Beware, this is a lengthy post about an appliance repair company called Repaircare. I have an email which is about 5 pages long and contains the endless disasters I’ve experienced when trying to get anything done with them. It’s a story that starts early in February 2015 and ends late in July. It’s a tale of woe, of lies, of broken promises and of simply dispicable customer care.
Repaircare is part of a company called Connect Distribution and operates out of Connect House in Birmingham. Connect Distribution supply the parts for domestic appliances, so it’s a natural extension of their business to offer repairs as “Repaircare”. More repairs equals more parts being shifted by their parent company. Result.
The short story
My problem was a simple one, and I’ll try (somehow) to detail everything that happened in a simple and easy-to-digest format. Our Bosch dishwasher, which we’d paid quite a bit of money for some years ago (it has some hygiene settings and a number of other cycles) was displaying an error code on the front which indicated that the heating element was broken. I had a look online and this particular part, which is in fact a “heat pump”, was about £180. The £129 “no fix, no fee” offer by repaircare seemed a better option, and that included all the call-out fees, parts and labour. What could go wrong?
Well, as it turns out, everything.
First up, I’ll give you the short version, because despite my best efforts this IS going to be a long post. Basically, I called them early in February and paid the £129. Despite their promise of “all work guaranteed” and “fully qualified engineers”, in my case they simply sub-contracted the job to an operation called Service 2000 from Walsall. These guys turned up in rented vans and rarely said “please” or “thank you” and had absolutely no idea on how to be friendly in any way. They were terrible at their job and, during the following 4 months of botched work, they wrecked our machine to such a point that it developed several other faults.
Meanwhile, despite many, many calls to Repaircare and many, many days off work to meet engineers, the people on the phones at Repaircare were more concerned with giving “lip service” to me as a customer. They said similar phrases, such as, “I’ll be your main point of contact going forwards with this case” and “I will ensure that you’re kept informed and we will sort this out”, only to completely go back on all that and fail to call me or bother to do anything practical.
I demanded several times to speak to a Team Leader on the call-centre. I was promised a call back twice. It didn’t come. I was told later that my phones “weren’t working”, but I questioned how I’d received several other calls on the same phones in the interim without issue. When I did, after getting cut off several times “accidentally” by the call-centre, get put through (after holding lots) to a Team Leader, I was spoken over, ignored and generally made to feel like a nuisance.
Some months later, and a full 5 MONTHS into a repair that had gone badly wrong, the complaints team failed to update me because, in their email, “We are very busy with a high level of complaints.”
Overall, they are quite possibly the worst company I have ever dealt with. They have an absolute disdain for their customers, their call-centre staff fail to take action on customer concerns, engineers are merely sent to swap items and investigations into the root cause of an issue isn’t a concern. Work is sub-contracted out to, in our case, companies that don’t appear to have been vetted. There’s no quality control, no communication, no concern, no real apologies and I’ve had to battle for 5 long months to get compensation for the damage they caused to our machine.
To add insult to injury, I had to pay a Bosch engineer to produce a report to prove the botched rewire by the Service 2000 engineer (sent by Repaircare). This bad wiring had caused the damage to the other components. I had to get a report for Repaircare to investigate my complaint further, but even after I paid for this report, Repaircare couldn’t promise they would reimburse me for this report.
Let’s not even go into the insulting compensation offers, which after 5 months of waiting were a disgrace, or the manner in which the company treats customers. They are a disgraceful company.
The long version
Here’s some of the events that happened. We go back to February first, when the first Service 2000 engineer turned up.
1 – The first visit on 23/02/2015 was unnecessary as the engineer simply wrote down the details I’d provided on the Repaircare site and then wrote down the issue I’d already mentioned before leaving.
2 – The second visit, on 27/02/2015, was by an engineer who had the correct part (we found this out later after another engineer informed us). However, he couldn’t replace the “heat pump” as it apparently needed a “cabling kit”.
3 – A third visit, on 09/03/2015, was by an engineer who was unaware that a previous engineer had visited. He performed the same dismantling as the first engineer, before coming to the same conclusion that a “cabling kit” was required. There’s an obvious lack of communication here between Repaircare and Service 2000 engineers. I mentioned to him that it would be better if Service 2000 or Repaircare had detailed the earlier visit, as it would’ve stopped the visit being wasted and me taking another day off.
