Sometimes things go wrong. It doesn’t really matter where you live; England, Australia, the USA or even in your own idea of Utopia, things will still go wrong. When they do, we have to pay to get them fixed.
I (or we really, this includes Mrs Bob) have had a fortnight of things going wrong including but not limited to the dog, one of our cats, a hard drive, the swimming pool, my knee, the kitchen ceiling, the dishwasher, my finger and the catflap.
Now, of course, I do realise the irony of a list of things going wrong that includes the words “swimming pool” when put into a global context, but even so it’s been a tough couple of weeks for us compounded by my wife losing her business due to a rule change in Australian quarantine.
That’s not the complete list either; I decided to keep quiet about the wart that has grown on the fingerprint of my right index finger (really painful when I scroll my mouse on the computer) on the basis of it being simply too embarrassing to go public with, but I do want to talk to you about…
Well, although I will be talking about fixing the fridge as an example, this could be about calling somebody out to fix any domestic appliance here in Australia compared to the UK.
To cut a long story short (yes Bob, please do) our Samsung side-by-side fridge broke down at the very beginning of this unlucky streak; freezer = good, fridge side = bad. Fridge side, in fact, behaving like a cupboard.
Life without a fridge in Australia during summer is not recommended. The key here is fixing it fast.
Domestic appliance repairs in Australia
So, without delay, I was searching Google for someone nearby who could fix it. The first company I came across said something like ‘We are affordable and fast, we know how important your fridge is.”
Sounded like my kind of people, so I rang them. I wanted to know about their ‘affordable and fast’ and exactly what that meant to me.
“We charge a $89 callout fee, and then we charge $60 per half an hour with a minimum charge of half an hour. So your minimum cost for us to visit is $149. We can get to you the day after tomorrow.”
So, in my view, neither fast nor affordable, additionally there was no guarantee it would be fixed, but if it could, however long it took to fix it was charged at $60 per half-hour plus, of course, the price of spare parts assuming they could get them.
The second company I rang said it was $132 to turn up and diagnose the problem no matter what it was or how long it took to decide what was wrong. Then they would quote a fixed price to repair on-site immediately or return with the part required if they didn’t carry it on board at no extra charge i.e. no additional call out fee.
They could be with us the next morning; so, significantly faster and slightly cheaper.
So that’s who we chose, their engineer turned up on time, diagnosed the problem within about 20 minutes, had the spare parts on board, quoted us a fixed price of $447 (which included the $132 callout) and asked us if we wanted to go ahead.
One hour and 10 minutes later he was gone, our fridge was fixed, and we had been relieved of 447 bucks.
Turned out to be the auto defrost unit which sits behind the white plastic wall on the fridge side. I’ve looked online for spare parts and the most expensive Samsung auto defrost unit I could find was $121 plus $7.50 for postage.
Yes, that was on eBay, but it was a genuine Samsung part.
So it would appear that our repairers cleared something like $300 for a job that took one hour and 10 minutes on site. Not bad, eh?
Domestic appliance repairs in the UK
I had many an occasion to call out a domestic appliance repairers in the UK, including but not limited to fridges. Yes, things used to go wrong back there as well.
I wondered how much it would cost these days for somebody to repair my fridge, had I still been in the UK.
Back to Google and I found these…
First up, Domex. I had a go at their ‘online quote’ system, it didn’t tell me much apart from this…
They claimed no callout charges at all, which is a big bonus. That means they are diagnosing the fault in their own time and, not only that, when they quote you a fee to fix it, it better be good otherwise you could say thanks, but no thanks.
If that’s really how it works it’s a much better deal than the one I got.
Next up, Glotech…
This is a one off labour charge fee and covers the engineer for no matter how long he spends or how many visits it takes him to get your appliance repaired. The only additional cost is for parts.
Huby’s were the same…
We already know the repair here in Australia cost $447.
We are kind of guessing on the cost of the spare part, but I think it’s fair to say it’s about $130 here in Australia and probably about £60 in the UK.
By the looks of things, I could have got my fridge repaired in the UK for £69.95 plus £60 for the part, so in round figures, £130.
At current rates, that’s about $242. Even if the spare part was £100 in the UK, the total cost would have been around £170, equivalent to around $316.
So, as you can see, domestic appliance repairs here in Australia are more expensive, much more expensive. Anything from 40% to 85% more expensive, depending on the cost of that part. That doesn’t just go for fridges, it’s TVs, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and more.
On the plus side, it’s because wages are higher here and our engineers earn more money here, and that’s why it’s always important to consider the hard yakka.
No matter about that though, this is a clear victory for the UK.