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Sept 22nd, 2011(see update at end of this complaint)

SUBJECT: We, the consumers, have a right to educate ourselves about misleading claims that companies make. This is one reason our experience is being told to warn other consumers that work hard for their money and want reliable products in return. It's our opinion that SEARS made claims to us that were untrue and will not be honored. Following is our experience with SEARS.

My husband and I are very disappointed in SEARS LACK OF CUSTOMER SERVICE. SEARS sold us a Kenmore "last year's model" at a discounted price, untouched or removed from the carton. We were told it was guaranteed to work just as well as the newest versions of refrigerators.

We complained that our frozen food was being thawed out and then refrozen. We were very upset that we had to keep throwing food away because of this. We didn't want to take the chance of becoming sick. We were told on the first 2 repair visits that they could not find anything wrong with our refrigerator. We were just told to keep food away from the proximity of the mechanisms on the top and bottom of the refrigerator and the repairmen turned up the cooling level setting on the refrigerator. IT DIDN"T SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

The 3rd visit from a repairmen found out (via a phone call he made), that our refrigerator model had a history of a faulty freezer mechanism. It would get "stuck" in the defrost mode too long and then the mechanism would freeze everything again afterwards. With this history of a freezer problem, they should have taken it off their sales floor when they found out about it.

By this time, it was now 7 months into our warranty, which meant we had 7 MONTHS OF WASTED FOOD WE HAD TO TOSS OUT. VERY INCONVENIENT AND BAD TO THE WALLET, TO SAY THE LEAST.

We wrote a letter to: CEO: W. Bruce Johnson, of SEARS, Roebuck & Co., 3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60179. We thought it would be fair that SEARS honored our monetary loss, by reimbursing us for all the food we threw away to avoid food poisoning or getting sick from it. We also thought it was unfair that we had to wait hours (one time we had to wait 6 ½ hours past the repairman's estimated time of arrival.) Again, VERY INCONVENIENT and A LOT OF WASTED TIME, TAKING TIME FROM OTHER THINGS, LIKE OUR JOBS.

SEARS hadn't even offered to lend us a "working compact freezer" to use while we waited for the new part. SEARS knew our complaint each time was that we had to throw the frozen, then defrosted, then frozen food away. As I previously said, they knew that model had a history of a bad freezer mechanism and they still had it on the sales floor.A representative that worked under SEARS CEO W. Bruce Johnson's response was to offer us a "one time offer, take it or leave it" of a $150.00 gift card to SEARS to cover the wasted food. We spent a lot more money then that on food that we had to throw away, but it was better than nothing at all.

A week or two later, a repairman came with a new part to replace the "malfunctioning one." But after using the refrigerator and adjusting the mechanism to different levels of cooling settings, the REFRIGERATOR STILL CONTINUED TO GIVE US PROBLEMS. The ice cream, frozen waffles etc., in the freezer would be "deformed" in the freezer area from not being frozen enough and at the same time; the bottles of water in the lower refrigerator area would be frozen, along with rice, strawberries, and various other food items in the lower fridge. We would have to take the bottled water and let it sit for hours in order to drink it. So we once again called for service. On Sept. 10th, the repairmen came out again and said nothing was wrong with our refrigerator (déjà vu) and told us to keep the food away from the mechanisms, to leave space around them. This is what we were told to do before they discovered the faulty history of the refrigerator (déjà vu).

In the meantime, SEARS Warranty Service kept calling us to give us the opportunity to extend our warranty. I told them I was not happy with the service warranty we had now and that we would probably never buy a large appliance again from SEARS. They then said that after 4 service calls within a year, we could opt for a different refrigerator from SEARS if we were not satisfied. SEARS Warranty Unit didn't even know why we were unhappy and threw in this claim to make the warranty sound so good. One of the repairmen also told us this, too.

On the last day of our one year warranty SEARS Warranty Service called a 6th time, and reiterated the same claims of satisfaction to customers. This was upsetting, since it didn't seem to be true, so, I put in a call to the SEARS Blue Crew Home Repair spoke to a "real person," and also left a message that we wanted a new refrigerator because ours was still not working properly. I also called SEARS in Southcenter Mall, Tukwila, WA and left a message with an "apparel manager" that was filling in for the large appliance manager.

