Protect Yourself from Phony Appliance Repairmen

There are many appliance repair companies who do all the right things. They hire and train certified technicians, they keep appointments, they focus on customer satisfaction, and most importantly they do a competent job of appliance repair.

And then there are scammers – phony “repairmen” who use trickery to rob you of your hard-earned money.  The Better Business Bureau and others warn of a small criminal element (let’s call them what they are) whose intent is not to fix your broken appliance but to take your money and run.

One such scam involves setting up a phony repair business online.  The phone number comes up in a browser search and when you call, they ask for your name and address and assure you that you will receive next day service for a small fee, which they require upfront.  The “fee” is charged to your credit card or debited from your bank account, and when the appointment time arrives, nobody shows up. When you call the number to follow up, they say they have no record of your call (or else they simply don’t answer your call).

In another scam, a fake repairman unexpectedly shows up at your house claiming to be from the appliance’s manufacturer.  One homeowner who experienced that asked the fake repairman to leave; the “repairman” then demanded a $39 trip fee.

Another type of scam occurs when the “repairman” points out damage that he himself has caused while you weren’t looking (sometimes, they’ll make up some “reason” you should leave the area where they’re “working”).

Another is the bogus repairman who asks you to pay upfront because your appliance needs a “specialty part” that they have to order or for some other fictitious reason.

Yet another is when a scammer “hijacks” the phone number of a legitimate repair company.  The consumer calls what they think is the phone number for the legitimate company only to find themselves hooked up with con men who have stolen the legitimate company’s phone number.

What Can Consumers do to Protect Themselves?

  1. Don’t rely on the phone numbers listed on a browser search page.  Go to the repair company’s actual website.
  2. Avoid paying in cash or with a debit card.  Try to use a credit card so that you have a greater chance of recouping any money lost to fraud.
  3. If a “repairman” shows up at your door unexpectedly claiming that the manufacturer sent them, don’t believe it.  Appliance manufacturers do not initiate “surprise visits” from repairmen.
  4. Do not pay sums up front.  Reputable repair companies may charge a small amount to come to your house to examine the appliance, but most often they will roll that charge into the final bill.
  5. Do not pay for parts that you have not received or service that has not been performed.

Your best protection, though, is to carefully research an appliance repair firm.

  • Visit their web site.  If they don’t have one, that doesn’t automatically mean that they’re scammers, but it could be a red flag.  
  • Look carefully at the web site.  Is there contact information you can use offline such as a legitimate phone number or is contact only possible electronically?  Email addresses and website domain names are very easy to get (and to fake) and may not be trustworthy.  
  • Does the company list a street address and a land line, rather than a PO box and cell phone number? If there’s any question about the legitimacy of the address, you can check with your local Chamber of Commerce to make sure the company actually exists at that location.
  • Check the reviews on the site.  
  • How long has the company been in business under that name?  Scammers will frequently change the name of their “company”.  
  • Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau and, if so, what is their BBB rating?  
  • If possible, ask friends or family who they use and what their experience has been.

Your major appliances are a big investment.  Protect that investment by hiring the best repair company in your area.

Call C&W Appliance Service for the experienced, factory-certified technicians and outstanding service that our customers have enjoyed since 1957.  Call us at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496. We’ll be there for you!

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