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[Resolved] Sears / Kenmore Elite Refrigerator / poor quality product!

1 United States Review updated:

Having owned several Kenmore appliances – including 2 refrigerators - in the past, and being a loyal Sears customer for more than 20 years, I bought a Kenmore Elite Trio refrigerator in May 2006. Turns out this is a piece of junk. I have researched at least 2 recalls on this model since 2003. Mine died about 3 months after purchase and after trying to get a replacement through the normal Sears channels was successful only through the good offices of the salesperson the unit was purchased through.

Now the darn thing has died again. Sears has refused replacement again and will not discuss replacement until a service person has verified the problem. I guess I’m not qualified to tell if a refrigerator is working, while my food spoils and my wife is ticked.

After an hour on the phone, up through the food chain, Sears “I can’t help” attitude, and lack of response to a so-called “valued” customer and their non-existent customer service has forced me to believe this is not the Sears of old. The manager I spoke to even had the chutzpah to quote from the legal requirements document he seemed to have readily at hand.

It’s a good thing? I purchased a 2-year extended warranty on this unit, expecting further problems, and boyo, was I right! It would appear this piece of cr*p, made by LG in Korea, is destined for the trash heap once the extended warranty expires. $2000 down the drain.

So here I sit, on vacation, which is over the day service is scheduled, with a roomtemperator waiting for the technician. Then I will have to take time off from work, the day I return from vacation, to deal with the repairman, who I am sure will have to order parts or a replacement unit. Then I can take some more time off work for that service call as well. I will never buy another major product from Sears.

Tell your friends, Kenmore is no longer the appliance of legend, and Sears doesn’t care.

  • Resolution statement

    Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.

  • Sears Brands Customer Care's Response, May 18, 2011

    To Kellywy,

    I read your post on here and wanted to reach out and offer some assistance. I'm sorry that your Kenmore Elite Trio is having this issue. My name is James and I am part of the Social Media Support Escalations team at Sears and we would like to help. At your convenience, please contact our office at Please send us an email providing a contact phone number and the phone number the refrigerator was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email please provide the screen name (Kellywy) for reference to your issue and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

    Thank you,
    James H.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

  • Sears Brands Customer Care's Response, Jan 28, 2014


    We thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. My name is Liz and I am a member of the Sears Cares Escalations team. We certainly can see why you are so frustrated and upset over what has occurred with your refrigerator. We would be happy to connect you with one of our dedicated case managers to contact you and address concerns. Please send the following information – contact #, screen name (Anita90703), phone # used at time of purchase to Again, we apologize for the inconvenience we have caused you and look forward to speaking with you.
    Thank you,

    Liz R.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

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  • Te
      21st of Sep, 2007
    0 Votes
    Sears / Kenmore Elite Trio Refrigerator - Poor quality product!
    United States

    I too have problems with the Kenmore Elite Trio Refrig. Mine has a bad fan motor. I have had the refrig. for two years, while under maintenance agreement having the same trouble getting the appliance serviced another person. Another site has notices concerning the fan motor and this appliance. Seems to be a common problem also the ability to get Sears to show for repair is a big issue. Beware when purchasing Sears products. The repair help line is no longer local, parts are not carried on the truck, delay in receiving parts and no show when scheduled. Do not purchase this refrig unless you have a back handy or can afford to lose a refrig. worth of food and expect a two week or more delay in getting it repaired. Also 45 minute hold on repair 800 number.

  • Vi
      11th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    I have a Sears Kenmore Elite Side by Side Refrigerator model # 106.55606400 manufacture Date 9-05 Purchased New.

    I hate this refrigerator. We bought 4 appliances at the same time - 9/05. Within the first 6 months all required repair except the microwave!

    The design of the fridge is a huge part of the problem. The freezer air is circulated to the refrigerator side to cool it. If you "over-fill" the freezer, the back of the freezer will frost over and you will need to use a hair dryer to thaw it at the back and bottom so that the cool air from the freezer can again circulate to the fridge side. Meanwhile the temp in the fridge is 60 degrees and all food has spoiled while all in the freezer is still rock solid frozen! RIDICULOUS! Parts were replaced on the 1st two service calls that were probably never needed because the same problem continues to occur. I will NEVER buy Sears Kenmore again!

