Customer Service Call for a Broken Washing Machine
Our washing machine began to spew forth water this afternoon. We determined, after close inspection, that the likely cause was the enormous gash in the gray, rubber seal around the front door.
So Mark phoned GE’s customer service (it’s a GE washer). He read them the model number and they ascertained that our washer had been purchased in August of 2006 and that it was no longer under warranty. A service call, they told us, would cost $79.99 and they couldn’t quote how much the labour thereafter would be. They said they could quote us on the part itself but the Parts Departments was closed for the evening.
I was so frustrated. I knew full well that paying the eighty bucks for a house call just roped you into going with whatever quote they gave you after that, no matter how ridiculous. I KNEW we were being gouged.
So I tried phoning Sears. The Service and Repair department quoted me a $65 service call fee and also said they didn’t know the cost of the part and that they would have to connect me to their Parts Department. After being on hold for five minutes, the parts department informed me that the model number I was reading them was invalid.
“How can it be invalid!” I retorted “I got it off the back of the washing machine. My husband already quoted it to GE and they were able to give us the registration information using it. It is DEFINITELY a valid model number.”
“Well,” the lady said, “I can’t find it in my catalogue. So I can’t give you a price for it.”
“That’s fine. Just tell me how much it would cost for the labour to install that part.”
“We don’t have that part in the catalogue….”
“How much to install a SIMILAR part?”
“I’d have to transfer you to Service and Repair.”
“But they just transferred me to you.”
Then I was connected to Service and Repair…again. The dude informed me that he was NOT a technician and only a technician could tell me an exact price for the labour involved in fixing the seal on my washing machine. He told me the same information as earlier, that I’d have to get a $65 service call and that would be the minimum charge. He had no further details than that. They could guarantee nothing
I hung up.
Mark and I ate dinner.
It was home-made Calzones and Mark (bless his heart) ate ¾ of his even though there were some pretty doughy parts. I think he sensed I was disheartened.
Then I said that I just wanted to give in and have someone fix the bloody machine as soon as possible. I was willing to pay for a service call and then just pay whatever crazy-ass price they quoted us.
I picked up the phone and called Sears’ Service and Repair department once more. The guy that answered the phone asked for my washing machine’s model number. I sighed and read to him the number that had before been deemed “invalid”. But to my astonishment he said, “Hmmm. Okay. Your washing machine is a 2006 GE front-loading washer.”
“Hey!” I cried, “Yes it is!”
“And you want a service call?”
“Yes please,” I said in a slightly defeated voice.
“What seems to be the problem?”
“It’s leaking water,” I said, “And when I looked closely, there’s a big hole in the gray seal around the door.”
“Oh,” he said, “Well, for that part, it might be easier for you to just buy the part and fix it yourself.”
“Really? That's what I originally wanted to do...” my heart lifted hopefully, “…but how much would that cost?”
He paused only a fraction of a second, “$10.99 plus taxes…oh and six dollars for delivery.”
“And is it hard to fix?”
“Nope. Just twist and pull the old one to remove it. The new one comes with instructions but you just pop it in.”
“Really!” I was so relieved to have found this beautiful, wonderful, God-send of a customer service rep, so I said, “You have been more help in thirty seconds than all the last forty five minutes of other people I’ve spoken with.”
And I think I felt the guy blush on the other end of the line.
It’s not all customer service stories than end on a good note, but I am convinced that I spent $16.99 plus tax instead of upwards of $200 and that is a very happy ending.