Fix Your Dishwasher and Save the Planet

We human beings generate a lot of waste.  That has always been the case; archaeologists learn much of what they know about previous civilizations by the thorough examination of their garbage pits.  In this modern age, especially in developed countries, we generate truly staggering amounts of trash.

In the United States alone, Americans toss about four and a half pounds each, or 230 million tons of garbage a year.  Less than 25% of that gets recycled, 18% is incinerated, and the rest ends up in a landfill.

More than 70% of the material that goes to the landfill could have been recycled.  Some of the bulkier items that contain a great deal of reusable material are appliances.

Home Appliances are Built to Last

Home appliances originally were made to last for as long as 20 years, but these days homeowners find themselves on average replacing them every 3-7 years.

There are a variety of reasons for this which I’ll discuss a little later, but this “disposable” nature of modern appliances has a large impact on landfills.  They are bulky, are not biodegradable, and take up a lot of space.  Appliances just sit in the landfill and rust. Worst of all, they expel harmful waste into the environment.

Naturally, there is a better way.  If an appliance has failed and cannot be repaired economically, it should be taken to a recycling center, where nearly all of its components can be recycled or reused in one manner or another.  Better still, it can be repaired, and often less expensively than you expect.

Why do People Throw Away Appliances?

According to Consumer Reports, the number one reason people dispose of appliances is because the machine has failed, and the homeowner believes it would be cheaper to just toss it and buy a new one.

According to a Consumer Reports study, one in five new appliances will break in the first 3-5 years.  70% of consumers whose appliances fail will not try to repair an out of warranty machine. That adds up to a great many appliance filling up landfills.

The reasons not to repair are as varied as the people who own them, but the most consistent reasons are the cost of an in-home appliance repair, and the time it takes to have the repair completed.

It is normal for this process to take two or even three visits, and cost on average $170 to $300.  There are alternatives to this, not only saving the consumer time and money but keeping down the numbers of appliances piling up in our landfills.

Try DIY Appliance Repair

Most repairs are easier to complete than people realize, and homeowners can quite often make the repair themselves.  While this may seem daunting, Neli, an online appliance repair company, will walk you through it.

Neli is an online appliance repair company that features experienced appliance repair technicians, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  These technicians interact with customers through live chat to help determine what the problem is and how to fix it.

Neli features a unique camera sharing APP called Virtually There™ that allows the homeowner to show the technician what they are seeing.  This can greatly speed up the diagnosis and repair process.  Customers report that the technician can often help diagnose the problem in just minutes, and will help find any needed replacement parts online at the best price.  Once customers receive the new parts, Neli technicians are available to take them through the removal and replacement of the failed part.

Priced at just $35 for a diagnosis session and $45 for a repair, this is a significant cost savings.  Add to that the savings on purchasing the part without the service company’s mark up, and the total savings are often significant.

If even a small percentage of homeowners opted for the DIY appliance repair route instead of throwing out their failed appliances, there would be a significant reduction in landfill use.  It might be overstating the case to say that fixing your own dishwasher will “save the planet,” but in the “every little bit helps” arena, this is a good one.

You may not have singlehandedly saved the planet, but you kept one appliance out of the landfill, repaired your own machine while saving both time and money, and feel pretty accomplished as well.  That is a pretty good day!

Book an appointment with Neli below!

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Why Live With It? Repair It Yourself!

Monday morning at work, co-workers greet each other with “How was your weekend?” and “What did you do?”.  I work with a regular cross-section of people, so I have been a little surprised at the increasing numbers of folks who reply, “Oh, I repaired my dishwasher,” “I built a deck,” or “I made my own moonshine!”  Just kidding about the last one, but it seems that more and more people are taking on do-it-yourself projects and getting great satisfaction from them.

DIY is the way to go

The Do-It-Yourself movement, while in one sense as old as humanity, has taken on greater than ever prevalence.  This can be in part because of the popularity of DIY shows on television, the ease of getting cheaper parts, and the overall cost savings.  I think there is a little more to it, though.

