The Toronto-based human resources consultant, who estimates he saved more than $2,500 through this “repair vs. replace” model, is part of a growing number of homeowners who are choosing to repair household appliances, instead of buying new.
“The down economy has forced everyone to stretch household budgets, and some have found that repairing an appliance can save as much as 80 percent over a new purchase,” explains Badal Wadia, an electrical engineer and co-founder of CoreCentric Solutions, Inc., an independent appliance parts rebuilder. “Defective, damaged or design-plagued circuitry can often be upgraded in as little as 24-48 hours enabling homeowners to forgo an unplanned and expensive purchase.”
Manufacturers routinely upgrade appliance features, which means that older models and corresponding repair parts are often discontinued, leaving frustrated and budget-strapped homeowners with no repair options.
Specialized services, such as Return-for-Repair, are designed to address this planned obsolescence by repairing parts that are no longer available.
Indeed, while the U.S. Department of Labor expects sales of high-end appliances to continue to grow through 2018, it finds that small and lower-cost appliances are increasingly being discarded rather than being repaired. 
Still, not a day goes by that Wadia does not hear customers say they prefer to fix something rather than trash it. Among them are DeLuca and his wife, who discovered Wadia’s company after searching the Internet.
“We liked this oven and didn’t want to buy a new one,” says DeLuca of his 15-year-old double wall oven. “The newer models make you choose between a thermal and convection oven and our unit has both. Also, because our oven is a built-in, a new model would require custom carpentry to make it fit into our existing space.”
Repairs to “parts no longer available,” such as DeLuca’s, constitute a growing portion of Return-for-Repair business, Wadia says, including parts for major appliances, fitness equipment, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products.
“Today’s household appliances rely heavily on computerized controls, which can be easily repaired should problems occur – allowing homeowners to avoid costly and unscheduled purchases,” explains Wadia. “A repaired control board can save most appliances for a fraction of what they would have cost to replace.”
In addition to the monetary benefits, Wadia notes that repairing electronic circuitry also benefits the environment – helping extend the life of appliances and reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills.
When the electronic panel on Richard Mallen’s oven stopped working two months after the unit’s warranty expired, he contacted the manufacturer who referred him to CoreCentric Solutions, which repairs parts for such brands as Bosch®, Dacor®, Electrolux®, GE®, Jenn-Air®, Kenmore®, KitchenAid®, LG®, Maytag®, Thermador® and Whirlpool®.
“There was nothing wrong with the oven, but the digital readout stopped working and, as a result, we couldn’t set the oven temperature,” recalls the attorney from Boston, Mass. “My local appliance repairman removed the broken circuit board, sent it in to be rebuilt, and then reinstalled it four days later for less than $250.”
The experience left Mallen pleased he didn’t have to purchase a new appliance.
“When you purchase an appliance, you expect that it will last 10 or 15 years,” says Mallen, who admits his frustration with appliances that are quickly made obsolete as newer models are introduced. “Ours is a disposable society and I’m just glad that I found a resource that helps us safeguard our original investment.”
Savings aside, he concedes that the repaired appliance helps to maintain household harmony; “when my wife is happy, I’m happy.”
Like Mallen, caterer Nancy McCormack was not satisfied with her repairman’s grim diagnosis of the digital temperature gauge on her five-year-old double oven.
“Our repairman said we were stuck, we needed a new $1,700 oven,” says the Connecticut homeowner. “Normally the exact time and temperature is not such a big deal, but because I’m a chef and do a lot of prep work at home, I require consistent and reliable temperature control.”
McCormack’s husband Dan scoured the Internet looking for a viable alternative. Told that their repair part was discontinued, the couple turned to the Return-for-Repair service. For less than $175, the circuit board was repaired and shipped back to the home, where Dan reinstalled it and in the process, became a household hero.
“It seems silly to throw away an appliance just because parts aren’t readily available,” says McCormack. “By repairing the control board, we now have a new oven for about a tenth of what it would have cost to replace it.”
Formerly known as CG Industries, CoreCentric Solutions provides customized product and part lifecycle management and remanufacturing solutions to some of the largest U.S. retailers and the world’s major appliance manufacturers. For more information, visit www.CoreCentricSolutions.com.