How A Few Minutes With A Screwdriver Saved Me $139

We don’t begrudge Sears Repair–or, indeed, any business–a healthy markup on items that they sell. That’s how capitalism works, and capitalism is awesome. But Matthew must have felt insulted when the part his dishwasher needed showed up on his doorstep ahead of a return visit from the repairman. The part needed only a few screws to install…and, making things worse, was available $50 cheaper, for only $121, on Sears’ own website. It’s even cheaper elsewhere.

Had a problem with the dishwasher, and scheduled an appointment for Sears to come check it out. The tech that showed up was not actually a Sears employee, but rather a 3rd party. He asked me what the problem was, then said that I needed a $171 part (a soap dispenser) without as much as looking at the dishwasher. Being that I’m not mechanically inclined I agreed to the charges, which also included $139 worth of labor.

Sears ships the part directly to your home, and not the repair company. I opened the box to discover that the part was incredibly simple. After 10 screws and about 10 minutes the part was installed and working. Sensing I had just been ripped off, I Googled the part # and discovered that the same part was $50 less on sears.com! I asked for them to match the price, and the simply would not do it. The rep stated that their repair services always charge more for parts than their own website… Even more frustrating is that the same part is about $85 online.

The take-home lesson here: even people who aren’t all that mechanically inclined can operate a screwdriver and save themselves $139. Know your limitations, but fixing things yourself isn’t just frugal–it’s empowering.