Appliance repair ripoffs caught on camera (Marketplace)

[♪♪♪] [Makda] This is
your Marketplace! Busted! How can I help you? [Makda] Who you gonna call? The fix is in. I pull socks from the
machines all the time. [Makda] Who passes, who fails? We have as many
cameras as possible. It's actually $300 to
do the work and not $80. [Makda] She paid
just under 700 dollars. Wow. [Makda] And what's at
the end of this trail? It doesn't look like any
appliance company here. [Makda] Fake
listings, high bills. [Makda] We've got
some serious questions. There's no need for that. [Makda] Will
Google shut this down? Testing appliance repairs… ..starts now. [♪♪♪] [Makda] We're on a stake
out, in Waterloo, Ontario. And you're about to watch
a rip-off in real-time. [Ringing doorbell] This guy is here to fix a
washer-dryer that does not need fixing. [Makda] Homeowner Lisa Stockie
knows she's being had, but we ask her to play along. [Makda] This technician
was here a week ago, to repair a drainage issue. [Makda] Which he seems to
have fixed.

And Lisa's been
doing laundry just fine. But now he's back with a
whole new pump he says is absolutely necessary. [Makda] How do we know Lisa
doesn't really need a new pump? Because just a few hours before,
we ask this other technician to look at it. And I'm gonna go in. [Makda] Dennis Gallon is
certified by LG, the company that manufactures this machine. You can actually see
the pump from here. [Makda] He makes sure there's
good power to the pump and he confirms the pump
itself is working normally. In your professional opinion,
does it require any new parts? I've done an in-depth test and
it is working fine, it does not need any parts at all. [Makda] But Lisa was told
that she needs a new pump. I verified it three times,
that the pump is fine and it's working as per
manufacturers' specs.

[Makda] Now, just a few hours
later, our hidden cameras are capturing a different story. [Makda] Lisa's washer-dryer is
just over a year old and just out of warranty. So, these repairs are
costing nearly $700 dollars. The technician is from
a company called the Appliance Repair Team,
that used to be called Appliance Repair Guys and
Appliance Repairman. Whatever the name,
the story's the same. A trail of bad repairs and bad
reviews, hundreds of them. And hundreds of complaints to
the Better Business Bureau about shoddy workmanship
and bait-and-switch pricing.

But the company pays Google big
bucks and their ad usually comes first, when you search for
"appliance repair". That's how Lisa
finds them when her machine stops draining properly. She's told it'll be $90 dollars
to send someone out. So, when the repairman shows
up, what does he say at first? He just went back and started
looking at my machine and told me there was a problem
with the motherboard. [Makda] He assures her
that's the problem, but then… He called me in again a little
while later and told me that my drain pump was heating up and
that was an indicator– he said that he guaranteed that within
four or five loads of laundry, my drain pump would die.

[Makda] Lisa reluctantly agrees
to pay the $700, including $325 for the new pump. But since that first visit,
she has a revealing chat with a nearby friend. And she said to me, "Oh, we
just got taken advantage of with our washing machine
a couple weeks ago." And so, I asked what the company
name was, and she said it was the Appliance Repair Team, and
then my stomach just dropped. [Makda] Lisa does some research
and discovers all the bad reviews for the
Appliance Repair Team. And she figures
out something else. See that new pump
he's installing? The one he's charging
$325 dollars for? As these websites show, any
consumer can buy it themselves for less than $80 bucks. [Makda] With the repair complete
one leaves, and our first technician, Dennis, returns. So, the repair guy has finished
the work and left, and this is apparently the old
part that he gave Lisa. I can take my meter now, and
there'll be nothing wrong with this pump. [Makda] What are you
looking for right now? We're looking for ohms, between
10 and 20 ohms on the pump, and that's another verification
that the pump has continuity through it.

So, I'm going to touch one lead
to this and the other lead over to here and I got 14.1. That's what I tested last
time, so now I confirm this pump is good. [Makda] It's a working pump? It's a working pump. This pump is good. As I said, it's got tension
on it, the impeller is not broken, I verified
this the last time and we put it through a
test mode and at that time it drained no problem. [Makda] So, there's no
need to replace this pump? There's no need to replace
this pump, that's correct.

[Makda] In total she paid
just under $700 dollars. Wow. That's something to be
concerned about, absolutely. [♪♪♪] [Makda] And there are other
companies causing concern. So, we're setting up a test
house to see what we uncover. Hidden cameras will capture
any questionable tactics. And one of our producers
is posing as the homeowner. You'll see for yourself if
the fix is in when it comes to getting decent
repairs for a decent price. -Hey, Steve!
-Hello. [Makda] Steve Brannan
is joining us. He's run his own repair company
for more than 30 years and has agreed to help with our test. Together, we'll be upstairs,
keeping an eye on what unfolds in the laundry room. Okay. [Makda] But first, Steve heads
down to set things up.

