What can be more frustrating than a vital home appliance conking out? When this happens, home life can quickly become miserable. Whether it’s the dishwasher suddenly stopping midway or your gas range leaking, our lives seem intertwined with these machines.
But while you want your appliance fixed immediately, getting them to an appliance repair shop is almost impossible, and trying to DIY fix it is just unsafe. In an attempt to repair a broken appliance in no time, you might fall victim to an appliance repair scam. The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers about fraudulent service scams. Every year, the FTC collects around 1.4 million fraud reports, which include appliance repair scams.
Although a great majority of certified appliance repair providers are professional, reliable, and honest, the sector is also riddled with a few unscrupulous parties. Vetting an appliance repair company or technician is vital to avoid fraud. Here are five sound tips on avoiding scams.
Never pay upfront fees
Steer clear from appliance repair providers that require an initial down payment for their services or the spare parts needed. Many reputable companies offer free inspection and request payment only after successful job completion. If a prospective repair technician or company asks for any type of upfront payment, make sure their quotation clearly states what the fee is for.
If spare parts must be purchased, request for specifics about the part and ask for the order number. Reliable companies are very transparent and will be willing to give you specifics of the work to be done and parts needed. Some companies offer the option for clients to personally secure the parts to give them a free hand. Many fraudsters will back out once you start being inquisitive or don’t pay the upfront fee. This should quickly spot potential scammers.
Check their credentials
Scammers are known to lie about their qualifications and even experience. They might claim that they are manufacturer-accredited or do not require a permit to work on your units. Some unscrupulous technicians might even present an expired license. Working with unauthorized providers might further harm your appliance as you are unsure about the qualifications of the technician. Thus, due diligence is crucial. Verify the technician or company license details.
Scrupulous companies and appliance repair technicians will proudly display their credentials, industry affiliations, and licenses. These documents provide reassurance that they are reputable. Some might think that asking such questions might be obtrusive or offensive, but genuine professionals would be willing to give you the necessary details. Better yet, you can check with your manufacturer if the prospective service provider is authorized.
Ask for a contract
A contract protects you from scammers and ensures quality service. Aside from specifying the details of the work, the document must contain complete details about the company, their address and contact information, and license details. Some providers incorporate contracts with their job order, which is also good.
This document proves useful in case any issues come up. Companies or technicians that refuse to provide or sign a contract (or any documentation) raises the red flag. Even if they are legitimate, be wary of these providers to ensure you’re fully protected. Specialists at Hartmans’s Jacksonville appliance repair remind consumers to always read their contracts, including the fine prints to avoid any dispute.
Check their insurance
Reputable appliance repair companies are not only licensed, but they are also insured and bonded. A telltale sign of scammers is that they do not have any insurance coverage. In the first place, they might not be legally registered as a business entity or are not licensed; hence, they cannot apply for insurance.
The lack of insurance puts you liable in case problems or injuries arise once they work at your home.
Practice due diligence
Before hiring any appliance repair provider, make sure you do research. Check the background of the contractor. If your home life is disrupted, it can be very tempting to cut corners. Always remember that rushing things can lead you to scammers. Read their websites and social media accounts to know what clients say about them. Ideally, talk with previous customers to see how their work holds up. It also pays to check your local Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints or issues against a prospective contractor. Be wary of contractors that do not have a physical address, business cards, uniforms, permanent lettering on trucks, and other brand promotions. This might suggest that they are not a registered business or legal entity.
Some homeowners might think that this is waste of time, but this is a necessary step to avoid falling victim to scammers. It’s best to be extra careful than risking your precious appliances to unscrupulous parties.
When having your home appliances repaired, it pays to be extra cautious of any possible scams. People who have been through these scenarios will tell you about the unnecessary hassles, expensive costs, and even trauma that they have been through. Make sure to follow these tips to save you from unscrupulous appliance repair fraudsters.