ApplianceRepairman.ca 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. 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. 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!!!!

 

20 thoughts on “ApplianceRepairman.ca 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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