After five weeks of recent Sears Warranty battles, we finally got a replacement refrigerator. The original was only seven years old but was irreparable. I have a home warranty through Sears that I pay 39.99 a month for. In the end, I’m relieved that I got a new fridge, but this warranty has been far from hassle free. First of all, I feel like I was duped into purchasing this plan. I called Sears last fall to set up a repair for my washing machine (another broken seven-year-old appliance). At that time, I was offered this amazing plan that would cover appliances and items I didn’t even buy from Sears. Yes, the nice lady named Barb said it would cover the microwave I got elsewhere and the swimming pool that came with the house. If I would have asked if it covered my kids’ orthodontics, I’m sure she would have said yes.
She was a smooth talker and had a quick answer to my myriad of questions, so before I set up the repair, I agreed to be transferred to the warranty department to hear more of the spiel. Although it sounded too good to be true, I signed up. I was a sucker, a Dum Dum, a Chupa Chup.
I quickly realized this warranty and service was bunk when Paul the washer repairman finally came to fix the leaking machine. The repair was given a window of sometime during my kids’ childhoods between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. I needed to wait by my cell phone, landline, ipad, and laptop to get a more precise day and time; they never seemed to use the same contact twice. What a pain it is to be available at their convenience.
Well Paul came on a Friday, diagnosed the machine, ordered some parts, and came back a week later. We were given the same window of time, so either my husband or I had to take time off of work to be home while Paul worked his handyman magic. It would have been swell if he fixed it during this second Friday visit, but that weekend the machine leaked again. When he finally returned the following Wednesday, he accused me of overloading the machine and told me to use the heavy-duty feature at all times. He tweaked something with a wrench and left. The leaking stopped, but ever since Paul “fixed” it, I can’t use the light-load dial, an option that I chose to conserve energy and time.
Annoyed, I called to cancel the warranty and just pay for whatever Paul did or didn’t do. It was too late though, and I was stuck to the agreement like chewed bubblegum. I was responsible to pay my monthly fee of 39.99 for twelve months. Whether I wanted it or not, my funds would be withdrawn from my checking account anyhow.
Fast forward to January. The freezer and ice maker from our refrigerator unit (from Sears) broke, so I used the sticky warranty. The first available appointment ended up being on Serbian Orthodox Christmas Eve, Friday, January 6th. My husband had to stay home and wait for John (not Paul), so I made the 90 mile trip alone each way to visit my family and church and then return to be with mine on Christmas.
This was a great inconvenience, especially since John (not Paul) didn’t even show up! The only notification we were given that this appointment was cancelled, was via email where it stated a new one was scheduled the following week! Everyone we called about this had no answer for the repairman’s absence. Another week of living out of our coolers.
John came next Friday and said he had no idea why someone didn’t show last week. I’m sure he was “someone” but didn’t say it. Anyhow, he diagnosed the freezer, ordered some parts, and planned to return when they came in. The following Friday, he spent the entire day “fixing” the unit. He admitted to running into trouble since the two hour job turned into six. He said to give the freezer a night to cool down and we could use it in the morning.
Oh my my! Do you know what happened next? I woke to a warm freezer and even warmer fridge. Since NOTHING was wrong with the refrigerator until John touched it, it was still packed with food. All of our groceries were ruined! John nor Sears was responsible for the spoiled food that we had to throw away. It’s all in the warranty, you see.
My husband and I made several calls and emails and got nowhere with the food replacement. Food vouchers could not be awarded. They suggested we turn it into our homeowner’s insurance. I was afraid of premium increases for making a claim, so we ate (uhh, not ate) our losses. How unfair is that? A repairman breaks the thing that preserved my food and he isn’t responsible for the resulting loss which would have been a couple hundred dollars, easy.
The other problem was that no servicemen were available until, you guessed it, next Friday! At this point, I requested a whole new fridge, but this couldn’t happen until John or Paul or some other dingleberry came back to assess it for another repair. This is the jargon from the terms and conditions:
How long will it take to repair or replace a covered item?
Once the service technician diagnoses the failure and the item is deemed eligible for coverage, repairs/replacements are usually completed within 1-5 business days, depending on the item to be repaired.
At one point, a customer service rep seemed genuinely concerned like she could help, and I had a glimmer, a blink, a wink of hope. She put me on hold, go figure, and came back to say sorry. Then she asked what else she could do for me. I politely told her to unplug her fridge for the night and requested she call me back in the morning. She never called. I bet she didn’t even unplug her unit. She probably went on serving Popsicles, unspoiled meat, and fizzy drinks with ice cubes.
A week later, John (UGH! Him again!) came back to attempt to fix his mistake. After four more hours of trying, he finally put the “cannot repair” seal on the deal. Whoa! He apologized but didn’t replace the food. I thought I was being sly by taking pictures of his work truck to score the contact for John’s boss, but I was duped again! The number was an alternate to the Sears Home Warranty Center and I talked to no boss. I’ve had it with automated operators and incompetent customer service reps.
It took another week to send out a replacement fridge, one comparable to the original discontinued unit. So far so good and everything has been chilling with the new model, thankfully. Maybe because it was delivered on a Thursday, not a Friday. I’m satisfied with the refrigerator, but aghast at the time, food, and energy wasted on this claim. When did groceries, appliances, and customers become so disposable?
Are there any warranties out there that are hassle free?