How to Find a Good Appliance Repair Service
Last updated in November 2015
Major appliances never fail at the right time because there is never a right time. Whenever a dishwasher dies or a refrigerator runs down or an oven goes cold, you need to fix it—fast. Our ratings of area repair services for quality and price will help you find a solution.
If you decide to buy a new appliance, our ratings of appliance stores will help you find reliable stores that charge low prices. We also have advice if you’re on the fence over the repair-or-replace issue.
Ratings from Customers
We asked area consumers (primarily Checkbook and Consumer Reports subscribers) to rate appliance repair services they had recently used on several questions related to service quality: “doing work properly on the first try,” “starting and completing work promptly,” “letting you know cost early,” and “overall quality.” Our Ratings Tables show what percent of each company’s surveyed customers rated it “superior” (as opposed to “adequate” or “inferior”) on each question. The tables also report the percent of surveyed customers who rated each company “adequate” or “superior” (as opposed to “inferior”) for “overall quality.” Click here for further description of our customer survey and other research methods.
These survey results provide good reason to choose a service carefully. Some companies listed on our Ratings Tables were rated “superior” overall by more than 90 percent of their surveyed customers, but some received “superior” ratings from fewer than 50 percent.
Our Ratings Tables also show counts of complaints we gathered from the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington Office of the Attorney General for a recent two-year period. Click here for more information on reported complaint counts.
Warranty Repairs and Specialization
You might expect that a manufacturer’s authorization to perform, and be reimbursed for, warranty repairs would be an indicator of good service quality. But authorization to perform warranty work actually reveals little about a company’s overall competence: Shops that perform warranty repairs are much less likely to perform appliance repairs properly than shops that don’t.
This is because some manufacturers never check on the quality of their authorized shops, and few conduct more than occasional cursory reviews. In addition, shops not authorized to perform warranty work for any manufacturer generally do not sell appliances; because their livelihood depends on service rather than sales, they have an especially strong incentive to perform quality repairs.
There’s also a meaningful distinction between specialists and generalists. Repair services that work on only a handful of appliance brands can stock their trucks with a relatively large selection of parts. Furthermore, their technicians are likely to possess extensive experience servicing specific machines.
But, as with companies authorized to perform warranty repairs, the expected advantages of specialization aren’t reflected in our customer survey ratings.