I think the idea of a consumer repair web site is a great one. I know you can find a lot of these quirky fixes with individual Google searches, as you said, but having a central forum to access would be ideal. What's the ideal agency or entity to head this up?
Sounds like we need a consumer repair web site to collect all of this kind of information, organize it and make sure anyone can have access to advice, and experience of those who have gone this way before.
At least some of these things can be repaired. I know some consumer items are just not designed to be serviced.
I object to any product that is designed to improve the cash flow of service technicians rather than the benefit to the consumers. In terms of overall efficiency of the economy it is better that way right?
One day our GE front load washer would not function. The door would not lock and when you pressed any buttons, LOC would display on the readout. The manual did not give a reason for the error code, so we called in a service guy who replaced the lock mechanism and took my $150 for the repair. The unit worked for a few months then the same error code, so this time I ordered the part and installed it myself, but the unit would not function. Google to the rescue. Pressing the Display and Select button resets the button lock. If the manual had shown this code, I would have saved a good bit of money.
Unfortunately, the manufacturers really don't want you to know what the problem is. You are liable to try to fix it yourself which means they or their partners won't get to charge you for a service call. Even worse, when you fix it yourself you might discover generic parts from Radio Shack and not purchase their over priced "original" parts. In reality, this is not much different from the "Service Engine" light on your car. Maybe you have a real problem that will strand you on the side of the road, but more likely you have some silly pollution control sensor failure that (worst case) you will need to get fixed before your biennial emissions test.
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