Sears — kenmore elite refrigerator if error code and other issues
I am leading the efforts for a new class action under the provisions of virginia consumer protection act and the magnuson-moss warranty act. Please contact me at [protected]@hotmail.com. Be sure to google clark vs. Lg.
1) per exhibit a, I purchased a kenmore elite refrigerator, model [protected], on august 13, 2011 with delivery and possession happening in early october. Although the refrigerator was expected for delivery in mid-september, it was just out of manufacturing in august 11 and not available until an adjusted date in late september with delivery actually occurring in october 2011. I was away on the inspector general course at fort belvoir, va until friday, september 30th and took delivery of the refrigerator upon my return.
2) in late august 2016, I contacted sears to fix my refrigerator after already having four other repair calls for similar issues as per exhibit c. I had had continual ice clogging issues since purchase and had lost total ice making capability again, was getting very loud noises again, and an if error code on the front display panel and this amongst other functionality issues with the ice maker and interior compartments of my model. The sears non-warranty customer service line referred me to a blog to try to remedy my issue. When searching if error code, the “experts” suggest I should try to unplug the refrigerator several times to allow it to re-set. [experts never reference any service flash is available nor do they answer direct questions I posed about the if error code] this did not work. I manually defrosted ice accumulations by unplugging the system for 24 hours and balanced out my food so air could flow better as one customer suggested might work. This still did not work, I still had no ice, loud noises and the if error code returned when plugged back in. But I still had refrigeration and freezing capability at the time. As this was a frequent and reoccurring problem and given my history in managing repairs as an officer in the us army for some fairly complex military equipment, I wanted to explore the true problems and root causes with my kenmore product. After being sent all around the world, transferred and dropped, told I am not showing up, and essentially passed off time and time again, I decided enough was enough. On september 6, 2016, I contacted the bbb for help in fixing my “lemon” which lead me to the sears holding corp compliance office. See exhibit f, p. 1-2, for the initial contact.
3) on september 7, I started a long series of emails towards getting repairs thought to finally fix my failing refrigerator. Several appointments were made and cancelled with one finally being scheduled two weeks later.
4) on september 12th, an a&e factory service tech arrived unscheduled and unannounced to so a preliminary review of my issues. I have no record for this visit and am uncertain why this happened.
5) on september 21st, the same technician with id number 0692814 with a&e factory services arrived and:
A. Inspected and defrosted excessive ice both in my freezer compartment on the top right corner and excessive ice on the upper right corner of the evaporator coils in the freezer compartment. He installed a new freezer evaporator fan cover assembly, part number aeb73785615 or item 610b on schematics for my model. (See exhibit d, p. 3-4). This assembly includes a cover assembly sensor, part number acq73244001 or item 610c as seen on the schematics. The technician also performed what compliance calls visual diagnostics on my refrigerator. Compliance indicates that the technician visually found that the defrost sensor was “not working” and adjusted it. The defrost sensor, part number acm73919201, monitors the temperature of the evaporator coil and sends the temperature reading to the electronic control board. After he defrosted the refrigerator, he removed components off the old evaporator cover and placed them on the new evaporator cover and then adjusted the defrost sensor on the coils before replacing the new panel. Compliance indicates I was the one that asked him to move the defrost sensor and indicates that it was “not working” (Exhibit f, pg 39) on september 21. And that when the technician did repairs later on october 6th, “the sensor” was “ still not working” (P.73) or “broken” (Pg 74).
B. The technician informed me that the wrong rail was sent to repair my freezer drawer per a service flash message for my model. My freezer drawer has been frequently popping out of the track and had been repaired once. There is no record that sears repaired or attempted to repair my freezer drawer per the service flash. I was only informed that the wrong part was sent. Compliance indicates the service was completed.
C. Your technician again left without leaving a service report but left a napkin with two part numbers as the record of the service call (See exhibit d, p.1). As he suggests other service technicians are sometime not ethical, he asked if I kept all my old parts and I informed him we did. I informed the technician that we would need to keep all the old parts needing replacement as I have done in the past. He left the old evaporator fan cover assembly panel, the parts wrappers, only the cover to the cover assembly sensor that snaps into the panel but the actual sensor removed. He did not leave the old tray drain or the refrigerator ice room fan motor bracket. The assembly parts are shown on exhibit d, p.3 and described on p.18 by the sears parts department chat line. I cannot verify now that these were replaced or if he just repurposed the old parts and kept new parts for his van bench stock.
