Appliance Repair Act

CONSUMER ALERT

DANA NESSEL
ATTORNEY GENERAL

The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer Alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.

The Joe Gagnon Appliance Repair Act 2002 PA 468

Thanks to Joe Gagnon, Michigan's "Appliance Doctor," and the legislature, Michigan residents enjoy more protection when it comes to home appliance repair, service and maintenance.  The Joe Gagnon Appliance Repair Act requires a service dealer who works on a refrigerator, dehumidifier, freezer, oven, range, microwave oven, washer, dryer, dishwasher, trash compactor, or window room air conditioner, to provide a detailed written estimate approved by the customer before performing any work. The service dealer may not exceed the estimate by more than 10% without getting customer approval and must provide a 30-day labor warranty. Additionally, except in limited circumstances, service dealers must return all parts removed from an appliance to the customer.

This consumer alert provides an overview of the Act.  The Act is available on the Michigan Legislature website, MCL 445.831 et seq.

Written Estimate

A service dealer may not charge in excess of 110% of the amount noted in the written estimate without customer permission. A written estimate must contain:

  • The service dealer's name, mailing address, and telephone number.  (If the mailing address is not a street address, then the estimate must include the dealer's street address.)
  • A description of the problem requiring service or the maintenance procedure the customer is requesting.
  • Any charge for labor or parts (each stated separately), including. the hourly or flat rate used to determine labor charges.
  • The cost to remove and return the appliance to the customer's premises, if applicable.
  • If required to diagnose repair the cost to dismantle and reassemble the appliance and cost of any parts that would be destroyed or rendered inoperable in the process.

Final Bill

While the written estimate and the final bill may be combined in the same document, the final bill must disclose:

  • The name and address of the service dealer.
  • Service call charges, if any.
  • The labor charge.
  • Service dealer's labor warranty.
  • Parts charge, if any, including whether the parts are new or used, and the actual part number and manufacturer.
  • The warranty provided by a part's supplier or the fact that there is no such warranty.
  • Any other charge must be stated in detail.
  • The sales tax.
  • A statement that the customer, in order to enforce any warranty provided by the Act, must notify the service dealer in writing, in person, or by telephone before expiration of the warranty.
  • The consumer's right to bring a legal action under the Act.

Warranty

A service dealer must provide a warranty for at least 30 days on labor. This warranty requires the service dealer to correct, at no cost to the customer, any failure of the warranted parts if the customer notifies the service dealer in writing within the applicable warranty time period.  (Although the required final bill disclosures authorize in person or telephonic notification, written notification is the best method for consumers to preserve their rights.)  Warranty repairs must be made within 10 days after the dealer receives written notice of the failure, unless parts have been timely ordered but not yet received.

Parts

In most circumstances service dealers must return all parts removed from the appliance unless the customer declines, in writing, to receive the removed part. The service dealer may retain any part that has a core charge or exchange rate, contains hazardous material, or is returned to the manufacturer as required by a manufacturer's warranty, if the dealer provides the customer a written statement on the final bill describing the reason for the part retention at the time of completion.

Remedy

A service dealer who makes a false statement likely to induce a customer to authorize work or who fails to substantially comply with the required disclosures in the final bill violates the Act and is liable for actual damages or $250, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney fees. A court may award up to twice the amount of damages if the violation is found to have been willful.

Contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division 

Consumers may contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:

Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
517-335-7599
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form