4 – A fourth visit, on 12/03/2015. An engineer turned up and realised that “recabling” needed to be done and fitted the part that had been brought to our property on 27/02/2015 and again on 09/03/2015. After dismantling and reassembling the dishwasher it did indeed start heating the water, but we found after that we could no longer turn the device off from the front panel.
5 – An engineer came on 14/04/2015 and replaced the front panel containing the main board and the power button started working again. However, the machine then stopped heating water shortly after.
6 – I reported a “re-occuring fault” on the Repaircare system. They created a new job reference but I heard nothing more, so yet again I had to chase for an update. I was then told that an engineer had been to our house, retested the dishwasher and “no fault had been found”. This never happened but was quoted back to me verbatim as “fact” by a lady called Carol (Team Leader) who spoke over me and ignored most of my comments and complaints. Eventually, after another day of no call-backs, a call-centre person admitted that “a system error” had caused the new job reference to be closed “by accident”. No engineer had actually been, which we knew, and it hadn’t been re-tested, which we knew. Yet ANOTHER job reference was opened with Service 2000.
Later, when I spoke to someone again, the “ticket closure” was quoted back to me as evidence that the machine “was working fine”. It seems that NONE of what I told them on the phone got put into the system and they instead chose to believe what their system told them. Beautiful.
7 – An engineer turned up on 29/04/2015 and deemed that an “element” needed replacing, but it wasn’t the heat pump they’d replaced earlier. I questioned whether this was definitely NOT the same “heat pump” and he said that this was a totally different part.
8 – On 08/05/2015 an engineer turned up with THE EXACT SAME heat pump and fitted it. When I asked about the “element” the previous engineer had mentioned, he didn’t know what I was talking about. He started an “intensive” wash on the dishwasher and left around 10-15 minutes into the cycle. However, shortly after we heard a “clunk” and the dishwasher gradually got colder. It reported “Error E09” (the original fault meaning a failed heat pump) yet again. The front panel started to fail again. At this point it didn’t take a genius to realise that the constant failure of the heat pump and problems with the front panel could be connected, but no diagnostic has been performed as nobody seems to be communicating and we were just being sent engineers to swap parts.
9 – Shortly after, and after calling Repaircare and Service 2000 yet again to detail my concerns, we had a visit from two Service 2000 engineers. We mentioned our concerns that…
a) Initially the dishwasher was operating fine but not heating water.
b) Since the heat pump and “recabling work” had been performed, we’d had the front panel fail twice.
c) There may be a possible correlation between the recabling and the failure of the front panel and constant reoccurance of the heat pump breaking down.
They stated that it could be possible, and said that we would NOW need a PCB, flood sensor, front panel and heat pump. Once these parts were ordered and fitted, they would run the dishwasher in their lab to check the fix before returning it to us.
10 – On May 18th, I received a text message from Repaircare (no apology, no phone call, no email) stating “Job cancelled”. Through yet more calling, complaining and chasing I then found that this is due to the repair costs going above the agreed limit you have set with Service 2000.
This is when I raised a complaint and kept everything to email. The complaints process seemed to drag on for ages, and despite my 4-5 month wait and the issues we’d had with communication (none of our concerns had been relayed to the engineers attending, hardly any of the engineers were aware of previous visits), the process seemed labourious.
Eventually Repaircare said they’d send one of their “Senior In-House engineers”. This was someone who (apparently) WORKED FOR REPAIRCARE and could feedback directly. He wasn’t a contractor… apparently. A guy turned up and agreed that yes, Service 2000 had basically wired it wrong, and that had caused a chain reaction and basically blown a load of other parts.
Great, thought I, something was going to be done !
Not so. Even though the guy “apparently” worked for Repaircare, his overalls had a totally different logo on. The complaint remained pretty static, and Repaircare merely stated that they’d refunded the original £129 and that was some sort of “compensation” in a way. I mentioned (several times) that this was NOT compensation and was, in fact, the “no fee” part in their “no fix, no fee promise. What I was after was…
1 – Compensation for NOT having a dishwasher for 5 months
2 – Compensation or an apology for being a totally rubbish company and not supplying the service promised, ignoring us as a customer, not calling me back, causing me to have several days off unnecessarily and failing at pretty much every other level.