    I recommend using Consumer Reports to all who need to make this type of purchase in the future. I know I will.

  • Ru
      27th of Mar, 2008
    +1 Votes

    We got our Kenmore Elite in June 2006. About a month ago I detected a burning smell in the kitchen. The inside lights in the refrigerator had failed to go off even with the doors shut, causing the bulbs and surrounding plastic attachment to melt. It was late at night, and I think it could have caused a fire if not discovered. I complained to Sears, but all they would offer was to send a tech out, and I would have to pay because I didn't get the extended warranty, which is always a bad deal for the customer. I believe this was a pre-existing condition of which Sears was aware, and they don't think enough of a $3, 000 appliance to stand behind it. Nothing we did using the refrigerator would cause the lights to stay on with the doors shut. Sears would not help us, so I closed our longtime account, transferred the balance and will never do business with Sears again. I am going to post complaints all over the Web and contact the state attorney general. I believe Sears knew about this pre-existing condition and is selling this faulty appliance to unknowing consumers.

  • Pk
      11th of Apr, 2008
    +1 Votes

    I too have had the same problems with the lights in the Trio. Yesterday was the second time it was repaired. The first time it happened, I also smelled something burning. The light fixture above the bulbs was burnt and brown. All the food was hot and spoiled. Sears came, weeks later, "repaired" the problem, only to have it happen a few months later. They came yesterday and unfortunately I was at work and I don't think my wife compeltely understood the problem. They simply replaced the light fixture and the bulbs, again, then left. This is clearly and electrical or wiring problem. I'm concerned that this could be disaterous. Had anyone successfully returned a Trio?

  • Tn
      22nd of May, 2008
    +1 Votes

    I am currently experiencing this same exact problem with my Kenmore Elite TRIO refrigerator. The service repairman who came out today indicated that the problem has something to do with the circuit board in which the relay does not cut off when the doors are shut, thereby leaving the lights on to melt everything in sight... plastic included.
    I will attempt to either get a replacement fridge (not sure what good that will do) or to get my money back. I would think that an issue like this would warrant a recall, but I did not find any recall info on the CPSC website.
    Good luck to all of you with this same issue.

  • Bm
      23rd of May, 2008
    +1 Votes

    I had the same interior light problem happen to me on my Fridge just yesterday. I've already experience Sears' finest with a water leak just after it was installed. I don't wish to go through that hassle again. I plan to convey the fact to Sears that I believe it's a known safety issue and expect an quick resolution that doesn't involve me spending a lot of my time waiting for a technician to make two trips for what will likely be a temporary fix. I'd be interested in hearing how anybody else has made out.

  • Ma
      6th of Jun, 2008
    +1 Votes

    We'll I bought mine not this past thanksgiving but the one before. It was the only model out that had the freezer on the bottom and still made ice thats why i bought it. Let me tell you something this is a piece of SH** !! pull out the drawers on the bottom and crack they break not one but both. then i was away came home smelled this burning smell and guess what light melted and has burn marks and best of all lost over $500 in food
    no warranty no help what do i do