Inevitably, when friends tell me about a DIY success, there is an excitement and pride in their voice. They have taken on projects they were not sure they could do, found a way to complete them successfully, and saved themselves money.  That’s hard to beat!  One friend recently repaired the ice-maker in her refrigerator.  That seemed a pretty complicated chore for someone who was not a technician, so I had to hear that story!

It turns out her ice-maker had been down for the count for a while, but otherwise the appliance worked just fine. The ice-maker being out was a real pain, but she did not want to pay the high cost of an in-home service call just for convenient ice.  She wondered, “Why should I put up with this?  But do I have to pay a repair tech $70 or $80 to come out to the house only to tell me it doesn’t work?  I already KNOW that!”

So she took the bull by the horns and found a better way.  She visited Neli, an online appliance repair company, and their technician talked her through figuring out what the trouble was. To hear her tell it, in about 15 minutes she had gone online, described her problem, and determined the solution. The technician helped her find the right part at the best price, and there you have it!

She no longer has to put up with a daily annoyance and did not have to pay a small fortune.  Turns out, she learned that the repair would have cost her $250.  The Neli Technicians are even available to guide their customers through installing the parts needed to resolve a problem.

Take Stock of Your Appliances

That got me looking around my own house. I counted 3 appliances that actually were not performing at 100%. Some I had forgotten about, actually, because I had been putting up with it for so long.

My dryer had an obnoxiously loud squeak, my dishwasher only performs three of the four cycles it should, and the washing machine lid switch will occasionally stay stuck for hours after the wash is done.  Why am I putting up with this?

The reason I was putting up with malfunctioning appliances boiled down to two things: time and money.  Since all three of those appliances still mostly performed their functions, why take time off from work and pay as much for a service call for a minor problem I would a major one?  I kept thinking what my friend who repaired her own ice-maker had been asking: “Why live with it? Repair it yourself!”

How many people across the country are dealing with these daily inconveniences for the same reason?  A great number, anecdotal evidence tells me!  Now, though, with innovative companies like Neli taking the DIY movement to the next level, there is no reason to put up with it.

Don't be Intimidated

Naturally we are all a little intimidated taking on a job we don’t know if we can do. Personally I would never have tried to repair a dryer. That is until my friend told me about Neli and explained that I would not actually be doing it alone.

Not only does the technician, through live chat and camera sharing, show you what to do, he stays online with you throughout the whole process. That takes a whole lot of the intimidation out of it! Get stuck? Your tech is right there to explain. Not understanding exactly what is going on? You can share your smart phone’s camera through Neli’s Virtually There™ camera sharing app, allowing the tech to see what you see. The technician can even mark your screen with a virtual pencil to make it even clearer!

Inspired, I now have three projects to get busy with! Now, I no longer have to put up with these everyday annoyances. With the help of Neli, I’ll just repair it myself!


Why Extended Warranties Are a Bad Deal

 

I recently came across a photo on Facebook, posted by an angry customer whose 18-month-old appliance needed $450 worth of repairs. The answer he received from the manufacturer’s representative was, “you should have bought our extended warranty”. The customer has better options than that, which I’ll discuss below, but what about those extended warranties?

Are Extended Warranties Worth the Money?

Consumer Reports Magazine says no. When you need to repair your refrigerator, washing machine or computer, it’s both upsetting and costly. That’s why so many people are open to the idea of buying extended warranties that cover repair costs.

These extended warranties, also sometimes called service contracts or protection policies, are nearly universally criticized by consumer advocates such as Clark Howard, Consumer Reports, and others. Their advice: Skip them.

Look for the Fine Print

Extended warranties can have many “gotchas”, using contract fine print to deny coverage for almost any reason. They’ve become a major source of complaints to the Better Business Bureau and elsewhere.

