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Sears / Kenmore Elite Refrigerator


poor quality product!

Complaint Rating:  92 % with 312 votes
92% 312
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.
Complaint comments Comments (156) Complaint country United States Complaint category Appliances


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A  8th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
Me too, same problem with light not going off and burnt up cover. Bought mine in Sept. 06. The smell reminded me of a burning fiberglass boat. All the packaging of my food smelled bad even in the freezer. At first I tried to save things but soon realized I had to shut off the whole thing because by now all the plastic stunk. I washed every piece with vinegar and finally was able to use the fridge again. My husband replaced the 60 Watt bulbs with smaller ones.
Sears is sending a repair man because I can't camplain to anyone until he comes. I went to the store but everyone said I have to start at the repair dept. I think we should contact a lawyer who would like to turn this into something big and then Sears might talk to all of us.
By the way the ice maker never stops running so I have to turn it off and on myself. The pull out veggie drawer has a broken wheel.
A  8th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
Today is August 8, 2008. Yesterday we discovered a burning smell in our Kenmore Trio Refrigerator. After noticing the light cover hanging by just one connector, we realized that the light bulbs were extremely hot. We also have the side by side with the bottom freezer. We called the local Sears store where we purchased the frig. and they knew nothing about what we were telling them. We just spoke with Sears Corporate Appliance Dept. and there is a recall on this issue that started on 8/6/08.
N  8th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
To receive service under the "Service Flash" for this problem, call 1-800-690-5650 or 1-800-549-4505. The Service Flash is a recall according to Sears.
N  8th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
I have a post back on July 28th, 2008 so this is an update to the same complaint everyone is having. I have been working with Sears Corporate Office and the following is what has been implemented. Sears has issued a safety recall on this part and all owners will be notified shortly. Now for the people who have had this problem (like me) at least there will be some resolution to this problem. If anyone would like more information on this send me an email.
N  8th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
I just spoke with the Sears recall department. There is NOT a recall on the Trio refrigerator that we are discussing. The "Service Flash" means that if you have a Sears technician come to your home for a service call, he can determine at his/her discretion whether the problem is a hazard or not. And if he/she so deems, can waive the service fee and/or the parts.

I'm sorry to say that I do not have much confidence in those fees or parts costs being waived.

Folks...we need a lawyer on this. Sears recall department (her name was Margie) stated that there is nothing Sears can or will do unless there is an official recall.
N  9th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
I also just talked to the recall dept and there is no recall. I think we all should keep calling them 800.659.7026
N  9th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
WOW. Insane. I can't believe so many folks have had the same problem.

We also just experienced the same exact problem - 8/8/08. My wife noticed a warm/hot feel to the upper shelf bottles, noticed the light stayed on and took it upon herself to take out the bulbs. We didn't get to the point of melting plastic.

