Appliance RepairMan or Appliance Repair Team or Appliance Repair Guy Scam: How to get your money back

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Dear Reader,

I sincerely hope that you’re not here because you have fallen victim to ApplianceRepairman.ca (or ApplianceRepairTeam.ca or Appliance Repair Guys). But if you are, there is hope. I was able to get most of my money back within a week by following the steps as outlined below.

If you have not heard of this company before, let me fill you in. They operate in the GTA (Toronto), Hamilton, Barrie and Oshawa. They have another website, Appliance-Repair-man.ca  that operates in Guelph, Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge. They are based in Concord, Ontario (89 Connie Crescent, L4K 1L3) and owned and/or operated by Dan Vidoser and/or Chen Kochavi.

This is how they operate:

  1. They charge $80 to send a technician.
  2. The technician will look for a minute at your broken appliance and then state that in order for him to get a proper diagnosis of the problem, he will have to open up the machine and that this is considered labour so you will be charged extra for it.
  3. He will draw up a contract/waiver for you to sign outlining the “labour” charges and the cost for each. This is what mine was, for a broken washing machine:
  • Watering system: $112
  • Mainboard/Timer: $98
  • Safety system: $70
  • Total: $280 (Bizarrely, this is the total that is calculated with every complaint I have read about, no matter what the appliance)

4. He will tell you that he will deduct the $80 initial fee if you give him the go ahead to service the machine. You do the mental math and think “$280 – 80 = $200. Worth it to get my machine working again”. You sign the waiver.

5. He spends about 10 minutes doing something with the machine (Not sure what. Mental note: always watch what your repairman does) then comes out of the laundry room and states that you need to buy a replacement part at an exorbitant cost (ex. $408.88 for a latch and lock assembly which is $97.33 online). Oh, there will be labour fees on top of that.

6. When you balk, he claims that he warned you beforehand about additional costs and you shouldn’t have signed the waiver if you weren’t willing to spend more money to get it fixed. And that collections services will come after you if you don’t pay what you owe right now ($280).

7. At this point, you will pause and wonder “Is this guy a scammer? But he seems nice! Well, it’s a lot of money, but I guess this is how most companies operate (NOTE: It’s not). Plus, I did sign the waiver so I’ll do what decent people do and honour the contract”. You give him your credit card (P.S. big mistake) and he rings it through. If you’re really unlucky, he will have convinced you to order the “needed” part, too. (Thankfully, I didn’t, but retrospectively, I should have told him to take a hike and sent him away with no payment whatsoever.)

8. He leaves. You are $316.40 dollars poorer and your machine still doesn’t work. You go online and your stomach sinks when you start to read the abysmal reviews and articles written about this company:

As of today:

  1. Homestars: 552 negative reviews, .6/10 rating (that’s less than 1/10 btw)
  2. Better Business Bureau: “F” rating
  3. Ellen Roseman/Toronto Star article, 2014
  4. Ellen Roseman/Toronto Stari article, 2019
  5. TrustPilot reviews: 92 reviews, 100% bad
  6. ApplianceRepairGuys.org: 35 bad reviews (Same company, different name)
  7. SiteJabber: 28 reviews, all bad
  8. CBC News article
  9. Google reviews: 102 bad reviews (google “ApplianceRepairman.ca reviews”, scroll down to the right, click “View all Google Reviews”

OMG, you think. I got hosed. Big time. How do I get my money back? You call your bank right away. They tell you there’s nothing they can do. You call the company and they tell you the technician honoured the contract you signed, so, sorry. They might offer you a $35 refund if you call more than once.

I decided to follow the advice found on ApplianceRepairGuys.org, a website set up by another victim of this company. He suggested filing a consumer complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario .  Wisely, the crooks at ApplianceRepairman.ca will respond once you set the ball in motion here because they do not want to be shut down.

Before filing a complaint you must write a letter to the company. Email the letter to info@appliancerepairman.ca and in the subject line write: Complaint about service done: CONSUMER PROTECTION ONTARIO (this will get their attention). Note that you don’t actually have to file a complaint just yet. Write the letter first and send it off, then wait to see if the company responds. 

