost of $700-$800 was not worth fixing and our refrigerator is still cooling and freezing quite well, just not enough to produce ice."

In this article, you will learn why appliance service is so bad, why it will worsen, and how to protect yourself. 

Let's get started.

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Service Repair In the Age of Post-COVID-19

The most stressful job in this company is service management. I held that job when we started in 1994.

It's tough talking to less-than-happy people all day.

Back then, it was five of us. Now we have over 90 people in parts, management, fleet, and inventory specialists supporting 30-35 service technicians. 

yale-service-tech-team-hanover

In 2020, we had the "list."

This list is for unavailable parts. Let's say your refrigerator wasn't working. We could get the parts to fix it or the new unit to replace it.

We loaned whatever we could at that time so at least you could keep your food cold.

But since then, the supply chain has mostly stabilized.

Appliance shipments were at record highs during the pandemic. You had to stay home, so appliances and other home goods had a big increase in demand.

However, all those new appliances need repair in record amounts. More repairs are a problem in an industry known for bad service. 

The Sad State of Appliance Repair

Yale-Appliance-Service-Tech

Most appliance stores do not offer any service. Of all the big box stores, only Sears still has in-home service.

In the words of a dealer I met from Boulder, Colorado, "It's way too expensive."

He has a point.

Manufacturers pay about $95 to fix an appliance under warranty. You have to order and pay for the part and send a qualified technician in a van to your house.

Note: Samsung and LG are always bashed as being the worst for parts by every service tech. Their parts are no worse than other brands. They just pay the lowest warranty rates on average.

Servicers must also pay for workers' compensation, auto insurance, and liability insurance against damage.

Not to mention, $95 is all manufacturers typically pay, whether you repair it the first time or the sixth, even if it is a manufacturing defect.

Thus, most retailers have exited the service business.

Manufacturers have decreased service as well, if they even have it.

For example, there are about five Bosch technicians and two Miele technicians in New England.

We have 30-35 very busy technicians just in Metro Boston.

Service is a huge part of any appliance store, whether they embrace it with technicians or have operators finding service agents for you. 

Yale-Today-Delivery-Service-and-Installation

The appliances are also becoming way more complicated. This is a video I shot of a tech replacing a light bulb ten years ago:

The Decline of Appliance Service Technicians

I went to Needham High School. Back then, they had an auto shop and other tech classes.

However, in the past 40 years, technical schools of all kinds have been minimized or shuttered completely.

Massachusetts has no school for appliance repair, so it's a dying profession, yet one in desperate need like all the trades.

Think about it: You call a plumber and thank them for trying to fit you in. Now try it with an electrician.

Yet, people are not entering this field. Then again, would you with the compensation levels being so low?

The average age of a service technician in 2003 was 53 years old.

I wonder what the current average age of a service technician is and how many technicians are employed in comparison to 2003.

Appliance Extended Warranties

Extended warranties are incredibly smart right now.

Like many people, I never believed in extended warranties for most of my career because appliances usually lasted past the extended warranty period.

But it's a decent hedge with appliances like refrigerators, washers, and induction ranges breaking down more often.

With the lack of parts, what can extended warranty companies do except this:

Yale Google Review:

Great service. I had an extended warranty on an electrolux washer. The part that needed replacing was no longer available. So they gave me a new machine with a brand new warranty.

I silently wonder how much this costs servicing dealers like us.

What choice do we have? If it can't be fixed, you have to replace it.

Outsourced Extended Warranties

However, extended warranties are not the same. Most are outsourced to call centers.

They don't employ a single technician and rely on small independent businesses to fix appliances.

These independent businesses will decide whether they can make money on your repair at their low contract rate.

A complicated repair like a refrigerator compressor or washer tub repair will probably never even be attempted in most cases.

A servicer will not spend six hours fixing a machine to be paid $75-100. It is not economically feasible.

So, conduct thorough research and exercise due diligence before purchasing an extended warranty.

It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the agent or company providing the warranty coverage.

