Brand-New Kenmore Washer Won't Stop Flooding My Basement

Sharon bought a Kenmore Elite Steam washer and dryer from Sears in August 2010. When the appliances showed up in September, they promptly began flooding her basement. She’s been scolded for not following directions correctly (even though she claims to follow the washer’s instructions to the letter) and is coming up on her fourth repair visit for the same problem. Sears keeps reassuring her that she’s a valued customer. Right. Tell that to her basement floor. Update: Sharon is getting a new washer.

I purchased an Elite Steam washer and dryer with pedastals in August [2010] from Sears. Didn’t receive the merchandise till approximately September 8. Sear’s hooked up the washer and we hooked up the dryer. A little while after the new appliances arrived – less than a month after I noticed that my basement flooded. I had standing water and storage boxes were affected and had to be thrown out. I cleaned up the water and got a plumber in to help us determine from where the water was coming. The washer was never in question since it was brand new.

We went through a trial and error period to determine how the water was leaking. It took three months to determine that the washer was in fact the culprit. I happened to see the water shooting out of the back vent while doing a load. The first tech was told that this was a new model and in fact they had just started to get reports of similar problems with this washer. One client was getting a replacement machine. It supposedly was a bad value – the mushroom valve causing the problem. I was also told that I had to only load the washer to 70% capacity and use no more than 2 tbls of HE soap. I had been following the directions provided with the machines to the letter but than I was told that I needed to adjust this to make sure that soap wasn’t clogging the system.

I did as suggested. I do take exception to the additional instructions. First, I bought this model because of its large capacity. I was suppose to be able to fit a queen size comforter in the machine but I can not even wash my full without flooding. Second, I have to run additional cold water and vinegar cycles in addition to the once a month cleaning cycle to ensure the machine works properly. This wastes both water and electric. I don’t feel I should have to make so many accomodations for a machine that costs so much money.

I was unable to return the machine because I didn’t report the leading issue till after their 90 day return policy. Now I would have to have a part replaced 4 times before they would consider the machine a lemon and replace it. I am on my fourth part replacement, numerous sales calls which affect days and days of my time. Water leaks that I am constantly monitoring and cleaning up. The leaks are no longer as great, thankfully, but they still occur. I replaced all my cardboard boxes with plastic storage units (at significant cost).

I have contacted the advocacy line twice. I was told this is the highest point of escalation available to me. I have asked for a supervisor and was told that there was no one else for me to contact. I was told to open a claim with the third party administrator. I have received no resolution. I have left several messages but no return call. I was told I would get a $50 gift card because of the difficulty I was undergoing ( they had just cancelled one of my service appointments at the last minute and I had to wait over a week for another).

Through everything I keep hearing I am a valued customer and sears is going to make this right, but I have to follow their protocoles. Now that I think I am near the end of this procedure, they are starting to balk at replacement and not being clear on final resolution. Now I am hearing that the senior techician needs to come out to see if he can manipulate this machine to get it to function properly even after the fourth value has been replaced.

I am really at a loss as to how to proceed. Any direction would be welcomed

The president of Sears Appliances is no longer on Twitter, we are sad to learn. The Sears Home Appliances Twitter account appears to be abandoned, too. But there are other avenues of escalation available to Sears customers.

And, finally, if Sears really won’t stop balking at replacement, lemon laws may come into effect, depending on where you live. Contact your state’s attorney general.