We collected ratings from appliance repair customers in the seven metro areas we serve and found substantial quality differences between appliance repair services. In each area, several appliance repair services were rated “superior” for overall quality by at least 90 percent of their surveyed customers, while others received such favorable ratings from fewer than half of their surveyed customers.

And price differences can be substantial. Our undercover shoppers found some services charge twice as much as their nearby competitors for the same work.

Fortunately, we found some low-priced companies also got good reviews from their customers. In fact, lower-priced companies on average rate higher on service quality than their higher-priced competitors.

If your appliance is still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, use a shop authorized to perform in-warranty repairs so you don’t have to pay for the work. But after the warranty expires, consider only top-rated shops. We have found that, on average, independent outfits rate better than factory repair services (although some independents do score low).

Consider whether you can fix it yourself. While many of us are uncomfortable making repairs to electronic devices, most appliance repairs are quite straightforward.

If you decide it’s time for a new appliance, our ratings of appliance stores will help you find reliable stores that charge low prices.

But even if you’ve had a poor track record with unreliable appliances, don’t buy an extended warranty. These warranties are incredibly bad deals for most consumers.