Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

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Ndop
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Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Ndop » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:20 am

My Whirlpool washer started making an unpleasant grinding noise during agitation. It's not under warranty anymore. Should I use a Whirlpool authorized technician? Or a generic appliance repair guy that's highly recommended on yelp or nextdoor? There are only two Whirlpool authorized repair businesses in my area. I researched their reviews, and it seems they have many different technicians, and they service all sorts of manufacturers. I'm guessing the Whirlpool authorized tech will cost more, but may not be any better than a generic repairman. Also, if I go with a generic repairman, I can probably find someone specific who is highly recommended (and hopefully very competent), as opposed to a random tech from the Whirlpool authorized business. Thoughts?

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Fletch
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Fletch » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:44 am

We have had the best success with the repairman who works for a local mom and pop independent appliance store. We have Whirlpool and KitchenAid appliances (same company) and a few years back an Asko dishwasher.
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by carolinaman » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:01 am

The last appliance tech I had was for a Kenmore microwave. I learned that Sears has outsourced this service to another company. The tech was borderline incompetent. An independent may be pretty good and probably cheaper, but you need to research this carefully. It is best if you can get personal recommendations rather than relying on some online ratings which are usually not reliable.

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midareff
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by midareff » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:08 am

It all depends on who you get. If the tech has been to the manufacturer's schools and is certified he/she should know what are doing. OTOH, a private shop who has been around may know how to fix it for pennies. Had that happen with a TV. Factory repair estimate was about $700 which I declined as it was nearing 10 years old. The tech gave me a phone number and said this guy may know how to fix it for less so I called him. Came, took set apart, took a couple of pieces with him and a week later $70 and it worked as new when I gave it away to a handyman who helped me on an assembly project and bought a 55" Samsung to replace it.

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Toons
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Toons » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:12 am

Washing machine have only so many parts,
Fairly straightfoward.
I would seek out a "generic" individual.
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rhornback
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by rhornback » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:15 am

I would go with reviews from google, yelp, homeadvisor, angieslist.

Note that homeadvisor and angieslist charge the contractors for listing and yelp seems to have been abused. So a grain of salt is in order.

Years ago I had sears home appliances come and I was disappointed. The guy who does my hv/ac, who I have been with for years is from craigslist. And the guy who did my front load washer was from craigslist. Both were excellent.

So my advise is I would try to use reviews instead of specific companies.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by rhornback » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:16 am

Toons wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:12 am
Washing machine have only so many parts,
Fairly straightfoward.
I would seek out a "generic" individual.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8rnvvdJaDU
Agreed. I fixed my own top load washer. Also my own gas dryer. I needed a pro for my front load washer. I could not figure out the problem on my own.

Front loads are more complicated.

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Toons
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Toons » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:19 am

rhornback wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:16 am
Toons wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:12 am
Washing machine have only so many parts,
Fairly straightfoward.
I would seek out a "generic" individual.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8rnvvdJaDU
Agreed. I fixed my own top load washer. Also my own gas dryer. I needed a pro for my front load washer. I could not figure out the problem on my own.

Front loads are more complicated.
:

Agree with you on the front load.
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Dudley
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Dudley » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:35 am

Probably the "transmission". If you like fixing stuff google some youtube videos "whirlpool transmission test and replace".
Service men are going to be hit and miss. If transmission the part could be ~$100-150. Throw in the potential for a couple of dud service calls and you could be looking at the cost of a low end replacement.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by mouses » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:42 am

GE techs provided the worst service I can ever remember having the last time I dealt with them. Too long a mess, multiple visits, machine still not working when I gave up, aaghh. Now I have a highly recommended private company do appliance work.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:48 am

The solution is a small radio. Place it next to the washer and when the washer is running, turn it on. Sort of the click and clack solution to car problems.

I would NEVER let a Sears clown in my house to do anything. The last encounter, the clown was attempting to install a new dishwasher and was about to cut out part of the floor that he was convinced was why the thing wouldn't budge. In about 5 seconds, I found 3 screws he didn't remove. I kicked him out and installed it myself.
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:51 am

We have had only two appliance repairmen over a 40+ year span. Our first was a GE technician we liked, and shortly after he serviced our oven he went out on his own.

After many years, he retired but gave us a name of an individual to use.

In all the years of various repairs, we have never had to call either of them out to redo anything.

My advice to OP: Find a good one, and keep them. They are out there, but sadly sometimes you have to go thru a lot of them before you find a good one.

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livesoft
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by livesoft » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:01 am

We have never called an appliance repair outfit/person to fix any of our appliances. (We have had water heaters and a decades-old furnace replaced.)

I don't recall my parents ever having a repair person visit the house either and I am sure we had appliances growing up.

So there would be no way in our lifetimes that we could go through a lot of them trying to get a good one. I suspect most people are like us.

However, that doesn't help the OP get their appliances fixed. You really have to consult with your friends and neighbors to learn about competent people that are accessible to you. And youtube.com is accessible to anyone reading this forum.
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by rustymutt » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:06 am

Toons wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:12 am
Washing machine have only so many parts,
Fairly straightfoward.
I would seek out a "generic" individual.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8rnvvdJaDU

Yes, I fixed a water dispenser on my Kitchenaid fridge with the help of this site. I like it myself.









