NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - An Algiers woman spent hundreds of dollars to repair her washing machine, yet was forced to do laundry at a laundromat. Wendy Hawkins called the FOX 8 Defenders after she paid for a repair that never happened. Within a few days, we were able to get Hawkins a refund.
The Algiers mother and wife runs a full house so you can imagine the laundry never ends. "Somebody in the house was washing, and the living room, the kitchen.. it was flooded," she said. Hawkins thought her washing machine had a leak or wasn't draining properly, but the rubber seal on the washer door actually had a long slit in it.
Hawkins searched the phone book for a repair service and called Ace Appliances Repairs and Parts. An answering service charged $60 to her credit card over the phone before sending the Ace repair man out.
The receipt breaks down the price for the part to be $165, the labor cost at $145. Minus the $60 service fee, she wrote Ace's Alvin Birotte a check for $250, which he deposited hours later. She said she was told he'd be back the next day.
"The next day he didn't come. I took off of work. I was home, and he didn't come. He didn't call, he said oh the part's not in," explained Hawkins.
Hawkins told us the excuses continued, and after several more days, he finally returned with the part, but forgot his tools. That's the last time she says she saw the repair man.
Meantime Hawkins' laundry was piling up, forcing her to go to a laundromat and hire another appliance repair company, which installed the part in 30 minutes. The bill for that repair was $49, a big difference from Ace's $145 labor costs. When she couldn't get a refund, she called the FOX 8 Defenders.
"I watch FOX 8 religiously. I record it for when I'm not home.. and I see where people have issues, and it seems when someone gets that call from the FOX 8 Defenders office, it makes them act," Hawkins said.
We tried to talk to Alvin Birotte of Ace on camera, but he declined to comment. He promised us he'd refund Hawkins for his labor costs because while he delivered the part, he never installed it. Three days after we called, he delivered a refund check.
If you're in the market to hire a repairman, the Better Business Bureau has tips:
-Always research the business first. The BBB gives Ace Appliances Repairs and Parts an "F rating" in its online business review after several unresolved complaints involving repair and customer service in the last year. Birotte says he'll work to resolve those concerns.
-The BBB suggests you get everything in writing.
-Make sure the job is satisfactory before you pay.
The FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women also field consumer complaints at 1-877-670-6397 or you can fill out an online complaint form.