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Why choose an authorized service center?

You’ve probably heard this dozens of times about the newer cars:  “In the old days, I used to tear my cars apart and repair them myself, but I can’t work on the new cars.  Everything is controlled by computers now.  You have to take your car to the dealer.”  TV’s have evolved to this same point.  They are repaired by replacing circuit boards and large assemblies.  A technician has to analyze the symptoms and the diagnostics, decide which part is probably at fault, order the part, and replace it.  Most times, the technician is right, and the part fixes the problem.  Sometimes, the technician is wrong, and the service center is stuck with a part it doesn’t need.  This makes it an expensive gamble for an unauthorized service center to repair your TV.  When they guess wrong, they have to decide whether to “eat” the wrong part and lose money, or charge you for the right part plus the wrong part.  This also delays the repair, as the unauthorized service center can only order parts through distributors, who must order the part, receive it, and then ship it to the service center.  Besides...

  • An authorized service center has an open account with the manufacturer, allowing it to order parts directly on-line and return unneeded parts for credit, usually with no restocking charge.  An authorized servicer may even order several parts for a repair, just to be sure they have whatever is needed the first time around.  We frequently do this for in-home service so we can complete the repair in one visit, minimizing both the customer’s inconvenience and our costs.

  • Authorized service centers also have access to service literature (schematic diagrams, parts lists, service bulletins, software upgrades, etc.) and manufacturers’ technical assistance.  In difficult cases, we can just call the manufacturer and discuss the problem with the people who designed and built the product.  This is a big advantage.
    Unauthorized service centers can also order most of the service literature, but they have to pay for it and then wait for it to arrive before they can order any parts.  Again, this adds to the cost and delays the repair.  They also cannot get any service bulletins (confidential memos that describe common problems) or software upgrades, which can correct many problems and cost nothing.

  • Sometimes, manufacturers will extend their warranties to cover common defects, sorta like the recalls issued by car companies.  The difference is that auto manufacturers know where their cars are.  They know who bought the car from the dealer, and they can find out where it is currently registered.  Electronics manufacturers have no idea where their products go after they are sold.  They have no way to notify you when something goes wrong.   Authorized service centers know about these special programs and will automatically repair any covered defects for free.  Unauthorized service centers may not even be aware that these free repairs are offered.  If they do know, they are presented with and ethical dilemma:  Do they go ahead and do the repair at your expense, or do they tell you about the program and refer you to an authorized service center for the free repair?