I’ve shopped in enough pet stores to know that people will pay good money for snakes. One Sears customer in California got all upset yesterday when Sears came by her house to deliver a new Kenmore dishwasher from SearsOutlet.com. It was missing a few parts, which annoyed her. Oh, and there was a live snake taped to it.
Morgan called up LG looking for a part for his dryer. He had learned that he wouldn’t be able to get the appliance repaired. That was disappointing, because he paid $1,000 for it only seven years ago. He was already frustrated enough when an LG customer service rep said the words that prompted him to write to Consumerist.
Yes, it’s a story about a Sears appliance, but not about its misdelivery or problems with getting it repaired. Well, sort of. If you bought a Kenmore-branded dehumidifier from Sears or from Kmart between 2003 or 2009, unplug it right away and get in touch with the company. More than a hundred overheating units have been reported to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, and some have caught fire or melted.
J. found our tipline and wrote in, but clearly has not been a regular reader of Consumerist. We make this assumption because he bought a refrigerator from Sears, and assumed for some reason that things would go well. They did not. After the delivery team took off without calling because they were irrationally afraid of his driveway, they returned and dropped off the wrong color refrigerator with a massive crack in the door. Now they won’t answer his pleas for an exchange.
Kristina’s Sears misadventure began with an icemaker. She lives with her aunt, and the icemaker/water spout on the refrigerator started leaking. The aunt decided to replace the appliance, so they headed to Sears. There they found a lovely Samsung fridge marked down on clearance. Why was it on clearance? Oh, you see, another customer had ordered it, then changed their mind. But it was still a new appliance purchase from Sears’ point of view, and would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. It was when the fridge was DOA that everything began to go horribly wrong.
The Whirlpool Fabric Freshener is a device that lets you steam clean your clothes at home, or just quickly get wrinkles out of a piece of clothing without ironing it. The contraption isn’t cheap, but is easy to store and very useful. Andrew purchased one last year, and used it quite a bit. He followed the instructions given for cleaning the system with vinegar every few months, and then….it stopped working entirely. What did he do wrong? He called up Whirlpool to find out.
Like many Americans, William thought that Sears was a solid, reputable retailer. After all, they’ve been in business for a century and it seems like everyone had Kenmore appliances in the vaguely defined past. Then a customer like William, who has vaguely positive feelings toward the brand, goes and actually makes a purchase from Sears. That’s when everything all goes to hell. In William’s case, Sears wants him to eat the installation fee on a dishwasher they delivered to him that never worked.
Sometimes, you buy a defective appliance and your only problem is that that the appliance doesn’t work. It’s sad, but you replace the item, either using a warranty or by purchasing a new one. Sometimes the company will stand in your way, and you have to fight them for a replacement. And then sometimes your defective appliance warps your hardwood floor, leaks through to your basement ceiling, and causes more than $4,000 worth of damage. That’s what happened to Nachos Grande and his wife (not his real name) when they bought a defective Whirlpool dishwasher from Sears.
Based on previous Consumerist stories about Sears, it might surprise you to learn that the refrigerator that Ginger and her husband purchased was brought to their home in one piece, on the correct day, and actually existed. Only they had discovered after placing the order that it was too wide for their kitchen, and they had ordered a new one instead. They were instructed to refuse the delivery, and then they would receive a correctly-sized fridge on a different day, and a refund. Yay! Only instead, they’ve received a barrage of robocalls from Sears, despite four separate attempts to cancel the order for the larger refrigerator.
E-mails to Consumerist about Electrolux products typically usually contain expressions of dismay. Customers are upset that appliances that are supposed to be “the best” around and are priced accordingly have failed, even within the warranty period, and the company won’t help. You may recall the story of George from a few weeks ago. After some effort, George got Electrolux to offer to buy back his refrigerator, but not to pay the $400 difference between the price of the unit a year ago and its current price. Here’s the interesting thing, though: somehow he managed to buy two separate warranties that replace defective appliances. Not buy back, replace.
Rona, ladylike, didn’t tell us her age, but she is a senior citizen. As for many Americans, Sears has always just been where she went when there was an appliance to buy. She and her husband ordered up two air conditioners from Sears.com last month, and Sears contracted some local installers in New Jersey to put them in the windows. After the second installation appointment, she discovered that the window was cracked. One of two things had happened: either the installers noticed that the window was cracked and put an air conditioner in anyway, or they’re the ones who did it, then hoped that no one would notice.
The point of stainless steel appliances, I always thought, is that they’re all shiny and metallic and don’t rust. The not rusting thing is kind of key. So he’s disappointed to see a smattering of rust spots on the front of the stainless steel Kitchenaid dishwasher that he bought less than a year ago.
Years ago, in a time so foreign and distant that many of us can barely remember it, Sears was the place to go if you wanted to buy a quality appliance. That’s not the case anymore. Evidently now it’s the place to go if you want to buy a non-operational appliance and take a bunch of unnecessary days off work. Tomorrow morning, Jesse will be waiting for a technician to come by and (most likely) not get his new dishwasher to work. The second, replacement dishwasher that Sears brought after the first one didn’t work either.
Gregg ordered a new Dyson vacuum this past weekend, and used a Best Buy gift card toward the purchase. When he arrived at the store, his order wasn’t ready, even though the exact item he had ordered wasn’t on the sales floor. They couldn’t rush the online order process, couldn’t give him back the $30 from the gift card for his in-store purchase, and couldn’t do much of anything useful. So he waited for a refund and bought the same item from Lowe’s. The notification e-mail never did come through.
Consumer thought experiment: if Home Depot delivers some appliances to you, but never bills you for them, are they free? If that were true, a California grandmother got one heck of a Cyber Monday deal on more than $2,500 worth of kitchen appliances from Home Depot. That’s not what she wanted. She’d rather just pay the hardware mega-chain already, but they won’t accept her money. A computer glitch makes it look like she already paid for the appliances, and Home Depot won’t accept her money.
The employees at his local Lowe’s store were pretty great, reader Tony tells us, but ordering his stove online with multiple store gift cards wasn’t such a good idea. When he hit “Submit,” the order didn’t go through, and the Lowe’s customer service buffoons weren’t able to tell him what had happened. A visit to the local store resolved the situation, resulting in the actual delivery of the stove. Which was damaged.
Brian could have brought his new washer right home from Best Buy after purchasing it, but let the salesman talk him into delivery. Old appliances don’t just haul themselves away, you know. Only after he took a day off work, Best Buy didn’t even manage to get his appliance on the truck for delivery. This hasn’t reached Sears proportions yet, but Brian is annoyed.
We don’t begrudge Sears Repair–or, indeed, any business–a healthy markup on items that they sell. That’s how capitalism works, and capitalism is awesome. But Matthew must have felt insulted when the part his dishwasher needed showed up on his doorstep ahead of a return visit from the repairman. The part needed only a few screws to install…and, making things worse, was available $50 cheaper, for only $121, on Sears’ own website. It’s even cheaper elsewhere.