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TV servicing: the current state of play.

 
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TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:48 am

Well it seems that there has been in the last few months many customers don't expect to pay anything for work done on their horrible LCD TVs. The response I get now is after to doing, say, a rescan to a TV is: "do you want anything for doing that"
If there are any members of the VRAT still trying to make a living out of TV servicing all I can say I hope they are not experiencing the same attitudes to TV servicing from customers.

Till Eulenspiegel.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by colly0410 » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:08 pm

Mate of mine is a domestic appliance technician & they seem to have the same problems: A woman's washer conked out, the cat had been behind it & pulled the plug out, pushed the plug back in & all was OK. But she didn't want to pay "you only shoved the plug in" she said. What about his time? Fuel for his van? Pulling the washer out & shoving it back in? She reluctantly paid but chuntered all the time..

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by nuvistor » Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:00 pm

I sympathise with you Till, always someone who wants something for nothing, hope you added a fiver to the bill.
Seen times when a match or some other live event, before video recorders, a call would come in, urgent TV faulty match start in 30 mins. Of you go, plug the aerial back in and get abuse of, you how much?

Then again there are all those other members of society that make it all worthwhile, happy to see you, pay with a smile and have the kettle on.

Frank

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Pye_Man » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:48 pm

A minimum charge and/or tariff for regular tasks is not uncommon in other trades. For instance, my local independent garage (a specialist in a particular make) charges £40 for a (manufacturer's) diagnostic check and a print out. As for the washing machine, a call-out charge is perhaps the thing.

Of course, these charges would have to be made clear to the customer before any work commenced. Inevitably there is the risk that the customer may go elsewhere - assuming there are desperate competitors down the road willing to work and beg for whatever they can get afterwards - or just scrap the item as not worth the cost of repair.

Sadly, in many trades it is now a race to the bottom. If competition for the diminishing scraps is fierce and the rewards meagre and diminishing also then the conditions are clearly too difficult and perhaps it's time to call it a day. I suspect most of us here are 'of a certain age' and it is dispiriting to see work in which we have a lifetime's experience and skills valued so little.

I am not in the TV trade but I once knew many repairmen but they have all long given up or retired. But TV engineers are not alone in this experience as in the face of low-priced consumer items of short life expectancy that are essentially throwaway, service engineers of all types seem to be a diminishing breed. The only areas in which they continue to thrive are in niche goods of high value.

In my own line of work computerisation has rendered many skills obsolete and though my part of the process involves original thought that the machine cannot (yet) do, the perceived value of my work is greatly diminished. Justifying a price based on rates of 20 years ago is sometimes difficult.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Sun Jul 17, 2016 3:22 pm

The plan for this shop was to employ someone to take over the domestic TV servicing, but under the present circumstances I couldn't even pay anyone the minimum wage.
Suggest a minimum charge and you won't get the work.
The other thing about these LCD TVs is that there is no "substance" about them, nothing more than a screen perched on a plinth, so it doesn't matter what brand these things have they all look the same.
Real CRT TVs are a different matter, nice big heavy cabinets, even the black plastic ones.
The mid noughties "slimfit" sets which employed the 125 degree CRT were a marketing disaster.
Anyway, buyers didn't consider these sets as truly slim. Clever "blind alley" engineering. Only appreciated by engineers.
Perhaps at least one should be preserved for posterity.

Till Eulenspiegel.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by nuvistor » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:13 pm

Tesco have 32inch Freeview HD set on offer for £129, put a 5 year maintenance plan on it for £60 if you don't want any risk, less than £40 a year for 5 years viewing. May not be the best performer, never know it may ok, we all know what poor performance some will accept. That's less than rented CTV's of 40 years ago, seem to remember 20 inch about £8 a month £96 pa. It's money upfront but bank interest rates are not paying much to leave it in them.
I don't see a way around that when I would expect a minimum call out charge of £30-40 for a repair plus parts if they are available and any service information is also available.
It's not an excuse for not wanting to pay after having a job done but I see the reasons for not even bothering.

Not easy decision for you Till to try to sort things out.

Frank

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Pye_Man » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:19 pm

Till Eulenspiegel wrote:The plan for this shop was to employ someone to take over the domestic TV servicing, but under the present circumstances I couldn't even pay anyone the minimum wage.
Suggest a minimum charge and you won't get the work.

There's an old saying that goes "you can't buck the market" and I'm afraid that your comments say everything about the state of the TV repair market. I also notice that computer repair shops are diminishing as the price of computers have fallen and there's little point repairing those even a couple of years old when new up-to-date ones can be had for a couple of hundred quid.

In these situations it then becomes a case of deciding if continuing is in any way viable given customer climate and the income the business provides. I know of a couple of small businesses that in years gone by the plan would have been to sell up with the proceeds funding a nice pension and retirement to a life in the sun. However technological advances and vastly changed marketplace have overtaken them and now the strategy is to find exit with minimum damage. There have been no pay-rises for years and every time a member of staff leaves they are not replaced - a relief as it's one less redundancy payment to find.

