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Econo Appliance Service Inc / Totally unreasonable charges

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Econo Appliance Service Inc
San Diego, CA

I received service from them for my Viking Appliance. While the service was acceptable, the charges were totally unreasonable and I was not able to get any clear answer from the manager how these charges were determined.

I was charged $208.16 for a spark module that sells for ~$65 on line. I was also charged $125 for 20 minutes of labor.

When I called to complain about the excessive costs, I was told that

1. A hospital charges $100 for a pill that costs $1 to make (why is that relevant?)

2. $208.16 is a reasonable price to charge for the part because of the technician's expertise and them having it in stock

3. $125 for the labor was a great price because their technician is so experienced that he doesn't put the piece in incorrectly and have to re-do his work. Therefore, he is very efficient with his time. Other service places would take longer because they would screw up several times.

I asked why I should have to pay extra for the part because of the technician' s expertise and got no valid answer. I said I could probably understand being charged excessive amounts for the labor if their technician was so great (especially if he was doing something more difficult than changing a spark module), but I didn't understand why I should have to pay excessive amounts for both the labor and the part.

I have had several other professional services come to my house and none of them have charged more than $100/hour. Most of them charge $60-80/hr. Yet the manager still held firm that because their technician was so skilled that I got a good rate. They also said that they do not have an hourly rate, but determine an appropriate fee "by the job."


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D  27th of Aug, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
On August 29, 2007, our technician diagnosed and fixed the Viking stove at 17412 Via Quatro Camino, Rancho Santa Fe, per customer request. The following is our response to address Dr. Polidori’s question about how these charges were determined, and our professional assessment of reasonable charges.

To address Dr. Polidori’s numbered list:

1. Our explanation (of mark ups) was relevant as Dr. Polidori pretended to not understand the nature of mark-ups in business, which exist EVERYWHERE, including hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, auto shops, clothing stores, and our business.
2. We confirm that $208.16 is absolutely a reasonable price for the part. This is because:
1. Our technician carries Viking parts with him in the truck (not normal practice with other appliance companies, since Viking is an uncommon and very expensive brand), thereby eliminating the need to order parts and return to Dr. Polidori’s estate a second time,
2. The technician’s experience and expertise in diagnosing which part is broken, and
3. We guarantee the part, so that if it breaks in this timeframe, we will return and fix it at no charge.

In paragraph 4, Dr. Polidori asks why he should pay extra for the part for the technician’s expertise. This is the basis of a mark-up; they are charged because a client himself would not have known which part was broken, what is was called, how to change it out, and warranty his work. It is another matter completely to look up a used part on ebay(after he learns about it from the technician) and get a much lower price (for a used part none the less), borrowing someone else’s expertise.

3. The charge of $125 for labor was also a reasonable price. We are an honest business and do not overcharge clients. We also warranty our work. These are market prices for labor, and we do not charge “by the hour, ” so Dr. Polidori’s request for a refund is a moot point.

A critical point Dr. Polidori failed to mention is that he had an estimate given to him and he agreed to the final price in order to have the work performed. WE ALWAYS PROVIDE AN ESTIMATE AND REQUIRE VERBAL AUTHORIZATION BEFORE DOING ANY WORK. Polidori didn't mention that for some reason.

Furthermore, Dr. Polidori’s comment in paragraph 4, “…could probably understand…if their technician was so great (especially if he was doing something more difficult than changing a spark module)…” was inappropriate and purposefully degrading to our technician. If we are to use Dr. Polidori’s precedent, we can apply the example that a lawyer charges $500-1200 per hour for the “easy” work of shuffling papers on a desk and talking – not difficult work on the surface, if one doesn’t consider the experience and expertise behind it.

In consideration of the above, our price to Dr. Polidori was more than reasonable and fair. We cannot refund in such a case. We take great care everyday that our work and prices are honest and reasonable. Should you have any further questions, please let us know.


Jozef Chimowicz / akh

President and Owner

Econo Appliance Service, Inc.

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