“Accidental damage may not be covered. And there may be clauses that allow the company to deny coverage if, for example, you don’t follow their instructions for routine maintenance,” says the Federal Trade Commission.

Extended warranties often exclude a variety of parts. For example, Consumer Reports recently reviewed a refrigerator extended warranty and found that among the parts that aren’t covered are ice-makers, beverage dispensers, door seals and gaskets, hinges, lighting, and handles.

The company, using their warranty fine print, can ask questions like the following:

  • Can you demonstrate that the troublesome part wasn’t already broken when you signed up—a so-called preexisting condition?
  • Was the problem caused by a manufacturing defect or by an accumulation of sediments, rust, mildew or mold?
  • Is it a cosmetic issue that doesn’t affect an item’s performance?

All of these can be reasons why a provider will reject your claim. That’s why it’s so important to thoroughly review the fine print.

Duplicating Warranty Coverage

Some extended warranties simply duplicate the express warranty coverage you have from the manufacturer, which you’re required to use first.

Along with the initial cost and deductibles, some plans charge a fee every time you make a claim.  If the plan allows you to use your own repair shop, that business typically has to obtain approval from the provider before beginning work, a big hassle that some shops might consider too much trouble.

Providers can go out of Business

Yet another concern is that providers can go out of business, leaving customers without the coverage they paid for, warns the FTC. That’s a particular issue with third-party extended warranties, as opposed to those provided by product manufacturers.

Some companies make lots of promises while hawking extended warranties, leaving the “gotchas” to the fine print, if they disclose them at all.

This doesn’t mean that all extended warranties are bad or that you can’t possibly come out ahead by purchasing one. But even the best plans likely aren’t worth the money you spend on them in the long run.

So What’s the Solution?

Earlier I mentioned there is often a better way, and there is. It is cheaper as well. Many appliance repairs are far easier to diagnose and repair than you think. Quite often, with a little help and guidance, you can do it yourself.

Neli is an online, do it yourself appliance repair company that has technicians who, through live chat and camera sharing, can walk you through the diagnosis and repair. They can also help you find the parts you need substantially cheaper than you would otherwise pay for an in-home service call. You can learn more about Neli here. Or book an appointment below.

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The bottom line is that an extended warranty is quite often not worth the cost. The frustrated customer who posted the photo certainly did not seem to want to pay for that but did not need to pay the high cost of an in-home service repair either. Now, there’s a better way, and consumers are better off for it.


Your Next Appliance Repair May Feature A Technician On The Other Side of the Country, or the World

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Tech on line

As an online recruiter for an innovative new business, I speak to people from all over the country, and I hear many different takes on the businesses they are in.  I began recruiting in 2005, so you would think there would be few surprises in store for me, but the current group of guys I’m dealing with have completely changed my perspective. Everyone would like more pay, better conditions, and a boss they just love. These guys universally believe they have found all three, and aren’t shy about telling you.

Before I tell you about these enthusiastic and excited guys, I need to give you some background on the business they have joined. I am the lead recruiter for an online, DIY appliance repair company called Neli. This company has a radical new take on repairing home appliances, partnering DIY home owners with appliance repair technicians who have years of experience and expertise. Using Neli’s new technologies, the technicians guide the customer through a diagnosis or a repair of their broken appliance using chat and live camera sharing. The camera sharing, using Neli’s Virtually There™ APP, allows the technician to literally see what the customer sees, to freeze the customer’s screen and then mark on it to highlight key points.

Customers save a great deal of money by not paying for an in-home service call.  They pay only $19.95 for diagnosis and $24.95 for repair.  Doing it themselves also allows the DIYer to do it on their own schedule and saves taking time off from work. Obviously, Neli’s customers think this is a serious win-win, with little downside.  But what do the on line technicians think?

Who are these Neli Technicians, and what do they think of this new way to conduct their business?  They are highly experienced technicians, with an average of 15 years in their trade.  For the most part, they have worked with major appliance repair companies, but many are independent contractors in their own right, some even owning their own appliance repair businesses. 

