Free Appliance Pickup: Convenience, or Raw Deal?

If you’ve ever heard those commercials from your local power company urging you to use less electricity, then you’ve heard the plea to use wisely, conserve energy, and they even offer to pick up your old appliances for free if you buy new energy efficiency ones.  Sometimes they even offer to pay you a small amount of money to pick them up for you.

And of course the appliance stores will not be outdone, many of them offer to pick up your old appliances as well when they deliver your new ones “as a convenience” to you, their valued customer.

It seems like a decent gesture on the surface of it, why else would they want to haul away your broken appliances?  Well, they value you as a customer all right, and they especially value the $150 they get from the local appliance repair shops that contract with them to buy your old appliances for spare parts.

Don’t kid yourself, nobody is doing you any favors by taking your old appliances off your hands.  Anyone offering that service is doing only one thing:  Making money.  Your old appliances are worth up to $150 each to an appliance repair shop for the parts, and if your appliance is unrepairable, your recycle center will pay cash by the weight for the steal and materials.  Power companies contract with a large number of local appliance repair shops to buy those old appliances so that they can either become spare parts or are repaired and then resold.

So wait a minute here…  The power company tells you you’re saving the environment by buying the new energy efficient appliances and they are just helping that process along by offering to pick up you old appliance.  But I’m struggling with that concept here because there is a net loss to the environment if you tally the “environmental damage” caused by putting old appliances back on the market.  Explain to me again how is that part of any strategy to help the environment?

So, when you need new appliances, don’t be sucked into this particular bait and switch routine; the next time you buy new appliances, skip the “Free appliance pickup service” and just start calling local appliance repair shops to see what they would offer to buy it for parts.  The majority of them will pick them up for free too, after buying it…

Just my view from the cheap seats…

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