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Resolved
AJ Appliance ServiceCheated my Mother $35 with no repair

My 83 year old Mother's dryer stopped working suddenly. My brother looked through the Yellow Pages, and saw a big ad (listing a Senior Discount) for AJ APPLIANCE SERVICE, with four locations in RHODE ISLAND. He called the Providence number and the woman on the phone quoted him the rate of $45 to diagnose the problem, then said that fee would be deducted off any bill for the work done to fix the appliance. She offered an appointment window the next day from 2-4pm.

I sat with my mother for the whole four hours -- no worker OR phone call. I called the number and got an answering machine ("Phone answered 24/77!!" the ad proclaims in a bold type headline, the exclaimation marks theirs). I left a message asking (politely) where was the repairman? 15 minutes later the repairman, John, called me back. He didn't even apologize for wasting our time, he just said, "I guess (?!) I should have called you earlier, I've been so busy. If you still want me to come tonight it won't be until around six."

This is where I should have realized to just drop these jerks. But we wanted the thing fixed, it was almost 4:30 on a Thursday, who else would come that night? So, I bit my lip and said okay. I ran to get my brother from work, racing to get back by 6:00.

At 6:20 John calls again, "I'm running late, I'll be there in about a half hour."

At 6:50 he shows up. He jumps behind the dryer and tinkers with it for 2o minutes exactly, until 7:10. Then he comes out of the room smiling sheepishly. "All that work, and it's only a stripped knob, " he laughs, "I should have checked it first. I think I have one in my truck, but I don't know if it'll fit."

At this point he's earned $45 for diagnosing the stripped knob. He comes back from the truck, and spends a minute washing off an obviously used knob, because it's so dirty. (I don't care if it works okay). He has me cut a strip of cardboard off a toilet paper tube to wrap around the threads so it'll grip enough to advance the metal knob sticking up out of the dryer control board. It works.

"How much do I owe you, John?" I ask. Because my brother had set up the appointment, I didn't know what they quoted him. And while home, he was in another room watching TV, I was handling the repair. This lack of coordination between the two of us led to the following.

John hands me a bill for $100.00 -- 25 minutes after arriving at the house. My mother and I are shocked. "John, this is a lot more than I expected, " I told him. He charged $95 for labor, and $5.00 for the knob part (how cheesy). I had expected maybe thirty or forty dollars. "I charge $95 dollars an hour for labor, whether I work five minutes or an hour, " he told us pointing to the bill.

"What about the senior discount?" my mother asked, shocked. He took the bill and subtracted $15.00. I was still pretty unhappy, but he had spent almost 30 minutes here already. I felt my brother should have called around for a bettter price, but too late now.

John followed both of us to the ATM to get his money, and I paid him out my car window. At this point, I felt like we hadn't done enough research -- of course we should have found out the labor charge before letting a repairman step foot in the house. I told my brother he should've shopped around a bit -- $85 for less than 30 minutes' work!

Now it was my brother's turn to be stunned -- They told me $45 to diagnose! We both realized what happened: it was a bait and switch. They diagnose for $45, then ram you the $95 an hour. But this time ther was a problem with their formula -- John had not done any work after diagnossing the problem, except literally washing a knob and sticking it on the dryer -- for $35.00. Everything else fell under the $45 dianosing fee. If I had realized this I never would have paid him a dime more than $50.00. He never said, "To put in the knob, it'll cost you a repair bill instead of just a diagnosing fee."

My brother called Kelly, answering at the phone book number. "Well, your mother doesn't expect to get free labor does she?" she asked sarcastically. "There was no labor except sticking a knob on!" he told her. All she did was argue that John spent 45 minutes (not true) at the house, so deserved the $85 charge for labor.

She promised to have the owner, Jeremy, call him back the next day. When (surprise) he didn't, on the second call she told my brother he wasn't available to call until the day after next -- that was a week ago, and still no call from Jeremy.

The bill says thirty days warrenty on labor and 90 days for parts. Andrew told Kelly on the second phone call that the knob was already slipping (true). Still nothing.

This company are a bunch of hit-and-run artists. When they couldn't even handle the appointment with professionalism and show any care for their customer's time, we should have ditched them.

THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE GO WITH ANY APPLIANCE REPAIR WITHOUT A BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU RELATIONSHIP!
They had no info at the BBB on these guys -- but they will very shortly.

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