How often have we heard that or something similar from a customer? Too often and the sad thing is that the vast majority of customers simply do not understand that the manufacturer warranty, or indeed any warranty, does not cover the costs to repair faulty plumbing or a door that a child jumped on. breaking it, these are simply not valid warranty claims!
It's strange this is, customers more often than not refuse to pay us for doing legitimate work in their home to rectify the problem with the appliance that had nothing to do with the actual machine. We seem to be held responsible for all manners of things, like coins in the machine, nails in it, faulty plumbing, you name it or at least we are expected to foot the bill to repair it!
To shed a different light on this kind of situation, if you ran your car into the garage door you wouldn't expect the car manufacturer to pick up the repair tab for that would you? Or because a nail punctures a tyre it's hardly the fault of the car manufacturer or, indeed, the tyre manufacturer is it? It's the same situation with appliances, the manufacturer or insurer is only responsible for electrical and mechanical faults with the appliance and not anything external to the appliance.
What really irks engineers in these situations is that it is left to us to try to explain the warranty terms to the customer and to get payment from them, when 99.99% of customers do not realise that we do not get paid for these calls at all by whatever manufacturer, insurer or work provider. The customers do not also realise that it's not through any malice that we want to charge them for the call, personally I'd far rather charge the people that issued the warranty rather than the customer themselves, but alas it's not that easy.
Then you get the attitude of, "oh well you're a company and you just have to accept the losses", so if the same customer goes to work and the company they work for can't pay them for the day they've just to accept the losses too then? I think not somehow and it is exactly the same thing!
And of late some insurance companies and manufacturers have clamped right down on such things, with some now not paying for even fascia replacements as it's cosmetic and not a functional spare! It is my opinion that this is a direct reflection on the state of the industry in general, the appliance are so cheap and margins so tight that they simply cannot suffer the costs of these calls. Yet the poor customer is unaware of this when placing the call and generally unaware of the terms of the warranty.
The list of things that follow are what many manufacturers and insurers will NOT normally pay for, some may pay for the call and some may not, it's pot luck really.
As you can see in a lot of cases a lot of things are not covered by your warranty, but then would you expect a car manufacturer to pay to have your garage door opened so you could get your car out of it? In many cases it is tantamount to the same thing and time costs money.
In days of yore it used to be that many manufacturers would just "suck it up" and accept that these costs they would soak up as a "gesture of goodwill", most often through gritted teeth and with annoyance but these days lower margins have put paid to that in large part.
People want cheaper and cheaper products, appliances included and that's fine but in order to achieve that something has to give and one of these things is ancillary costs like someone calling out an engineer for a blocked pump in their washing machine. So manufacturers reduce the cost in that respect by not budgeting for these "no fault calls" and say so in their warranty, it's up to the customer to pick up the tab for it.
In large part, it is actually consumers that are to blame, not entirely of course but the appetite for cheaper and cheaper appliances has made the situation worse over time.
The charge may seem cruel to you but the reality is that the manufacturers simply haven't the margins to soak up these costs in the modern world as, although it may not seem like it at times, they haven't got the budget to do it. You can perhaps understand this a little better if you have a read at our washing machine cost breakdown article and, what you will see is that, in a lot of cases the cost of a service visit is greater than the profit that the manufacturer or retailer made selling the machine.
It might not seem like it but, that one needless service call negates the benefit of selling the machine in the first place.
Repeat offenders are simply not worth having as customers since they cost the manufacturer money. Your custom has a negative value.
Again, it might seem harsh to you but anyone who has ever operated in a business in any managerial capacity will understand this, it's simple business economics.
The good news is however that these problems for each individual customer are usually rare only happening once or twice most often but, for a manufacturer selling thousands of machines a year, they can get several a week easily. In a single month, this could be thousands of pounds or, looked at another way, thousands of pounds that they don't have to add to the ticket price up front.
Everything is costed into the business model and this is no exception.