6) on september 23, I emailed ethel graham at sears home services escalation department to let her know that I had now lost my freezer and my frozen products were all defrosting. We spoke and in being very frustrated at still not having a working refrigerator and in losing my food products, she said she would put her best person on it. I received a service appointment for october 6th. I also learn that it is apparently sears’ policy not to suggest needed repairs even if visually noticed and not in scope with the purpose of the scheduled visit. So bottomline, on september 21 and as described by corporate officials, sears purposely left my home with an understanding that there were other problems with my refrigerator that may not make it fully operational.
7) on september 27th, sears compliance and I exchanged a series of emails on why sequential repairs were being done and sears’ response was “when our technician was at your home he serviced the refrigerator per the 1f error code you were getting, as he was instructed to do, we did not ask him to run a full diagnostic nor did I agree to cover the cost of a full diagnostic. ” sears later states regarding the future repair on 6 october, “i have instructed our service tech to run a full diagnostic on the refrigerator to see if there are any underlying issues not related to the service done on the 1f error code. He has been instructed to not perform any repairs not related to the 1f error code unless you agree to pay for the service. ” compliance later states regarding the service done on 21 september, “i am aware that our technician, at your request did repairs that were not regarding the 1f error code. This is why he has been told to only access the refrigerator and not do any repairs that are not related to the 1f error code unless you pay for it. ” so in other words, the technician that arrived on 21 september was just supposed to install the evaporator cover assembly but notices what is described as a “bad” sensor but then allegedly only moves the defrost sensor because I allegedly asked him to do it against his instructions and without any bill, charge or estimate provided to me.
8) this part replacement did not cure the system but makes it worse. A series of emails ensued about why sequential maintenance is being done. Exhibit f, p.11 indicates that we will come “back out” to see what the “next steps” are and “what’s going on” to repair my refrigerator. I am also very curious about the service flashes.In trying to understand the history this service message, I learn of class action law suit for this same problem that I qualified for as a potential claimant for a defective product. No one at sears or lg contacted me about my defective product. (See exhibit f, p.35) and other legal records as sent). I am now very aware of the nature of the service flash required to cure defects found in “old models” of my refrigerator.
9) after escalating disputes on how unpragmatic sears’ policy is and about my food storage concerns, on october 6th, tech number 0867366, arrives to do “full diagnostics” per exhibit f, p. 27 and we discuss the history of my problems. A partial transcript of the service call video and conversation is at exhibit h.
A. I ask the service tech to do a full assessment as to how a history of ice accumulations have potentially damaged my refrigerator and to determine why things still do not work. On a video recording of the event, I asked him to finally get to the bottom of why my refrigerator is still not working. He takes a temperature reading and said he would check the sensors. He chisels away ice accumulating on the top right back panel of my freezer compartment so he can pulls out the back panel recently replaced. I fully examine the freezer compartment when he leaves to get panels to place under the wheels. The coils have massive ice accumulated solely in the right top corner of the evaporator coil. The exposed evaporator coils are exactly like the photo taken of my refrigerator freezer compartment at a later date as shown at exhibit d, p.5. It is caked thick with ice predominately around the opening to the coils and along the first run of the evaporator coils. When he returns, he rolls the refrigerator away from the wall and removes the panel to the back electronic control board. He informs me I still have a water leak and turns off the valve. He then returns to the evaporator fan cover assembly sitting on my island right in front of me. He phones into sears tech support. He states, “it’s not the defrost sensor. There is no ice around the heater so it’s working. ” he also tells tech support that the “sensor is brand new, it was just installed. I don’t understand. This is weird. ” he proceeds to run diagnostics on the cover assembly sensor with his probes touching the cover assembly sensor on the assembly board with his diagnostic tools and tells tech support it is definitely not working. He continues to defrost the back of the freezer compartment and before he replaces the evaporator fan cover assembly, he snaps the cover assembly sensor out of the cover assembly panel and shows me the part. He said this was the part needed. I examine it to see if ice may have damaged the part. There are visible crimps in the wire. We pass the part back and forth. The tech then examines the part and tries to see if the crimped area has any wires exposed. I am skeptical that ice accumulation that formed around where that sensor was located may have damaged the sensor. We debate that this failure is part of the service flash repair. The technicians indicates I will need to pay for the cover assembly sensor and does nothing further to examine my refrigerator.
