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My .02 from a customer point of view


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12 replies to this topic

#1 rick_dallas

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 08:24 AM

Let me first say that I'm a consumer first and sorta repair guy second.

My son had a Maytag dryer that wouldn't turn on one day. After checking the obvious power, breaker stuff, we called an appliance repair company that had been in business for several years. They told us over the phone that most likely it was a thermal switch and quoted us $150 to fix it. So call was scheduled, they came out and did the work and we paid them. The dryer is only 2 years old (bought when the house was built) so while we were there we asked them why they thought the switch was bad on a dryer that was fairly new. They said we weren't cleaning the lint filter often enough. I replied that we habitually clean it after EVERY load (which is much more often than most people do). Then they said the dryer vent must be partially blocked. The house is two years old and the dryer vent goes directly to the outside so we all (including the tech) took a look at this to see if it was true. Of course, the dryer vent looked fine so they said they didn't know what else would cause the problem and they left.

Our thoughts were "at least they knew what was wrong" but my gut feeling was that they treated the symptom and not the problem.

About 8 months later, same scenario. Blown again. Called the same people. Another $150. Asked about about what could be causing this. Got basically the same response.

5-6 months go by, dryer is dead again. We call the appliance repair people and I wanted them to come out and FIX the problem which in my opionion had not been done to date. They refused to come out and that was the end of that. You might be able to understand our frustration with the repair people.

So I tore into the dryer myself, found the thermal switch, tested it (it was certainly bad) and went to buy a replacment at the same repair center. Cost was $14 including tax.

While I was there, I talked the the service manager about my problem. Didn't mention any specifics. Didn't tell him anything about my experience with his guys. Just told him that I had a thermal switch that kept blowing every few months and did he have ideas how to "fix this problem once and for all". He told me basically the same things his tech did. BUT he did add one additional thing. He said to check my dryer vent hose to make sure it wasn't collapsing between the dryer and the vent. He said that if that hose was partially collapsed due to being snaked around behind the dryer, this could cause the thermal switch to blow.

So I went back installed the new thermal switch, cut and rerouted the dryer hose and we've had no more blown thermal switches since.

So what's to be learned here?

The dryer was installed incorrectly to begin with by the movers.

The technicians knew what was wrong with the dryer and what was needed to make it run again but they treated the symptom, not the problem.

My son spent way too much money paying for symptom repair.

I had to take it on myself to correct the problem that I feel the technicians who came out should have known.

Kinda gives you an idea of why repair guys sometimes have the reputation they do.

Now before anyone gets there feathers ruffled, I spent lots of years repairing cars and eventually owning two auto repair shops so I've been on both sides of the coin.

My experience with these particular appliance guys is the same the people encounter in virtually every area of repair. Far too many people want to replace parts without knowing if they are bad or not. Old fashioned "determining the root cause of the problem" has been replaced by let's throw money and parts at it and hope it works. Repair people in all fields treat symptoms. They don't stop and think about why it broke. Real shame.

I hope that shop owners are training their guys to understand why problems occurred and fixing things "correctly" but understand that this is likely only occurring in a small percentage of shops around the country.

I see lots of good advice given here and the advice I've received from here has been extremely helpful. But I would encourage each of you to spend an extra 5 minutes talking to your employees about the issues I've described here.

It could only benefit you to do so.

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#2 Pegi

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 08:30 AM

You are correct, the first tech should have known the problem was your long snakey hose at the start....my techs know this and cut them down...is a shame yours did not.....:?
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#3 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 09:48 AM

[user=5678]rick_dallas[/user] wrote:

The technicians knew what was wrong with the dryer and what was needed to make it run again but they treated the symptom, not the problem.

I don't think this is a true statement-- more likely the techs DID NOT know enough about dryer venting to even be aware of this. The problem here is that the HMFIC didn't train his techs good enough. The techs were on the right track in looking at the venting, but not experienced enough to know that you should never have spiral, collapsible hose attached directly to the back of the dryer.

#4 nickfixit

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 03:47 PM

Whirlpool Design Engineers told us that you should ALWAYS replace the operating thermostat when the thermal fuse fails. They claim that venting problems should not blow the thermal fuse if the thermostat is cycling within specs. I'm not sure I believe them, but it's what they are saying.

Now, on a whirlpool the two parts are right next to each other. I haven't been inside a Maytag for awhile, so I'm not sure if the same rule should apply.

I always replace both, and I don't get recalls on the repair.

