Sears Leaves Family Without Functioning Stove For 6 Weeks

In 2009, Ian’s family had their kitchen remodeled to become super-awesome. One of the additions was a pricey, but fast and energy-efficient, Kenmore induction range. While the new cabinets and granite countertops are still going strong, the family has been without a stove for six weeks now, severely hampering their ability to make their own meals at home. Sears and the repair company that tried to fix the stove keep blaming each other for the failure, but it’s Ian’s family that ends up paying to eat out every night. Update: Sears has delivered a new, functioning stove.

At the beginning of March, Ian sent this message to the Sears executive customer service team:

Hi. I wanted to let you guys know about an issue I have been having with a Kenmore Elite Electric Range with Induction Cooktop. In September ’09, my family got our kitchen remodeled. We now have granite countertops and nice wood cabinets. To top it all off, we wanted a nice cooktop. After doing some research on the efficiency and speed of induction cooktops, we decided on the Kenmore Elite Induction range, which was $900 more than a standard electric stovetop.

The stove worked fine until August 2010, and an error message came up rendering the cooktop unusable. We were just within the manufacturer’s warranty, so it was replaced for free after it couldn’t be fixed. At this point, my parents purchased an extended service agreement in order to protect ourselves from further breakage. The new unit worked fine, but we noticed a strange burning smell coming from the oven whenever we tried to broil. After a few months, we decided to try to get it fixed. On January 25th, 2011, a technician came and ordered a replacement broiler heating element. Now this is where things get interesting.

On February 9th, a different technician came to replace the broiler. In doing so, he apparently severed some kind of cord to the control panel (his words) and he would need to order more replacement parts. On the 14th, the parts were replaced and the stove still didn’t work. More parts were ordered. February 18th: new parts still don’t work. The technician tells my mom to go and contact the Sears store to get a replacement stove. The new stove is installed and the installers leave.

We think it works fine, until 20 minutes later it dies. This brought another issue to the forefront: customer service has been sketchy at best. Once the unit failed, my mom attempted to call Sears customer service. They tell her that the busted stove is the installer’s fault and they need to come back to look at it, but the installers tell my mom that because the unit was working when they left, the issue needs to be resolved by Sears. After going back-and-forth, Sears finally agrees to send another technician, a week later. My mom tells them that this is unacceptable, but the call center superviser says that there’s nothing that can be done.

My mom is forced to call the local Sears customer service to plead her case, and they put us on to be looked at first thing the next morning. Another technician comes on the 23rd, and he says the power cord was damaged somehow during installation and he orders a new cord and housing assembly. Now it’s the 28th and the technician comes to replace the cord, but now the front control panel has died (it had worked before to give an error message).

We have a new appointment set up for Wednesday, March 2nd. If the installation works, we would have been out of a stove for nearly a month. My family likes to entertain quite a bit, and we feel that we have been greatly inconvenienced in not being able to use the stove. The oven works, but there are only so many casseroles and steamed dishes one can make. We have been eating in restaurants much more than normal, and feel hurt that we have not been offered any kind of compensation.

My mother has also been treated very poorly by the standard customer service representitives. She has been forced to endure multiple hour-long holds as we keep calling to tell you that the new stove and new parts don’t work, and was also randomly disconnected several times. If the new front panel doesn’t work, as we fear, my mom will be downgrading our stove to a much slower and energy-inefficient normal electric stove. I feel we should not be forced to downgrade due to your inability to deliver a working stove to my house. The technician appointments would be bearable if there was some way to escalate our problem to next-day service or something like that, but we’re continually forced to wait four days to a week between appointments and the parts never end up working.

I am hoping we can come to some kind of resolution, perhaps involving Sears reviewing the care they use in shipping induction stoves, as it seems they may be being damaged in transport. There may also be an issue in general with the reliablity of the Kenmore Elite line of induction stovetops. We would also like to know the failure rate of the Elite Model 79045003803 Electric Range with Induction Cooktop, if possible, as we cannot find the information anywhere.

Today, Ian sent this update. They’ve been in touch with executive customer service, which is the kind of attention that usually gets situations like this fixed. It’s not working.

A little bit after I emailed you, my mom got into contact with a sincere-sounding lady from the executive customer service department. She promised she would call my mom within 24 hours of the installation to check on us and made sure everything went okay.

However, the installation of parts last Wednesday, unfortunately, failed. The technicians literally don’t know of any more parts they could replace to try to get it to work. We were all disappointed (again) and tried to get them to send us a replacement stove. [Redacted] (the exectuve CSR) said she’d try to schedule a delivery for last Saturday (3/5). We waited and waited for a phone call on Friday. No one called, and not surprisingly, no one came. All the calls to executive customer service fell on deaf ears.

This was [Redacted]‘s case, and she wasn’t in the office that day. No one else could help us. In the meantime, [Redacted] from “Social Media Services” emailed me in an attempt to pick up our case and help out. But once I told her we had a case open with [Redacted], she was unable to help me due to company policy. We were finally able to get ahold of [Redacted] on Tuesday. She claimed she had a family emergency over the weekend, so we couldn’t really blame her. However, she was not able to give us a date for delivery of our next stove.

We have now been without a stove for six weeks… The one person able to help us now seems either unwilling or unable to. We’ve had thousands of dollars of services done on these replacement stoves–not including the cost of the new stoves themselves–all covered by our service plan, thankfully. We are now considering suing Sears in small claims court due to their inability to deliver a working product. Any help the hivemind would be able to offer would also be appreciated.