Hopefully you've never met “The Condemner” and with the help of this article, you will be prepared if he ever shows up to your house. This serviceman has minimal knowledge of Appliance repair. He knows enough to show up, do a quick song & dance, tell you that your appliance is not worth repairing, (“because it would be cheaper to buy a new one”), grab his fee and then rush out the door to condemn the next appliance.
The Condemners sole purpose is to condemn as many appliances as possible each day. If you do the math, if the Condemner visits just 3 houses a day at $ 50 a visit, that's $ 150 for a days work! That's a lot of money because the condemner has no overhead costs. He never fixes anything so he does not need parts, licenses, insurance, pricey specialty tools, etc.
If you are not aware that you're dealing with a Condemner, the end result has Good and Bad News. The Good News is he may tell you what you want to hear. Sometimes you're just tired of looking at that Harvest Gold Range or your Avocado Green Refrigerator and you're ready to buy a new one, and that's exactly the news the condemner gives you. The Bad News is, you just spent $ 1,600 on a new refrigerator when your old one could have been easily fixed for $ 250.
What are a few ways you can spot a condemner. First, He answers your call as if it were his personal phone (because it probably is) with no professional greeting. Second, he does not take credit cards. Third, if it actually gets this far and you schedule an appointment, he looks unprofessional (think red Camaro for a service vehicle and beach bum attire for a uniform).
So lets say the serviceman passed all the pre-qualifiers and you scheduled an appointment but you still think you're dealing with a condemner. What can you do? First, ask questions about what failed and what kind of tests were done to verify the failure (A complainer will not have adequate answers to simple technical questions). Second, ask questions about the repair. When can it be done, How much will it cost, etc. Third, if you're not satisfied with the answers and you still feel like you're dealing with a condemner, it may be best to just let him go on his way and have the appliance re-diagnosed by a more reputable company. You will have to pay another Diagnosis fee and it's possible that the second diagnosis will end in the same result but at least you will be more comfortable moving forward with the purchase of your new appliance, without wondering if it was necessary.
Finally, it's better to not worry whether you're dealing with a condemner or not. If you find a good serviceman stick with him, even if he's a little more pricey than the rest (you'll save in the long run by dealing with an honest person). If you do not have a serviceman yet, ask around and do not stop asking until you have at least one company to start with. Check the companies credentials, legal, professional, social and moral.
While the focus of this article was on the one man operation and / or subcontractor. It's important to note that some of the most notorious grievners work for the national companies. These are either over scheduled servicemen who do not have time to properly diagnose, salesmen in disguise who try to get you to buy a new appliance from their store or a new hire who has very little training and field experience.
Condemners are everywhere but hopefully now you are a little more prepared if you ever meet one.