Bob tells Consumerist that his Kenmore dishwasher has several times due to the same problem–caused, according to one repairman, by a design flaw. It seems that it would be more cost-effective for Sears to replace his dishwasher with one that does not randomly die. Sears does not agree, and requires that an appliance fail four times due to the same problem in the course of a year before it can be replaced. When Bob complained to Sears about his issues, they offered to reimburse him to pay someone to wash his dishes.
I have a Kenmore Elite dishwasher that has been nothing but problems over the past few years. Thank God we bought the extended warranty because I have to believe that Sears’ service department is way down deep in financial hole on this deal with us.
We have had the electronic control panel replaced a few times, and most recently it stopped working again. We called for an appointment and were scheduled for one week later. So we hand-washed our dishes as the water sat in the bottom of the dishwasher and began to reek after a few days. I took a half day off from work and when the technician comes out (15 minutes before the end of his allotted four hour “window”) he tells me it’s not the electronics, but rather a poorly engineered clasp that does not properly send a signal to the electronics. “I see this all the time,” he says nonchalantly. So he lubes and tweaks and leaves. One wash later, the unit stops working again.
So I call Sears to have them get someone out here ASAP and am told that it will take another 7 days. I explain why someone should come out immediately, and the CSR puts me on hold a few times, only to come back and tell me that sure enough, it’s going to be seven days. So now I tell him that that is unacceptable and that I want to speak to a supervisor. After some more time on hold listening to the same 20 second soft jazz riff loop over and over over, he comes back and tells me that instead of transferring me to a supervisor, that he would like to offer me one of three options
First, they offered to reimburse me for the rental of dishwasher for one week. Really? Does someone really RENT dishwashers? Are these the same people that rent couches and TVs in bad neighborhoods? Where exactly would I PUT a rented dishwasher? Beside my broken one, with a hose running to it from the laundry room? Or how about out in my front yard, up on some cinder blocks? The neighbors would like that.
Option two was to be reimbursed, up to $100, for hiring someone to wash my dishes for me. Of course, I would have to have a receipt, but apparently proof of citizenship was not required. I guess this is Sears doing their part for the country’s unemployment problem.
Option three was to have them send me a $50 Sears gift card. While the first two options seemed absurd and more hassle than they were worth, this last option made me realize that they were actually trying to pay me off to shut me up. I politely refused all offers and was put through to the supervisor, [S]. When it became clear that [S] was not going to budge and that it would, in fact, take 7 days to schedule a technician it became obvious to me that my next step was to go viral. So hoping to make lemonade from these lemons, I said, “[S], that’s fine – give me the appointment in 7 days and just send me the $50 gift card.” There was a long pause. “Uh, I’m sorry sir, but the customer service representative should have told you that once you speak with me, you give up those options.” So I say, “Hmmmm” as I imagine a big salt shaker hovering over a gaping wound in my arm…
Next stop – Twitter and when I search on “Sears Kenmore” – lo and behold – I find Doug Moore, SVP and President of Appliances – who has just signed up for a shiny new Twitter account to no doubt, to show that he “gets it.” He posted his first of three Tweets 2 hours ago. Better yet, I am his first follower! Of course, I can’t direct message him until he “follows” me back, but I am sure he is busy getting ready for that big Appliance Stimulus promo and will “follow” me first chance he gets!
Seriously, how can Sears possibly run a profitable business this way? They are spending so much money on call centers and truck rolls that it is cheaper to replace the dishwasher and be done with it. Apparently, their rule is that they to replace 4 parts on 4 service calls in a year before they will replace the unit. How does that make financial sense? It’s like throwing good money after bad. Perhaps less time on social media and more time on engineering quality products would solve the problem. All sarcasm aside, it is really sad to see a great iconic brand like Sears and Kenmore fall apart as it has over the past few years.
My late uncle sold appliances for Sears, and he warned people not to purchase extended warranties since they were rarely used and a waste of money. He would be deeply amused to see that Sears has evidently solved this problem by making warranties totally worthwhile.
By the way, here’s Mr. Moore’s Twitter, in case you’d like to say hi. As of this writing, Bob is still his only follower.