Your cost should be roughly $75-$150 per hour. For specific jobs, there is a good flat rate guide, maintained by Appliance Service News and ServiceMagic, that lists repairs by brand and type of machine. Keep in mind, however, that the guide does not account for variances in local labor rates or cost of living. Still, it will give you a good "ballpark idea" of what a job should cost.
What is the charge if I decline a repair?
If you decide not to have a recommended repair performed, a "trip charge" or similar minimal servcie or diagnosis fee is charged. Some companies will offer "free estimates" only if they do the repair. While we are lead to believe that the estimateis "free," somewhere the company's expense of the "free estimate" is in the cost of the repair.
Questions to Ask
Does the company have liability insurance? How long has the company been in business?
What is the warranty or guarantee?
Does it cover parts, labor, or both? You can expect most repairs to offer a minimum 90 day warranty on parts and minimum 30 day warranty for the labor. Remember that the warranty is onlly as good as the company standing behind it. Get it in writing -- it should clearly state in writing what is and what is not covered. Make sure that any verbal agreements or promises are in writing.
When calling a repair technician, tell them your problem -- don't expect the problem to be diagnosed over the phone. Any number of parts could have failed and such a diagnosis cannot be made without inspecting the unit. The more information about the machine and the problem you can give, the more helpful it will be. Keep number ready. Get it in writing -- whether it's an estimate or invoice for work performed, it should be detailed and itemized -- stating the charges for each part, labor charges and sales tax.
It is not reasonable for you to expect them to name an exact time when they will be there. A 2 to 4 hour time window is reasonable. Technicians plan their day by a number fo factors. As the day wears on, emergencies occur. If they get behind, they should call you and revise their ETA so that you aren't waiting all day for them to show.
Machines can be temperamental, and technicians are human. If they make an error in diagnosing or repairing your machine, they should return to the worksite and fix it again for no extra service or time charges. However, there may be difference in the cost of parts or labor, for which there should be some kind of adjustment; you should expect to either get a refund or to pay a little more. Even the best technicians experience "callback rates" of about 4 to 7 percent. You should not have to wait any longer for them to return to fix the machine a second time than you waited the first time. If you're not getting satisfaction after re-contacting the company about problems, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau online.