Repair company want to charge if engineer can’t find fault

This is a common threat when booking an appliance repair under guarantee or warranty. It’s usually even written in the instruction book. I try to view it as more of a threat that’s unlikely to be carried out or is unenforceable if challenged properly. However, many engineers will try to charge you.

It’s an argument you don’t want to get involved in if possible. The main idea is to discourage people from calling out an engineer unnecessarily, which does happen a lot.

So you should not call a repairman out because you think it would be an idea to get a free check up just before the guarantee runs out. Don’t call out an engineer if something strange happens just the once, unless it seemed serious. The guarantee doesn’t cover free check ups or give a free call out service.


Try to get evidence of an intermittent fault

Helpful White goods Tips If you are concerned that a fault on your washing machine may not show itself when the engineer visits, use your mobile phone camera, a digital camera or even a video camera to record any strange behaviour such as noises, leaks etc.

You can show this to the engineer if he claims there’s nothing wrong and tries to charge you.

You may have a fault but is it covered under the guarantee?

You should be aware that some intermittent “faults” on a washing machine could be caused by a badly loaded wash load. Many washing machines will not spin just one item or very small loads.

If your washing machine occasionally doesn’t spin at the end of the cycle check this article out – Washing machine won’t spin just one item or very small load

Many appliance problems can be caused by misuse, or not reading the instruction manual properly. So you should be as sure as possible that you are using the appliance properly and you understand all the do’s and don’ts in the instruction manual.


Engineers don’t normally want hassle

An appliance engineer has to declare on the paperwork what the fault was. “No fault found” might not be an option for an engineer without charging the customer. But many engineers don’t want to argue with customers.

Nor do they want to demand payment from someone who’s adamant they shouldn’t have to pay. So if an engineer can’t find a fault they might make up a small fault that they’ve fixed. That’s not always a great idea though. The fault could reoccur right after they’ve left making them look incompetent.

They may sometimes just guess what part(s) may be responsible and either replace them or order them for a repeat visit. Some engineers could be under pressure to charge customers or even be on commission. So it’s always possible an engineer will say there is no fault and try to get payment.


Are you sure it must be a fault on the appliance?

Are you are confident it is nothing you are doing wrong and that you know there is a fault? Then you have to decide whether to pay or not. You can try to insist that just because they didn’t find anything they can’t possibly say there is nothing wrong with the appliance.

This may work, especially if they haven’t been there very long. Ultimately you can’t prove there is something wrong but they can’t prove that there isn’t. That’s the problem.

If you do have an intermittent fault but the engineer can’t find it

If you genuinely have an intermittent fault but an engineer doesn’t find anything I would stand my ground and refuse to pay. Of course the big problem is can you be 100% sure? Make sure you tell them when you book the service call that the fault is intermittent.

Intermittent faults are notoriously difficult to find. All engineers understand that. Claiming that if a fault isn’t found it proves there is nothing wrong with the appliance is flawed logic.

Many engineers are pushed for time, and under a big work load. They can even be unfamiliar with the appliance (more common than you’d think). They can’t spend much time looking for an intermittent fault.

Under these circumstances, if an engineer is insisting on charging I would ask what compensation I would receive if the fault continues and is found at a later date.

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12 thoughts on “Repair company want to charge if engineer can’t find fault”

  1. Hi Andy,

    I wanted to update you. I had decided to take the insurance option for a little while just so as not to have to fight with Whirlpool on the call-out fee, but mostly have the opportunity to get another engineer to come in to look at the problem again. Thanks for raising the strong possibility of the insurance not covering a foreign object inside the machine. The Whirlpool staff confirmed to me that the insurance would indeed cover a foreign object inside the machine (excludes malicious damage, cosmetic damage, and indirect consequences) , so it sounded to me like an easy way to solve that problem at little cost (assuming I cancel the insurance soon)

    The new engineer found the issue: turned out it was not a coin, but it was the screws that stabilise the drum in transport. The installers had not removed them fully, and they were rattling against the drum occasionally.

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