PIVR uses video calls to help consumers repair their own appliances

Rejecting the unsustainable habit of replacing everything as soon as it breaks, PIVR walks consumers through the process of fixing their own appliances. For EUR 39, the French startup connects callers to an experienced coach who will help diagnose and — if possible — repair a faulty washer, dryer, stove, oven or dishwasher. 

A free, prediagnostic phone call determines if the issue is a good candidate for fixing through videoconferencing. PIVR also tells the customer which tools they're likely to need, and a call is booked. During the video call, an experienced technician helps figure out what's wrong and coaches the customer through the process of getting their ailing appliance back up and running.

There's no time limit for these calls, so customers won't feel rushed. If a diagnosis can't be made, payment for the call is refunded. (A shorter EUR 19 call doesn't come with that guarantee, and is limited to 25 minutes.) If a spare part is required, PIVR will quote a price and have it sent to the customer. Once the part has arrived, a second call — priced at EUR 22 —  is booked to install the part and complete the repair. 

For complex issues beyond the scope of DIY intervention, PIVR connects clients to technicians who do house calls. And if the machine is beyond repair altogether, they can help find a reconditioned, secondhand replacement.

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Getting household appliances fixed is inconvenient, and visits by technicians can be prohibitively expensive. Weigh that against the relatively low cost of ordering a brand new item, and it's no wonder so many appliances end up being trashed instead of fixed.

But repairing is by far the better choice: consumers save money, and by prolonging the life of a machine they already have, they reduce the energy, metals and plastic needed to manufacture a new product.

While intrepid consumers have long flocked to YouTube and sites like iFixit to figure out how to fix the things they own, many others could use a little real-time human assistance as provided by PIVR. (Two additional benefits to using video calls: less driving around by repair people, who also gain the flexibility of working from home.)

With the right-to-repair movement gaining ground, how can you help consumers shift from replacing to repairing, and offer them the satisfaction of DIY?

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Related: French startup Youzd is a Vinted for furniture that handles delivery, for hassle-free secondhand shopping. Since used appliances are also sold through Youzd and consumers are often hesitant to buy those for fear of imminent breakdowns, the company recently started partnering with PIVR. Anyone who buys an appliance through Youzd can purchase a one-year warranty for EUR 14.90. If their machine breaks down, they can schedule a PIVR video session at no extra cost.

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