It's always a good idea to consider stores that have their own service departments when purchasing appliances, but don't forget to check reviews as well.

Oddly, it is also the title of the next paragraph. 

Read More: Are Appliance Extended Warranties Worth It?

How to Avoid This Problem: Check Reviews

online-reviews-yale-appliance

First, service has to be part of the buying process.

You should be informed before you buy any appliance.

You are probably trusting, but I would check the vast resources at your disposal.

Google reviews are fair because they don't filter anything. Stores with a 4.6 rating or higher are generally good, but type in appliance service and read those reviews.

Yelp is the most unfair source because they have an opaque filtering system. With Yelp, check the filtered reviews, but they always place the bad reviews initially. You want to average that out with the good reviews at the end.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives everyone an A+ if they pay the bureau, but check the complaints section for problems.

Some companies with 350 negative cases on the BBB still have an A+ rating.

The best way to avoid this situation is to be prepared before you buy your appliances.

Remember, no company is perfect, so read the review responses to see how that complaint was solved.

If you buy six appliances for your new kitchen, you will most likely need service for at least one unit within a year. 

What to Do With an Unrepaired Appliance

It depends on how old the appliance is.

Without mitigating issues (delivery damage), you should have a replacement within a year after a prohibitive amount of service calls.

For example, a "no cold" refrigerator should be replaced after one service call.

After a year, it is tricky because the warranty has expired.

You need to remember who you bought it from and leverage that relationship.

Most people will call the manufacturer, who most likely will not help.

You need to reach out to the retailer to do what is reasonable.

Search for the owner or manager online. It's pretty easy to determine the right person.

Social media will usually get everyone's attention, but have a legitimate complaint because it's a two-edged sword. 

Read More: Most Reliable and Least Serviced Appliances Brands

A Word About Self-Servicing Appliance Dealers

You would think a self-servicing dealer would be a good thing because of control.

Unfortunately, many self-servicing dealers don't have the resources to provide decent service.

In the Massachusetts market, you have several good service dealers like Poirier, George Washington Toma TV and Appliance, Hunter Appliance, and Doyon's.

All provide decent service in the Boston market.

Most self-servicing dealers will only fix appliances bought from their store due to overwhelming demand. 

Why Do I Invest In Service?

(This section is for appliance dealers. Yes, I know you're reading).

I invest in service for two reasons:

  1. Most of our significant builders have told me they only use us because of our service. They want their clients satisfied and not calling them.
  2. The second reason is there is no better marketing form for Yale or your business (if run correctly).

Our ad budget is almost zero or less than .01% of sales.

Instead, we fund service with the dollars we save, not marketing.

You must look at service as marketing, not as a profit generator, because service will never generate profit, just a competitive advantage.

However, good service is far more compelling than any ad. It's just a lot harder from a resource standpoint.

I, like you, also really hate being yelled at. 

I am waiting for my neighbor to turn from best friend to impossible critic due to forces beyond our control. (Just kidding, she will need her filters replaced again soon).

It's much easier to fix the problem than to explain why you cannot.

If you have any questions, we're here to help. Schedule a showroom visit, call, or live chat with one of our senior staff members by clicking here

Read More: 6 Odd Yet Effective Tips to Choose an Appliance Store

Why Your New Appliance Will Not Be Repaired: Key Takeaways

The key to not being stuck with an unrepaired appliance is preparation.

You have to shop for service as part of the overall purchase because you have all the leverage before the sale and almost none of it afterward.

Before the sale, you want to know who the service and extended warranty people are.

Anything "promised" must be placed in writing on the slip.

Call me skeptical, but having it in writing is way better after the fact.

Preparation is easier than dealing with a rapidly thawing refrigerator a year later without assistance.

Additional Resources

Have questions on appliances? Read the Yale Appliance Buying Guide with the 10 most frequently asked questions, the best time to buy appliances as well as detailed profiles of all the brands. Well over 800,000 people have read a Yale 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.