How does this appliance repair firm stay in business?

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.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

6 thoughts on “How does this appliance repair firm stay in business?”

  1. I have read (too late) the comments from others about their experiences with this company. They sound like I am writing it, as I have had the same experiences.

    Is it possible to get all these people together and approach a lawyer for a class action suit to make it worthwhile to go after this company?

  2. Same thing happened to me. We were quoted $80 for a diagnostic that would go towards a repair if needed.

    Within ten minutes of the technician entering the house, that diagnostic price had tripled.

  3. I called them for my fridge, which stopped cooling. Sure, they’ll do it.

    I paid $280 for the labour, which lasted 30 minutes, and $200 for the parts. Two days later, the fridge stopped working again.

    Called them. Sure, just fill in the online warranty form and we will contact you.

    They never contacted me.

    I called them back. I was left on hold and after a while, they dropped me off. And did it several times.

    Finally, I got someone who promised I was to be contacted. Never happened.

    Eventually, I gave up.

  4. Exact thing happened to me. I paid $316 to find out, within 10 minutes, that my 11-year-old washer would cost $1,534 plus tax to repair.

    I thought my machine was still being diagnosed. This is what I was lead to believe.

    Every other company lets you know parts and labour for a $60-$80 charge. Not these guys. They don’t diagnose until you sign their unfair contract.

    I have been arguing with them for 3 days solid. All they offered me was $50 if I promised not to go to the media or pursue the matter any further. I did not accept that offer.

  5. I am reading these reviews too late. This afternoon at 3.35 pm, a technician from Appliance Repair Guys came to look at my dishwasher.

    The office clerk only told me of an $80 service fee when i agreed to have the technician come. In less than 10 minutes, he found no problem with my equipment, but said that no power was flowing.

    I erroneously signed the contract, which i understood to mean I would pay $280 if I agreed to the repair. I had been led to believe so.

    So I was in shock when the technician asked me to pay a bill that was over $300. I disputed the charge, saying I was prepared to pay $80 + HST, but the technician declined.

    It was a bad experience because we argued over it. I called the office, but I was reminded that I had signed the contract.

    My dishwasher is over 7 years old and has not worked for over 2 years. I called the office and left a message because I would like to resolve the issue without feeling robbed and violated of my hard earned dollars through miscommunication.

    I feel like I was dazed even to sign a paper that did not break down or distinguish repair from labour.

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