Kenmore Elite 3-door Refrigerator / Repair Service & Rental Reimbursement

Posted on Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 at 6:52pm CST by 32707fd5

Company: Kenmore Elite 3-door Refrigerator / Repair Service & Rental Reimbursement

Category: Other

Three years ago we purchased a Kenmore Elite refrigerator online. On Saturday, 11/24, it quit cooling. The unit is under an extended repair contract. We called Sears 800 repair service and was told that the next available service appointment was Monday, so we called an independent local repair service that made weekend calls to check the unit out. The serviceman arrived within 2 hours, diagnosed a failed compressor, and gave us an estimate on repair. It was expensive enough that we elected to use our repair contract and wait until Monday to have the work done. We called Sears and were offered a Monday morning (8-12) appointment. We asked to have the tech call us before coming so we could advise him of the compressor failure. We also told the 800 operator about the compressor failure.

I cancelled work for 12/27, Monday morning and waited for repair. At 11AM, having heard nothing from the tech, I called Sears 800 number and was informed the appointment had been rescheduled "by the computer" for 1-5PM instead. There was no explanation why I wasn't informed of the change.

At about 4:50PM the tech called to say he was on his way. I told him about the compressor and he said he didn't have one with him. I asked him to canvass the other techs in the area. He did, and called me back to say that no one had one. He suggested that he come over, verify the problem, and get me started on an authorization for a rental unit. He arrived about 5:05PM and verified the failure, gave me some paperwork, including a repair order number. He told me that the compressors were on back order until 12/12 and told me to call the "No Lemon" department on Tuesday morning to get a rental authorized. He suggested I get in touch with Rent-A-Center. He also asked me for the value of the food spoiled, and I told him it was about $80.00 at that point.

On Tuesday, 11/28, I called the "No Lemon" department's 800 number and was told that I was covered and could rent a refrigerator. I was cautioned to retain all the associated paperwork and that I would need to fax or mail copies of the paperwork to them for a reimbursement check. I then went to Rent-A-Center and contracted for a slightly smaller refrigerator. They informed me that for refrigerators, the minimum rental term was 1 month, and that they could deliver it the next day, Wednesday, 12/29 between 3-5.

When I arrived home on Wednesday, 11/29 around 1PM, the doorbell rang, and FedEx was delivering a compressor! I immediately called Repair Service and was told that a technician would be available that afternoon to install the unit, and that I could cancel the rental refrigerator.

I called Rent-A-Center and told them what had happened. They told me they had a 2-week charge for cancellations, and that they would refund $51.70 of the original $112.00 paid to them, retaining $61.30 as the cancellation fee.

I called the Rental Authorization people at Sears and they told me (1) they would only authorize reimbursement up to the actual number of days I was out of service, regardless of the minimum term of the agreement and (2) they did not pay cancellation fees regardless of the situation.

I then received a call from the local dispatcher stating that no techs were available on Wednesday, 11/29, nor would one be available on Thursday, 11/30. I told her this was unacceptable and that I needed to speak to a manager. She said all the managers were in a conference call, had been so for 2 hours, and would not be available. She suggested I complain to the national 800 number for making a committment they were not authorized to make.

I called the 800 number, they listened and transferred me to someon in Rental Authorization who listened and restated that the charges weren't their problem. He then was going to transfer me back to Repair Service to have a local manager contact me in hopes of authorizing reimbursement of the $61.30 because of the problems with service. In the process, he sent me back to the beginning of the phone tree with an operator who knew nothing about the situation. This call took 45 minutes.

During the call I received another call from Sears service which I missed. I returned the call to service and was told the next available appointment would be Friday, 12/1 between 8AM and noon, and that they were confident they'd make this call on time.

If you're keeping score, that means I've had to cancel 2 full days of work (my job is based on the number of clients I see - so no clients - no pay). I'm paying $60.30 for the rental of a refrigerator that I won't be using. I've been without refrigeration since Saturday, 12/24 and expect to be so until at least Friday, 12/1. I'm out the cost of the independent repairman who correctly diagnosed the problem and offered a fix the same day -- $95.00. I'm also out the difference between the $80.00 in lost food I specified to the repairman at the outset and the actual amount, which has increased as the time without refrigeration increases. I've been informed that I may be denied the $80 because I didn't furnish an itemized list of foods lost.

The total costs and lost income to date exceed $650.00 - far more than the cost to have the independent serviceman repair the unit the day it failed. And the costs continue to mount. Not to mention the cost of the repair agreement itself, a dubious purchase at best. My refrigerator is out of service, I have no rental unit, and we have had to eat many meals out of the house at a cost far, far higher than fixing meals at home. If you add in THAT cost, we're well over $1,000 for this escapade.

Think about this little story the next time Sears advertises its prices or pitches you on a service contract.

R J Riso, Rancho Mirage, CA

1 Comment

9d8ea3ed, 2008-05-25, 06:23AM CDT

Dear Consumers, Doing without the Refrigerator is often needless and very frequently it can be fixed within a day. It is not often best to call a service company the manufacturer recommends but call a Refrigeration Professional that you trust.

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