SUBMIT A COMPLAINT

Sears / Kenmore Elite Trio Refrigeratordefect in lighting

Review updated:

My husband and I purchased a Kenmore Elite Trio refrigerator in May of 2006. On Friday morning, August 29, 2008, I opened the refrigerator door and smelled something burning. When I touched a Mason jar containing tomato juice on the top shelf, the jar was extremely hot. A bowl next to it was likewise extremely hot, so much so that I couldn’t pick it up without using a potholder. In investigating further, I noticed that the light fixture cover was warped and the light fixture itself was burnt and scorched. I held in both of the door closure buttons and the lights would not go out. Concerned that the heat from the two 60-watt bulbs could cause a fire, I tried to remove the bulbs using a potholder to keep from getting burned. I was able to remove one of the bulbs but could only partially unscrew the second one due to expansion of the light socket caused by the extreme heat. We had to wait for the unit to cool down before the second bulb could be removed.

A month or so prior to this incident, my husband said the top of the freezer door was hot and questioned what may have been causing that. Apparently the lights in the freezer were staying on as well. Although we have had no further problems with the lights in the freezer, it is conceivable that it was caused by the same faulty components that are causing the hazardous condition with the lights in the refrigerator.
I contacted Sears and was told they are not aware of any problems with the lights in these refrigerators. I find that hard to believe since there are a multitude of postings on the internet regarding the lights in this refrigerator and numerous complaints have been filed with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Sears’ suggested plan of action is to have a technician come out and apprise the situation, but I will be required to pay for the service call, which, I am told will be refunded up to $150.00. If Sears can refund the cost of a service call, then I am certain they can have a technician assess the damage without my having to pay up front. I fully intend to pursue this with a vehemence because someone’s home is going to burn down if something isn’t done about the defect in these refrigerators.

Sort by: UpDate | Rating

Comments

  • Wa
      Sep 18, 2008

    I also purchased the same Kenmore Elite Trio Bottom Freezer Refrigerator in 2007. After about one year, I began having a similar problem - the internal lights staying on when the doors are closed.
    The problem is intermittent.

    +1 Votes
  • Ev
      Sep 22, 2008

    I am also having this problem. I opened the frig door and there was a burning smell. The bulb cover was hanging there being melted by the bulb. My food was extremely hot. I called Sears and apparently I have no recourse. They offered to have me buy the extended warranty for $250, which I felt I had no choice. What if when the technician comes out he charges me more? I'm so frustrated with Sears. I won't buy any more applicances with them.

    0 Votes
  • Gs
      Oct 06, 2008

    I just experienced this same problem on my Kenmore Elite french door frig, model 795.[protected], built 2/07, installed 3/07. so right at the 18 month mark, the frig lights stayed on and melted the lens and housing before i discovered the problem. the freezer light still goes off properly. i haven't called sears yet, but i did file a notice with the federal consumer product safety commission. it seems the cpsc only issues a recall if it is a fire or injury hazard, not just a lame design defect.

    +1 Votes
  • Ke
      Oct 06, 2008

    I am shocked by all of the complaints on this. I opened my Elite frig this morning and it was all melted and smelled. The frig is only two years old. This is a fire hazard for sure. The repairman is coming out tomorrow. It's going to have to be replaced it's all melted.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
      Oct 17, 2008

    Today, I smelled the "burning plastic" when I opened the door. It didn't take me too long to discover the warped lamp cover and scorched brown lamp sockets. I confirmed that the refrigerator lights are remaining on when the door is closed. This could certainly result in a fire. I've removed the light bulbs and will call Sears service, but this should be a recall situation.

    This refrig is less than two years old and cost about $2500 on sale. It has the freezer icing problem that many others have cited on the web. I had a service call on this problem under warranty and the "repair" was to alleviate the symptom and not fix the problem, but of course Sears won't acknowledge this as a common defect of this model.

    Never again buy a Sears/LG refrigerator. Should have stayed with Whirlpool...my previous one lasted 18 years with no problems.

