Sears refuses to honor water heater warranty
I have a Kenmore water heater from Sears with a 12 year warranty. The warranty states, "Sears will 1) provide free water heater parts for those that are defective in materials or workmanship, and 2) supply a free water heater for one that develops a leak. For the second through twelfth year from purchase date, you must pay the labor cost for installation of water heater."
Note that it does not say that I must use Sears technicians to install a replacement water heater or parts that are defective.
My water heater is 6 years old. The drain valve is leaking. After cleaning up standing water from half the room in my basement and moving the wet items that were in the water, I discovered that there are instructions in the owners manual showing how to replace the drain valve washer. This is where the water is dripping from. Since my warranty covers free parts, I called the number in the warranty, which is Sears Warranty Service, to get a new drain valve washer. They said I could order and pay for the part myself, but if I want it to be free, a service technician must come to my house and order the part for me, and the minimum charge for the service technician is $75. I challenged this because my warranty covers free parts, and there is nothing in the warrant about having to pay a service technician to order the part.
I spent an hour and a half on the phone total, in two calls and many transfers to different departments. The service department will not order the part; they only schedule service technicians to visit my home, with a $75 minimum charge. The parts department will not order the part for free, they say only a service technician can enter a no-charge order. The warranty department says I only have a 5 year warranty, and they have no record of a 12 year pars warranty, but they said since I have it in writing they will have to honor it for 12 years. But they say I have to pay for a service call before they will order the part for me.
I am very frustrated. This is not a complicated repair and the part is not that expensive. Sears should be happy to provide this part to me. I don't understand why they are so opposed to providing the part.
This really seems like a scam. Sears says the parts warranty is covered by the manufacturer, Kenmore. They say that I cannot contact Kenmore directly to request free replacement parts, only Sears can request parts from Kenmore, but I have to pay a Sears technician to order the part, and they have a $75 minimum charge. Isn't this a scam, providing a warranty, but requiring me to pay a charge to before I can claim anything covered by the warranty?
I wonder if I should be asking for a free replacement water heater. According to the warranty, this should be covered because its leaking. There is no fine print saying the leak must be coming from the tank, or that Sears has the option to repair it instead of replace it. The warranty also states that, "you must pay the labor cost for water heater installation." It does not say that the installer must be chosen by Sears, so I assume I can choose my preferred plumber instead of scheduling it with Sears.
Review about: Sears Installation.
Monetary Loss: $20.