[Makda] So, what are you
going to do with the machine? All we have to do is to block
the drain system ahead of the pump with a sock. I pull socks out of
washing machines all the time. [Makda] That's a common problem? Very. The most common problem I run
into on washing machines, be it top loading, front
loading, old, new. That's where socks go. Everybody wants to know,
"Where are my socks?" [Makda] That's
where they end up. They're in the washing machine. [Makda] Got it, okay. We'll just block
the drain system. it's not going to
damage anything. [Makda] So, a decent repair
guy should be able to fix the problem you are going
to cause right now? Absolutely, very quickly. That's right. This is the money shot.

[Makda] With the sock and
everything else in place, we're ready to make the first call. We decide to let
Google point the way. I googled "appliance repairs". The first thing that comes
up is an ad for the Appliance Repair Team. [Makda] Right at the top. Right at the top. [Makda] Appliance Repair Team is
the same company from our stakeout in Waterloo. [phone] Thank you for
calling Appliance Repair Team. [Makda] We get an appointment
for just a few hours later and we're told it'll be $80 dollars
for the service call, but no guesses on
the actual repair. Okay, do you have any
kind of estimate of how much you think it would
cost for this kind of– [phone] That I do not. [Makda] Our expert Steve says
any decent company should at least try to get a sense of
the problem before they show up. What I do is I ask the questions
and I tell people what I charge ahead of time, so before I go
out I make sure that people understand what my minimum is
going to be, what my maximum should be.

[Makda] From all we've heard
about Appliance Repair Team, our problem today is going to
cost at least $300 dollars with tax, no matter what. Hi! [Makda] And sure enough… There's my culprit, yeah. [Makda] Just 90 seconds
after the repairman sees our machine… [Makda] He doesn't even know
what's wrong with it, but the $80-dollar service
fee has already jumped to $280 and he wants a signature
to seal the deal. So, you think it's
going to be about $280? [Makda] Once he really gets
his hands on the washer, there's nothing to it. He finds the sock
and the problem in just two-and-a-half minutes. Okay, you got it.

[Makda] He runs a test cycle to
show that everything's working. And after a total of just 17
minutes the repair is complete. Back upstairs we settle the
bill but question the math. So, the $80
service like you said… It's included
in the price, okay. Okay, but they
didn't tell me that. Do you get people who are
frustrated when they call and get $80… They're told $80, and then… Their own repairman admits
it's a questionable tactic. The Appliance Repair Team
refuses our request for an interview…

Ajax Appliance Repair

Instead, they send a long letter
defending their practices. Their $80 service
fee is to cover the technician's costs for showing up, not to
diagnose any problem. That only happens if you pay
$280 dollars first, which is supposed to include
all labour costs. Labour, though, is also
mentioned when they explain why they charge four times what
others charge for parts, like they did in Waterloo. As for their technician
replacing a part that's not needed, they say it is,
"Not a practice that we accept." Round two. I thought it was a little fishy. [Makda] Why you can't
always trust Google. [Makda] Hidden cameras,
fake listings, bogus names. And the men behind the maps. [♪♪♪] [Makda] This is
your Marketplace. It's another day at our
test house and once again, our washing machine is
not draining properly. That's because our expert Steve
Brannan has stuck a sock in it to see what kind of service we
get when we call in different repair companies. Today, though, we're not
sure exactly which company is showing up. But don't blame us.

[Phone ringing] A few days back, we decide we'll
get two different estimates for our washer. [phone] Service, Owen
speaking, how can I help you? [Makda] And we set up
appointments with two different companies, both of them local. Upper Beaches
Appliance Repair… Monday afternoon
would be great, yeah. [Makda] ..and
Leslieville Appliance Repair. I wanted to get an estimate of
what it would cost to fix my washing machine? [Makda] We book them
for next Monday and Wednesday to see who has the best price. As a consumer, why shouldn't I
call two different companies? [Makda] And get two
different estimates from two different companies. But on Sunday,
we get a call back. What did you say, sorry? [Makda] From a company
called Omega Appliance Repair. Who says we've booked two
appointments with them and need to cancel one. I booked for Upper Beaches,
and I booked for Leslieville. [phone] The main
company is Omega Appliance. [Makda] But I didn't call
Omega Appliance.

I thought I was calling
two different companies. [♪♪♪] [Makda] After much confusion
we agree to one service call. Coming! [Makda] And that
leads us to today. Where we learn that even
the repairman is confused. It's to the left. Can I just ask, sorry,
which company are you? Okay, because I
called Upper Beaches. I don't know! What do you mean, though? I also called Leslieville, and
then I got a call yesterday. You're Leslieville? You're Omega Appliance. Okay, because I don't
know who you are! Yes, please.

