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.

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Kenmore Water Heater
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Supermarkets and Malls
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Mar 20, 2015 #961450 Canton, Ohio

I have the same problems and got zero help from sears. I will never buy a major appliance from them again

1 0 Reply

Feb 03, 2015 #940538 Houston, Texas

Cant just call up Ford and get an alternator sent under warranty can you? Sears isn't going to send you a part without verification, fact is they own the warranty on all water heaters so every part that is installed free of charge is an expense to the company..

1 2 Reply

Jan 04 #1088722

Ford warranty clearly states a Ford dealership must install parts to get the parts under it's warranty. Sears does not. It just says Sears will supply replacement parts.
If Sears specified that you had to pay a service technician to get the parts under warranty, I wouldn't have an issue. I also probably would not buy that appliance.

1 0 Reply

Sep 07, 2013 #713487 Linn, Missouri

my kenmore water heater started leaking when it was only four years old. Sears said in order to use the warranty I would have to have a sears technician look at it first but it would be 3 - 4 days before a technician would be available. Ridiculous! I bought a new one at menards and installed it myself. I then contacted sears to send someone out to look at the old one and was told there would be a $75 charge if the water heater wasn't still installed. I told them to stick it.eeaezus

1 0 Reply
anonymous in MO

Aug 29, 2013 #709012

Your initial review could have been written by me just in the past 2 weeks. Why buy a Sears product if they won't honor the warranty?

3 0 Reply

Aug 30, 2013 #709305

Check your warranty. The newer warranties say, "For the second through twelfth year from the purchase date, you must pay the labor cost for installation of parts or water heater."

It doesn't say whether you are required to use Sears for the installation, so I assume that leaves it open for you to hire your own plumber (or do it yourself if you know how.)

My warranty was older and didn't have the line above.

1 0 Reply

Dec 29, 2012 #587416

I received an email today from the Sears Social Media Team saying they received my email and will forward it to the Sears Cares team so they can contact me as soon as a case manager becomes available. Stay tuned...

0 0 Reply

Sep 27, 2013 #722545

so how'd everthing end up ? I have same problem,
please update
thank you

0 0 Reply

Sears Response Dec 26, 2012 

Dear Jfb32,

My name is Brian and I’m part of the Sears Cares Escalations team. I saw this comment and I wanted to reach out to you to see if we could be of assistance. We would like to apologize for the trouble you have encountered with your water heater. In the picture that you supplied, it does states under the “1 Year Exclusive Kenmore Labor Warranty”, that for the “first year” from the date of purchase, Sears will, “free of charge”, supply and install new water heater parts for defective ones, or a new water heater for one that develops a leak. So if we are outside of the one year exclusive Kenmore warranty there would be a charge for a technician to come out to diagnose the unit, and deem parts defective. At that point the parts for the repair would be ordered free of charge to you. Nevertheless, we understand how disappointing a setback like this is for you, and we would like to see if we can help make this right by you.

At your convenience, please contact our office via email at so you don’t have to continue to be frustrated by this. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the water heater was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide the screen name (Jfb32) you used to post on this site, for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

Thank you,... Show more

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Dec 28, 2012 #587105

I sent the email today as requested above, giving all the information requested, including home and mobile phone numbers, at 2:00pm EST. I have not received a call from Sears yet.

There is nothing in the warranty saying that I am required to have a Sears technician diagnose the defective parts before Sears is obligated to provide the free replacement parts covered by the warranty. I am more than willing to bring the defective part to the Sears store where I purchased the water heater, or even ship the defective parts back to Sears I'd they cover the shipping charges. Or I could have a Mechanical Engineer or a Heating/Cooling contractor look at it and give Sears their opinion (I have those resources available to me). Or I might just take a video of the water heater leaking, showing exactly where it's leaking from, and post it on YouTube so that Sears can see it, and the puddle of water growing on my floor from the leak.

1 0 Reply

Jan 05, 2013 #589690

It is Jan 5, 2013, and I have not received a response yet from Sears or their Sears Cares team that responded on this website. It seems like Sears is trying to make me wait long enough that I just pay for the part myself so they don't have to provide it for free. This is rediculuous. The Sears warranty is a joke, they refuse to provide a free replacement part as promised by their warranty.

1 0 Reply

Feb 15, 2013 #609348

I received a phone call from Sears and after a couple discussions I believe we're on the way to resolving the issue. It's hard to believe it took this much work, but we should all be happy very soon.

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Sep 27, 2013 #722549

hi brian S , I am having the same problem like jjfb32, 6 years old with 9 years warranty, just called the seriver today , tech wont be available till otc 8 , and 79.99 dollars ,just for them to come over ,

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