In your letter to the company, make sure you describe your intention to file a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario and outline how much money you want back from them. Also give them a time limit to respond (I gave them 48 hrs but they responded the next day). Click here to read my letter.

The company will state that you must sign a waiver to get your money back which is basically a gag order for legal proceedings (which I will completely ignore if ever asked to testify against them). You can try to insist that you won’t sign it until you get your money back but you won’t be successful. They will tell you that you will receive a cheque within 15 business days once the waiver is signed. I recommend that you insist that the money be put back on your credit card (not a cheque) instead and tell them they have 24 hrs to reimburse you or you will proceed with your Consumer Protection Ontario complaint. Here is where you need to take a huge leap of faith: You need to give them your credit card number again before they can process the refund. If you prefer, ask them for a mailed cheque, but you risk having to chase them down for it. I gave them my credit card number and received the refund immediately after sending them the signed waiver. I called my bank right away and made sure that the funds had indeed been credited back to my card. Phew, nightmare over.

So there it is. It was 5 days of pure hell, but a lesson well learned. Never again will I let a service person into my house until I do some research on them.

Here are some questions I have left to ponder:

  1. How do the employees at this moralless company sleep at night?
  2. Why does VISA allow this fraudulent company to have a merchant account?
  3. How has this company been allowed to operate for 5 years now?
  4. How many thousands of customers have they ripped off?
  5. Why are victims powerless to shut them down?
  6. Why isn’t Consumer Protection Ontario stepping in to protect Ontario consumers from this company, as they are mandated to do?

I welcome your comments below. Good luck with your efforts to get your money back if you are a victim. Please let me know how it turns out.

PS: I filed a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario even though I got my money back and I encourage all victims to do the same. This way the government might finally pay attention to this scam. Here’s their number: 416-326-8800/1-800-889-9768.

I also filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau of Canada. This organization will not help you get your money back but they will help investigate fraudulent companies. Click here to file a complaint.

Blogpost update, May 7, 2019: Julian Sakinofsky is a Toronto lawyer who is preparing to take legal action against ARM as he is also a disgruntled customer. Please fill out this form to help us collect evidence against them. Please note that CRITICAL MASS is required to put them out of business, so we need your input!!!!

Blogpost update, Aug. 16, 2019: A group of us have sent a letter to CBC’s Marketplace, GoPublic CBC and W5 CTV for more media coverage. Please let me know if you want to be involved in this story by emailing me at sduckworth100@gmail.com.

 

 

35 thoughts on “Appliance RepairMan or Appliance Repair Team or Appliance Repair Guy Scam: How to get your money back

  1. Hello!! The exact thing to the tea happened to me although I completely refused to pay. I am now in a position scared and wondering if I should write this letter and demand they not sue me or take my account to collections which is what the tech threatened. If you have any advice since you have gone through the process please let me know. Just looking on the consumer protection website, Legally the have broken a couple rules And like you I have no idea how they are still in business ! At this point I just want to protect myself because like I mentioned I didn’t pay them even the $80 charge. God bless you for your posting. Seeing it gave me relief. After he left I was shaking !

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    • Omg Felicia, I am SOOO proud of you for not paying them a dime!!!! You are my HERO!!!! I wish I didn’t and I regretted caving into their threats, it would have saved me tons of heartache and time if I didn’t. Plz don’t give it a moment’s thought. You did the right thing and they will not come after you as they want to avoid any negative attention. If they do, just threaten to report them to Consumer Protection Ontario and that will shut them up for good. Trust me!

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    • I unfortunately have joined the club of someone who hired these crooks. Has anyone thought to collectively sue them? There is strength in numbers and each one complaining is clearly not doing anything. They need to be shut down!!!

