Pandemic causing appliance shortages, service backlogs

CLAYTON, NC (WNCN) – Toilet paper, lumber, and coins are among the shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Appliances is the last affected group of items.

A Clayton man said his refrigerator stopped working on August 11th. A service technician was called, but could not come until August 21 because of a backlog of calls. When he got there, he found that the refrigerator needed an item that had to be ordered.

The part arrived on September 11th, but the owner couldn’t make an earlier appointment until September 25th, more than a month after the refrigerator first failed.

“We’re seeing longer wait times for factory-ordered parts and some take months to get on board,” said Clint Mitchell, senior service tech at Cary Discount and Capital Appliance Repair.

“Before the pandemic, people cooked 3-4 meals a week. Now they cook three meals a day, so the equipment is put under a lot more stress because people are more at home. “

When equipment fails, the service technicians are so busy that people have to wait days to call for a service call. This repair backlog and lack of equipment occurs nationwide. It first affected freezers and has spread to other devices.

On average, traders said the wait when:

  • 3-6 months for a freezer
  • 4 months for washing machines
  • 3 months for dishwasher

Randy Pleasant, co-owner of Garner Appliances, said his showroom was missing many products from the showroom due to the shortage. He said they don’t usually sell floor models, but he doesn’t use them to fill emergency orders because factories don’t ship products.

“We try to tell customers at the point of sale to be patient because we see this,” he said. “We’re looking at some waiting times: 5-6 months for a refrigerator or dishwasher.”

Air conditioners also fail more frequently due to constant use. If you need replacement parts instead of on-site repairs, you’ll have to wait. Mitchell said parts from China take a lot longer to arrive than usual.

All dealers and service technicians said there was no clear end in sight.

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