Major Appliance Delivery Problems That Consumers Should Consider

Four important reasons they should shop your store

By Steve Sheinkopf, Yale Appliance

In his latest customer blog for Yale Appliance, CEO and BrandSource member Steve Sheinkopf explains why shoppers should compare delivery policies as thoroughly as products and prices.

I think about pizza a lot these days. I realize this is a curious way to open an appliance delivery article. But pizza is delicious, my daughter loves it, and it’s one less meal I need to plan.

You can have a pizza within 30 minutes. It’s made, boxed, and then delivered within that narrow time frame.

Appliances are sitting in a warehouse. They are already “premade.” Yet you have to pay for a 4-hour delivery window from appliance stores. And time is only one expense. You will find all sorts of hidden fees after the delivery.

In this article, you will learn how to negotiate better appliance delivery. You have the most leverage to negotiate your delivery at the time of the sale.

In the end, you will learn the one delivery issue that can destroy your home and how to prevent it from proactively happening.

With the shortage of skilled labor, these problems have become worse over the last two years. The good news is that you can eliminate any of these issues with some planning.

1. Wasting Your Time

Almost every appliance company has a problem with timely deliveries, including us. Some companies charge for a four-hour window.

Twenty years ago, when I was service manager, I let customers pick the time. We had 20 first stops at 8:00 a.m. and 20 last stops after 4:00 p.m. with nothing in between.

Overall, what you and I want is for you to be home when our delivery truck is just arriving. You aren’t wasting time yet and are still home, which is crucial for us.

The good news is software has advanced considerably over the last 20 years. It has been made popular by Uber and Lyft.

Here is what a modern delivery should look like:

The Night Before: You received a text with a two-hour window for delivery. It’s not ideal because you cannot pick the time, but it’s better than most other companies’ whole day or half day window.

Day of Delivery: You can track the truck within 30 minutes to your home. You can also request a call when the drivers are ten to 15 minutes away.

So, instead of wasting 4 hours, you are waiting for 30 minutes tops, a three-hour and 30-minute time savings. Many companies have this type of delivery experience. You can shop for it or look on their websites to track the truck.

Now let’s uncover many of the cash-only hidden fees you will be subjected to at the time of delivery.

2. Hidden Fees

Another common issue is unforeseen, yet increasingly common extra fees charged at delivery. Free delivery is great, but most of the time, it’s a drop-off at your curb, and that’s okay for smaller packages or a dishwasher.

However, it would help to ask the right questions at the sale, not when the driver is at your door.

Home Depot, for example, advertises free delivery, but the following is what it doesn’t include:

Delivering Up Stairs:  Any delivery over a flight seems to be a charge. How much depends on the vendor. We charge after a fourth-floor walk-up because of the extra time. However, that only applies to brownstones in Boston.

Removal of Previous Appliances and Packaging: How much does each removal of your old appliance cost? The going rate is $20 to $40. The removal of packaging is often a separate charge as well.

Basic Connection: You probably want the appliance to work when the delivery is finished. You will pay extra for gas appliances in the state of Massachusetts. Built-in wall ovens, cooktops, and dishwashers require more skilled labor.

Basic Installation: Basic installation is almost always an extra charge, even for electric ranges, dryers, and washers. How much is that charge? On average, vendors charge about $30 to remove an old appliance when offered. That’s per removal, so it’s $120 to remove four appliances or a typical kitchen of appliances. Home Depot was the least expensive at $25.

In many cases, removal does not include the box, except Lowe’s, Home Depot and Best Buy. Best Buy will charge $29.99 for installation plus $39.99 to recycle your refrigerator, for instance.

Every company is probably recycling. It’s not because they are good corporate citizens but because they are paid for the scrap. Once again, you won’t know until it is addressed at the time of the sale.

Have I said to get that “free” installation signed by the salesperson and manager? What you want to know is the delivery price to your home, including connection and removal.

Now the really bad stuff.

3. Appliance Damage

If you remember only one piece of advice from this article it should be this: Never sign for anything without first inspecting the items thoroughly. Most companies will not allow you to place a damage claim after the fact. Not just damage either, but wrong products delivered that you install.

Whatever you do, take your time inspecting your appliances on delivery. Don’t feel rushed or hassled into signing for them. Don’t leave it boxed in your garage either. Always unpack and inspect any delivery, whether it’s appliances, furniture or home accessories.

Leading Causes of Damage

Damage is almost inevitable, especially now. Depending on the store, damage happens 3% to 9% of the time or more.

With the shortage of skilled labor, damage has become an even larger problem for the appliance and especially deliveries into your home.

Damage From Transportation: Many of your appliances are made in Korea, Europe and Mexico. There will be some shipping problems in moving appliances multiple times over the oceans and transporting them across the country using multiple warehouses. Damage is bound to happen with multiple touchpoints.

Damage to Your Home: Appliances have also become heavier, mainly stoves and refrigerators, while floors have become softer, so damage can occur to your house or the actual appliance. (Pro tip: If you take delivery of heavier appliances, place them on melamine, so they don’t leave an indentation on your floor.)Of course, walls are vulnerable to larger appliances too.

We video every delivery of products plus the delivery path to your home. However, we are not perfect. We insure ourselves for every kind of scenario so you will be taken care of in the event damage occurs.

In Case Damage Happens to Your Appliances or Your Home Upon Arrival

Often, the store will give you a discount for keeping a damaged appliance, but you want to make sure it will not affect the appliance’s operation.

You need to take pictures and document the damage. Then have the delivery guys sign their delivery form verifying the damage. Call the store while your delivery team is still there.

You need as much documentation as possible, especially with property damage.

Most companies will lowball estimates, so you will have the added burden of providing a real contractors estimate.

If you do not verify that damage, you will have to go through your homeowner’s insurance. A bad enough problem will certainly increase or even cancel your insurance.

Most companies want you to own their problems so your insurance will increase, not theirs. The damage is the biggest problem, but there is a type of damage that may cause lasting consequences for your home.

4. Water Damage

Consider this nightmare scenario: You install a new dishwasher in your vacation house. Shortly after that, you close the house.

However, that slow leak is a ticking time bomb in your home. When you open your home in April, it won’t be pretty. You will lose a season in your home and probably your mind fighting insurance companies for the next 18 months.

We use leak detection paper in every installation with water. If the paper is dry within 24 hours, you throw it away. If not, you call us, and it is fixed before it becomes an issue.

You can do the same. Just cut some brown sheen, non-absorbent paper, and place it under the dishwasher, refrigerator, or washer. It will save a ton of time, money, and future sanity.

Key Takeaways

Scared? Don’t be. Ask the right questions beforehand, especially how much a delivery will cost with stairs, including installation and removal. Your time is probably worth more than the $120 to $200 in added fees.

More important, take your time inspecting any delivered appliances or heavy delivery like furniture or cabinets.

Document any problems at the time of the delivery. Wasting a whole day, delivery damage, and installation issues are often more costly than a good delivery with a fee.

See also: Yale’s Delivery Checklist for comparing dealer policies

Steve Sheinkopf is CEO and third-generation principal of Boston’s Yale Appliance, a BrandSource member and 98-year-old premier destination for premium appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting and service.