B. I called ethel graham and relayed what was going on. She asked me if the tech had given me the part number yet and I said no. She asked to talk with the service tech and they talked in private out in the technician’s van. The service tech hung up with ethel and came back inside and handed me my phone and said I would need to pay for a new cover assembly sensor. I did not agree. He proceeded to call jeremy and he put me on the phone with jeremy, the tech manager. He was made aware that I did not think I owed sears any more money for this defective product but was willing to work out the costs with compliance later after a repair had been done if he was willing to get the needed repair done before guest arrived on the 15th. He started floating dates around and said maybe on the 13th. I had an understanding that there may be a chance to get the repair part off another van as the tech had indicated and then get “worked in” as the tech described before guests arrived on the 15th. After the call ended, I asked the tech to put the old cover assembly sensor back on the evaporator fan cover assembly. He reluctantly snapped it back on and at that point. The “defective” part was still in place. But then after we hung up, the tech manager (Jeremy) texted the service tech and told him to say this on the ticket handed to me, “this call is handle bay [sic] the tm jeremy gillespie. ” I was not asked for payment or asked to sign anything. The tech just handed me the sears home services receipt. (Exhibit c, p.12) the receipt states, “this repair is valued at $209.00. This service is performed at no charge. ” the tech put the evaporator cover assembly panel back on the freezer compartment, packed up and left.
10) i contact ethel graham on monday, october 10th about getting worked in. She informed the service call was cancelled as jeremy stated I refused to pay. I am crying emphatically to her that this is not true and I am physically wrenching with digust and loathing about what had just transpired. The truth is that I agreed to pay if they could “work me in” before guests arrived. Ethel said she would see what she could do. But when it came down to a response form compliance on the matter, my side of the story had fallen on deaf ears. So I was essentially on my own to try to get my refrigerator repaired before guests were arriving on october 15. Using sears part services and chat sessions, I was able to locate the part the service technician and I were handling. A cover assembly sensor was placed on order (Exhibit d, p. 14-16) and I had made arrangements to have another service company install the part.
11) on october 17, 2016, another appliance repair company installed the cover assembly sensor (Exhibit c, p. 13). They also noted that the ice patterns indicate that there may be a sealed system leak. And after two days and as they suspected, I still did not have a refrigerator that worked and made another appointment with sears home services for specialized diagnostics for november 4, 2016. (Exhibit f, p. 37). I now also have learned that the cover assembly sensor is a component of the freezer evaporator fan cover assembly just replace. I start a new line of communications about repairs that should be done under the 90 parts and labor warranty.
12) i again have become quite disturbed when I learn that the cover assembly sensor is part of the evaporator fan cover assembly (See exhibit d, p. 3-4) that was just replaced. Clearly the diagnosis communicated to me should have been honored as a replacement on the 90 day part and labor warranty (Exhibit b, p.2). Vanessa steele declines that I am entitled to any warranty work and alludes to “the sensor” that I need is the one the technician moved on 21 september (Exhibit f, pg. 39) called a defrost sensor. The defrost sensor is shown at exhibit d, p. 13. It has sensors that do sit on the coil near the evaporator heater that can easily be adjusted. As the sears technician indicates in exhibit h, the defrost sensor was working on october 6th as there was no ice on the defrost heater (The lower portion of the coils) to give any visual indication of any problem with the defrost sensor. The defrost sensor looks nothing like the assembly cover sensor. It is clear to me that sears is now just back pedaling in trying to find any story that fits a scenario in which I must pay for sequential maintenance or as sears refers to it as “the next step. ” this sensor required is heavily debated with compliance but even when asked repeatedly, compliance never talks in any specifics about what sensor is needed. And now compliance recants that full diagnostics were ever done contrary to what the technician was instructed to do when the october 6 appointment was established. Compliance now states he was only there to “confirm what the other technician did. ” (See exhibit f, p. 38-40) bottom line - - the video recording is pretty indisputable that I was told that I needed an assembly cover sensor. The assembly cover sensor is a part that comes with the new evaporator fan cover assembly just replaced on september 21. If the assembly cover sensor that is on the assembly installed by a sears service technician on 21 september and is found not working on october 6th as verified by another sears service technician, replacement of that part is covered and should be honored. This is why sears elects not document the service call on october 6th. Compliance does however agree to send another technician out to confirm what two others have had an opportunity to do and to again “run full diagnostics. ” it then become heavily debated about what full and partial diagnostics are and when a $99 diagnostics fee should be charge. And why if I asked for full diagnostics to finally fix my refrigerator (Exhibit h) , why partial diagnostics were allegedly done? Having managed maintenance and our military technicians, I went on a quest to find the sears standard for running diagnostic only to find through other previously employed tech managers, there aren’t any standards. (Exhibit d, p 20-36). And then on p. 37-38, sears home service chat services indicate that technicians are supposed to diagnosis the entire refrigerator and then provide estimates for repair.