    This refrigerator is a total disappointment.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
      Nov 05, 2008

    November 5, 2008
    We also bought a Kenmore Elite Trio Model # 795.775 in August 22, 2006
    This morning 11/05/08, we woke up to a burning smell in the kitchen. I opened up the refrigerator, the smell of burning plastic was from inside the refrigerator. I found the lens cover to the lights barely hanging to the fixture. It was melted around the edges. I took off the lens, and burned my fingers in doing so. The light sockets were burned and all my food on the top shelf was extremely hot to the touch. I figured the bulbs were the problem. I waited until they cooled down enough to get the bulbs out. I had to be sure not to wait to long or the plastic socket would cool to much and seal around the bulbs. I noticed that each of the bulbs are 60 watts, that make them 120 watts heating up a sealed unit and could start a fire. I got the bulbs out and found that all my food was warm and had to toss it out.
    I also had a freezer icing problem as well. I believe that the light bulb is the issue in the freezer. So I took the out as well. You might think about doing that as well.

    I am going to contact a consumer protection agency.
    Kathleen McCall

    +1 Votes
  • Al
      Nov 09, 2008

    Like the other writers I too have had the problem of the refrigerator lights staying on and overheating. After investigation and replacing the dective parts I consider this to be a design defect which has been since corrected by the manufactuers by changing the design of the lamp holder wiring harness. I have written to Sears requesting an explation.

    0 Votes
  • Al
      Nov 09, 2008

    Photographs of the defective parts can be seen at

    http://picasaweb.google.com/abswanson/KenmoreEliteTrioRefrigerator#

    0 Votes
  • Pa
      Nov 16, 2008

    We purchased our Kenmore Trio refrigerator in spring of 2007. This summer in August the butter was hot on the top shelf and the plastic lens covering the fridge light had melted and was hanging on only by one screw. Calling Sears resulted in a "This is out of warrantee." statement. This product should be recalled and fixed free of charge. Sears wanted to send a repair person for a charge. This machine cost over $2000 last year. The estimates on line go to over $500 for a circuit board replacement. This cost should be borne by the seller. This is obviously a product defect. Fearing a fire, I removed the lens and unplugged the lights. The lining and paint on the inside of the fridge is burnt near the bulbs and the sockets are scorched from the excess heat. Our last fridge was still running after 22 years. We bought this one to save energy. No savings here. Sears should stand behind its products. Reputation is all they have left. Read the posts here. You are losing customers for life.

    0 Votes
  • Ti
      Dec 02, 2008

    Exact same problem here. I read elsewhere that L.G. Electronics (who makes these units) has a defective CPU board. They have a new CPU board to replace the old one that supposedly addresses this issue. I'm sure that won't be cheap.

    0 Votes
  • Sa
      Feb 11, 2009

    I purchased an Elite Trio #795.[protected] in Dec. 2006. 26 months later I too was faced with the same problem. I opened up the refrigerator and smelled burning plastic. The lens cover to the lights was melted in the center and around the edges to where the screws no longer had a surface to connect to. The light sockets were partially burned and all my food on the top shelf was hot. I called 1-800-4 MY HOME and was on hold for over half an hour. I hung up and drove to my local Sears. The saleswoman asked me to return later so that her manager could speak with me. Surprisingly, the saleswoman called me back after three hours and said she had spoken with a Sears representative who would be contacting me. Within a minute I received a call from JR (i.d. number [protected])who said that a service guy would be at my house in two days to assess the damage. I would need to pay $60-$80 which would then be reimbursed. He apologized for the problem and did not seem surprised by the complaint. I am hopeful that Sears will do right.

    0 Votes
  • Ch
      Mar 24, 2009

    Had the same problem as everyone else here. We called Sears after having the fridge for 2 years. They sent out a repairman to assess the situation. He had to come back a day later with parts but fixed the light issue free of charge. We were very happy with the service from Sears. I think they were aware of the issue and were trying to fix the units as quickly as possible. The replacement part was partially made of metal where a mostly plastic had been.

    0 Votes
  • Jm
      Jul 12, 2009

    We just encountered the same issue!! I will call SEARS and see if they are as "Accomodating" as they were to you, Chris!! Wow!! Such a dangerous situation!! My husband was away and luckily my son noticed that everything on the top shelf was warm -- I was able to PRY the plastic piece off with a knife and remove light bulbs with a heat proof oven mitt! ;-(

    0 Votes
  • Re
      Jul 21, 2009

    I just had the same problem. Sears Trio Elite 795-[protected]. Sears is coming tomorrow to evaluate.