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      • I agreed that everyone should sue as a class action law suit. If someone starts the ball rolling I’m in. I too refused to pay. I wrote the letter and I was told to pay at least the $80. At the end of the day I probably shouldn’t of even paid that I just didn’t want to think about these criminals anymore. I randomonly look at reviews and am in complete amazement that almost every day a review is posted with the identical story as I faced months ago. Someone needs to shut them down. I am all in for a class action. Someone start it and I’m on board

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this very useful information here, Sylvia! I followed your “methodology” here after I found your blog from one of the online reviewers for this fraud of a company, and looks like it works. I am waiting for the money to be credited back to my credit card right now. Although it takes more effort now compared to when you did it a few months ago. I had to send them emails like 4 times, threatening them with CPO each time and had to call and send another email just for them to finally send me the refund receipt. Once again, thank you so much! You are my lifesaver of some sort! 🙂

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    • So happy it worked for you, Julian! Like true scam artists, they will do their best to stay out of trouble with the authorities, hence their fear of CPO. Glad your perseverance paid off and remember to use Homestars next time! 🙂

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  3. Sylvia –
    You are a God send. I am now going to follow your EXACT instructions but had a good giggle when I read your final questions. I literally asked “Stephanie” (apparently a leader in the org) if she is ashamed of herself. She replied not at all – to which I said that her cut of this scam must be pretty nice in order for her to lose all moral value as a human. I will keep you posted as I embark on this journey. My only concern is that I paid cash – so, I will have to go the cheque route. If you or any one else is interested, I posted my experireince/review on TrustPilot. Stay tuned. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was shocked and I couldn’t believe this will happened in Canada. I was a immigrant 30 years ago. I gave up everything from what I have in my country to come to Canada for justice. I encountered the same problem as yours a week ago with Appliance Repairman. I filed my complaint to Ontario Consumer Protection. No one is willing to file a complaint as it is very time consuming. I have to stop this company robbing people money. I read through your post and find the material very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Since closing my file with them I couldn’t believe how many people they scammed alone in the month of January. Everyone must file. Even CP act stated everyone must do it. And someone should initiate a class action law suit. I cannot believe how this people operate and how there allowed to do this legally.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ontario Consumer Protection called me and closed my file as I didn’t conduct any payment. I were told to contact them (OCP) again if Appliance Repairman send me to collection agency for payment. I was begging them to do something and they said they are working on it. I told the agent that everyday there are new bad reviews on Trustpilot. The latest update was just 2 days ago.

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  7. I was sucked in yesterday for $361.60, I had to help the serviceman put my dryer back together because he could not do it himself. And it is still broken. I refused to pay an additional $260.00 for a part I later googled to be worth $23.55. The repairman actually disappeared for 30 minutes. Guessing he went to the local Canadian Tire to purchase the part. He had to put the old rear bearing back in. He did not have any industrial lubricant, so he asked me for olive oil. 4 hours he was in my home and the problem still persists. I have followed the process outlined by Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and have sent the company an email attaching my invoice and the consumer complaint notice the Ministry suggested I send. I gave them to April 18th to supply a full refund. I paid by debit, so an eTransfer better be an option for payment. I also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Thank you for posting and I will email Mary Pendino about joining the class action suit. I will follow-up here if anything else transpires.

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    • I have filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau of Canada and the Better Business Bureau. I has also contacted Pat Foran at CTV news who writes Consumer Reports. Will post when I hear something back

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    • Better Business Bureau sent me an email saying “BBB has made several attempts to contact the business regarding the above referenced complaint. We regret to inform you that we have not received a response from the company. The case has been closed as will be reported as UNANSWERED.”

      Consumer Protection Ontario contacted me, they have given this company until May 26th to respond to their second request. If no contact is made, the will go on the Consumer Watch List, then Consumer Protection Ontario will put me in contact with a pro bono lawyer for advice on next steps.

      Any update on the class action suit?

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    • Update: Copy of text of email Consumer Protection Ontario sent the company after I rejected their ridiculous offer of $ 65.00
      ” Good morning Chen Kochavi,

      The consumer – Cheryl Graham – will not accept your offer of a resolution.

