Educational Consumer Tips

Consumer Guide to Electronic and Appliance Repair

Author: Better Business Bureau

Consumer Guide to Electronic and Appliance Repair  (provided by the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair)

To protect consumers, the Electronic and Appliance Repair Dealer Registration Law covers electronic equipment and major home appliances normally used or sold for personal, family, household or home-office use. Specific major home appliances covered for repair, service or maintenance include:

·  washers ·         dryers ·         dishwashers ·         trash compactors ·         refrigerators ·         freezers ·         ranges ·         microwave and conventional ovens ·         room air conditioners   Specific electronic products covered for repair, service or maintenance include: ·         personal computers ·         televisions ·         radios ·         stereo equipment ·         audio or video recorders or playback equipment ·         video cameras ·         video games ·         telephone answering devices ·         antennas (including satellite equipment) ·         photocopiers ·         fax machines ·         car stereo equipment ·         car anti-theft alarms  

When You Need Service or Repairs
·     Get referrals for reputable repair dealers from your family, friends or coworkers
·     Check to see that the dealer has a valid registration issued by the Bureau
·     Get a written estimate for any service or repair BEFORE the work is performed
·     Obtain at least two estimates
·     Find out if a diagnosis fee will be charged if the item is not repaired

Do and Dont's of Electronic and Appliance Repair

Consumers should know what to expect when seeking repairs. The law requires service dealers to:
·         Inform the consumer in writing when a diagnosis fee will be charged and the amount of the charge;
·         Provide a written estimate of the total repair cost to the consumer;
·         Furnish an itemized repair invoice of all labor performed and the parts installed when the repair is complete;
·         Return all replaced parts to the consumer (except those exempted by regulation); and
·         Perform all repairs competently

The electronic and appliance repair dealer law prohibits:
·         False or misleading advertising;
·         Fraud or dishonest dealing;
·         False promises likely to induce the consumer to authorize repairs;
·         Willful departure from accepted trade standards; and
·         Negligence or incompetence in repairs

Service Contracts

The Bureau also has jurisdiction over the sale and administration of service contracts for a variety of products. Although a store salesperson may sell you a service contract, the contracts are often administered by third parties.

Before buying, be sure to fully evaluate the costs and benefits of the service contract, and read the fine print. Compare the coverage to what's provided by the product warranty. Know your rights to cancel the contract. Service contract providers must be registered with the Bureau. For more details, check out "A Consumer Guide to Service Contracts" online at or request a copy by calling 1-800-952-5210.

Check for Proper Registration

Each location of every business that repairs or accepts products for repair, or that sells or administers service contracts, is required to be registered with BEAR. Dealers must display the registration in their shops. Consumers can verify current registration, or get a list of registered dealers in their area, online at Registrations are renewed annually. Each subcontractor who performs repairs or installations must also be registered. The Bureau may deny a registration for many reasons, including if information on the application is incomplete or inaccurate, or if there has been a prior criminal action or other disciplinary history that is related to the qualifications or functions of a licensee.