  • Ed
      14th of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    We purchased a sears Kenmore ELITE trio in late November 06, not a cheap unit by any means. In April 08, 5 months after the 1 year warranty ran out (we declined the $500.00 extended warranty because the last fridge lasted over 25 years without any problems), upon opening the door a blast of HOT air hit us in the face. Strange, considering this is a refrigerator not an oven. The light unit and the plastic ceiling surrounding it was all melted, the food on the top shelf was ruined, and the bulbs were so hot I needed an oven mitt to remove them. I called the sears 800 number to schedule service and the first thing the service rep told me was that the 1 year warranty had run out and that it would cost me $65.00 just to have a serviceman come to the house and if I decided to have repairs made the 65 would be absorbed in the total cost. It would be a couple of weeks before a tech could arrive and it would be anytime between the hours of 8a.m. and 5p.m., sort of narrows it down doesn’t it? Well while waiting for the big day to arrive I had time to do a little investigating and found out that a circuit board that controls the lights might be faulty and that if I just unplugged the fridge for five minutes or so the board would reset itself, so I did and guess what, the light went when the doors were closed. Problem solved and being the cheap s.o.b. that I am I cancelled the service call. Okay now its June and one morning I open the fridge and wham, another blast of HOT air. This time the lighting unit is hanging by the wires, the plastic surrounding it looks like the inside of a cave, the sockets are scorched brown and again everything on the top shelf is ruined. Push in the switches and the lights stay on so back on the phone with the friendly sears service rep. A service tech could be here in a week any time between 8 and 5. So at 5:30 on the scheduled day we get a call from the tech saying he would be here shortly, must be a very busy man. So he arrives, reminds me of the $65.00 just for showing up fee(even though I had just waited all day long and he shows up a half hour later than promised), opens the fridge door and tells me “Yeah every things melted, it’s a the circuit board.” So he gets on his lap-top and after a few minutes says he has bad news. Your warranty is up and its going to cost me over $500.00 for a new board and labor. Okay I can understand paying for some thing that wore out from use or broke from abuse but a circuit board, that’s probably foreign made, but I won’t go there, wearing out only 18 months is a little absurd. Seems expensive sears Kenmore ELITE fridges are being constructed with pretty cheap parts. So I decline the repairs, who needs a light in a refrigerator any how, pay the $65.00 just to show up and tell me what I all ready knew fee and call sears. Of course it’s after six o’clock in the p.m. now and what self respecting sears manager is still in his office. So I’ll wait till Monday to see if I can get some satisfaction in solving the problem. Now I’ve purchased a number of sears products through the years, appliances, TV’s, tools, shop-vacs etc. but I will never set foot in another sears store, and neither will anyone I know, if I have to pay over $500.00 to repair a 18 month old refrigerator.

  • So
      18th of Jun, 2008
    +1 Votes

    On Sunday, June 15, 2008, my husband opened our 15 month old Kenmore Trio refrigerator and found a smokey smell inside and that the plastic case under the light bulbs had melted and falledn down, the bulbs were so hot he had to get a towel to hold them in order to take them out as they would not go off. The bulb sockets were very brown and above them the plastic had also melted. He is a retired firefighter and we travel some so had we been gone, he truly feels we would have had a fire and maybe lost our home. This is a very dangerous problem and needs to be fixed. We called our Fire Marshall the next day and he quickly came out, checked out the refrigerator then took pictures of everything inside. He made out a report and we plan to send it to the U.S. Consumer Affairs Safety Board. Hope all of you will do the same if you have not done so as this needs attention so something can be done. The public needs to know about this.
    We thought we had a really nice refrigerator and were happy when we bought it as we have used Kenmore appliances thru the years. It is nothing like their older appliance are. We are so very disappointed with it but most of all, afraid to have it repaired as they will just put in the same things that will probably happen again.

  • Un
      10th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    PLEASE contact the US Consumer Product Safety Commission if you have experienced the bulb housing melting/potential fire problem with your Kenmore Trio refrigerator. Please file a report even if you experienced the problem months or years ago, and even if your problem was fixed under warranty or if you paid to have it fixed.

    You can file a report at their website at:
    or you can call them toll-free at 1-800-638-2772
    or by send an e-mail to

    I have already called to file a complaint, but more people need to do so if Kenmore is going to do the responsible thing and fix these dangerous units.

    Sears/Kenmore is clearly aware of this safety problem, but they will not repair it for free as they should. Kenmore wants $500 to fix this problem.

    If enough people complain to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the manufacturer of this product will be forced to recall/fix the product.

    Please file a complaint before someone loses their home, or someone loses their life because of this defective product.

  • Pa
      11th of Jul, 2008
    +1 Votes

    We also just had the same melting light/burnt light fixture inside our Sears Elite Trio refrigerator on 7/2/08. I'm lucky that I went into the fridge at 11pm and found this or I know there would have been a fire while we were asleep!!! I have gotten NOWHERE with Sears regarding this serious manufacturing defect. They said it's out of warranty (purchased 4/27/07) by 2 months and its my problem. They said I can pay to have it repaired!! I filed a complaint today with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission @ 1-800-638-2772 and hope they can resolve this. Sears needs to issue a safety recall on this refrigerator Model 77573600 before someone's house burns or someone dies !!!