What is it they find so appealing about Neli and its unique business model?  The answers are as varied as the technicians themselves, who come from all regions and lifestyles, but some basic themes emerge.  John, a 16-year appliance repair technician who specializes in repairing refrigerators, freezers, and icemakers, sums up what many Neli Techs think in one sentence, “I’m sick of being on the road.”  It is common for appliance repair technicians to spend half their day driving from one in-home service call to the next.  Tom, a tech from Bedford, Virginia, noted, “Just today I drove over 250 miles to answer 12 calls.  I was ready to get off the road.  With Neli, I can earn money when I would have been stuck in a traffic jam.”  A Neli Technician can literally sit in his living room while answering the calls of Do it Yourself Appliance repair customers.  Since the Technicians communicate only by chat, they can stay in their homes while helping a customer fix a dishwasher or repair a washing machine that won’t drain.

The flexibility Neli provides its customers then, extends to its technicians. David, an appliance tech who hails from the Bronx, NY, told me he is especially excited about the ability to reach customers anywhere in the world.  “Not only has Tin Lizze broadened my customer base beyond the limit of where I can drive, it actually gives me global reach.  Since Neli’s chat features language translation, I can conduct a chat with a customer in Finland, in his own language!”  Flexibility indeed, when you can work from anywhere you like, regardless of where in the country, or the world, your customer is located!

     A common difficulty traditional appliance repair techs encounter is dealing with customers who are upset at the high price of appliance repairs.  The customers are often annoyed to learn that a second visit is required because the needed part was not already with the technician.  Frank, a Neli technician from California, noted, “So many in-home service customers are surprised and angry when I present the bill.  They take that anger out on me.  With Neli, they know the price is low, and they have already paid it up front.  I love not having to deal with that!”  Neli advertises that with just a few tools and the experience of their techs, most homeowners can make their own repairs, saving themselves both time and money.  This innovative alternative does just that.

Another commonly expressed sentiment concerns the large companies for which many of the technicians worked.  Many technicians are frustrated with having to “up sell” or push extended appliance warranties that overpromise and under deliver.  “Neli allows me to take care of my customers with integrity,” said Kevin, “I don’t feel like I have gone into their house on false pretenses.  The big companies don’t always care if the customer’s dryer gets repaired.  They would rather I sold them the extended warranty.”

Neli offers a better way for homeowners to solve the problems caused by a failed appliance, whether it is a dryer that leaves clothes damp or a range that won’t heat up.  Neli Technicians are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to turn a frustrating situation into an empowering one that saves both time and money. Even when the repair itself is beyond the capability of an untrained homeowner, the Neli techs are a big help.  Fidel from New York captured this when he said, “Even if they can’t do the repair, if I talk them through the diagnosis and help them purchase the part at a better price, they already have saved money.  They also probably cut out one service call.  They don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by the repair guy, they can just say, ‘Change this part for me.’

But what about the better pay, conditions, and a boss they love? The technicians can work as much as they like, or as little. With no time driving between appointments or prepping vehicles, that is more time devoted to helping customers. They have the ability to double the national average pay for an appliance technician. And what better work conditions than working wherever the heck you please? Since WiFi access is the only limit, they can work on a park bench or their couch at home!  That just leaves a boss you love. All Neli technicians are independent contractors, so in effect, they are their own boss. So yes, indeed, they have a boss that definitely has their best interest at heart and who will do whatever it takes to help them succeed!

Neli is a hit with both customers and the appliance repair experts who make this new and innovative way to repair your own appliance a success.  Once, a failed freezer or a damaged dryer ensured a days-long, expensive, and frustrating process.  With Neli’s motivated and highly experienced technicians, appliance repair DIYers have help just a chat button away.  They merely ask a tech, and the answers to their problems are on their way.