What are the important factors when choosing the best repairer for your oven or stove?
The following list should be a good start:
- Do you need an electrician or gas fitter?
- Does the technician have the proper certification?
- Does the organisation have the proper Licenses i.e. electrical contractors license?
- What are their charges?
- What Brands do they service?
- How do their warranties compare?
- Do they have the rights parts on board?
- Are they members of a peak body association?
- Do they have published policies and procedures?
Well, seems simple enough, or at least if you read enough blogs etc. you will find many variations on the above list stating their method/list/tips are the panacea for your dilemma; how to choose the right repairer!
The reality is vastly different. Most people needing their oven or stove repaired don’t have time to make a list and methodically check it off before making a booking. Worse still, in little Adelaide you are limited to a handful of truly professional repairers who repair ovens and stoves for a living, where their skills, resources, stock, parts etc match your requirements.
So what can you do that is quick and easy while still improving your chances of getting a good repairer? If you don’t have time to read the complete article, you can jump to the summary at the end of the article, meanwhile the advice I can give in one sentence is two things: Remember a) most major appliance repairers will tell you what you want to hear, and b) you only get what you pay for… If you’re lucky!
However, If you’re interested in the scenic version, great, we will revisit some of the bullet points above and hopefully fine tune on your bull-dust radar.
Q. Does the technician have the right certification?
A. Yes Remember most will tell you what you want to hear. But the real answer lies in a lengthy discussion. For example; is your appliance electric or gas. Then we need to decide if the problem is electrical or gas. Most gas ovens or stoves have electrical systems within them, which, if the oven or stove is hardwired, requires a registered electrician to carry out the repair. If the oven or stove has an electrical fault and the unit is not hard wired, then the chances are the average refrigeration mechanic can undertake the repair legitimately. But and isn’t there always a but, how do you know if the unit is hardwired? And how do you know if the unit has an electrical or gas fault. Most customers won’t know! The reason these clever lists are often not all that helpful is that you have no way of knowing if the repairer has told a white lie or not. In truth, they don’t either. They need to see the job before making that judgement. And here is the reason they told you what you want to hear; because most will collect a minimum payment at the first visit regardless of whether they can complete the repair or not. The more professional repairer will tell you who you need to call, but for them, the payoff has already been achieved; that being payment for the first visit.
Q. What are your charges?
A. Various. Many will state a call out fee, plus a rate. Most call out fees include some maximum time limit i.e. 1/4 or 1/2 an hour. Some will qualify a fixed charge. Many will exclude the GST. But you, being a switched on individual, googled for a repairer that doesn’t charge a call out fee. Well, before you pat yourself on the back too hard, make sure you ask “what the minimum charge will be”. Many repairers are responding to the pressures of what we refer to as the “Deal Shoppers” who ring around town and compare prices and select the cheapest price. Those who book a call with the cheapest deal rarely end up getting the best repair. And if they do get a cheap job, there are generally good reasons underpinning that ability, i.e. cutting corners, fitting cheap or second hand parts, not paying insurances, not paying correct wages, not using qualified tradespeople, not being careful to refit covers and alike with all their screws and safety harnesses and the list goes on. Remember, you only get what you pay for.
Q. What brands do they service?
A. Your brand! – Because it’s what you want to hear! Most will tell you they can service your brand, and for the most part that’s true. On the other end of the scale are the brand specific repairers who are generally proud of the brands they service as it reflects their status in the industry. They hold it out like a badge of honour and will tell toot sweet if they don’t service your brand. Specialists will carry more parts for a given brand, so their chances of completing a job during the first visit is higher than someone who repairs everything and anything. The compromise for brand specific repairer is the list of appliances that brand covers i.e. ovens, stoves, washing machines, dishwashers, range-hoods, microwaves, dryers and others. Which means the space for oven or stove parts compete with pumps, and motors and seals and timers of the other appliances. Look for the repairer who specialises in your brand oven or stove.
Q. What is your warranty?
A. 12 months! Or at least that is the most likely answer, because it’s what you want to hear. But this is a complex piece of consumer legislation. There are two facets of warranty, labour and materials. The normal warranty for Labour is 3 months. Both of which the court will throw out the window if it is a matter before them. But these periods serve as a reasonable guide. The catch is in the judgement. If a repairer has to return to a job to repair a recall, how do you judge if the work that was done is the cause or if the cause is a different fault altogether. There is a better than good chance the latter is the case. Those companies that offer longer warranties know that the chances they will have to cover the cost of repairs under the terms of warranty are very low. In fact, it has the added benefit of acting like a loyalty program. If the warranty extends to say 5 years or 10 years or even a lifetime warranty remember you are unlikely to be able to judge if the warranty fault is what was previously repaired. So, for the period of the extended warranty you will call the warranting company first in the misguided belief the work will be done for free, which is true for very few, if any of those return visits. Remember, if it seems too good to be true… it probably is.
Q. Do they have the right parts on board?
A. Yes – Because it’s what you want to hear! Service vehicles have limited space, as such high turnover/high profit parts represent the largest volume held. Repairers often qualify the part(s) are normally held in stock. But that does not mean it is in the van that is designated for your job. No repair company doing major appliance service work is able to maintain an accurate up to date van stock. Which means more likely than not, staff taking the booking have no idea what’s in the van. Stock held in the van is only one problem, the second is the quality of the part. Elements, thermostats, hinges, door seals, etc. are not made by the brand manufacturer. Elements for instance are made by dozens of manufacturers, but they generally only make elements. Brand manufacturers purchase their elements from the more reputable suppliers, subject to a contract. However those same elements are also made by copy manufacturers. Some are good quality, some are dubious. But the difference is the price. Cheaper elements can be bought for up to 50% cheaper than the higher quality elements. stove repair los angeles
Q. Is the repairer a member of an Association.
A. Yes – you guessed it, because that is what you want to hear. Electricians are often members of NECA the National Electrical Contractors Association. The question is, how does that help you qualify the repairer is a bonafide, quality operator? Simple, it doesn’t! This group are really about electrical contractors who wire building – big and small. AIA Appliance Industry Australia is probably the main relevant association. Sadly in South Australia that will limit you to one repairer, Electrolux. My experience is that the Major Appliance Repair industry is just too small to support the real work necessary to validate a repairer as a bona fide quality operator. Just because the repairer is a member of an association doesn’t mean they will be held to a higher standard of repai