3 – The damage caused to our dishwasher.
Sadly, they wouldn’t budge. They put up every obstacle under the sun and now demanded that I get a Bosch engineer to inspect the damage and produce a report so that they could then chat to their “engineers” (Service 2000) and talk about compensation.
Why did this have to be done? Why did the “Senior in-house engineer” not produce a report for them instead? I’ve no idea. This is the strange and demented logic that seems to be prevalent within Repaircare. It’s a self-preservation society by all accounts, and customers are merely a pain in the backside. Customers, it seems, will go away if you put enough obstacles in the way.
So, we did this, because at this point I was mad as heck. I’ve worked with the internet for over 16 years and this company were unbelievable. They’ve got a Trustpilot page and, reading the reviews, I found that there was a customer service manager replying to the (now numerous) negative reviews. I wondered why my complaint, which I felt was valid and VERY long running, wasn’t on her desk. Why wasn’t she calling me? Instead I had one of two guys handling my complaint who were quite obviously buckling under the weight of complaints they were dealing with.
So I guessed the email address of the customer service manager and emailed her. No response. I emailed again. No response.
Eventually, after getting the Bosch engineer and his report, we sent it all off to Repaircare. However, that STILL wasn’t the end of the story. The boys at Repaircare told me that they’d be taking this up and they would get compensation, even if it meant going through the liability insurance that Service 2000 had. After all, they’d left me with an incorrectly-wired dishwasher.
This is a key point for me. I know you might think I’m being a bit of an arse about this, but this concerned me greatly. I’m not a fully-fledged electrician, but I do know that if I wire up a HEATING ELEMENT incorrectly there’s a potential of fire when it’s in use. We’d left the thing unplugged for weeks on end while all this was going on.
Still, this didn’t seem to be a concern to either company. There’s no mention of why the engineer had chosen to rewire the thing, any re-training or any real apology. I don’t know about you, but if I come round to your house and wire up an electric fire back-to-front and then simply disappear, ignoring your concerns for MONTHS ON END, you’d be a BIT ANNOYED.
No, no. Not Repaircare. They couldn’t give a toss. In fact, they eventually came back with a £100 offer of compensation. They even had the cheek to say that this was “in addition” to the £99 they “compensated” me for my Bosch engineer and the £129 I’d originally paid. Eh? Let’s work that out…
£129 – No fix, no fee charge. This was refunded because it wasn’t fixed.
£99 – Cost of my Bosch engineer which I had to pay for in order to progress the complaint
So no, you can stick your £100. Our dishwasher was well over £600 when we bought it because we bought a good one. £100 won’t replace it, and we NEED TO REPLACE IT because it’s now a potential fire risk.
I said no, and eventually (out of nowhere) the complaints manager bothered to respond. She offered £250, which I was going to accept because it was now July and we’d had a broken dishwasher for almost half a year because of the inept fools at Repaircare.
At this point, though, I went to Companies House and found a list of Directors. I emailed the one in charge of Repaircare. I detailed the amount of calls I’d made during February and March about my concerns over the re-wiring of my machine and the subsequent (much larger) faults. I mentioned how all of these concerns had been ignored. I detailed the “accidentally closed” fault tickets, the 9+ days I’d had to take off work and everything else I’ve waffled on about above. I was as nice as I could be and kept it short. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be hassling a Director, but I really had no choice.
Magically, I received a cheque for £450 and we went out and bought a new dishwasher. This was a minor positive in a very long running, painful experience with a company which doesn’t care. If we’d had this experience with a washing machine then I would’ve replaced the thing at my own cost, but I can live without a dishwasher for a bit, so I really wasn’t going to be insulted after being treated in this way.
So, basically steer clear of this company. They’re an absolute shambles. There’s absolutely nothing good about my experience, and they’ve still not truly apologised. In all honesty I don’t think they see anything wrong with the way they’ve treated me, and they probably see a 4-5 month fix time as “normal”. Perhaps they even think that subcontracting work out, sending people to dangerously re-wire your machine and then generally making your concerns seem insignificant as normal too.
Appalling, on every level, appalling.