Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Av 5765 - August 23, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Observations: When the Service Technician Turns into a Salesman
by N Katzin

It can come as somewhat of a surprise when the service technician who arrives at your home to do repair work or to connect the new washing machine you bought turns into a merchant and starts to peddle his wares: a device to prevent lime buildup, a stand with wheels, filters, moisture absorbers or whatever your heart desires.

The fact that the merchandise is being offered not by a salesman but by a technician — a professional who the consumer tends to place faith in — can tip the scales in favor of making the purchase.

B. of Bnei purchased a Crystal washing machine. "A technician arrived to connect the machine and run it for the first time. Afterwards he offered us a filter against lime buildup that is supposed to extend the life of the washing machine and to prevent the accumulation of lime deposits on the drum and pump. He tried to convince us we should buy it right away since he was already there so he could install the filter without any added installation charge. He charged NIS 218 for the filter alone.

"When I saw how simple and easy it was to install the filter I decided to avoid purchases on the spot, thinking the price might be a bit high. I checked at stores in Bnei Brak and found the price of such a filter was only NIS 75! Was there any justification for charging three times the price? [Consumers] should be warned about technicians who take advantage of a moment of weakness and should not buy anything without comparing prices."

Service technicians also have another trick up their sleeves. "We bought our son a new washing machine for his wedding," recalls S. "The Sherut Plus technician who came to open the machine offered the newlywed couple insurance for eight years, which can only be taken out at the time the packaging is removed. He bought the insurance for NIS 1,400."

According to the Consumer Council cases in which a technician arrives at the home and offers products or services for a fee are included under the category of peddling deals and therefore the consumer is entitled to cancel the transaction within 14 days and receive a refund — without paying a cancellation fee or any other fee.

Service Plus CEO Ilan Levian says every complaint of aggressive selling is checked thoroughly and the customer is entitled to cancel the deal and receive credit. "Sherut Plus is one of the largest service companies in Israel and we provide service for 17 percent of all of new appliances sold," he says. "We have a number of apparatuses operating for customers and we do all we can to ensure customers receive the best service possible."


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