Repaircare are a National Company offering fixed price appliance repairs. Their fixed price appliance repairs include call out, parts, labour and VAT. Repaircare are part of Connect Distribution who are the UK’s largest distributor of appliance spares and accessories. They supply much of the independent repair trade. Their website is easy to use and features 3 simple steps to get a quote. It’s incredibly simple and well designed.
How do they do it? What’s the Catch?
I’m naturally pretty sceptical and not easily impressed – always looking out for a catch. It shouldn’t be possible for Repaircare to be able to include the spare parts in their repair charges but they are the UK’s largest spare parts distributor so they have access to much cheaper parts than most and they obviously think they can.
Repaircare advertised fixed price repairs but unfortunately the truth is they did not fix every appliance for the price initially quoted and covered themselves against really expensive repairs by their terms and conditions. They claimed most repairs should however be covered by the sum quoted but after a few months (of complaints) they changed the terms and conditions to remove their right to charge extra for certain parts. If your appliance is beyond economical repair it won’t cost you any more than from any other large company as they will just charge the call out fee.
Offering fixed price repairs is a big ask. Repaircare have access to very cheap parts because of their massive buying power as part of the UK’s largest spares distributor 4Ourhouse. When calculating the cost of parts they use the trade cost of parts and not the retail cost which everyone else uses. The price difference can be substantial and this gives them quite a bit of leeway. However, they don’t employ their own engineers and instead use a network of independent engineers, which appears to cause some problems at times where people have complained of poor customer service. Repaircare have been accused several times of washing their hands of some complaints when (presumably) a customer and the independent engineer have been telling them different things. However, I don’t believe they can do this because a customer’s contract is with Repaircare and not the engineer that they subcontracted to do the repair so if a customer is dissatisfied they should be responsible for sorting it out.
Margins must be small and this operation probably relies on economies of scale. As it is covering all of the UK they may be able to achieve the quantities of repairs necessary to be viable. However, they need most repairs to be relatively minor to balance out the expensive repairs. if only people suspecting they have a serious fault use them the system just won’t work. There have been complaints in the comments of this article though which is disappointing. They may have been struggling to cope with the work load at the early stages as they have promoted themselves very heavily. However, Repaircare did eventually respond pro-actively to public complaints and put in place a system to allow people to complain directly to a manager. People with complaints previously felt they had no option but to complain on the Internet because they couldn’t get past the call centre staff to complain to a manager. I put this contact detail on one of my comments – Contact Repaircare
If you are the type of person who takes comfort in prices being fixed and inclusive, then fixed price repairs may be for you. You could end up paying more than necessary if your appliance turns out not to need any parts or needs inexpensive parts, but you could save money if it needs an expensive part.
Make sure you read and understand their terms & conditions though as if parts are “too” expensive they can say the appliance is not worth repairing although all engineers from any company will tell you an appliance isn’t worth repairing if the repair is going to cost more or close to the price of a new appliance.
Some manufacturers also offer fixed price repairs now at rates competing with Repaircare. For example Hoover / Candy, Ariston, Indesit, Hotpoint, Creda and even the obsolete Dyson washing machine have fixed price repairs. Also, AEG, Electrolux, Tricity Bendix and Zanussi have relatively low and reasonable labour charges.
Only 3 months guarantee
A mere 3 months guarantee on repairs is very poor indeed. Under the Sale of Goods Act, any repair should last a reasonable time, as should any parts fitted. 3 months is nowhere near a reasonable time for almost any repair especially if new parts are fitted. However, if that’s all you get (and there’s no law forcing a company to give any guarantee at all) you would have to pursue your claim in the small claims court or through a consumer help body if a repair by a company offering only 3 months guarantee failed after an unreasonable time outside 3 months.
More appliance repairers
There are some appliance repair companies listed on site Book washing machine (or other appliance) repair page including companies offering a much more desirable 12 month guarantee on repairs.