Shortly after I was married in September of 2008, my wife asked if we could get a new washer and dryer set. And rightly so, the ones we were using weren’t even bought used, they were given to me. The set worked, but barely. Of course I wanted to do my research first, so I got the latest Consumer Reports and started looking into what we should buy. In the meantime, we saved up our money so we would not have to worry about the purchase.
After about a month we settled on a Kenmore Elite model. It was given a Consumer Reports Recommended Buy, it was a middle of the line, and it wouldn’t break the bank. At one of Sears’ many 20% off sales we made the purchase. Our reasoning was by purchasing a quality set we would not have to worry about these appliances for many years.
Four and a half years later, we found ourselves worrying about those appliances. Before our son came along we did 2 or 3 loads of laundry every other week (of course that’s changed now), not nearly enough to put stress on the machine. Yet when going to do a routine load, an error code showed up. After some research on Google I went in to talk to someone at Sears. They looked up the part that I needed and showed me that it was over $200. I said thanks but no thanks, and I went home and called the Sears hotline. After quite the process I found out that the total cost of the repair would run me somewhere around $400 (this was after they tried to sell me some sort of extended warranty). At this point I had already spent more time on the machine than I wanted, so again I said thanks, but no thanks.
I took to Twitter and Facebook, thinking if nothing else I could steer a few people away from buying the Kenmore brand. Within a few hours, Sears contacted me and I spoke with a customer service rep. That rep arranged for a technician to come and look at the machine and they would reimburse me for the diagnostic charge. They also agreed to knock $100 off the price. I was pretty happy at this point. The service tech came out and asked what happened. He looked at the machine to get the model number off it and then Googled the answer. He told me what I already knew, and I waived the repair opting not to pay them $450. I then ordered the part (which literally snapped in place).
After the part arrived, I installed it, and nothing happened. The diagnosis was wrong. I called the customer service tech back and left her a message. A day later I tried again. A day later, yet again. I emailed several times and finally got a response. That response said that since I waived the service, I would be responsible to pay for a new diagnosis. I argued that the diagnosis was done incorrectly the first time, so why do I need to pay to have him come back and finish the job properly? I never received a response. Many other communications through Twitter, Facebook, email, or phone went either unreturned or met with “Sorry for your frustration, we will forward your message to your case manager.” I finally told them I would write this article since they have no desire to help me.
The saying goes, “Buyer Beware.” Unfortunately I did my research, and I looked into all sorts of washers and dryers. Due to this fiasco, Sears not only lost a customer (I used to like Kenmore brand), but they have also generated a lot of bad press for themselves. Due to my postings on their Facebook, I know of at least two friends that have taken their business elsewhere. This lack of customer service and complete digression from quality over the years is precisely why Sears is slowly failing. I never want to see any business go under, it may be time for this company to re-evaluate where their priorities are or else that is precisely what is going to happen.
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