    Unfortunately the interior shell of the refrigerator is severely warped, so I doubt it can be easily repaired.

    0 Votes
  • Ch
      Aug 04, 2009

    Just started experiencing this problem with my own Kenmore Elite. 795-[protected]. The manufacture date is listed as May 2007. Food on top shelf was warm/spoiled. I noticed the lense was warm to the touch. I believe this model has a built in safety switch to turn off the light when it over heats. The lights were intermittently on or off.

    I took out the bulbs and let the fixture cool down. A few hours later I reinserted the light bulbs. I used a butter knife to carefully split the seal and peak in. Sure enough, the light was on.

    Other than reporting this to Sears, does anyone have any DIY fixes or replacement part numbers I might try out?

    ( 795.[protected] for Google, that's how I found this forum )

    0 Votes
  • Tl
      Aug 20, 2009

    We're dealing with the exact same issue!!!...our light fixture is completely melted, blackened & burned. We purchased our refrigerator March 2008... so, its not even 2 years old. RIDICULOUS!!!

    Just called the phone# that Chris used... [protected]. We have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow. I was advised they will charge $75. just for the service person to come out & assess the situation. They could not tell me how much more it will be to fix the defective light. I advised them that per the internet, this is a problem that they should be aware of, & it should be covered. Apparently, the service man makes that determination at the house-call...

    I guess we will see what happens tomorrow. But, I know for sure, that if it is not in our favor, and we are charged for fixing this defective product, I WILL BE SENDING A COMPLAINT LETTER TO KENMORE AND SEARS.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
      Aug 30, 2009

    Kenmore Elite Model 795.[protected] - burning smell and all food hot to touch on top two shelves coming from the lights. Light sockets turned brown from burning. Sears can't send a technician out for 3 days and my entire refrigerator will be bad in 3 days. This could have caused a fire and burned my house down.. ..Everyone needs to report this to the officials here is the address. Please do your part in reporting or someone could lose their life prematurely because of this defect Kenmore and Sears choses to ignore. Here is the website:

    https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

    +1 Votes
  • Dl
      Sep 05, 2009

    Kenmore Model# 795.[protected]
    I opened the refrigerator door this morning and felt heat from the upper shelf radiating on my face. I noticed the clear light cover was all warped, and one side of the white plastic light assembly that screws into the top of the fridge had become soft enough to let the screw pull through and was hanging only by the screw on the other side. I pushed the switch in the upper hinge of the left door to see if the lights would go off but the switch was not working. I turned off the refrigerator and removed the clear plastic light cover, the light sockets, and metal heat shield. When I removed the white plastic base of the light assembly I could see the plastic interior of the refrigerator had become blistered from the heat. I also purchased this refrigerator for energy savings and also the stainless steel look. My 20 year old fridge was working fine when I replaced it with this one. This is a major defect and the damage to the refrigerator unit itself is major. I hope there is some sort of recall on these. I am very disappointed in the quality of this fridge.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
      Sep 07, 2009

    I just realized that I have the same problem with my Elite Trio. Purchased April/06 delivered in May/06. My wife said the light cover was falling down. I did not have any melting problems, probably because we caught the problem early. Both bulbs were extremely hot as well as warm food on the top shelf. I thought that maybe the door switches that are supposed to shut the light off maybe defective. I will be calling Sears to find out.

    0 Votes
  • Is
      Sep 10, 2009

    The light cover fell out of the fridge this morning as I left for work. Didn't think anything of it until we came home from work and found the exact same problems described above. All the food is extremely hot and is ruined. We had to use a towel to unscrew the lightbulbs, which are blazing hot - I'm really surprised the bulbs haven't shattered. The plastic cover that fell off this morning is warped and doesn't want to go back on.

    We've had this unit for 2 years and are extremely disappointed in it. We will never buy a Sears product again. We're calling the service department tonight and will post what we find out.