  • Ma
      18th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    We had the same problem today with our Kenmore Elite refrigerator. Opened up the frig today to the smell of something burning. Evidently the light bulbs are not turning off when the doors close.
    The light sockets were brown from the heat, and the plastic light housing had melted. The inside roof of the frig was also melted and warped. In fact, the heat was so bad that the cabinets above the frig were hot to the touch. We were about to leave for a long weekend. It's a good thing I checked it out today, or we could have come home to smoldering embers!! We purchased it in Dec. of 2006, and, of course, Sears is standing by their "it's out of warranty" claim. I also asked if they had any other complaints of this nature with this frig, and, of course, the answer was, "No, this if the first we have heard of this problem." Well, I'm not giving up with them yet. I'm going to print out all of these complaints and take them to the store manager where we bought the unit. I think this goes way beyond a standard warranty issue. This is obviously a serious manufacturing defect!! I also filed a complaint with the USPSC (

  • Pa
      21st of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I came here for a solution in hope to see if people encountered a similar problem but as I read the complaints, each one of them spoke my mind. Just tonight, if I did not smell the burning and increasing heat.. god knows what could have occurred. My one year warranty is expired and I did not pick up on the extension. All I did was quickly remove the bulbs which is a problem in its self just trying to pry open that lamp with out cracking it, but we will live with that for now. I will use the kitchen lights when I need light for the fridge. I want to get it fixed, but if this is the hassle and the rip off that I will receive from this product and the people responsible for the product safety... this is just another way the producers get a win and forcing the consumer to spend more money so "they" can increase their revenue and eventually their profits ...

  • Pa
      23rd of Jul, 2008
    -1 Votes

    I have contacted reporter Arnold Diaz of Fox 5 News NY regarding the problem with my Sears Kenmore Elite Trio Refrigerator serious fire hazard manufacturing defect. He is a consumer investigator who exposes the wrongdoings of businesses. I asked for his help. I think it would help if he heard from others who have had this same serious fire hazard with their very expensive refrigerators from Sears AND have had no luck getting Sears to stand behind the products they sell. If any of you want to also contact him, the email address is:

    We all need to stand together regarding this very dangerous appliance that is in all of our homes!! THANKS

  • Ka
      26th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I experienced the very same thing with our Kenmore Elite Trio, manufactured in 2006/10 and we had bought it from Sears in Jan 2007. Everything was fine until today, and it's just as everyone says: melted and scorched plastic. Top of the fridge is warped and hot food on the top s helves! I called Sears and at this time there is no official recall, the service man is coming in 4 days at the $65 fee on my own dime!!! I have already submitted my report to the UPSC (thank you for the information!!) and I am going to keep each and every receipt so that when there is recall I am ready to make my claim. This is outrageous that there are so many problems with this fridge and nothing has been done about it.

  • Br
      26th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    On July 25th, 2008 my wife and me had smelled something burning but could not figure out where it was coming from. In fact we thought that a straw had fallen onto the heating element in the dishwasher. In the early morning hours of July 26th, 208 I went to get a drink from the refrigerator and it was clear the smell was coming from the light fixture and everything on the top shelf was very warm. I used a towel to remove the bulbs and had to throw everything away that was on the top shelf. I scheduled an appointment with Sears via the web and an appointment was scheduled for the same morning (Saturday). Well, you guessed it, Sears did not show. I called and they confirmed the appointment, but they were at a loss on why someone did not show. So, now I am on for Monday the 28th, 2008. I went to google and typed in my issue and found this complaint. I am so glad that I did. I will also be filing a complaint with the US Product Safety Commission and will have some ammunition for Sears on Monday. Not sure how far I will get since it appears that a lot of people are getting the runaround from Sears on this issue. If anyone finds a resolution please e-mail others to let us know.

