My refrigerator went out, along with all my power, when Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey on August 28. When the lights finally came back on a week later, the refrigerator did not. It’s a 2006 Kenmore purchased at Sears, and where I live, Sears is the only company that has qualified repair technicians to service it. So I called them to schedule a repair. Was I upset that a five-year-old appliance had already failed? Sure. But I tried to think positively. It had already been a long week with no power during the storm.
The earliest that Sears could send a repairman was yesterday—a full week and a half after I tried to schedule an appointment. Again, I tried to be patient given the vast number of people with all kinds of storm damage.
As of yesterday, I’d been without a refrigerator for two and a half weeks. The repairman showed up on time, quickly discerned that a basic fan had died, and said he should be able to fix it immediately. It is apparently a common problem with Kenmore refrigerators.
Then he realized he didn’t have a new fan in his truck. He’d have to order one. Apparently, Sears repairmen don’t carry standard parts for common problems.
“It’s going to be okay,” he said. “I’ll put you into the system for another service call at the first opening we have, which is September 21. But you won’t have to wait that long. If the part comes in early, you can get moved back up to this week because you’ve been without a working refrigerator for so long. We can bump you ahead of people who at least have some way to keep food refrigerated.”
He then charged me $201.34 and said I’d owe another $128.40 when he came back to install the fan. I didn’t even argue. I just wanted it fixed already.
The fan arrived today, about 24 hours after he was standing in my kitchen and taking my money. So I called the phone number he’d given me to move up the appointment for installation. I started out with a guy who sounded not-so-American telling me that I had to stick with September 21. I told him I was not going to wait another full week, and that it should not take three weeks to fix a basic fan in a standard refrigerator, hurricane or not. This was about service that had been promised, not parts being unavailable.
I asked to speak with a supervisor. He left me on hold for 46 minutes, and then the Sears phone system hung up on me.
Three phone calls later, after being hung up on once again by the Sears system, I finally got a supervisor on the phone at Sears here in America. She was as polite as she could be as she told me that I would, in fact, have to wait another week to install the part that is sitting on my kitchen counter, despite what the technician told me yesterday. The company has been very busy since the hurricane, she said. I suppose it hasn’t occurred to them to add extra repairmen to their staff to clear the backlog.
So now I’m stuck waiting yet another week, and I’ll still have to pay in full even though I’m not receiving the service in the timely manner that I was promised when I handed over two-thirds of the estimated final charge. Assuming there are no additional problems on September 21—and that’s a big assumption—I’ll end up having to go almost a full month without a working refrigerator. I could take a class and become a repairman myself in the time it’s taking Sears to get this Kenmore refrigerator fixed.
What a joke Sears is when it comes to customer service and repairs. I’ll never buy another appliance from them again.