LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- When a dryer goes on the blink, life can get messy. So Karen Huber went to Yahoo for help to find a repair shot. She typed in her city, "Lee's Summit," and "appliance repair" and got the phone number and address to a local repair shop.
Or so she thought.
"I called them and they said they would be out here tomorrow," said Huber. "I said okay what's your service charge? They said $50, but it's refundable if you use our repairman."
The next day the repairman arrived and fixed the dryer. But here's where things started to get strange. He wasn't from Lee's Summit Appliance Repair, as listed on the internet, but from a company called Every Day Appliance in Kansas.
Huber admits she was confused by that, but not overly concerned since the dryer was now fixed. Plus the repairman deducted the $50-service charge from her bill, as promised. But then, a week later, she noticed the $50 charge was still on her credit card statement but now belonged to a different company called "Appliance Repair."
She said it was only when she called to complain that she learned the truth.
There is no Lee's Summit Appliance Repair and the number she found on Yahoo was to an appliance referral company which makes its money by charging people to refer them to an actual appliance repair company.
"I've could have called that company directly and saved the $50, but they didn't tell me they were a referral company," said Huber.
And what about that local address it listed on Yahoo? It turns out that address actually belongs to Jerry's Bait Shop, a popular music club and restaurant in downtown Lee's Summit. In fact, FOX 4 Problem Solvers learned that if you type in Grain Valley Appliance Repair you get Gambino's Pizza.
Both businesses were shocked to learn their addresses were being used by an appliance repair referral service. If you keep searching on the internet, you'll find the same referral company posing as local appliance repair shops all across the United States.
Huber is now disputing that $50 service charge with her bank, saying she was misled.
FOX 4 Problems Solvers has tried repeatedly to reach the appliance repair referral service for comment, but we've yet to hear back.
Everyday Appliance has now stopped using this referral service because of concerns regarding its business practices. By the way, Ms. Huber was pleased with the repairs she received from Everyday Appliance and said she would use the company again.