Malfunctioning Appliances Can Often Be Fixed

Associated Press

If you're having a problem with a major appliance, you may be tempted to throw it out and buy a new one.

Don't be hasty, advises the Major Appliance Consumer Action Panel.

If you contact an authorized service agency or the customer relations office of the manufacturer, you may save money and hassle, and in some cases even have the appliance replaced.

The panel suggests that you first reread the use and care booklet and check the appliance's plug, fuses, pilots and controls. You may discover the problem yourself.

Once you're sure the problem is with the appliance, contact an authorized service agency for a written diagnosis of the problem, a list of parts required for repair, and an estimate of costs for both parts and labor.

Then write to the manufacturer's customer relations office, usually listed in the use and care booklet which comes with the appliance.

Describe the complaint clearly and include copies of the service agency's diagnosis, along with proof of purchase, and model and serial numbers.

Tell the manufacturer what you think is a reasonable solution. Be sure to include your address and a daytime telephone number, along with copies of service receipts and correspondence relating to the repair.

If you're still not satisfied, contact MACAP, a volunteer mediation group made up of industry professionals. It is sponsored by the Assn. of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

The panel will review your complaint, contact the manufacturer again and recommend a nonbinding solution, when appropriate. The panel is at 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, Ill. 60606.

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