Educational Consumer Tips

Service Calls

Author: Better Business Bureau

People frequently protest the charges for service calls at the home to repair radio, television or appliances. No doubt there are cases of overcharge, but on the other hand many people do not realize the factors involved even in an honest charge. That charge is not determined solely by the time to make the repairs.

From the standpoint of a service department, its cost, except for time on the job, could be about the same for a simple job of replacing a fuse as it is for a difficult job. Good service doesn't "just happen!" Operating a dependable service business requires organization, competent management and a substantial capital investment. So don't judge service charges solely by the time spent in your home. When that top-notch technician knocks on your door, many costs have been incurred just to get him there, ready to do the job. Here are some of them: 

*Specialized training (up to four years) 
*Truck (ladders, equipment, etc) 
*Travel time 
*Professional tools 
*Accurate testing apparatus 
*Stock of spare parts 
*Exchanging parts included in the warranty 
*Time on the job 
*Office rent and equipment 
*Office help 
*Stationary and office supplies 
*Light, heat, phone & fax 
*Warehouse & shop 
*Truck maintenance & operation 
*Garage rent 
*Insurance and employee benefits 
*Taxes, Permits, Training & Certification 

Servicing consumer products and providing service in the home on such products or on home improvements and installations is a large industry. When service is provided without charge, it is nevertheless, part of the cost of doing business. Most companies will offer "free estimates" only if they do the repair. While we are lead to believe that the estimate is "free", somewhere the company's expense of the "free estimate" is in the cost of the repair.

For more information, contact:

Better Business Bureau
(800) 828-5000

This report is general in nature and is not intended as a Business Review on any company, service or product.