Tag: competent

Appliance repair

In-home appliance repair doesn’t break the bank


I’ve taken apart this beast several times, most recently to replace the belt, but when it ceased producing heat recently I felt a bit out of my league, and called the appliance repair people, for whom I had several phone numbers. But now one: I guess it’s now the appliance repair guy.

Whatever, from his high-speed mumbling on the phone Friday I got the idea he would be here Saturday afternoon. A bit after 5 PM Saturday, I called again. I can’t say for sure why, but this time the high-speed mumbling left a warm fuzzy feeling.

And a few minutes later, a 30 year-old car pulled into the driveway. Repairman, maybe older than the car, maybe not, with MSC (company name) jacket and toolbox comes through the front door (“Con permiso”). Removes top of clothes drier, starts extracting burned plastic bits, explains in high-speed mumbling that iit’s a burned connector. He’ll replace, but it happens again we’ll have to replace the heating element. Which I had assumed was the problem to begin with.

OK, it wasn’t quite that direct. In addition to having to ask him to repeat everything (something which, I’m happy to report, rarely happens to me by now), I was puzzled by “la resistencia.” Perhaps a bit of cognitive dissonance trying to conflate Latin American political history with appliance repair, then the shoulda-been obvious chimed in. “La resistencia” means the resistence heating element (think wire that, instead of conducting electricity, resists it, turning the electrical energy into heat).

Delighted at my own slightly-delayed ascertainment of the relatively obvious, I shared with him that English term is “element.” Of course, it’s not exactly: it would be “heating element,” or better, “resistance heating element,” Fortunately, my attempt to excuse my ignorance proved uninteresting and irrelevant, and with a brief feint of interest from him, that was done.

The clothes drier works again. Maybe not for long. But the appliance guy came to our house, and fixed the clothes drier, and it cost US$10 total.

So, thinking back to when I called Sears repair in the late 1990s, gave them the model number of my mother’s clothes drier, and said the belt was broken, and they showed (with no parts) to determine the model number and diagnose broken belt—for $49—so, just curious, what would this episode cost now in North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa?

Correa de secadora

Last Saturday, our clothes drier stopped spinning. Not entirely. Just when it had anything in it, the only time that matters.

I tore into it, took the breaking belt to find a replacement. Not happening in Uruguay, in a smallish town, on a Saturday. So Monday I went to the local appliance store. Nope. Have to go to Montevideo. How, I asked, do people in Rivera and Artigas (places several hundred km away) live, if everything has to be done in Montevideo?

The answer: telephone.

By now, I’m comfortable in person in Spanish, but I’m still a little hesitant to phone, because if you get a speed-freak mumbler on the other end (the phone company, a government entity, comes to mind) , you’re going nowhere fast. In this case, I was in luck. I confirmed datos by email, transferred money to their bank account online, and at 9 AM the next day heard a beep-beep of the truck delivering the belt.

Which was not the size I had ordered.

I emailed the company, and long story short, two and a half days later we’re up and running again. They paid the second shipment, and the return of the first.

Kudos to AMT Aspiratutto SRL!



Wow — customer service in Uruguay!

I bought a bread maker from Tim and Loren, who returned to the Untied Snakes couple months ago. It’s been great, but of course had no manual (no used bread machine ever does), and I was too dense to figure out if it would do just dough (yes, of course), so I emailed the Uruguayan company through their web site asking about a manual. More then once. With no result. Months ago.

I figured I’d try one more time before resorting to the phone. I can manage most affairs in Rioplatense, the local bizarrely accented Spanish, just a couple days ago completing some legal affairs without any English backup, but the phone can be weird if you get someone who decides your obvious non-native status is reason to speak as fast and unintelligibly as possible. Which I find to be the norm.

Off went the email. And less than four hours later, a series of scans of the manual. JPEGs, not the original PDF, meaning someone actually had to make an effort to scan a physical manual, and did.

Bravo! Seriously. I’m profoundly impressed and grateful.



Toning down my toner demands

This side up.
This side up.

I discovered, to my surprise (why?) that our local computer store in Atlántida could get our laser printer cartridges refilled. Prior, I’d been taking them to Tecsys, where they advised that each was good for perhaps four refills, and that the people who did the refills would not refill them if the quality wouldn’t be up to par.

The local computer store also cleaned our printer, which had stopped functioning a few days ago. So the first thing I did on arriving home was hold the “on” button for five seconds to print a test page. It didn’t look good at all: the black test bar was streaky and gray in places. So I took it back, a bit upset.

The owner offered I could return the refilled cartridge and apply the cost to a new cartridge, about USD 90, saying that was the only way to get “new” quality (even though I was sure the previous refills had printed like new). Meanwhile, he showed me that a printed page of text—unlike the printer test page—looked just fine.

At which point I realized I had paid perhaps half (USD 20) for this refill as the others at Tecsys. I’d have to dig out receipts, which I’m too lazy to do, even for you, beloved reader of my drivel. But I know I didn’t pay twenty bucks in Texas.*

So he’d given me a workable solution at a good price, even though in terms of quality I’d essentially gotten what I paid for, which was less quality than I expected. But that was perhaps also more than I needed.

I thanked him for explaining. Ya veremos. We will see.

*Huh—? That’s what you get for not clicking on links 😉