March 2 2014 by Ellen Roseman
Has your fridge stopped working? Has your dishwasher broken down?
Appliance Repair Guys. Service4Appliances. If you see these names, think twice about making an appointment.
Both names are used by a Toronto-area company with a reputation for unreliable repairs, high prices and unfriendly, even rude, customer service.
Check my Star column for links to the Better Business Bureau’s consumer alerts, plus Homestar’s low ratings by customers.
When I contacted owner Dan Vidoser, he refused to let me quote him because he didn’t like a previous article in the Hamilton Spectator.
Here’s a story from Marsha, who paid Appliance Repair Guys to fix her dryer, which was making a squeaky noise. The technician “fixed” it and charged $320. Two days later, the machine was making a different noise.
The technician came back, did something else and charged $80 for the service call (after saying there would be no charge because she’d filled out a warranty form).
The machine sounded even worse afterward. But all she got was a runaround.
“At the end of multiple calls, the company refused to do anything,” Marsha says. “I’m out $400 and I can’t get my money back.”
She initially paid with a debit card after being told no credit cards were allowed. She was allowed to use a credit card for the second visit, since she was out of town.
However, CIBC Visa would not give her a refund for the $80 service call, telling her she had to pursue her dispute directly with the company.
After posting a review at Yelp, where you can also find other customer laments, she tells me she’s shocked to see what happened.
“This company has ZERO accountability. How can they get away with this, other than saying that we seem to be stupid consumers?”
Here’s what I’d say. When you can’t wash or dry your laundry, keep your food cold or cook it at high heat, you’re anxious to get your appliances working again.
You find an attractive website for a repair firm that promises same-day service and has a few testimonials from anonymous customers. You’re too rushed to do any research and assume you’ll be treated fairly if your appliance can’t be fixed.
Next time, ask your friends for referrals. Check with the manufacturer to find authorized repair firms. Go to the BBB, Homestars and Yelp to find consumer complaints.
When you let technicians into your home, you’re at their mercy. They can take your machines apart and quote outrageous prices to put them back together again.
Don’t let up your guard, since the consequences can be costly.