13) on monday, october 31st, sears cancels my service schedule for november 4 (Exhibit e, p. 13) as well as any future service request only indicating that I owe them money but presents no bills and no solutions to remedy. (Exhibit f, pg. 110)
14) on the same day and for an extra rush labor fee, I was able to get one of the best lg certified technicians in the area (See article in richmond magazine) to come run full diagnostics and perhaps fix my system that has been non-operational since mid-august. I was just so emotionally drained when sears shut the door on me again. It was found that there is indeed a “very obvious” leak in my coils from just visual diagnostics. And that both sensors in the freezer compartment cannot “do their jobs” if low on freon. See exhibit d, p.5-11 as a visual of both the evaporation coil in my freezer compartment and examples of coils that have a leak. The technician indicates that sears must perform the test to confirm the leak. He indicates that on september 21, I must have had a “fairly significant” leak of freon when the refrigerator was defrosted causing the system to run significantly warmer thus explaining the subsequent 15 degree jump in both cooling and freezing temperatures after the 21 september service call. A defective sealed refrigerant leak is covered under a five year warranty (Exhibit b, p. 1). I did not receive delivery of my refrigerator until early october 2011 due to demands, a backlog in production and my availability.
I have made several attempts to use sears home services to repair my defective product without success and make the following allegations:
1) on 21 september, sears fails to cure a defective product and provide a serviceable assembly cover sensor under sears service flash (Sf) 46-544r1 declared as a free of charge service to customers. This sf is a result of clark v. Lg electronics, usa, inc, case no: 3:13-cv0485-jm-jma class action lawsuit that clearly establishes that my model has existing manufacture defects.
1) on 21 september, sears purposely does not install new component parts under sf 46-544r1 and thus does not leave all used component parts for inspection and verification of replacement as requested.
2) on 21 september, sears purposely leaves my property without providing a signed record of diagnostics, services performed or parts replaced as to not create an audit trail or service record.
3) on 21 september, sears fails to comply with service standards promoted on websites (Exhibit b, p. 4, 6, and 12) by purposely ignoring visual diagnostics of parts “not working” in order to conduct sequential maintenance to increase revenue for sears, additional costs and loss of use for customers and subsequently the time to repair products.
4) on 6 october, that a sears technician diagnoses a faulty cover assembly sensor, a component part of a recently installed assembly replaced under sf 46-544r1, found during “full diagnostics. ” but then all levels of management fraudulently determine that the cover assembly sensor shown to me as required to restore use of my refrigerator only ever described as “the sensor” by sears should not be covered under the 90 day parts and labor warranty. This in hopes that the consumer may not be able to piece the component part listings together.
5) on october 6th, presents fraudulent billing verbally but when contested, does not present the same written diagnosis or billing. Then proceeds to cancel future service requests to repair the refrigerator be guest arrive allegedly for failure to pay. I was verbally assessed a $99 diagnostic fee standard to all calls in this area and provided an estimate for parts replacement for a faulty cover assembly sensor. The technician, as coached by the tech manager, purposely leaves without providing a record of diagnostics, the part needing to be replaced, or any costs still payable. Even after a $99 diagnostics fee was requested at the end of the service call, management later asserts that diagnostics were not done further promoting a policy of sequential diagnosis and repairs to increase costs to the customer, the length of time to restore serviceability to the customer and in an act that should be considered fraudulent billing.
6) sears refuses to produce a bill for services “still owed” or any diagnostic service records for the service that occurred on 6 october 2016. An actual bill would be fraudulent either for 1) services that did not occur (Was it full or partial diagnostics?) 2) for parts that were not identified as required (The service call is on video and can be proven) or 3) if truthful, for part requirement that should be addressed as part of sf 46-544r1, a free service still falling under a 90 day guarantee.
