Sears / a lemon of an appliance and a company
I am writing on behalf of myself and my family who purchased a Kenmore refrigerator from Sears, along with other appliances, in April 2006. Five months after the purchase, the refrigerator stopped working. The technician who came to fix it said the fan had broken. This first visit by the technician led to a complaint I already made because he did not submit the food loss records I tried giving him and this led to Sears not honoring the $250 food loss reimbursement.
The following summer, our refrigerator stopped working again. This time after calling Sears and finding out it would take over a week to come fix our fridge, my husband decided to try to turn the refrigerator off for several hours and try to turn it back on. The fridge began to work again after we plugged it back in but we had already lost much of the perishables in the fridge. We decided not want to write another letter claiming food loss even though all our perishable foods did spoil. We had a problem with our refrigerator twice already and, again, in the summer of 2008 we had it break on us again. This time when my husband pulled out the fridge to unplug it, the copper water line burst and we had to turn off the water to the fridge. This occurred July 21, 2008.We called Sears immediately and was told by Lisa that the water line was covered by our Protection Agreement and extended warranty. When I asked when was the earliest Sears could come and fix the broken refrigerator and water line, it would not be until July 30. I was so upset because each time we have had problems with an appliance, it seems that Sears does not seem to make it a priority to send someone out as soon as possible. My husband unplugged the unit again but when he plugged it in a few hours later it was still not getting cool. We loss all the food in our fridge and added to that, I had just gone to the grocery store right before the fridge broke down. We had well over $250 worth of food that went bad very quickly. That day, I spent over an hour calling different Sears departments to request a quicker response to our refrigeration problem but to no avail. When I spoke to Gerald, not only was he rude and inconsiderate, he matter-of-factly stated he, nor a manager (because I requested to speak to one) could do anything to speed up the process of getting a technician out any earlier than the 30th. He then told me to call the local Sears service number [protected] to see if they could help me and then he said he would attempt to get a manager. He kept me on hold for almost 20 minutes pretending to get a manager the entire time. I was so fed up I hung up the phone. I finally spoke to Latina who at least showed some compassion for our situation but she could not do much except put in a request for an earlier service appointment. She suggested I call another number which I did not write down because it seemed like every time I called Sears, I would just get the run-around to call someone else or some other department which in turn would then tell me to call another number. She promised that I would get a call no later than the end of the business day of the 21st letting me know an earlier date for someone to come out to fix our unit and water line. I never received a call.
The next day, my husband tried to plug in the unit again and it actually worked so when a technician came 9 days after we called to get a service appointment, it was running OK except the water line was still busted. He told us that since the fridge was working when he arrived, he cannot submit for food loss and Sears does not cover copper water lines, only plastic. This truly infuriated us. I could not believe that Sears will now take the stance that they don’t repair copper water lines (even when it was installed by Sears) when I was told they do when I first called on the 21st. Also, we could not believe what he was telling us- that we should have left the unit alone and not tried to fix it ourselves because when it begins to work again, Sears has no liability.
This is truly outrageous that Sears will first sell protection agreement plans and extended warranties and not follow through with the promises set forth in the warranty and plan. We ended up hiring a plumber to replace the copper line and had to incur an out-of-pocket expense of $287. Secondly, what suggestion does Sears give to homeowners that need a working fridge in the middle of summer besides waiting a week and a half for a technician to arrive to look at it? Also, is it truly reasonable for a fridge to break down every summer? We cannot afford to continue to unplug and plug the unit in as our food spoils in the hopes of it running properly. We truly believe your company has employed very deceitful and unfair service tactics that truly prevent a homeowner from being treated like a valued customer. Sears does not believe in doing what is right. Instead they will cut corners and lie about what is covered and not covered and make it nearly impossible for anyone to get their appliances serviced within a reasonable time frame. What is an extended warranty worth if consumers are prevented for ever really using it. I truly believe Sears sets a policy to sell as many extended warranties as possible to unsuspecting customers only to make it very difficult for customers to actually reap the benefits of the warranty.
Our refrigerator is a lemon. When it broke after only about 5 months into it being installed we knew it was a bad sign of things to come. We have had more problems with this fridge than my parents have had with their 15-year fridge. We also spent a great deal of money purchasing this lemon that we have regretted ever since.
I am requesting reimbursement of $250 for the food loss in July 2008, $287 for the copper water line having to be replaced, as well as demanding a replacement for our refrigerator that continues to give us problems. Our other Kenmore appliances have help up well so far but the rate at which our Kenmore refrigerator has broken down on us is inexcusable and needs to be addressed. And added to the stress of our lemon of a refrigerator is the fact that our protection agreement expires in January (as I was told on the 21st).
I can guarantee our fridge will break down again next summer and we will have to incur more financial and emotional losses to replace spoiled food as well as to pay for a service technician to come and try to repair it again.
As consumers who do not write a complaint for every little disagreement we have with a company but I think of all the companies we have had business with, Sears is, by far, the worst in customer service and reliability. If I counted the hours I have spent trying to get our fridge serviced or attempting to speak to a manager about our problems, I would estimate well over 10 hours in the past two years. None of those calls resulted in any issues being resolved; Instead they just produced more stress and agony that have taken a toll on us. We truly hope our voices will be heard. It is unfathomable that a company as big as Sears will not put their customers first and take consumer concerns seriously. Integrity and forth righteousness are company traits that will carry a company far; Sears lacks both and will only lose customer trust and loyalty when issues and problems are not resolved appropriately. We will never do business with Sears ever again.
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