I will call my Sears guy today, and also file a report at the Consumer Safety Commission.
N  11th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
I posted my first compliant on 8/8/08. Today 8/11/08 the Sears repairman spoke with someone on the phone while at my house and they are changing all defective parts at no charge to me for parts or labor. When the service technician is at your house, you need to give him Service Flash SF46-515. The technician will order the correct parts to be shipped to your house for free and then installed by Sears. The numbers to call are 1-800-690-5650 or 1-800-549-4505.
A  14th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
We experienced the same burning problem with our Kenmore fridge. The first few times that I noticed the light and foodwas burning hot I assumed that I left the door open. I only wondered why the alarm didn't work. Then on 8/13/08 my husband went into the fridge at night and discovered the same issue. He assumed once again that the door was left open all day. Then he thought more about it, shut the doors tightly, got on a chair and looked down into the cracks of the door. Sure enough, the light was on and burning hot. Our cabinets were even warm to the touch. The unit that holds the light was melted and sagging as well as scorched brown. This is ridiculous. I will not pay one dime to have this repaired. I expect Sears to take care of this potentially very dangerous defect. I will report this to the Consumer Safety Commision as well as call my local news station. Channel 4 news in Detroit if anyone else is in the area please call or email as well.
A  15th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
I just had the control panel on my Kenmore fridge melt off because the light bulbs wouldn't turn off. Of course the warranty ran out two months ago. I have to replace the main circuit board due to a faulty relay and the control panel, each of which cost $200, plus labor. If this happens to you, buy the extended warranty when you call in. It's a lot cheaper and there is no recall.
A  15th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
We bought our fridge in January of 2007. Today - 8/15/08 - our Kenmore Elite Trio light bulbs were not turning off when the doors were closed. The top light cover and the fixture were melted and the food near it was so hot we had to through it all out. We unplugged the fridge and let it cool off before unscrewing the light bulbs. After reading the previous posts we decided to unscrew the freezer light and just use the kitchen lights until we replace the fridge. I have no confidence in Sears or this model for safety. I wonder how many home fires are attributed to Kenmore Elite Trios? This is a dangerous defect and only an irresponsible company would allow this to keep happening! We are going to complain to the Consumer Safety Product Commission.
N  16th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
Good News. I also have had the same problem with the lights. A Sears repairman came to my house on 8/8/08. He ordered all 7 new parts to correct the problem free of charge to be shipped to my house. We received the parts free of charge on 8/14/08 shipped by UPS. The Sears repairman will return to my house to do the installation of new parts on 8/19/08. When you call Sears give the Service Flash number SF 46-515 if you have the Kenmore Trio Side By Side Refrig. with bottom freezer.
A  16th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
Today (8-16-08), we had the exact same problem! Being a Saturday all we could do was call Sears and they will have a repair man call on Monday. In a way it is nice to see we are not alone in this. Our fridge is only 18 months old, for that amount of money it should last longer then 18 months!
D  24th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
We just experienced the same problem! I have already filed a complaint - thanks for providing the info. We bought the extended warranty and repairman was here yesterday. He is replacing the light housing and stated the left door of our Kenmore Elite Trio was not seated properly and that was causing the light to not shut off. However, if your stand on a chair and look at the on/off switch on the frame, the left side does indeed depress. Since the bulbs have been unscrewed, it is difficult to tell for certain if it is being depressed enough to trigger the lights to turn off. THANK YOU so much for the info on the Service Flash. I will give this info to the technician when he returns. I bought my Trio 1/07. I also agree with the rudeness regarding the tech's. The one who showed here was here for a total of 5 mins (after I waited 5 hours) and proceeded to tell me my settings were wrong and then changed the settings for both the fridge and freezer without allowing any time for my input! This made me angry as he does not have to contend with frozen drinks and thawed ice cream! I am a very dissatisfied Sears customer.
A  26th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
I've just experienced the same problem. Before finding this board, I called Sears. The technician came out today. He was very polite, and after calling in, indicated that Sears is aware of the problem. That being said, he made no offer to do anything other then provide me with an estimate for the parts. He also told me that I should call LG or return to the store where I bought the fridge. Since I purchsed this fridge online in June 2006, there is no store involved. I have yet to contact LG, but I'm already starting to feel like I'm getting the run-around.
A  26th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
I posted on 7/25 about having this same problem with our Sears Kenmore Elite Trio. I had the the Sears repairman out on 7/29, as that was all that One Source would do for us. He could only leave me the repair estimate (complete with part #s) since I wasn't about to shell out $460 to repair the fridge myself. We are out of warranty by 6 mos...

Recently, I read about the Service Flash here, and called again this week to the numbers listed. I actually had to get transferred over to someone in the Rework Dept at 1-800-659-7026. Good news it that we'll have a repairman out on Thursday to look at it again and order the parts for us. At no charge, he just needs to determine what really is needed now.

The man on the phone at the Rework Dept asked for my model # and serial # to verify that we were included in the SF. I gave the same SF # that was quoted earlier here.

By the way, I did contact the CPSC too... we still need to do that. It may allow someone who isn't online to take advantage of the SF! And to avoid a tragedy!

To note: the fridges (the LG frenchdoors are the same as the Kenmore Elites...) are NOT being recalled . What is happening is that they are sending out people to repair one that you already have that has experienced this problem.

With the way that our fridge ended up, it's like putting a bandaid on a huge wound, but at least it will be something.
N  28th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
Just to update you all... the Sears Repairman was back out here today for our Kemore Elite Trio. He is indeed ordering the same parts that the first repairman thought that we needed, PLUS the motherboard as well. (covering all bases I assume?) We wait for the parts to arrive via UPS and then we arrange for another visit for the installation.

It's a hassle to wait for the repairman, but at least the fridge is being repaired at no cost to us. I HOPE that it will stay fixed for good. Interestingly enough the Repairman was pushing for us to purchase the special "extended warranty" for the reduced price of $120 per year... hmmm...

The Service Flash will hopefully be something that all of you who have experienced problems will look into, but please let the CPSC know as well. I only knew about the SF because of this site and I hate to think of the people who have experienced this same melting light issue AND have gotten nowhere on their own. If Sears or LG doesn't do a massive campaign to let people know about this repair then how will other people find out about it??