The next day my husband and I went to talk to the large appliance manager, David Thompson. He had not read the e-mail from the apparel manager yet. I told him that I had requested a new refrigerator on the last day of our warranty with both his department at Southcenter, Tukwila and with Customer Service repair people.

Mr. Thompson seemed sincerely interested in helping us with our problem and said he understood. He was very polite and professional and we felt like we were finally talking to someone that believed our problems with the refrigerator. He said he had also had trouble with a refrigerator he purchased from Home Depot, and that it wasn't just SEARS appliances. It did, however, make me wonder why he had purchased a refrigerator at Home Depot when he was the manager of large appliances at SEARS!

NOTE: There is a guy that works here that had bought a refrigerator at HOME DEPOT with the same exact problem we had, and they actually replaced his refrigerator with THREE DIFFERENT ones in 4 months until he was satisfied. I do not know what the outcome for Mr. Thompson when he had the dysfunctional refrigerator from Home Depot.

Mr. Thompson sent an e-mail to his supervisor and said we should be contacted by him within a couple of days. He said there probably wouldn't be a problem in replacing our refrigerator. But Mr. Thompson's supervisor never called (no one did, including the SEARS Blue Crew Home Repair.On Sept 18th, 2011, my husband, (2nd time), went back to see Mr. Thompson in person at SEARS. His response was that his supervisor had not responded to his e-mail, but that he had been informed that we had to have 4 service calls plus 4 parts replaced before a refrigerator would be replaced. Mr. Thompson said that this policy was new to him and he had not been made aware of this new change. He told my husband to send in the original receipt of the refrigerator.

As of today, Oct 18, 2011, we still haven't heard from the SEARS Blue Crew or Mr. Thompson's supervisor (whoever that is) and my husband sent them our receipt that they had requested.

IS IT SEARS NEW POLICY TO PROLONG OR IGNORE THE CUSTOMERS UNTIL THEY GIVE UP HOPE? It certainly appears to be. My opinion is that it seems to be their policy to be VERY persistent when your warranty is coming to an end so they can get more money from you , but not to be persistent when you need something.

Although I had already told SEARS that I wasn't going to buy the extended warranty, they kept calling us, after I had told them, "no thanks." The very next day after my husband spoke to Mr. Thompson the 2nd time, SEARS called us again to extend our warranty and although I had no intention of extending our warranty, I asked them about customer satisfaction and getting a replacement for your refrigerator if not satisfied. They said the policy was 4 service calls and that you DID NOT HAVE TO HAVE 4 PARTS REPLACED to get another refrigerator that was satisfactory to the customer. They, of course, was NOT aware of our situation.Uhm…..different responses for different circumstances.

SUMMARY: We, the consumers, have a right to educate ourselves about misleading claims that companies make, either in writing or verbally. If it's a verbal promise, a good company would honor it.

This is our experience and we wanted to share it with those who might have the same problem with SEARS. I'm sure there are a lot of satisfied customers buying large appliances from SEARS, but our experience has left us very disappointed. We were told for 7 months that nothing was wrong with our refrigerator until the "history of the bad freezer model" was revealed before we were taken seriously. Now it's happening again and we feel like they don't believe or care. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH SEARS!!!!!

Mr. and Mrs. CoeSeattle, WA

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Sears Response

To Mr. and Mrs. Coe,

I'm very sorry that you've had such a tumultuous experience surrounding the many failures of your Kenmore refrigerator. I understand that you feel like you were deceived at the time you purchased this refrigerator and also thru-ought the chaotic repair process. That is one of the last things we would want a valued customer to feel and we certainly want to help resolve this issue and make things right. To be clear, we do follow a "lemon law" policy both during the manufacturer's warranty and with our Master Protection Agreement. What this means is that within a 12 month period, if your appliance has 4 functional failures where a functional part has to be replaced, at that time we will replace the appliance. We would appreciate the opportunity to speak to you further about these issues and to regain your trust in Sears. My name is James and I’m part of the Sears Cares Escalations team. At your convenience, please contact my office via email at smsupport@searshc.com. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the refrigerator is listed under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide your screen name (Christmas1) for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

Thank you,

James H.

Social Media Moderator

Sears Social Media Support

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