Sears: We Can't Replace Your Mom's Air Conditioner, So Cancel Your Vacation

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and what does summer mean here at The Consumerist? Air conditioner horror stories, of course! Janet, a senior citizen with health problems living in Memphis, Tenn., tells Conumerist that Sears is dragging out the repair of her air conditioning unit in a way that’s unacceptable considering the current weather conditions. When Janet’s daughter explained to a Sears that she couldn’t leave her alone in a roasting house during her planned, non-refundable vacation, she says the rep helpfully suggested that she cancel the vacation. Not helping, Sears. Not helping.

For a little perspective, here are the high temperatures for Memphis for the next few days.

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I have a window a/c unit that is under a warranty agreement. Earlier this month I called for servicing on the unit before it got hot and I began to use it. Sears dispatched a repairman to clean out the unit. The tech only went to the back of the unit and ran water thru the side vents. The repairman stated that sears policy was to no longer pull the unit from the window and spray the coils to clean the unit.

On or about the 17th or 18th of May 2010, I called for repair on the same window unit because the motor kept kicking on and off and it smelled as if wires were burning. I immediately shut off the unit and called Sears for service. I was given May 20, 2010, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.. At 5:00 p.m. the repairman nor a representative from Sears had called to let me know what the problem was. I called Sears because the repairman had not arrived. It turned out that he was running behind. At about 6:00 p.m., the repairman arrived and turned the unit on, he too smelled wires burning. So he turned the unit off to go outside to see what had the unit stuck. The unit continued to run in the off position. The repairman determined that the brain (circuit board), motor, relay and fan blade needed to be replaced. He went outside to his truck to put in for the parts. When he came back in he informed me that they no longer had the brain (circuit board). It is Sears policy that if they can not repair a product it would have to be replaced with an equal or higher product. Whoever he talked to on the telephone told him to bring the brain (circuit board) back in with him and Sears would send it out to see if anyone could repair the board. The repairman informed me that the replacement parts came up to almost $600.00 and if the total cost of my parts had been at $600.00 or over they would have had to replace the product.

The repairman informed me that it would take at least a week for the brain to come back if it could be repaired. From 20 May 2010 thru 27 May 2010, I have been without air. On or about the 21st or 22nd my daughter called Sears about a possible loaner unit because it was so hot inside. She was told to go out and rent a unit and Sears would reimburse her. She went everywhere trying to locate rental a/c units, there none to be found. See had to use part of her car note money to get a fan and a small 110 unit.

On Thursday May 27, I called to see how many more parts were due in. All of the parts were in so I was given May 28, 2010, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. for the repairman to come out and repair the unit.

On May 28, 2010, at 8:25 a.m., a representative from Sears called to verify the parts. I informed him that the repairman was scheduled to come out. He informed me that Sears was rescheduled my appointment until next Thursday, June 3, 2010. I explained to him that that was unacceptable, I was a senior citizen with several illnesses and my daughter also had breathing problems as well as severe allergies. The temps here in Memphis have been in the upper 90′s so you can just imagine the temp inside my house. It is so hot inside my house you can barely breathe, can not sleep at night and can not cook because that would heat the house up even more.

On May 28, 2010, when my daughter arrived home from work at 4:00 p.m. after working all day in the heat, I told her what had happened. She again called Sears Service Department and was transferred from person to person, talked to so crazy and unprofessional by several of Sears personnel, they even hung the telephone up on her several times. She ask to talk to a supervisor and was told there were no supervisors and they the employees were running Sears. She was trying to explain to them that she was due to start her vacation and the monies she had paid was nonrefundable and she did not feel at ease leaving me here in the house without any air as hot as it was. One of the Sears Rep had the audacity to tell her that it looks like she needs to cancel her vacation plans.

I need your assistance in this matter. With all the parts that has to go on the unit, I feel that the unit is too defective and I would like to have it replaced with a unit of equal or higher value. As a matter of fact just two years the same Sears repairman replaced the brain (circuit board) on the unit and to me it still was not running as it should.

This sounds remarkably similar to Bob’s issue with the non-repair of his Sears dishwasher. That story eventually had a happy ending after Bob made Twitter friends with Doug Moore, Senior VP at Sears and guy in charge of all things appliances. Maybe he can help Janet, too.