    0 Votes
  • Er
      Sep 11, 2009

    Kenmore Trio Model# 795.[protected]
    Same story. Cover melted. I've heard about the concern about a fire hazard but since this problem is intermittent, what about the health concern of eating food that has been repeatedly warmed and cooled. I'm not about to play they're game and give Sears more money to have a service tech come out to verify what everyone already knows. For now I took the bulbs out. I haven't heard of any other associated problems. I would like to know if a permanent solution is known or are they just replacing the burnt parts and it could happen again. Paid around $2000 for the refrigerator 2 years ago. Definitely didn't get what I paid for. Never again will I buy anything from Sears.

    0 Votes
  • Ms
      Sep 12, 2009

    Kenmore Elite Trio Fridge (bought new Sept. 2006)
    Extremely dangerous situation- fridge lights stay on and heats food/melts plastic cover.
    I had to throw out most of the food in the fridge. Fortunately, the freezer wasn't affected.
    I'm very upset that Sears has known about this problem and has not been proactive in protecting it's customers. Will be contacting Sears today and hopefully will get some satisfaction.

    0 Votes
  • Co
      Sep 13, 2009

    purchased kenmore elite 3 door fridge in 2008, , same thing with my unit interior light staying on, getting very hot had to remove bulbs, no melting as i caught it early enough, sears refuses to fix as warranty expired 2 months ago, also had other problems with this fridge, , icemaker quit 1 mont old, sears came out 4 times and to this day ice maker is still not working, also door seal split from top to bottom . sears came out and replaced it as it was still under warranty, when the sears guy installed the seal he put it in wrong and there was a gap between the doors, could actually see inside the fridge, when he replaced the seal he also gouged up the stainless stell along the door edge 3 gouges caused by the screwdriver he used, sear was notified again and sent out another guy who replaced the seal right and reported on the scratches gouges !! he took pictures and measured them, that was approx 9 months ago after calling several times to ess what they are going to do, i finally give up as i was getting nowhere with them, now the lights staying on !! sears has lost me as a customer and everyone i know .. even the sears technitian said sears has a very bad reputation for service and no doubt in my mind they definatly do .. signed a former customer of sears..

    0 Votes
  • Ji
      Sep 14, 2009

    Call and submit a "Product Safety Complaint" @ [protected]. A "Service Flash" has been issued for this model (795.[protected]).


    We are having the same issue. The lights are not turning off when the doors are closed, the plastic light grill melted & fell off, the light sockets are scorched black... I have been on the phone for over 2 hours today, trying to find out how i can get this fixed w/o paying the service/replacement part fees. I called everyone from Sears, Kenmore even LG. I finally think i hit on something. Call and submit a "Product Safety Complaint", the number is: [protected]. I was advised by a CSR at this number that there a "Service Flash" issued for this model (795.[protected]). They are sending out a service tech @ no cost to me. Fingers crossed this works! My service call is schedule for this week. Until then, i have removed the light bulbs for fear they will cause a fire!

    I will follow up with post after the service and provide status.
    Wish me luck!!!

    +1 Votes
  • Ro
      Sep 14, 2009

    This is amazing. I thought my kids did something to the fridge while we were out. I decided to go online and try to find replacements for the lighting system because my story is repititious of the previous complaints. Well fortunately or unfortunately, I came across this page. Wow!

    0 Votes
  • No
      Sep 14, 2009

    Wow this is crazy, around the same time as everyone else (about 2 years after purchase) my Kenmore fridge had a melt down!! We purchased our fridge in September of 2006.

    0 Votes
  • No
      Sep 14, 2009

    I called the 800 number [protected]) they are sending out a tech on thursday 9/17/09! I found out that you have three years from the date purchased on your warrenty so people call asap. The service call is free of charge and I will update soon after.

    0 Votes
  • To
      Sep 23, 2009

    We have the same problem! Model 795.[protected]

    I am absolutely amazed at all the complaints I have found online regarding this problem, yet Sears seems completely unaware of the issue. As with all the other complaints, we found the top shelves of our refrigerator to be very warm/hot and discovered that the light cover was warped and melted. After testing, we found that the lights weren't turning off when the doors closed. We unplugged the refrigerator and had to wait for it to cool down before we could even attempt to remove the light bulbs. The sockets and entire area around the lights is black and scorched. The lights were difficult to remove because all the plastic is so warped, but we were finally able to remove the lights.

