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.
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.
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.
Automatic re-ordering of items you use a lot of can be a wonderful and convenient thing. But if you don’t want the thing anymore, ending that perpetual re-order can be a colossal pain in the butt. Dave had the water filters for his Kenmore fridge set for annual re-orders from Sears PartsDirect, but discovered a cheaper source. He tried to cancel the re-order, but wasn’t able to, so he removed all credit cards from his Sears account. They sent the filters anyway.
For generations of Americans, Sears has simply been where you go when it’s time to outfit your new home. (At one point, you could even order your house itself out of the Sears, Roebuck catalog.) They, and their Kenmore appliances, were trustworthy, reliable, and quintessentially American. Now? Is Sears any of those things?
Waiting for the second repair on her two-year-old fridge, Joyce was surprised to learn that her Kenmore is just an LG with a badge slapped on it. Oh, and no one knows when the new compressor is coming, or whether it’s actually been ordered at all.
The fable goes that the nice white-haired appliance guys are a dying breed and they’re way better than their outsourced, van-driving, retail store counterparts. But sometimes the local guy is just as bad as the guy in the store wearing the official colored shirt. When her Kenmore model 417 front-loading washer went bust-o, Jane discovered she was able to save $400 in repair costs by learning how to fix it herself from Youtube videos.
When should a new warranty begin? Reader ournextcontestant wonders this after purchasing a service agreement from Sears for a broken dishwasher. The new warranty begins on the day it was purchased, and not on the day that the appliance is put back in working order. Ournextcontestant doesn’t like this, believing that Sears is robbing him of valuable days of the warranty. Maybe weeks or months of the warranty, considering how long it takes Sears to actually fix things.
Maura has figured out what the “cares” in “Sears cares” actually stands for: “customers are reliable suckers.” That was the subject line of the e-mail she sent us about the experience she’s had trying to get her Kenmore washing machine fixed. Her washing machine that is what we once would have called “new,” is broken at only a year and a half old.
This week, the temperature in many parts of the country has been cranked up to “broil.” We all know what that means: air conditioner breakdowns on a massive scale. Veronica’s sick, elderly parents purchased their central A/C from Sears four years ago. When she called up Sears, they told her that they could send someone to look at it at the end of the week. That wasn’t acceptable to Veronica: it was 103 damn degrees out there.
Jim’s boiler from Sears broke, and he’s been without heat or hot water since. It’s not the middle of winter, but he lives in New England, where it still gets
friggin’ wicked cold at night. How long ago did the boiler break down? It’s been more than a week.
Remember Ian, whose family was stuck with a series of defective Kenmore stoves and hadn’t been able to cook at home for six weeks? He reports that Sears delivered a new stove to his house on Saturday, and this one seems to be actually functioning. So far. Hooray!
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:
Consumer victory! After being featured on this site last week, reader Sharon’s basement-flooding washing machine is going to be replaced. While the replacement itself is due to Sharon’s own diligent work trying to make Sears see logic, she’ll be getting more expensive replacement washer for her trouble after her Consumerist appearance.
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.
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.
Remember Bob? He had an extended warranty on his Kenmore dishwasher, and Sears decided that it would much rather send repairman after repairman to fix his defective dishwasher–and reimburse him to pay someone to wash his dishes. Between following Doug Moore, SVP and President of Appliances on Twitter and writing to Consumerist, Bob is getting a new dishwasher. A functioning dishwasher.
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.
It’s good to have an Easy-Bake Oven around for those times when you want to serve a tiny, partially baked cake-like product to your parents or little sister. The last thing you want, though, is another appliance cluttering the counter. Kenmore has solved that problem with a built-in fridge model with light bulbs that stay on even when the door is shut—and explode when you try to unscrew them! Okay, the exploding glass part is maybe not so convenient.