Today’s views on appliances may have changed from what they were 15-20 years ago but, there are still a few of us out there that want to and realize that repairing what we have is often less costly and gives us a more reliable unit. This whole post is sparked from my experience trying to get a part for my whirlpool drier. Now of course I did look online and found the specific part (3399878) on Amazon for half the price ($11.49) in a kit but, the shipping would mean I had to wait 2 days to get it. So, I started calling around to find the best deal I could locally. I ALWAYS start with the main location, in this case a Sears Parts center(Sears Parts & Repair 971 W Center St Provo, UT 84601), to get a foundation price. They quoted me $29,##. As I called around I found a place that had the “same” part for $20 (Best Buy Appliance – 665 N State St Orem, UT 84057) and $10(Appliances Repair Center – 354 N State St Orem, UT 84057.. )
Now the obvious choice would be the $10 right? Well… he was currently moving store locations and was working out of his home. He offered to meet me somewhere but seemed really (and understandably from his side) hesitant to have me come there (red flag). I understand his position but without a place that I can go to in a warranty situation I could just not go forward with it. So I set my sights on the place that had it for $20. I really should have gotten the clue when I called because when I called, I told him I was looking to see if he had a part in stock. He asked what the part was and so, I started giving him the part number “3399..”. Mid number, he interrupted me and asked no, what part is it. I thought, Oh, he needs to narrow his search in his books by general part first.(understandable right?) so, I told him it was a thermal cut out fuse. Immediately he said, yup we have it, it’s about $20. Really?? I thought, how would he know which one out of all of the variations out there?.. oh well it was closer than sears and less expensive so I told him I would be there about noon while on my lunch break. Now I did google this place first and it had several 5 star reviews and one 1 star review ( all of which I read). And my outlook was, this must be a diamond in the wroth. Lunch time came and I rushed off to get my part so I would still have enough time to get gas in my buggy and eat. When I got there I first thought “ wow this better be one good diamond!” well, not really, it was “ what no parking at all?”. There were several washers and driers out front which when I walked in, I realized were the ones cleared out to make room enough to make a path from the door to the counter.. the rest of the “sales floor” was completely filled with half assembled appliances that were nasty by appearance to match the rest of the décor (or clutter) of the store and that was just my initial impression. There was another customer so I looked around while I waited and listened to the conversation. He seemed a little pushy toward a service sale over straight forward advice. As I wandered, I noticed sighs everywhere “NO REFUNDS”, “NO EXCHANGES”,”NO RETURNS”, “NO WARRANTIES”. Hidden behind one of the nasty fridges was a sign that said “20% restocking fee on all returns” which seemed odd considering there were “NO RETURNS” When it was my turn, I showed him the part I needed. He tested it to be sure ( that is a good thing) and then went to digging through several apparently unorganized parts boxes. After calling and asking several questions to the person on the other end of the line about my part for several minutes, he came back with 2 bags. One had a part that looked nothing like the one I had, and another one that was the kit for the one I needed and one other part. The kit was , if I recall correctly $38 through him but, he assured me that the one by its self was the right part (even though you could tell he wasn’t quite sure himself). I said “OK but if this is not the right part can I return it?”. “No”, he said, “there are no returns, once you are out the door it is yours”.. Humm he’s not SURE that it is the right part but if it’s not, he will not take it back either.. Fine! I need to get back to work.. I pulled out my debit card and… “sorry cash only”.. OK I’ll have to go get some money. I left, got some gas, and went to Sears, nuff said.
On the way to sears, I had forgotten to grab my part.. “crap I thought.. well I still have the part # on my phone, I should be OK”. When I got there, it was clean (like you would expect) I kindly waited in line and when it was my turn I told them I needed to get a thermal fuse for my drier. The associate on the next line says “ oh yea, I have not pulled that one yet but it is “ .. and proceeded to tell the person helping me exactly where it was at. When they brought the part out, I realized it was the kit, for about the same price as the other place was trying to sell me the wrong part for. I asked about the return policy and they indicated if the bag is opened (so you could do a rough test fit without opening it) they would not take it back for a refund but, if the part is installed, works, and then goes bad within a specified time, they are more than happy to exchange it for a new one. If the bag was still sealed, they would also be willing to offer a refund. I got the part and was on my way with the correct part and a return policy to boot.
Lesson learned: not always is the less expensive part really less expensive.
If you would like to see more reviews like this “on the spot reviews” post.. let me know if there is anywhere you would like me to check out and review as well. (all reviews are not bought but are just as I experience it)