Self-help-setting boundaries and being assertive instead of just letting him have my money even though he did not fix my fridge (when he said that he fixed it).
The repairman said that he repaired my fridge. He said that the new relay fixed my fridge but it did not; my fridge did not cool and the freezer continuued to not work. I had written him a cheque. He did not give me a receipt. He did not talk about warranty. I trusted him that the fridge was fixed. I asked him point blank, "You put the relay in; is it working? Is my fridge fixed?" He said it would take awhile for the fridge to cool down and he said something strange to me after he put in the new relay, "Wash the fridge first (it was already clean) and then plug it in when I leave". I asked him to plug it in now to check to see if the relay worked. He seemed to reluctantly plug it in but assured me that it was working; it was making the compresser work. Four hours later; the fridge was still warm, the freezer did not freeze ice cubes. He had my money and I did not have a fixed fridge. So I put a stop payment on the cheque. I will pay him the flat fee for checking the fridge and he can have his part back but I will not pay $295.00 for a broken fridge. I have to buy a new fridge now. I do not trust anyone else to come in to check the fridge. He should have put the relay in and then checked to see if it made the fridge work and if it did not, he should have taken the relay out of the fridge and charged me the flat fee instead of leading me to believe that something worked when it obviously was not working. I feel taken advantage of; I feel that he cheated me. Especially when he was reluctant to test his work and left promptly after putting the relay in the fridge (he took my old relay). I do not have a lot of experience in these dealings. I remember him asking me, "So you are alone with nobody to help you?" when I was writing him the cheque and he had a big smile on his face. I am concerned he is going to harrass me now. I don't want him coming to my home banging on the door. I will call the police. I am even more jaded now. I called another repair company and asked questions and they said that all parts should be tested to make sure they work and are functioning. He said it sounded very strange that the man would tell me to turn on the fridge after he left. Also I realize that the repair man did not give me a receipt for his work. I discovered that his company is a numbered company with a PO box address and one phone number (his cell phone). If I hadn't stopped payment on the cheque, I don't think I would have gotten my money back.
You did the absolute right thing, of course. If he is legitimate, he will contact you about the check when he discovers it has a non payment. I am afraid this sort of thing does happen often. You should try to call the company the fridge was made by to see if they can recommend a repairman in the area that they endorse. Then, perhaps you can get an estimate of what work will be needed before you approve the work next time. I wouldn't even pay the other guy the flat fee for coming out, since he did wrong by you. I would pay this next guy that fee? Hope this helps?
Thank you amiebutchko, you are right. I should have gotten an estimate first. It is so important to find a reputable person. Thanks for your comments.
This is another sad example of the "one bad apple spoils the barrel" syndrome in America today.
Where we were once a trusting nation, we now find that we need to arm ourselves with cameras, documents and a readiness to attack whenever we deal with companies and especially the small businessman.
You are right and I learned a valuable lesson. I can't expect good service. I must always be distrusting. I have not had a problem with Sears (fixing my dryer). I just had my furnace repaired. The man did a good job and my furnace generated heat again. I made the mistake of assuming this man would be reputable too. I learned to set boundaries right from the start: what is the estimate? What if the part doesn't make the fridge run, then what? He gave me his card (only a cell number) but I don't feel comfortable calling him and I do NOT want him back in my home. He'll probably want his part back (the relay); if he put it in at all, who knows. He made it sound like the fridge was fixed when it obviously wasn't fixed at all. Like I have $300.00 to just give away for a part that doesn't make the fridge work, like getting a repair is a gamble, a roll of the dice, where you pay whether the part works or not. Imagine going to a car dealership, "We'll put these brakes in and hopefully they'll work; no?, Oh well, buy a new car, we're keeping your money, that's the way the cookie crumbles". I really thought the fridge would work. I kept checking it but it never cooled down. He knew the part didn't work but he charged me anyway.
Sorry to hear of your troubles. How did you find this guy to begin with? Were you able to stop payment? Often - that's a hard thing to do.
Also - be careful, because there is a law in most places where someone who works on your house can file a lien against you for non-payment. It's called a Mechanic's Lien.
Try calling him back and telling him that your fridge still does not work and that you think he should fix it free of charge. It might just be something simple that he forgot to connect.
Alternately - try a service like eHow Now. They have professional Appliance Repair specialists that will consult with you and help you go over everything about the fridge. I think you can submit a Basic question for about $10. They will work with you step by step to get your fridge running. I would definitely do that before buying a fridge. It can probably be fixed.
https://now.ehow.com/ Look under the drop down menu for Appliance Repair
Thank you for your reply,
I don't feel safe having him back to my home. I really ripped off. He put a part in my fridge that did not fix my fridge but he said it did and then left promptly and gave me no receipt. I've never stopped a cheque before for services and I have a good record of paying people for services rendered. I don't mind paying the fee if the work is done; if the appliance is fixed. But this appliance was not fixed at all. To pay 295, almost 300 dollars to have the same broken fridge? No. And with no receipt, how are my rights protected? Thank you for your advice.
To have a repairman put a part in that does not fix the problem is not unusual; in today's world of modular parts and inability to trouble shoot it is the accepted norm. I recently paid over $1700 to fix an automobile, only to be told the engine was "Old and tired, would never run properly again" because it had half the expected lifetime miles on it. They just couldn't find the problem so threw parts at it in the hopes it would fix it.
At the same time, your description of this "repairman" seems really shady; I would not want him back either. Just not because a part that was expected and hoped would work, didn't, but because your description paints a picture of a con man.
Hi wilderness, I agree with you. He was acting shady and he lied to me and gave me no receipt. I will learn my lesson and be a lot more discerning.
With parts, when a repairman puts in a part and tests the machine, if it doesn't work, he takes the part out again unless you agreed to pay for the part whether it fixes the machine or not. That was not established in my case. Actually nothing was established. No estimated cost, no break down of the cost. And the fact that he lied and told me that the fridge was fixed and I was silly enough to believe him and kept checking the warm fridge which stayed warm. I'm glad I didn't put all my food back into the fridge like he suggested.
Someone said it was because of the man's culture but I do not judge people based on their nationality or culture and I didn't judge this man because he came from another country. All people are equal and anyone can be shady.
I think you did the right thing. It sounds as though he's unethical and illegitimate, and knows it. I think he may contact you about the stop payment, but when you tell him your reasons for stopping payment, he will probably move on. If you live in the US, you can always Yelp him, giving him online feedback, or report him to the Better Business Bureau. And, if he harasses you I would tell him that you're going to do those two things. Stay encouraged. Not everyone is like this. I would try and get a personal referral from a friend, or go online to find something reputable.
Thank you CaliMama,
The repairman reminded me of my Uncle. I know that swayed my decision making skills; I really liked my Uncle. A person should never do that. We can judge someone when they remind us of someone we don't like too and it isn't good either. But there were red flags. I will be even more careful in the future. Thanks again for your reply. It is important to get referrals.
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