      After carefully reviewing the complaint that the consumer submitted, I would like to point out that the consumer’s complaint falls under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, Part III – Unfair Practices – Section 14(1), Section 14(2)3, Section 14(2)8.

      https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/02c30?search=e+laws#BK20
      I am requesting a refund of $361.60 as the consumer was not at fault for this unfortunate situation.
      Is Appliance Repairman willing to refund the consumer $361.60?”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, you are so lucky Cheryl. All the ministry can get me is my $90 if I sign a waiver but the fact that I had to pay $600 to fix machine broken by arm, I got to bad so sad attitude by Kate who works with the ministry.

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  9. Wow, this Exact same thing happened to me! this company is a HUGE scam. They came in to “fix” my refrigerator and basically charged me $344 for Nothing. No repairs were ever done. They insisted I even needed a part. Which turned out to be an incorrect part costing me an additional $414. Long story short, the entire thing is a mess and a nightmare! I tried calling them several times, so far they are only offering to compensate me $35 similar to your story.
    Thank you for posting this; great information provided here. I will follow the steps in order to gain my refund. Bottom line, this company needs to get shut down!

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  10. I fell victim to these guys under the name appliance repair team, they are scammers! We are still fighting to get our money back and they keep giving us the run around. How are these people in business? We are down $300 and are currently fighting for some sort of refund. They keep making excuse after excuse. When the technician came for the third time to “fix” our washer he suddenly found another problem that would cost $700 I refused and he threatened to get the money collectors on me if I didn’t pay. I kicked his ass out of my apartment! These people are the worst

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  11. My wife went to their site when the LG authorized repair folks were too busy for an emergency fridge issue…HUGE MISTAKE. She didn’t check Homestars either. First visit $330 as fridge wasn’t cooling. Tech said they can reset a button but main board may go soon. Sure enough next day fridge is not cooling and we call back and main board is ordered for $800. A week later they install and next day fridge is not cooling. Call back and they come out and Sr Tech says not Main Board afterall – its a thermostat $140. Part arrives a week later and they install last week and YES fridge now cools but Sr Tech says really no Main Board was ever needed and I should seek refund. Call several times leave message for a Stephanie and finally get her yesterday. She is so rude it is unreal…finally she offers a $25 refund if we sign a waiver. We will not be signing that waiver. I have the owner’s Idan (Dan) Vidoser’s home address now of anyone needs it.

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    • Hi Mark, thanks for your comment and for completing the form. I’m actually surprised that they have an honest-sounding technician on their roster (SrTech). He must be super embarrassed to be working there. How did you get Vidoser’s home address?! I encourage you to file a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario. The more red flags for them, the better. I just sent you an email as well.

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  12. Hi Everybody, add another one to the list. I cannot believe I didn’t properly research these guys. Thankfully, we kicked them out upon realizing we were being scammed and didn’t pay them any money. We did get bullied into signing their dirty contract before their full scam became painfully apparent. They, of course, have threatened collection agency action. So, as per the helpful advice above, (a) file a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario, and (b) make a complaint to the BBB. What else?

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    • This exactly happened to me. I signed not realizing what I was signing and then sensed after he came up from “diagnosing” that we were being scammed. Told him to get out and didn’t pay him anything. The consumer protection felt we owed the $80 fee which they claim isn’t their diagnose fee but based on the implication under the law it is. I paid it even though was told by others I shouldn’t only for the fact that I didn’t want a black cloud on my back. I didn’t pay the 300$ they wanted onto off the 80$ though. They made me sign their waiver I did because I just wanted closure. My advice to you which I should of listened too don’t pay them a dime. Pretend this didn’t happen how we do report them so we have a lot of paper trail on this company to prove their shady behaviour.

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  13. Hi Jeff, First of all, I’m so sorry that you have fallen victim to ARM. It’s unbelievable that the victim count continues to rise every day. I’m actually convinced that they don’t even repair appliances. I think they are 100% fraudulent. Plz fill out the form at the bottom of my blogpost as we need more than $25,000 worth of complaints to be able to do this.

    Thanks. Our motto is: Don’t get mad, get even.

    Sylvia

    Like

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