[♪♪♪] [Makda] This same kind of
confusion happens with Joseph Renaud of
Ajax, Ontario… -Hey, Joseph!
-Hello. [Makda] How are you? Good, good. [Makda] ..when he needs to
repair the oven in this rental unit he owns. So, here's the stove over here
and it's actually a problem with the bake element inside. [Makda] Joseph calls a company
called Ajax Appliance Repair, a local business
with great reviews. At the time, they had
23 reviews and all of them were five-star,
so I thought they must be pretty reliable. [Makda] But when the technician
arrives, the simple repair becomes over $400 dollars. In my head, I just thought,
"This sounds like way too much." Joseph asks for a written quote
and is surprised to see it's not from Ajax Appliance Repair.

It's from Omega Appliance. [Makda] What did
you think about that? I thought it was a little fishy,
so then I went and did some searching on Omega Appliances,
and it had very poor reviews. [Makda] When you saw all of
these complaints with Omega, what did you think? I thought, honestly, it was
unethical to advertise as a local company and use a
different company's name. [Makda] All this makes us
wonder,
does Ajax Appliance Repair really even exist? We hop into our cars and
go looking for answers. [Makda] This looks
like where we need to be. Yeah, this looks
like Westney Road here. [Makda] There's a
Shoppers Drug Mart. Looks like a clinic. Fast food on this side. The address for
Ajax Appliance Repair turns out to be this plaza.

Looks like just a plaza here. Yeah, it doesn't look like
any appliance company here. [Makda] When we check
the address for Upper Beaches Appliances,
it turns out to be this clothing store. And Leslieville appliances is
another shopping mall, all of them lead back to Omega. I'm locked out of my place. [Makda] If some of this is
sounding familiar, it's because of a story we did last
season, on a company called FC Locksmith. We've learned that FC is owned
by the same people who own Omega Appliance. [Makda] There it is. And that does not look like a
locksmith company.

That does not look
like a locksmith company. [Makda] Nope. In that story, we discover
dozens of fake locksmith locations on Google
Maps all linked to FC. After our story airs, all those
fake locations are removed. But now we're finding fake
appliance repair listings linked to FC's sister company, Omega. It's time to make a
house call of our own… to the headquarters
of Omega Appliance. [♪♪♪] [Makda] We'd really would like
to hear from the owners of this company. Looks like they
just locked the door. And insider tips on how
to get the right fix! [♪♪♪] [♪♪♪] [Makda] This is
your Marketplace .

We're heading
north of Toronto to Concord, Ontario
with questions for a key player in the
appliance repair industry… a company called
Omega Appliance. [phone] Are you guys
getting close to Concord? [Makda] Yeah, I'm pretty
close right now. It's a company owned by people
we've already investigated for using fake Google listings
and fake reviews in the locksmith industry. Just call them, see if we can
get them to come outside and talk to us. We now know, Omega
controls a big chunk of the appliance repair market. And there it is. Just like with locksmiths,
customers think they're calling local companies. But all those calls from
across Canada end up inside this building, where agents
dispatch technicians. [Makda] Omega headquarters is
right around that corner. We're going to head over there
and hopefully We can talk to one of the owners. The owners of Omega are
Eran Gurvich and Ilay Avnan. Last season, with locksmiths,
they tell us they know very little about online advertising.

But listen to Eran
now, in this podcast. [Makda] We try for weeks to
get them to talk to us, but they decline. So, we're here to
ask one more time. That's the office right there. Let's give them a call and
see if they'll come outside. Can I speak
to Eran Gurvich? [Makda] Actually, we're right
outside your office, can you please let him know CBC
is here and we have some questions for him? The minutes pass. Looks like they
just locked the door. But the answer is still no. [Makda] We'd really like to hear
from the owners of this company. We've got some
serious questions. We offer to keep waiting and
a short time later…

[Tires squealing] ..a van speeds past. There was no need for that. But still no sign
of either owner. [voicemail] The customer you
have dialled is currently not available, please try
your call again later. [Makda] Interesting. Hmm. Guess they're not
taking any more calls. They shut off the phones. Instead, we get a statement from
their lawyer, saying they don't think location matters when
it comes to quality service. And they hire companies to
do their online advertising, but don't know how it's done
or the precise content. The other player in
all this is Google. When we did our locksmith story,
Google promised to crack down on fake listings. Now that we've exposed
similar problems in the appliance repair industry, Google says they need to do
some more fixing of their own. Google tells us, because of
our investigation they are, "auditing all appliance repair
listings in Canada" and are already shutting down
some fake listings. Meantime, here are
some insider tips. Research your problem to
see if there's an easy fix you can do yourself.

If not, ask people you know to
recommend a repair company. And when you call,
give lots of details. They should be able to
guesstimate the repair and the cost. [♪♪♪] [David] Repeat
offenders exposed. Will she go back to the
same long-term care home? No, absolutely not. We've never seen a home charged
criminally for what I think is criminal behaviour. [David] Abuse caught on camera. We couldn't believe what we saw. [David] How to fight
for better care. [♪♪♪].

As found on YouTube

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