Nick
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#5 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 03:58 PM

Good info. Thanks, Nick.

#6 rick_dallas

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 03:11 AM

Could be that Maytag has the same way of thinking.

The only way to purchase the thermal limiter was to also get the thermostat at the same time as it was also included in the package with the thermal limiter.

I replaced it as well even though the repair guys did not replace it either time they came out.

So far, so good.

#7 Econo Appliance

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 09:48 AM

The technicians were correct when advising to check the vent line.   Unfortunately  (for you),  MOST appliance repair tech's do not have vent line cleaning equipment - there are seperate companies for that - so that's probably why they didn't even check. It's not their jurisdiction (unless it's a very simple section of vent line and not going through a wall)


When checking for a clogged or restricted vent line,  you should look for ANYTHING that could be restricting it, this includes kinked or smashed sections of vent line.

 So did you really need the counter guy at the parts shop to mention a collapsed section could also restrict a vent line? I hope not.
 
 And yes,  the technician should have seen the problem if it was indeed, exposed.
 
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#8 rick_dallas

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 02:08 AM

Might want to go back and read my original post.  Of the 2 times the techs came one, not one time did anyone ever mention that the vent hose could be causing the problem.  It was only after I went and spoke with the service manager did the issue of the venting hose surface.

And yes, I would need his input.  I am NOT a dryer/appliance repair person by any means.  I am the typical consumer with a bit of mechanical background.  This was the first dryer problem I have ever experienced.  The vent hose itself was not collapsed and the vent going the wall was obviously clear (it vents through an outside wall to the outside) so venting as a possible problem never crossed my mind.  The hose was too long and snaked around.  It wasn't restricted in any way that I could see.  Regardless, after shortening the venting hose, the problem has not resurfaced so have to assume that was the problem all along.

Point is the techs SHOULD have known what the actual root cause of the problem was and even if they could not have fixed it (which in this case they could very easlily), they should have told me what needed to be done.  Them coming out to do repeated repairs every few months and not really "fixing anything" is not my idea of good customer service.

It's just silly that I, a complete novice, had to resolve this issue.  It's even worse that I could have purchased a decent dryer for the total cost of their "repairs".  Just make sure your guys are actually fixing the problem and not treating the symptom.  That's the point I'm  trying to make.

#9 Econo Appliance

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 07:58 AM

I agree that for $150 the guy should have at least looked at the vent line.
 
 Sometimes the thermal fuse pops for other reasons too... magnetic coils not closing,  broken timer,  dryer getting too hot,  etc.   It's not always the vent line.
 


 It seems to me that there are more rookies than professionals out there so you must be careful on who you hire. Just remember that not everyone out there is novice.... you just need to find the right company.
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#10 rick_dallas

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 08:32 AM

I agree about finding the right company.

One would think that a company that has been in business since the 1940's and currently does 7,000,000 a month in business (no, that's not a typo!) would be reputable.

My sales experience with them has been good.  And the people working the store are great.  Just super.

Just don't hire their Field Techs!

What's a person to do??

#11 Crouching Tiger

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 02:52 PM

I have made it my personal habit to check the venting of pretty much every dryer I service.  On every inspection I remove the blower housing, whether it be a front or rear mounted blower, and vacuum that sucker.  I also clean the vent termination on the outside wall and visually check as for into the vent as I can. I also use my manometer to check the back pressure of some questionable installations so I can have proof for the customer that they need to clean or replace the venting. I have outlawed that plastic crap that people buy and tell them to chuck it (I tell them that any warranties will be void if they continue to use plastic).  Dryers are just about the easiest product to work on but for some reason the venting is always screwed up.   

#12 WayneSB

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:24 AM

When I sell dryers to customers, I always tell people that we won't hook up the dryer to that plastic crap because it's a fire hazard and we won't take responsibility for that ducting. This usually gets them to buy at least the flexible aluminum. Still crap, but an improvement nonetheless.

#13 himeros

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 12:39 PM

You may be right about the plastic tubing, but I have installed this plastic stuff for over 30 years, and never had a fire yet.  Most parts houses will not sell the plastic now, but that other stuff is prone to holes easier than the plastic.  Long time ago, they built some new houses, and the contractor plaster all the dryer vent doors shut, boy did I do lots of service calls on dryers taking too long to dry.  It was a good thing they were all gas, and caused no major problems.  The main problem with electric dryers is that safety high temp thermo fuse, if the hot air venting is not right it will usually will take out that fuse first thing.

 

Himeros




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