    I am expecting to have problems getting this fixed because the warranty has expired (product was new in 2006). My first contact with Sears this morning was unsuccessful as they said there was nothing they could do - we would just have to schedule a repair call. I'm going to try some other numbers and see if I can get this escalated to a higher level and get it fixed. This is a fire hazard and Sears should know about this issue and repair it at no charge! This is a recall issue.

    0 Votes
  • Er
      Sep 23, 2009

    I tried the 800 number [protected]) and they were no help.

    Please make sure you file an incident report with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission at:

    https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

    0 Votes
  • To
      Sep 24, 2009

    I just thought I'd post an update. I called the 1-800 number and the woman I spoke with was very kind. She told me she submitted a claim to their insurance division and that we would be receiving a call from the insurance company within the next 24-48 hours. ??? Not sure exactly what that means, whether repairs will be covered or not, but I guess I'll know more in the next day or so when we hear back from them. Did anyone else get referred to Sears' insurance division? From the earlier posts, it sounds like others received service calls right away. I'll post an update as things progress...

    0 Votes
  • We too have just noticed this problem, this is really bad!! Our freezer light is currently not the problem, it's the refrigerator lights, both were out and we could not figure out why.

    They did this once before and we thought we'd left the door ajar, it's apparent it's not the doors, it's the lighting system itself. I checked the bulbs, both work, the system gets hot like it's shorted out with in the bulb housing assembly.

    To be safe, we're going to unscrew the blubs and remove them. Then complain to Sears about this problem, due to a history of bad customer service I'd say I'll be able to have this promptly fixed sometime next year (2010) with an average response service of six months. (no joke!!) Sears, is Really, REALLY, BAD with customer (dis)service.

    0 Votes
  • Ji
      Sep 30, 2009

    OK, fridge finally repaired. Parts took a week to get in. Service tech confirmed that there is a 3 year time limit from date of purchase for the repair to be made w/o cost. We bought it the first week of October, 2006, and i reported the problem mid-September 2009, just under the 3 years. The service tech said he had a hard time getting the repair "code" changed to the "no-cost" option b/c it was so close to the date of purchase...they were trying to argue i had to pay. He did the right thing and continued to submit it as the "service Flash" and in the end i didn't pay, good for him.

    So long story short: He installed a new metal heat shield, plastic light housing, bulb sockets and new control panel. total cost if i had to pay was just over $300.

    Fingers crossed that the repair works.

    If you have this problem make sure to report it prior to your 3 years are up & GOOD LUCK!

    0 Votes
  • Mu
      Oct 03, 2009

    I have this same problem, melted light shield, and bulbs that won't turn off. Bought in May 2006. Contacted Sears and they want me to buy the year warranty for $250, which after reading seems to be cheaper than the repair cost. They offered no help since it was not on the recall list and I am over three years out. I have filed a complaint with the Consumer Safety Commission.

    0 Votes
  • Sa
      Oct 05, 2009

    Our fridge is just under 3 years old, and we just discovered this same problem tonight...burning smell, food on top shelf hot to the touch, plastic light cover melting, light bulbs too hot to remove without pot holders. I immediatley called Sears, and the first level appliance repair phone representative went through their normal script, scheduled an appointment, advised there would be a minimum $65 charge for a technician to come out. Here is where my story differs...I asked if there was a recall and mentioned all of the online posts about the issue.

    The first rep transferred me to a second rep in the recall division (? not sure of the dept name), who was very kind and much more knowledgable. When I gave her our model number (795.[protected], mfg. date 09/2006), she found a "service flash" regarding this issue. Even though there is not an official recall for the product, the "service flash" is Sears' way of alerting the phone reps to a known issue and allows them to order the parts and schedule the service for FREE!

    I think the key is to ASK if there is a recall. The first line phone rep apparently does not have access to these "service flashes". I also think mentioning how many online posts I had seen about the same exact issue, along with telling her I was calling the CPSC, forces them to do the right thing.

    0 Votes
  • Jo
      Dec 15, 2009

    Oh my goodness, I cannot believe this. I am having the same problem with the same product purchased also in 2006 elite trio. It is text book when compared to everyone else story.