Personally, I'm resigned to a part-time existence until retirement but fortunately I don't have the commitments I once did, and the days off make up for all the weekends I had to work years ago.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by nuvistor » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:11 pm

Thinking about computer repair shops, Radio and TV repair shops have had a much longer run. 10 years ago the FE college I worked at did courses for 16-18 year old for computer repairs. These computers were standard MS/Intel boxes, training was build one, out of standard parts, need a screwdriver for that and install MS Windows and Office. No idea how they stretched that out 12 months. When the work was done they were allowed to play computer games.
My thoughts were at the time that they are training them to a dead end, has you say, how many repair shops are there now.
All the things in computing they could have been training them with that may have given them a chance to move on.
apologies, off topic and a bit of a rant.
Frank

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:01 pm

In recent times a couple of computer shops opened up near me, they didn't last long.
Way back in the fifties and sixties there was TV repair and sales shops in just about every small town and village, some lasted the course and are still in existence even today, but there's not many. Even where my shop is located there was another similar business only 200 yards away, that one closed down in 1993, evidently not because of any downturn in business, the owner decided to retire.
Next door there is a white goods shop and he is doing OK. We have a Gentlemen's agreement in which he will keep out of selling TV sets and I'm not sell white goods, something I'm not interested in anyway.
Another thing about low cost LCD TVs, why spend hours on trying to fix something that was assembled in the matter of minutes? I don't think there much human involvement making these things.
Meanwhile Vestel continues to grow stronger. I'm told that the factory ground area is larger than the Nissan car works in Sunderland.

Read about the growing Turkish economy here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... he-economy

Till Eulenspiegel.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Pye_Man » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:32 pm

Till, I think you've done well to last this long!* I'm in an urban area and I can't think of a repair shop, or general electrical shop of the sort that were once so common in my locality. There is a small shop that specialises in valve amplifiers but won't touch anything else - he probably has mail order work. There is a washing machine shop that advertises repairs but I guess they make most of their money on new and reconditioned sales.

TVs, video recorders, etc., at least at the mid-range to bottom are disposable items. If they have faults that can be fixed your average consumer assumes that either they can't be repaired, or that a repair will cost as much as a new one, or the money is better put to a new item.

The same mindset exists in business. I worked with a firm that had trendy looking Apple CRT Trinitron screens of very good quality that at the time cost several hundred quid a go. Because of the tight enclosures they had a habit of cooking themselves and the mentality was to put them in the skip. I got on well with one of the managers who had a bit of a 'don't spend it, mend it' attitude and I found an old TV repair friend, at that point working from home, a stream of repairs. This was okay until screen prices tumbled and his modest charges amounted to half the cost of a new screen. The only things that ever see an engineer are the high end bits of kit such as large colour printers that cost several grand and require regular maintenance. Photocopier engineers are another species that seem to have become near extinct.

I retained some CRT screens - they are better than flat screens for some work - and needing a repair of my own I looked up my old friend to discover that he'd bowed to the inevitable and retired to a smaller house - this would be about eight years ago now.

In 2012 I bought a new TV and recorder, both modest items. In three years both had developed faults. I go to the shed again and I can buy better for less. They effectively cost me £2 per week - the TV licence is costing £1.50 or thereabouts a week! - so I consider I've had my money's worth.

I had a state of the art smartphone with a phone contract. It conked after two years. There are now better smartphones available for tens of pounds, my contract was up so I went SIM only and cut my monthly bill by half. If my new handset only lasts a year I'm still quids in.

It's the way it is.

Nick

*I consider myself lucky to have lasted nearly forty years doing what I'm doing.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Derren » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:52 pm

Pardon my ignorance but if someone refuses to pay for a service from a registered shop then it becomes a legal matter surely? Isn't it like shoplifting? Or is it just not worth the bother to go down this route? Now that I know it is in fact OK to get a service without paying next time I might just refuse to pay :)

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Pye_Man » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:13 pm

Anyone can dispute a bill. If a dispute can't be resolved between the parties then the recourse is to arbitration or ultimately the courts.

This sort of thing goes on in business quite a lot and unscrupulous business people sometimes refuse to pay by finding minor fault and then work on the basis that it's not worth your time and effort to chase it through the courts. Had it done to me a few times. Sometimes it's a once regular client who has found a new source of supply and it's the first notice that your relationship is at an end.

I'm not up on consumer law as my 99% of my work is for businesses but there are trading standards and protection for consumers/general public to prevent an obvious rip-off. For instance pensioners being charged ridiculous amounts for simple repairs to roofs have seen some dodgy builders in court this week according to my local rag.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Wolfie » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:14 pm

On the couple of occasions I tried to reclaim money from cheque bouncers, the court bailiffs turned up at one and found nothing of value (not even my goods), the second time the court "couldn't find them" despite them still attending and running a stall on the market near to my shop.. (they had moved from the address they gave me on the day they gave me a dud cheque)..even pointing out their weekly whereabouts didn't help.