Isn't it interesting that when you go to look at the latest Kenmore Elite Trio fridges at Sears that their lights are totally different now!!
A  13th of Sep, 2008 by    0 Votes
I am so unhappy as a Sears customer at this point. I have this same problem with my Trio "Elite", and they will simply do nothing about it. It's "the consumer's" responsibility because it is out of warranty. I have filed a complaint with Sears, with the CPSC, and have spoken directly with Sears' Customer Service and Recalls departments.

What kills me is the fact that the Recall department person I spoke with told me flat out that they know of this issue, but "sorry we cannot do anything because there's no recall yet". I find this so unethical. And to see the list of people online with this issue makes me furious. We are talking about a FIRE HAZARD here, folks.

Below is the reply from Sears on my complaint. Enjoy.

Thank you for visiting Sears.com, we appreciate hearing from you.

We have noted your comments, and will share them with the interested
parties for proper consideration. While we do not expect any appliance
or product to fail within a pre-determined amount of time, there is
always the possibility that this may occur. While it is unfortunate that
problems have arisen, we do offer the option of purchasing our
protection agreements both at the time of purchase, and when the
warranty expires, in order to safeguard your investment.

Due to the fact that the unit is not covered by either the
manufacturer's warranty, which is usually valid for the first year of
ownership, or protection agreement, the responsibility of cost for
repair of the refrigerator falls on the consumer.

By sharing your feedback with us, you have made it possible for us to
address the issues and/or rectify the situation. Further, your
forthright comments will enable Sears to achieve excellence in
everything we do.
If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to discuss the
matter further, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-469-4663.

Lillian L.
Sears Holdings Corporation
A  13th of Sep, 2008 by    0 Votes
And here is my reply to Sears:

Thanks for your feedback regarding my comments. Unfortunately, I am now even further bewildered by Sears' inability and unwillingness to resolve a critically dangerous issue in their product. Let me answer your comments one by one:

Protection agreement: Yes, I did not get a protection agreement when I paid well over $2k for this refrigerator in Oct 06. So much for your "Elite"
name tag. When a consumer spends this much on a refrigerator they expect it NOT to have an internal circuit board issue like this.

Responsibility of cost falls on me the consumer: Are you kidding me? If you would look into this closer and see the amount of people having this issue (actually I am sure you are aware of it by now), Sears would do the right thing and fix these units to keep their consumers safe from fire, and actually keep their customers.

Address the issue and/or rectify the situation: Again, you have got to be kidding me. This reply of yours totally displays Sears' lack of willingness to fix or rectify the situation. THERE IS A FIRE HAZARD IN THESE REFRIGERATORS!!! Sears knows it, and will not do the right thing. I honestly do not know how you sleep at night.

I am one customer you have lost - just one of many. For a company that values its reputation as a "service-oriented" company, yikes, you are missing the ball on this one.

I look forward to seeing how Sears handles this "situation" in the coming months.

N  17th of Sep, 2008 by    0 Votes
Here' another update. I know exactly how Erik feels... I refuse to buy from Sears again, in spite of being able to get our Elite Trio repaired (free of charge, but NOT free of hassle!!) due to the Service Flash. I refuse to deal with a company that has gotten so large that they send their call centers overseas and no one in any department REALLY knows what someone else is doing . Yes, we experienced the melting too . We experienced the frustration of NOT getting good customer service about the problem, but I kept at it... thanks to this website I filed my complaints with the USCPS and I found out about this repair opportunity.

I took the repair and so far (3 days now) it's better than living with a dark fridge. We got a new circuit board and a light that now has a sensor incorporated in it that would shut things off if it were to stay illuminated too long. I hope that this is the end of it.

Don't despair, but do try that Service flash option!!! One dear lady that I am communicating with can't get her fridge repaired (her fridge doesn't have a model # that is included in the SF) but I do hope that one day it will be extended to her. I hope that it's only a matter of time.

Do file an official complaint with the USCPS. Do try the Service Flash repair option because as people have stated previously... there is NO recall on these. The repair man told my husband that he has worked on numerous cases of the melted bulb housing. It's NOT just your fridge, and it's being addressed by Sears in some ways now.

Keep at it and keep checking this site for new info. Keep calling too!

Want to hear something even more telling about Sears? Our Sears Craftsman riding lawn mower has been acting up a lot this year. I admit that it's 3 years out of warranty, and I didn't even consider going back to Sears to buy parts after this fridge fiasco. I ended up buying a new mower elsewhere. Sears has lost me as customer forever. It's not the Sears that my grandfather loved; they have changed, and it's not a good thing anymore.

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