5 minute job on $50 part?!!!

hplatz

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
1
Location
Montclair, NJ
We got a Kenmore furnace 2 years ago. After one year, the heat failed to kick in because the fan failed and the water froze. Now, after two years, the a/c fails and the heat fails. The repairman diagnoses the problem in a few seconds. A switch is not working that senses a flame. He said he could fix it in 5 minutes but needs to order the part. He said that these switches break on average every two years. That sounded odd. Especially after he left the house for 15 minutes to find out if we were still under warranty and what the cost would be. He came back with a bill for $310!! $50 for a switch (he wanted us to get 2, just in case) and $200 for labor!! He claimed not to know why the labor cost was so high and said he was offended that this 5-minute job would cost that much, or, for that matter, why Sears would sell a machine with the expectation that such a charge would come due in 2 years. I pressed him on the time and he said it was an average. Pointing out that 2 is the average of one and three, he claimed he didn't make up policy. He left us the paper that had come from punching in codes from the computerized bilking machine in his car. He claims ignorance. We are cold.

What do we do?
 

amberwarm

Premium Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
3
Location
Hawaii
I am so sick of sears and their big corprate policies - our fridge is a 1 1/2 years old and out of warantee. Wwe have to unplug it every 2 weeks for 24 hours for it to work - sorry I have no advice for you except to hire a journey man to fix your heater - DO NOT CALL SEARS for help - they just want more of your hard earned money.
i feel for you
 

daddyjohn

Premium Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Messages
51
Location
Tennesee
We got a Kenmore furnace 2 years ago. After one year, the heat failed to kick in because the fan failed and the water froze. Now, after two years, the a/c fails and the heat fails. The repairman diagnoses the problem in a few seconds. A switch is not working that senses a flame. He said he could fix it in 5 minutes but needs to order the part. He said that these switches break on average every two years. That sounded odd. Especially after he left the house for 15 minutes to find out if we were still under warranty and what the cost would be. He came back with a bill for $310!! $50 for a switch (he wanted us to get 2, just in case) and $200 for labor!! He claimed not to know why the labor cost was so high and said he was offended that this 5-minute job would cost that much, or, for that matter, why Sears would sell a machine with the expectation that such a charge would come due in 2 years. I pressed him on the time and he said it was an average. Pointing out that 2 is the average of one and three, he claimed he didn't make up policy. He left us the paper that had come from punching in codes from the computerized bilking machine in his car. He claims ignorance. We are cold.

What do we do?
what is the model # of your furnace?
it was probably made by ICP and is a tempstar which uses the honeywell smart valve. can you look in the burner area and describe what is happening when you make the thermostat call for heat?
 
P

Paullabbe

Guest
I was a Sears tech for years. I suggest contacting someone local cause Sears has a huge overhead that is why they charged you so much for the part and install. Remember when you call a new tech to have your Make,Model and Serial Numbers. Will make things easier on everyone involved. By the way if you have the part number you could order the part and have a tech install the part you already ordered. Should cut your costs down.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
33,434
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
It's called the "Flat Rate System". It was designed by Dean Landers out of Watsonville, California. He is also the owner of Appliance University. His goal was to get every service company, coast to coast on the same page as far as appliance repair costs. He came up with the system figuring a flat rate repair cost for every kind of appliance repair then using price codes and formulas for everything to cover overtime, extra mileage and even extra charges. The main reason for this system was the wide variety of repair quotes people would get when calling around for prices. A large company like Sears and GE have large overhead costs and don't want to lower their prices where as a small one truck operation has very little overhead costs and can lower their price to under bid the larger company. Another reason was to eliminate the always asked question "Why so much, you were only here 5 minutes". It's also the way to keep your good more experienced service techs from being penalized because he's become fast over the years. A new guy might take an hour and a half to do the same job it only take the experienced service tech to do in 15 minutes. With the hourly system the new guy that knows less makes more than the experienced tech. Companies that use the flat rate system have a book called the MASNPG or appliance bible, Major Appliance Service National Price Guide with every service cost listed for every brand. The customer knows the cost of the repair before he starts. Ten minutes or two hours it's the same price. More and more companies are using it every year or I should say more and more big companies are using it. Some of the smaller one truck operations liked the idea at first because it more than doubled what they were making per service call. They didn't think it through. Now the big boys can compete and with their fancy trucks and uniforms TV ads can charge the same as the little guy. I have loyal customers that have been using my service for twenty years. I wouldn't be able to explain why the cost of replacing a pump went from $90 to $289 without feeling ashamed. I don't dislike the system and I don't like the system. I met Dean at the Appliance Service Convention in Las Vegas, when he asked if I was using the flat rate system and I told him no He proceeded to tell me I was losing money. Maybe, but I'm not losing customers.
 

jeff1

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 10, 2004
Messages
23,600
Location
Ontario, Canada
Thread is 4-5 years old!!

jeff.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
33,434
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
LMAO...Well I'll be a suck-ass mule!(John Wayne's side kick) Now that's funny!!
 
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