Looking for Help with a Major Appliance Repair? Watch Out for Fake Service Providers
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If something goes wrong with any of your home appliances, you might want to call customer service or your warranty provider first. But BBB Scam Tracker is seeing more and more reports of scammers deceiving consumers with fake customer service phone numbers.
How the scam works
Your washing machine, refrigerator, or other home appliance is broken, so you can quickly find the customer service or warranty center phone number online. You choose one of the top results and a “representative” answers. They listen to your problem and assure you that the company will take care of the repairs. All you need to do is provide your name, home address, and credit or debit card information. You will be charged a small service fee so that you can make an appointment with the repair person. Often times, the agent promises “next day service” and quick repair times if you pay the fee in advance.
When your appointment time arrives, nobody shows up. The fee is on your bank or credit card statement. However, when you call the support number again, the representative claims they have no record of your previous call. In other cases, they just don’t answer.
According to a report by BBB Scam Tracker, some scammers even pose as fake repair professionals! When a fake repair person showed up at a consumer, the homeowner called the real appliance manufacturer who confirmed they hadn’t sent anyone into the residence. When asked to leave, the scammer “asked me to pay a $ 39 travel fee”. The consumer felt threatened and wanted to get rid of the counterfeit repairman.
How to avoid device repair fraud
- Check the customer service number. Scammers often run fake ads with fake customer service numbers. Instead of trusting the first search result that comes up on your search engine, you can get your information from the official company website or the warranty documentation that came with your device.
- Find out how warranties and repairs work when you buy. When buying a home appliance, find out what is included in the warranty, how long the warranty is valid, what fees you are responsible for and who will be doing the repairs. Knowing this, it will be more difficult for scammers to outsmart you.
- Make payments with your credit card. Any payment you make with your credit card can be disputed. Paying by bank transfer or prepaid debit card is like cash. There is almost nothing you can do to get the money back.
To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy companies, go to https://www.bbb.org
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