All this just cost me more money..

Some people do this regularly and know how to "play the system", it would be nice to visit them with some sporting equipment but guess who's side the law would take then?

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Mkstevo » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:31 pm

Having left the trade almost ten years ago, for the very reasons Till stated, I can't really add much. I left a few years into the LCD invasion, by the time I went there were no more CRT sets or video recorders. I still miss the televisions, and the challenges of repairing them, but C'est la vie.

One thing I could never understand was the attitude of customers relating to repair costs. You'd repair a TV having taken an hour to correctly diagnose the problem, would remedy that problem and finally test thoroughly to be certain the fault was cured. You might then present a bill for forty pounds and the once genial customer would start to rant about how you were committing daylight robbery. "Dick Turpin at least wore a mask!", was one I heard repeatedly. Yet outside in the drive would be the latest Jaguar/Mercedees/Volkswagen (take your pick) for which you knew the main dealer would be charging nigh on one hundred pounds an hour just to kick the tyres and polish the hubcaps, I'm exaggerating here - in case we have any motor technicians amongst us. I could never see how the Electronics Technician had managed to be so poorly rated by the public in terms of pay. A lifetime of learning went into that repair but where was the financial gratitude?

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by nuvistor » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:21 pm

mkstevo wrote: "Dick Turpin at least wore a mask!"

I rarely had problems with customers like that, a few but in the main they were, I was going to say OK but that would do them an injustice, they were very nice people. I did a job for a bank manager once I was in my teens and was trying to sort out a fair price, his words along the lines. " You have done the work you deserve the going rate, ".

I have said before I saw no future in it many years ago for me but I know Till made a good living out of it for many years after. I missed the trade after I left but it was the best thing I did, for me and my family.
Frank

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:15 pm

I've written about this before but the only decade in which my shop was seriously profitable was the 1980s, a fantastic decade for me but not for others of course. Excellent sales of TVs and videos and the TV rental side of the business was still buoyant. TV repairs was just something you had to do, even then it didn't bring in much income, certainly couldn't have survived on repairs alone.
The 1990s wasn't too bad either but into the noughties I was aware the rot was setting in. TV rentals was well and truly on the way out and that was not good for my type of business. Thankfully, sales were OK and even repair work picked up somewhat, remember this was the time of the analogue satellite boxes and those Onwa 14" TVs.
It would seem from the general consensus is that it was about 2005 when our troubles started, the supermarkets were really starting to hurt our sales and 2005 was also the year when the public started to buy LCD TVs in large quantities. Was it 2006 when the Currys Dixons Group announced they would stop selling CRT models? LCD and plasma was the future.

Till Eulenspiegel.

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by steve1010 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:50 pm

After working for British Relay i went self employed in about 1980, opened my own shop and business was fantastic, always more work than i could cope with, loads of money to be made times were good. then moved location and worked from workshop at home, still plenty of profitable work, did repairs for other traders as always preferred bench work to field service, but more money in field service so went out 3 days a week to collect and deliver.
repaired all types of items, Microwave ovens audio equipment, tv,s, videos satellite receivers etc some days the estate car was so full i could hardly get in.
This all changed around 2000, price of new items came down, that awful Philips 28 inch tube became a common fault, Vestel chassis became the norm, microwave ovens became so cheap, video;s died a death and customers suddenly wanted to pay next to nothing,
by 2005 the awful flat screen Plasma and LCD sets became so cheap i decided i had had enough and left the trade.
Price of a Freeview box in around 2002 was £100, price of a box by 2010 around £25 what happened?
around 1995 i sold the Ferguson 14 inch portable tv for £179 now today in Tesco a 43 inch LCD set is £199, who's going to bother having those repaired ? are they even repairable ?

Moan over,

Steve

 
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Re: TV servicing: the current state of play.

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:08 am

steve1010 wrote:Price of a Freeview box in around 2002 was £100, price of a box by 2010 around £25 what happened?
around 1995 i sold the Ferguson 14 inch portable tv for £179 now today in Tesco a 43 inch LCD set is £199, who's going to bother having those repaired ? are they even repairable ?

Moan over,

Steve

I gave up selling small screen TVs in 2000, the price of a Ferguson 14" TV had fallen to £149.00 and I was still expected to do free delivery and fiddle about with the loop aerial to attempt secure decent pictures.
Mark up if you were lucky was £20.
Remember the ITV Digital debacle? Lots of unnecessary form filling. That enterprise went bust and Freeview took over digital TV. Isn't it strange how we were paying more than £100 for set top boxes and now such items can be bought for less than £20. Was someone making big profits from these things? One thing is sure I wasn't.
The last ten years in this trade have been terrible.
I remember in 2006 the VAT inspector remarked about the greatly reduced turnover in recent years. I explained it was not because any fault of mine, it was just the way the industry was going.
Ten years ago my main source of shop income was still TV rental and even by then was just about finished. There was never any enquiries from new customers.
Sales had diminished to one set per week.

Till Eulenspiegel.


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