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Money Stories: The Pressured Sale

April 24, 2024

I recently had an issue with my washer/dryer. A 3-month-old machine flashing an indicator warning that specifically said to contact technical support if you experience it.

If you’ve ever had an issue with an appliance that is still under warranty, you will know the frustration that is the process of having someone come to look at it. Needless to say my second conversation with the manufacturer did not yield the appointment booking result I had been hoping for.

But what struck me the most about the process was the sheer number of other things they tried to sell me during this call. Including their own brand of machine cleaner (cheaper than what you’d buy in the shop but £25 because you must buy a year supply) and their care package.

The care package was £8 a month.
washing machine

Which is arguably a good deal as if the issue I’m facing isn’t a manufacturing problem I am liable for the £70 call out fee and the £140 repair fee. The technical team representative even stressed how if this issue is due to user error or accidental damage this care package would cover the cost of the current repair. If it is indeed broken because of something I’ve done.

I turned it down. She pushed. I turned it down again. She asked why. Which I failed to see as her business but humoured her anyway and provided an answer. An answer she did not seem to think was good enough. 

After declining to pay extra it became abundantly clear that I was not going to be getting an appointment with a repair person. Apparently, there are another set of checks I’m meant to do before contacting technical support. Checks which are not mentioned on the troubleshooting document. Checks which are not included on the specific instructions, which I followed, that the document provides in reference to the error message I am receiving.

Now, as the day progressed and I’m running all these further checks on the machine hoping against all odds the issue is magically resolved and I don’t have to contact them again, it dawned on me that maybe I should take out that care package. As was pointed out to me on the phone, I can cancel it at any time. So if I took it out today, booked the appointment and end up with a functioning machine within the next month I can cancel it straight away.

For me it would 100% be worth the £8.

Even if the issue is covered under warranty. Because not having a working washing machine, as a busy working Mom with 2 young boys at home, adds extra stress to the already often overwhelming nature of life.

The thing here is, I didn’t want to be the victim of a pressured sale. I HATE pressured sales. I find them completely inappropriate and off putting. I am betting that I am not alone with this. And I’m also betting there are plenty of people who would get sucked in by it. A ‘buy one get one free’, an ‘order today for 10% off’, an ‘open this credit card to save 20% on your purchase’. We see this sort of sales messaging all the time and if we are not present of mind when they come up, we might end up buying something we don’t need or truly want just because the deal seems “too good to be true.”

selling the pressured sale
I’m glad that I didn’t take out the care package right away.

I’m glad that I said no and gave it some further thought. By doing that I’ve come to realise for myself that taking it out does make good sense. As much as I’m sure the issue with the machine is not user error, for £8 I can get it fixed without the threat of a £210 bill. And I can get it fixed sooner. Most importantly, I’ve actively made this decision. Not passively in a moment of pressure where I would have been doubting myself for spending the money. I am confident now that spending it makes sense.

So, as I hear the machine click and beep in the familiar way it does when it hits the point of “system error” I know what I’m going to do. I’ll ring up technical support, pay the £8 and get an appointment booked for it to be fixed. After that I’ll cancel. I’ll probably also enquire if I can take out the care package again if I cancel it. Because if that’s the case, I very well may do it the next time an issue comes up with the machine.

UPDATE!

After two separate visits from two different technicians, my machine is fixed! Turns out this particular model of washer/dryer has a design issue where the condenser gets filled with fluff very quickly. When that happens, it cannot heat up properly and as a result shuts down. Apparently this will be a repeated issue.

As a result I have decided to keep paying £8 per month for the care package as this will save me money in the long run. This particular issue is not classed as something covered under warranty even though there is a serious flaw in the design. But since it is what I put in the machine that causes the fluff, it’s a user error.

Even still I am happy that I took the time to make this decision myself and not purchase the care package due to someone else pressuring me. I will consider this a tick in the box for healthy financial decision making habits.

 

Article by Jill Rensing
Content Marketing Manager, Bigmore Associates