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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Nowizard » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:08 am

Anyone who has done washing machine repair for awhile should be able to fix it. Our experience is more troubling. We have a high end microwave that needs a part that I thought I could replace. The part was located on an Internet site, but they said the manufacturer would not allow them to sell the part, referring me to the company tech. They come today, and I suspect the price will be absurd. On a stove for the same manufacturer, I first called the company tech who wanted over $500 for a replacement part. Turned this down and the generic repairman said it did not need a restricted part and repaired for less than half the estimate from the company repairman.

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gotester2000
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by gotester2000 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:19 am

Once any device is out of warranty it is hardly worth repairing from the authorized center which always has standard jacked up rates.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by neilpilot » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:30 am

gotester2000 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:19 am
Once any device is out of warranty it is hardly worth repairing from the authorized center which always has standard jacked up rates.
Agreed. A good analogy is taking your out-of-warranty car to the dealer for routine maintenance.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by btenny » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:59 am

Why fix it? Is the noise driving you crazy? Most times the grinding noise is a transmission that is getting old and wearing but not broken. The issue is the agitator back and forth rotation is making noise. Replacing it will cost you almost as much as buying a new washer. So do not fix it until it completely crashes. I know as I have the exact same issue with my washer. It has been making loud grinding noises for 5 years. I also am talking from experience as I did appliance repair when I was young years ago. I probably replaced 20 transmissions and only a few were really worn out. Most were just making noise and would have worked for much longer before breaking.

I also used Sears appliance repair to fix my refrigerator (dead ice maker). The repair guy was knowledgeable and good. The price was OK. This was in Phoenix. I also tried to use a small local repair guy and had to fire him part way through the job when he started prying off trim instead of removing screws. So I guess each area is different.

Good Luck.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:28 pm

I'd try DIY. My dad got all frustrated when the glass panel fell off his GE oven and then they said they'd have to send someone out just to look at it and figure out what part it needed for $150 which could have easily be done over the phone. Then they'd have to order the part which could take 6-8 weeks and finally come back out to install it for another $500. They said they can't just put more of the adhesive on and had to order a new glass panel even though the glass panel wasn't broken.

I told him he literally had the same adhesive in the garage but he just had to have an "approved" repair done...

I took apart my dryer to fix it with only a screwdriver. All of the parts that could break are easy to replace.

Ndop
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Ndop » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:49 pm

Thanks so much for the advice everyone.

This washer is a little more than 2 years old. Can signs of wear and tear that I can ignore happen so soon?

I briefly researched fixing it myself. But I'm not very handy, and it seemed pretty daunting, so I gave up. I decided to go with a generic repair guy who has 100 reviews with an average of 5 stars on yelp. I'll be home so I can watch and ask questions; if another issue ever happens maybe I'll have more confidence to tackle it myself then. But for now I decided to hire out.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by neilpilot » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:43 pm

Ndop wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:49 pm
Thanks so much for the advice everyone.

This washer is a little more than 2 years old. Can signs of wear and tear that I can ignore happen so soon?

I briefly researched fixing it myself. But I'm not very handy, and it seemed pretty daunting, so I gave up. I decided to go with a generic repair guy who has 100 reviews with an average of 5 stars on yelp. I'll be home so I can watch and ask questions; if another issue ever happens maybe I'll have more confidence to tackle it myself then. But for now I decided to hire out.
FWIW I think you made the best decision. Some say ignore the noise, but all too often that could result in more significant damage, and it would be a mistake to sacrifice a machine that's only 2 years old.

I'm a dedicated DIYer, and have repaired many appliances including my dryer, water heaters and HVAC units. However, while Barnaclebob says "I took apart my dryer to fix it with only a screwdriver. All of the parts that could break are easy to replace.", it's worth pointing out that a washer is vastly more complex than a dryer.

Ndop
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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by Ndop » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:36 am

The repair guy came, and said the problem is the transmission (kudos to dudley and btenny for predicting this). Repair cost would be just under $600. I originally purchased the washer for $720. He said to skip the repair and just run the washer until it dies. And then buy a Speed Queen. His visit cost $125, which was well worth it to me, to know for sure what the problem is and the potential solutions.

As to the question I posed in my original post, I'm glad I went with the generic repair guy. He probably charges more based on his great yelp reviews, but he seemed very knowledgeable and honest and was generous with his time.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by CurlyDave » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:55 am

Another vote for generic.

Last time I called a manufacturer's authorized, they sent me a tech who only spoke Spanish. Since I only speak English this was a serious issue. The problem did not get fixed, because he also seemed pretty incompetent.

I complained to them and they told me they could not send anyone else, and once someone started a job it was theirs until it was finished.

An independent shop had a lot better attitude.

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Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

Post by denovo » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:40 am

Ndop wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:36 am
The repair guy came, and said the problem is the transmission (kudos to dudley and btenny for predicting this). Repair cost would be just under $600. I originally purchased the washer for $720. He said to skip the repair and just run the washer until it dies. And then buy a Speed Queen. His visit cost $125, which was well worth it to me, to know for sure what the problem is and the potential solutions.

As to the question I posed in my original post, I'm glad I went with the generic repair guy. He probably charges more based on his great yelp reviews, but he seemed very knowledgeable and honest and was generous with his time.

No guarantee this will work, but it could, try contacting the manufacturer and getting it escalated. This major part shouldn't be having problems after 2 years, you may be able to shame them into doing the right thing and fixing it.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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