7) that sears elects to cancel any further servicing for a 90 parts and labor warranty service and suggests that if any other measures are taken to restore the appliance due to their cancelation elections, that their 90 day guarantee is now void, having never successfully applied a functioning part under sf 46-544r1.
8) sears ethics and compliance officials purposely use loosely defined terminology such as “full diagnostics”, “sensor”, “error code repairs” in describing work to be done then elects to not describe what they mean in any technical description leaving it subjective and open to interpretation as the situation dictates.
9) that sears ethics and compliance officials berate me for not having used their “expert” technicians for previous non-warranty repairs then provides one of the longest non-functioning service histories for an appliance any customer should need to endure. Then after not even curing the problems, suggests I should use other service technicians to complete repairs to correct problems associated under sf 46-544r1, a message released to correct a whole slew of defects, design flaws and “issues” for my model and as identified in clark vs. Lg electronics usa, inc.
10) that sears purposely misdiagnoses defects, purposely stretches the timeline for repairs using unwarranted cancelations, loosely throws around definitions of diagnostics that even when promised are allegedly not done, and promotes use of other appliance repair servicers to fix my refrigerator to avoid what is described as a “very obvious” repair [or replacement] for a defective sealed refrigerant system.
11) that my particular model has suffered a significant “manifestation of issues” due to a long history of proven material defects as described in clark v. Lg. And that the current refrigerant leak has manifested as a direct result of sears not doing their due diligence in providing my purchase information to third party administrators appointed to notify potential class action claimants as an agreed upon in terms of settlement and as ordered by a federal judge.
12) that in accordance with sears policy, food loses are covered while products are under warranty but then avoids addressing formal complaints presented or even formally responding to any claims for ongoing warranty work (Exhibit g). Then, without ever having reviewed all information that can be made available to them, dismisses any and all claims presented, even when other out of warranty claimants in the class action suit were provide both speedy repairs upon request and the right to claims repair history and food loss due to the known material defects of my product.
13) i assert that a) having already gone through the sears claim denial process before and having successfully won a previous defective product claim through the states attorney general’s office and b) knowledge of other such practices as posted on blogs, websites, previous sears employees posts, and other claimants about how sears handles claims, I conclude it is just a standard practice for sears to just deny claims regardless of information available. That my loss of use, food spoilage, and all the stress and anguished caused by the hand of sears, their policies, and service quality is purposeful and deliberate. That even after a long history of failures on this model due to manufacture defect, sears continues to add insult to injury.
I believe that these acts and practices to be both blameworthy and unlawful. I hereby file claim as follows:
1) $300 – reimbursement for damages and associated cost for other repairs, other diagnostics when services were cancelled by sears, including costs for diagnostics, parts, and labor, and the costs associated to administer this action.
2) $900 - for accumulated costs for lost and spoiled food, ice, and increased dining out/take out costs per 3 incidents of disrepair/loss of use due undisclosed known material defects.
3) repair or replacement of my kenmore elite refrigerator still under manufacture warranty in 15 days or less or $1, 500 credit as offered to other claimants in the class action.
4) prior repairs totaling $850 for failing to include me on the list of eligible kenmore product owners to receive the federally mandated notice of pendency and proposed settlement of class action. My sales information was still “in the system” when I contacted sears compliance for help and in my stuff (Exhibit a, p. 1-3) that was still “in the system” as pulled up and printed on 11/1/2016 as shown and where sears promotes storage of product information as being “secure. ” since I have identified that my refrigerator purchase was still showing up “in the system” to sears, it has now been purged from my stuff. And given that your “experts” failed to reply to recent questions I posed about dealing with the if error code for my model, that sears has blocked my ability to chat or post to their sites. And that if you google the refrigerator model and error code, that you will find that there are many other sites that still have consumers still confused on how to fix the if error code that apparently did not “get the memo” either. (Exhibit i)
There have been many opportunities for sears to examine and provide repair suggestions so that I could have a functional appliance in any reasonable and pragmatic scale and with any standards of excellence in iso 9002 in their conduct of diagnostic accuracy. Having worked as a maintenance officer in the defense industry managing repairs for fairly complex equipment, having served previously as a unit management control and compliance officer, having served as an article 32 investigation officer and in serving three years as an inspector general, and finally as a professional investigator, I find sears to be one of the most insincere and unethical organizations I have ever had the displeasure of doing business with. They have lied to me, the bbb. And will do the same to the states attorney general and to a judge I am sure.