Sears Appliances and Service Sucks

When I built my house, almost 3 years ago, I needed all new appliances, since the old ones had to stay in the old house. I asked around, and a friend recommended Kenmore (Sears) appliances. I discovered that if I bought all of the appliances at Sears, I would get a sizable discount (perhaps 20%: I don’t recall). And if I put it on my Sears charge card (or got a new Sears charge card), I didn’t have to pay anything for six months. Sounded good.

The appliances arrived in decent shape, except for the refrigerator, which had a gash on the inside. I asked the repair person if it could be fixed, but he said that they would have to replace the entire thing, so I did not bother.

When the freezer jammed up with frost, I was told that I was not closing the door. This was not repaired. And the repair guy was wrong.

When the washer began to flash its lights, because the computer was freaking out, I was told to just unplug it and plug it in again.

When the microwave produced so much electronic noise that I was unable to use some of my electronic devices, I was told it was not their problem. Too bad the FCC is spending all of its time trying to harass Howard Stern instead of doing its real job, and ensuring that consumer devices do not interfere with each other. Attempts to contact the FCC were futile: they don’t give a damn about individual people.

The dryer and stove have been OK. But I was warned that if I ever called for service, and they arrived to find that nothing was wrong, that I would be charged for the visit. Unless I signed up for (and paid for) some kind of super-special warranty.

Recently, that same friend who recommended Kenmore in the first place, tried to get service, and had a frustrating experience. The repair guy charged her about $200 for a $20 part, and failed to leave a receipt explaining what he had done. Calls to Sears have failed to produce the receipt: they just don’t care.

Well. Kind of. Because Sears is calling her all of the time, asking her how she liked her repair experience. But these callers do not really care whether Sears did a good job or not. They just want to sell her more warranty contracts. No matter how many times she explains how bad their service is, a week later someone will call and cheerfully ask if she’s happy with Sears. They are thick as bricks.

The local Sears store gave her a phone number for Customer Service. When she called Customer Service, after she explained the situation, she was told that she had to call another number if she wanted to file a complaint. Apparently Customer Service does not deal with complaints.

I would stay far, far away from Sears appliances and anything that requires Sears repair. They may have done a good job at one time or another, but not recently.

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2 Responses to “Sears Appliances and Service Sucks”

  1. satjiwan Says:

    Not out here to defend Sears particularly (since my interactions have been limited), but my experience has differed…

    For context, my parents bought several Sears appliances years ago (20?) and have religiously paid the service contract fees ($80/year??) and the units have had reasonable maintenance demands over the years. Not many breakdowns, but certainly their share of repair or replacment parts needed… all “free” of charge since they were covered by the contract. (I believe…) the contracts even pay for free replacement of equivalent (inefficient) units if they fail after having had the service contracts for years and renewing the contract.

    I feel they’ve overpaid, since many old appliances become outdated in terms of energy use and need to be replaced before they stop working because newer technology is that much more efficient. (I also don’t like service contract ideas in general… though do like the idea of leasing “refrigeration service” including the energy costs, such that the leasers are encourage to do design, maintenance and replace on the most cost-effective life-cycle basis for ease of repair, upgrade, recycling, etc.)

    SO my experience: I bought the cheapest yet most efficient med sized refrigerator ($500) over a year ago (free delivery and haul away of old unit). They wanted me to sign up for the service contract but I declined. in the first year i had a gasket not close properly and the bulb burn out. After pretty simple calls, 1. they sent a free bulb right away (though i need to find a more efficient one -this one is 40 watts!). 2. they sent one repair guy (i thought he did well…) 3. they sent a second repair guy who did much better than the first and fixed the gasket issue. All of this was truly free (except my time) and scheduling was pretty easy as well.

    As one year approached my option to sign up for the service contract was about to expire, and I decided NOT to do it. (mostly b/c i hoped any major service issues were found and fixed in first year and I hope to find a reasonable priced SUPER efficient fridge to purchase within 5 years.)

    I’d be curious what Consumer Reports says about Kenmore reliability. (I think they’re decent…)

    Also I’m wondering if being far out in VT hinders your ability to get good Sears repair people (though that doesn’t excuse their phone support and bad followup call system).

  2. luxky Says:

    Good article, thank you. Home and Kitchen Review

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