  • Re
      28th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Ten days after our 1 year warranty ran out the interior lights would not shut off causing the top plastic to melt and the light sockets to be burnt. I called 1-800 4My-Home which is the Sears repair shop listed in the fridge and they couldn’t tell me if this was dangerous and had never heard of this and just asked if I wanted to purchase and extended warranty and set me up with an appointment 2 weeks later. I asked to speak to a technician because I have a 2 and a 4 year old and was nervous a fire might start. Nobody ever called of course. Then 2 weeks later when the technician came he said this was impossible that the lights would not turn off and blamed me stating I must have left the doors open - even though there is an alarm on the doors and I have 2 kids so I am in and out of the fringe all day. He would not believe me and basically called me a liar. He plugged the bulbs back in after I was scared and nervous and assured me it was my fault and that I must have left the doors open and it wouldn’t happen again. Exactly 25 hours after he left it occurred again. I was so upset. We were leaving the next day for a week vacation. I am sure my house would have burned down. I called the 800-4my home number 3 days in a row asking for that technician who came out to call me back so I could tell him I wasn’t lying and to make sure he ordered the correct parts. He barely opened the fridge doors. Of course he never called back. Then as is so typical they sent this same lazy technician back to install the parts he ordered and I explained the update and he said it was obviously the buttons on the inside. I tried to explain that I went to college for 4 years (not for appliance repairs) but felt pretty confident it was something deeper in the fridge with wires or a short circuit. He would not look in the fridge and brushed me off again saying it was a faulty button. So you can imagine my dismay when 6 days later I opened the fridge and all the new parts I just paid for were melted and my food was almost on fire the fridge was so hot. Not to mention the lovely burning plastic smell that my kids keep having to inhale. I think I may apply for a position as a Sears’s technician because apparently I am smarter with no training! Today another technician came and said it was the circuit board and that it needed to be replaced. I have no idea what the cost will be for that but I am EXTREMELY disappointed in this SEARS product and in their customer service. HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE. Going to the Consumer Safety Product Commission right now to report this. I would hate to see a family die over this fridge when nobody cares!

  • Sc
      4th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I might as well pile on with the melting Trio light.
    Same story for me. I opened the doors to smell "cooking" food. Fortunately, I did not have to worry about how to get the plastic cover off that encased the lights. It fell into my hands quite easily. I burned both hands quite badly just trying to get the bulbs out.
    Being the tightwad that I am, I can't justify the $65 for the tech or the $500 for the circuit board. I might find another plastic casing and live without the lights.
    For those of you who chose not to replace the lights, did you experience any other problems with the circuit board?
    Anybody know a good lawyer who might want to make a class action suit out of this?

  • Ri
      4th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I cannot believe that there are so many consumers out there who are experiencing the same problem with this Kenmore Trio. We purchased the Trio (a.k.a. piece of cr*p) in Feb 2007. My wife discovered the plastic light cover melting and smoke coming from the fixture 2 weeks ago. We went to the local Sears store and explained the problem, was then told that we had to call their useless 1800 repair service, had an incompetent and rude repairman named Arnold in San Diego who didn't know his head from his a**, and was forced to fork over the $70 service charge for nothing. The repairman did not know how to fix the problem and could only tell me that it would cost $391 to replace the parts. I have a wife undergoing chemotherapy and a 6 year old and 4 year old. I explained that I was gravely concerned about the chances of this refrigerator causing a fire. His response was "I can only tell you how much it will cost to replace the parts". I am so frustrated and went to the store today to speak with the manager. I know what you are probably thinking "good luck". I was unsuccessful and will file a complaint with the USPSC immediately. This is unacceptable and for Sears to play ignorant to this problem is criminal. Please email me if you have had a successful resolution to this problem.

  • Fr
      6th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    On 8/4/08 we discovered the same issue with the side by side kenmore elit frig with the freezer at the bottom. The lights had been on for at least 24 hours. The case for the lighting was scorched and partially melted as well as the casing for the light bulbs. Everything on the top shelf was luke warm... We filed a report with the USPSC. Please file a complaint if you've had the same issue. This refrigerator has been nothing but problems. Before the first warranty expired, we had the frig replaced because the freezer was leaking air into the refrigerator...freezing everything in the vegetable drawers. With the replacement we had to change the icemaker twice... what a piece of c**p...

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