Buyer Beware

I’m not sure I can really put into words the experiences we’ve had these past few days. I will have to edit out the profanity before I hit the “publish” tab.

The picture attached to my blog today is one of my refrigerator, a Sears Kenmore Elite, purchased when we bought our home in March of 2016.

This lovely appliance stopped working last Sunday.  As of today, three days later, we still do not have a refrigerator. Needless to say, most of the food is questionable. We pushed most of it into coolers, but, I had not anticipated this length of time without a real refrigerator.

Our calls for service began at 0630 Monday morning. The local Sears store does not handle any service issues. All calls go through the national call center. That name is a misnomer. It should be called an international call center. But, we did reach a real person. She told us the soonest she could get someone out to fix our 17-month-old refrigerator was August 18th.

That was not acceptable to us. After a few more words emphasizing that fact, she told us that Sears does use third party service people and she could connect us with that person to see if they could come out earlier. She connected us to R&R appliance repair.

We talked with someone from that company who said they would be to our house Tuesday between noon and 2 p.m. Okay. I could make it work for that long with coolers.

Tuesday arrived. The service person arrived at 4 p.m. After a short inspection, he told us that the compressor was gone. Not good news. The news got worse. No, he did not have a compressor with him to fix it nor could he fix it. That job was too complicated and difficult for his company. We would need to call Sears again, give them that information, and reschedule service.

Let me attempt to tell you how the past two days of calls to Sears Service Line have gone:

The usual phone tree greets you and you are directed to a person. It has been our experience that the person speaking to you is either in Asia or The Philippines. We told them we had called for service yesterday and Sears connected us with R&R appliance service. That service technician came to our house yesterday and told us that the compressor needed to be replaced. The technician said that his company was not qualified to replace a compressor. Okay. We expected our earlier service call would put us into another queue and we’d move up on the scheduling ladder. We waited and waited only to be told that it would be two more weeks for service.

Again, not acceptable. Please connect us to a supervisor–in the United States, please. We waited. Waited. We spoke with a supervisor who told us that they were glad to help us because Sears does contract with third party service companies and he would give us the number for R& R.

No! We have had them here and they said they are not qualified to make this level of repair.

Can we please talk with your supervisor. We waited to talk with that person. We waited longer. A new person–maybe someone who just happened to be walking by–who knows at this point? This person told us they could help us and would connect us to the company qualified to replace a compressor. Before we could ask for the number in case we were disconnected, he was gone. We thought, great, finally, we were being connected…

We waited. We waited.

That call was dropped and a person by the name he gave us, was never found.

This conversation, nearly word for word, was repeated at least FIVE times over the past two days. Each call session lasted at least 30 minutes. There were times when we both had to call a time out, surrendering the phone before we both had some sort of vascular accident.

I won’t share all of the conversations we had with them today–it’s mostly the same exact thing except–this is good–the person coming for the next service call–in two weeks–will also be doing a diagnostic check on our unit. And the cost for that inspection was our responsibility as well as any labor cost for the work done. We demanded to know why we had to pay for another inspection. The reason, coming from another different supervisor, is because before they replace a compressor they want a new evaluation. Frankly, they don’t trust that first opinion–from a company they told us had been trained and approved by Sears.

It goes on and on and on…

Waving the white flag, we worked on some way to make this work. We had been talking about getting a backup refrigerator, so this was the time to do that. This would give us a refrigerator while we waited for our nearly new one to be fixed–if that fix is even possible.

Here is the lesson I have to share today:

Education and having the opportunity to learn is always wonderful. I have to say, we have certainly been in the front row for this one! Roni, our great and knowledgeable sales person at Home Depot, told us that because of how complicated the LG and Samsung appliances are made, very few people have the training needed to service them. Something we learned earlier in the week, a Kenmore Elite is made by LG. Roni stressed to us that until more service people are trained on these appliances, getting them serviced will continue to be an issue.

That information explains why we have such a long wait for service. It is certainly information I wish I had when we were deciding what appliances to buy. The initial  ratings of refrigerators are misleading because the major vendors are ranked pretty close together UNTIL you get to serviceability. It is the ease of service that drops many of the units we were considering.

Oh, Ellen and Fred Morris, I sure wish People’s Appliance was still just a few miles away from us!

So, buyer beware. Take your time and ask a lot of questions. Read the ratings further than the first few lines and pay attention to the customer reviews. They are often very insightful.

Okay, class is over.

It is past time for that glass of wine.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you guys!



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