Dealing with this company was the worst appliance repair experience of my 71-year life. This company did an inadequate repair that made things worse and caused secondary damage. Then they refused to return in response to my call for help. Many details follow, for those interested.
We noticed water staining in the floorboards around the cabinet enclosing our dishwasher. When the technician from RepairCare removed the dishwasher, we saw a small puddle on the floor, mainly near the stained floorboards. The technician diagnosed the problem as a leaking water inlet valve and shut off the water supply to the dishwasher. We had to wait several days for him to return with the part. The floorboard water marks disappeared during this time.
The technician returned and replaced the valve. He left in the late afternoon, after brief testing of the new valve for leakage. He told me if I had any more trouble I should “call him and he would come right back”.
We ran the dishwasher that night, and in the morning there was a large collection of water bulging through the ceiling of the room below the kitchen, precisely under the dishwasher. This is an occupied bedroom, and luckily the occupant awoke in time. We managed to move the furniture and get buckets ready. The bulge opened up and discharged 1½ gallons of water (measured). We shut off the water supply to the dishwasher, and there was no further leaking.
I texted RepairCare’s technician and also left a message at the company number. I emailed pictures of the ceiling. No one from the office called me back. No technician appeared. I called again twice that day and spoke with people who told me they were “gathering information” and would get back to me. I sent more pictures. The customer relations person (“Tarah”) emailed me at 6:48pm to say:
"I have spoken to several of my senior technicians, called a few restoration companies and spoke to the technician…..we do not believe the damage is caused by the dishwasher…. If it is something that we have done, please provide me with a letter on company letter head stating that the repair that the technician did in the last 24 hours was the cause of the damage. If this is the case, then we will go from there in providing you with a resolution that would be fair, professional and ethical."
They came to this conclusion without ever actually being on site again!
When I asked how they could justify not returning when a customer calls and says the problem is worse than before, Tarah replied:
"Based on the information you gave us yourself yesterday and what we know about the specific appliance you have, there is no reason to send another technician out there."
And further, when I begged them to just come back and look for themselves:
"…you ran the dishwasher and said there was no water on the floor and that the dishes are coming clean. As such no need to go back. We believe that you have a more serious problem with leaking elsewhere but again we cannot be sure. That is why we have asked that you complete the repair and if it is something that was done by our technician you would be compensated fairly."
So I started over with another dishwasher repair firm. The new technician removed the dishwasher and we looked at the inlet valve. When he turned the water supply back on it dripped at a rate of 100 drops/minute. This was the valve that RepairCare had installed! I took a video of the leak and sent it to RepairCare. Tarah replied:
"Please provide me with a letter on company letterhead from the company that came to do your repair. Once I have confirmed what you have said with the company, we can proceed from there. As for the damages to the ceiling, please provide the required documentation as stated in my previous email."
Apparently my report as their customer, plus a VERY CLEAR VIDEO, was not enough to persuade them that their valve replacement was not successful!
The second technician asked his boss about writing such a letter but his boss did not want him to get involved in a potential legal dispute.
I appealed by email to Koby Lerner, listed at the website as president of RepairCare Canada, asking whether refusal to return when the customer calls was the experience he wanted for his customers. He looked into my file and replied:
"…I saw that Tarah's resolution was provided and everything that you paid was already refunded back to your credit card. You should see it in 3-5 business days."
Tarah had never made any offer of a refund to me. And a refund does not address the damage to the ceiling. [The refund did come through to my credit card.]
I then asked the second technician to return and replace the already-replaced-but-still-leaking valve. Interestingly, upon removal the valve appeared not to be new. There was yellowish discolouration on a silicone part of it, and corrosion on a metal part. I then realized that the RepairCare technician had not left the old part behind when he installed this “new” part. I sent a picture of the removed valve to RepairCare, with the questionable parts indicated. Tarah replied:
"[the RepairCare technician] has assured me that the part is new. He is to provide me with a receipt from the supplier showing me proof of payment and date of purchase by end of day tomorrow. I have also sent the pictures for my senior technicians to look at the picture of the part as well. I have 2 responses so far. One said "It's normal for it to turn yellow really fast doesn't take long for the new valve to turn yellow. Also metal deposits or minerals depends on their water. Some people have cleaner water than others."
Really? One cycle of use and five days of sitting with the water supply turned off caused this valve to look old?
But the second valve replacement did the trick! There has been no further leaking, which confirms to me that the previous valve was responsible for the ceiling accumulation. No one at RepairCare seemed willing to draw that conclusion, however, despite the video of their valve leaking at a rate of 100 drops/minute = 300 cc/hour.
The contractor who repaired the basement ceiling (for $904 with tax) was not able to understand what I wanted from him exactly in the way of confirmation about the cause of the damage (language barrier). He was a one-person operation out of his home and did not have letterhead. He was willing to sign a statement confirming that my picture of the ceiling damage showed the room directly below the kitchen. I sent this to Tarah, along with a picture of the exposed area where the damaged drywall had been removed. This showed the electrical supply cable to the dishwasher, right in the middle of the damaged area . Tarah replied that she needed:
"…a company letter head stating that the repair the technician performed in the last 24 hours was beyond a shadow of a doubt [emphasis mine] the sole cause of the damage. Once we receive the letter, I will then contact the company and go from there."
Whew! “Beyond a shadow of a doubt” is more than you need to convict someone of murder!
Here it is simply: It was RepairCare’s responsibility to return when I notified them that my problem was worse. They abandoned me without ever returning to see for themselves what my photos and video plainly showed - that the valve they installed leaked and damaged the ceiling below.