    Same story as everyone else’s. I called sears and got the same run around, until finally someone helped and told me they would be sending someone out to my home. I am guessing as the same with everyone else there is going to be a charge, to which I will refuse to pay. The defect is not my fault and at best we are lucky we didn't have a fire. The last thing I wanted was to pay for a fridge that cost over 2000.oo and have there be a risk of a fire in my house. Things happen, but I hoped that service would understand that also and research this issue a little further. In conclusion I was very taken back to the response I got by a sears Rep. when I mentioned "what if we had a fire, what would they be responsible for" And she replied "You would have to prove that it was sears's fault" I was amazed by that. Never the less I am also going to call the attorney general if they give me a bill. And might do it anyway. Merry Christmas hope you all have worked out these issues.

    0 Votes
  • Yesterday, December 20, 2009 I found my Kenmore Elite Trio to being hot in the top refrigerator compartment, lense melted and fixture for the light bulbs scorched and distorted. Heat had transmitted to the outside top surface, hot enough to burn my hand. All of the contents were hot and plactic containers on the top shelf were melted. The stink for the burning plastic filled the entire house. I notified the fire department. I threw the breaker for the kitchen and attempted to remove the 2- 60 watt factory installed bulbs after checking the door switches that had both failed I removed the bulbs and restored the power and threw out the entire contents of the refrigerator due to the high temperature. In calling the repair line, they wanted me to cover the cost of the repair since I was out of warranty. I asked for the recall department immediately. After pointing out they almost burnt my house down and the fire department told me to report the incident since they were sure it was a defect and there would certainly been a fire, if we were not home. They are going to dispatch a service person out in nine days to investigate (Quick Service?) I have asked the MCDFRS Fire Marshal to do a report and to make sure Consumer protection gets a copy.

    0 Votes
  • Cc
      Feb 06, 2010

    I have the exact same problem. Model # 795.[protected] manufactured 01, 2008. Identical run around by Sears. I'll be logging my complaint with the CPSC. At the moment I'm trying to decide whether to bite the bullet and assume it will be fixed for free or just leave it be. I've removed the light bulbs from the fridge to prevent the problem. So far no more issues besides a dark fridge.

    Can anyone post exactly what the fix is and what's replaced?

    0 Votes
  • Mi
      Mar 10, 2010

    Same issue with ours (model #795.[protected]). Logged a complaint with CPSC. Just Called the Customer Issues number at [protected] and was told that it won' t be fixed for free even though I mentioned the fire hazard, others having it repaired for free, the Service Flash, the Consumer Protection complaint, etc. Was told that due to the economic conditions, their policies may have changed.

    I've got a technician coming in a few days at a cost of $65 to access what needs to be done. Will then decide what a lighted fridge is worth.

    Anyone had an luck within the last few months getting this repaired at no cost?

    0 Votes
  • No
      Jun 29, 2010

    I too opened the refrigerator last night to find a molten mess. Was able to get lights to go out by continuously hitting the two light buttons until the bulbs went out. Unfortunately, the light cover was so melted, that it melted to the plastic above and now I can't get into the light bulbs without breaking the cover off (and doing more damage). I'm trying with Sears right now to see about a fix for their obvious manufacturing defect. I purchased in 12/06 and it's now 6/10, so I don't know what they will do since it's been 3 1/2 years. By the way, I've now been on hold and talking to 6 different people, hung up on, etc. for about an hour, so make sure you have time for this call!!!

    0 Votes
  • No
      Jun 29, 2010

    I am sending an update to my previous comment. After several hours on hold, being disconnect and feeling patronized by Sears customer service reps, I decided to make one last call to our local store where we purchased the refrigerator 3 1/2 years ago. The local sales rep (Clark in Bel Air, MD) was sympathetic and took the time to listen to my experience. While he didn't promise anything, he did at least listen and said that he would try to help. He called me back about 2 hours later and said that he still didn't have an answer but that he was going to call the customer resolution center. About 30 minutes after that, I received a call from that center and was told that yes, there is a "service flash" for this problem (all other customer service reps. said that they wouldn't know until a technician came to our house on our dime) and that they would send a technician tomorrow to fix the issue. The service flash number is 46-515R4. Good luck!

    0 Votes

Post your comment