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Appliances How to avoid getting ripped off

Published on December 5th, 2013 | by Terry Spencer


How to avoid getting ripped off by a repair company

From time to time, we hear appliance, outdoor power equipment and heating and cooling equipment repair company rip-off stories from customers.

Many companies are honest and reliable. Unfortunately, there are a few bad ones in the mix, too. This is not a new problem. Fortunately, it’s never been a better time for homeowners to avoid getting taken advantage of by repair companies.

How to avoid getting ripped off:

  • Educate yourself, troubleshoot and determine if you can fix the problem on your own.

Understand the basic operation of your appliances and equipment by reviewing the owner’s manuals and the how-it-works videos available on our YouTube channel. Next find and record the appliance or equipment model number. If you need help finding that, visit Many of the most common appliance, outdoor power equipment and heating and cooling problems can be fixed easily by following how-to information. Repairs are often as simple as replacing a broken part. Enter your appliance or equipment model number at for free troubleshooting and repair how-to information.

  • Gather information.

First, review the warranty information in the owner’s manual. Some parts may be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Research.

Start by asking friends and family in your social networks for recommendations. Be sure to do additional research for a more thorough look at the company’s integrity. Compare ratings and reviews of the various companies with the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Yelp, Google Local and other online resources. To be even more thorough, contact your local chamber of commerce and homeowner’s association to inquire about the company’s reputation.

  • Don’t focus on the lowest quoted service price.

Remember that the lowest service call price may not always get you the best deal. Elevated labor and parts costs may be added to the costs later. That’s why it’s so important to research and find a reputable company.

  • Beware of package service promotions.

Heating and cooling repair companies and small engine repair shops frequently promote inexpensive packaging tune-up and maintenance packages. While we always recommend that you perform routine maintenance or hire professionals to do the work, be aware that there are unscrupulous companies that may use the maintenance visit as an opportunity to find more lucrative work on your equipment. A company with a stellar reputation in the community is more likely to give you the best value in the long run.


After you’ve hired a repair company:

  • Record the repair professional’s name
  • Retain all invoices. The invoice should describe work completed and list all replaced parts. Request to see and keep the replaced parts. Unless the parts are under manufacturer warranty or the manufacturer has a core return program offering a rebate for a return part, you own the parts.


Red flags

  • Lack of a physical address in company communications.
  • Inability to present proof of insurance.
  • If the repair professional asks you to pay separately (i.e. one check for service, one check for parts). If this occurs, contact the company immediately.


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About RepairClinic

Since 1999, three and a half million people have purchased replacements parts and accessories from RepairClinic and saved more than $260 million in repair costs by fixing appliances, lawn equipment, power tools, and heating & cooling equipment on their own. From the beginning, RepairClinic has provided free troubleshooting and how-to resources on its website.

The company’s 2,000+ free how-to repair and how-it-works videos on its YouTube channel have been viewed more than 41 million times.

RepairClinic’s free, advanced online repair help system empowers do-it-yourselfers to fix common problems associated with home appliances, lawn equipment, power tools and heating & cooling equipment. DIYers can enter a model number to choose from a list of common symptoms for that particular model, troubleshoot and watch award-winning, expertly-produced videos to learn the most likely causes and conditions and purchase the correct part. stocks more than one million parts and accessories for 160 brands of lawn mowers, small engines, snowblowers, string trimmers, furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, power tools and many other products.

Since 1999, the company has served more than three million customers including homeowners, first-time and beginner DIYers, advanced DIYers, appliance repair professionals, small engine repair shops and landscaping and lawn care business owners. RepairClinic orders are backed by a 365 Days. Period.® return policy that enables customers to return any part. Of the more than one million parts available on the website, 95 percent of parts ordered are in stock and guaranteed to ship the same business day. RepairClinic ships within the United States, U.S. territories and military bases and Canada.

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About the Author

Terry Spencer is an in-house appliance and HVAC expert for He has 29 years of expertise in appliances and HVAC equipment repair. Prior to joining RepairClinic in 2011, Terry was a respected, well-known technician at one of metro Detroit’s top residential appliance and HVAC repair businesses. Enthusiastic about fixing things and helping people, Terry enjoys his position with RepairClinic. He has a leading role in the development of RepairClinic’s how-to repair videos and repair help content. He’s also frequently called on for technical advice and press information for journalists and bloggers. He regularly completes extensive manufacturer training for appliances, HVAC equipment and outdoor power equipment. Terry has a refrigeration license and holds multiple certifications for an array of products. As a child, Terry was known to take appliances apart simply to see how they worked. While growing up on a farm, he taught himself how to repair small engines. Terry enjoys creating content that reaches and helps so many people solve problems on their own. In collaboration with colleagues, he develops and leads frequent Customer Care staff training programs for appliances, HVAC equipment and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not at RepairClinic, Terry spends time with his wife and children. An avid outdoorsman, Terry also enjoys Michigan’s seasons. He and his family reside in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area.

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