Repaircare are a National appliance repair company offering fixed price repairs. This review was written only several months after they began trading. Things may, or may not, be different now.
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 fixed repairs? 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. They covered themselves against the more expensive repairs with a clause in their terms and conditions allowing them to charge extra.
They did claim that most repairs should be covered by the amount advertised, but after a few months (of complaints) they were forced to change their terms and conditions to remove their right to charge extra for certain parts. Offering fixed price repairs is a big ask.
But Repaircare should have access to very cheap spare parts because of their massive buying power as part of the UK’s largest spares distributor 4Ourhouse. However, they don’t employ their own engineers.
They 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 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 Repaircare subcontracted to do the repair.
It sounds like Repaircare have been frustrated by different accounts from the engineer and customer and want them to sort it out between themselves. But if a customer can’t, then Repaircare must.
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 a lot of complaints in the comments of this article (and elsewhere), which is disappointing.
They may have been struggling to cope with the work load at the early stages as they had promoted themselves very heavily. It’s also fair to say that appliance repairs tend to attract a lot of dissatisfied customers due to the length of time it can sometimes take to get them repaired.
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.
If you are the type of person who takes comfort in prices being fixed and inclusive, then fixed price repairs may be attractive for you. Sadly it’s become the main way large repair companies operate now.
You can end up paying a lot more than necessary if your appliance turns out not to need any parts, or only needs inexpensive parts, (most repairs).
You can save money if it needs an expensive part but if it’s quite expensive most repair companies just tell you it’s beyond economical repair. This can make it difficult to get a “win” on these schemes.
Make sure you read and understand the terms & conditions. It will probably state that if parts are “too” expensive they can say the appliance is not worth repairing, which may still cost you a fair amount of money.
Make sure you understand how much it will cost you in that scenario.
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 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 Consumer Rights Act 2015 (previously the Sale of Goods Act), any repair should last a reasonable time, as should any new parts fitted. 3 months (90 days) is nowhere near a reasonable time for almost any repair, especially if new parts are fitted. However, that’s all you get.
So 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.
I have to be honest and say that I personally would never use any repair company that only gave a 90 day guarantee, which I consider pretty disgraceful, and a very poor show of confidence in their own work – Is a 3 month guarantee on repairs reasonable?)
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.