Let’s see. When last I discussed our new Kenmore refrigerator (model 73132), which has cooling issues, we had decided to return it as suggested by the service tech who missed the scheduled repair appointment. He said that I had 90 days to return it if I was unhappy with it. So, last Saturday (June 6), Mike and I shopped a Lewiston appliance dealership for a possible replacement. But, as I thought about it, I realized that Sears was not going to easily acquiesce to a return. Repair would be their focus. I put off making the call until I could use our land line on Friday, June 12.
“To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?” said the rep. I wasn’t placated; this call would not be a pleasure. I told her that I wanted to return our new Kenmore refrigerator because it doesn’t cool properly. She said that I couldn’t return it because I was outside the 30-day customer satisfaction period. I pointed out that when I began the complaint process I was within the 30-day period. She was unmoved. They no longer honor a 90-day grace period, she said. (They should tell the tech.) She could only offer repair.
“I’ve been this route,” I said, getting testier. “I even have the parts you shipped to me. But the tech didn’t come during the agreed-to four-hour time slot, and I couldn’t wait any longer for him.”
“By the way,” she said, “I’d like to offer you the extended warranty.”
“Oh no you don’t!” I said firmly. “This is a brand new appliance, and Sears should stand behind it. Don’t even talk to me about your expensive extended warranty.”
“Okay now, Mrs. Warnock,” she said, taking a different approach as per her training. “I need you to answer some questions about the refrigerator. Has it been set to manufacturer’s specified settings for at least 24 hours?”
Now I’m furious because I figure she has all this info at her fingertips from the last time I called. “We have to keep it at the lowest possible settings and it NEVER gets below 40,” I said, struggling to keep calm. She agreed that temp wasn’t acceptable. “Is it just the refrigerator or is it also the freezer,” she asked.
“How would I know,” I retorted. “The freezer is set at -3 and never shows lower than zero.”
“Okay – so it’s the freezer, too,” she said. “Does the unit run all the time or just some of the time?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “It’s quiet and I’m not aware of what it’s doing.”
We were both tired of the call, I’m sure. She said she could schedule the repair for Thursday. Did I want 1:00 to 5:00 or 3:00 to 6:00? I said 1:00 to 5:00 and he’d better be here at 1:00. I was amazed when she said all right. And she said she hoped the rest of my day went better, as if this was all somehow my fault.
“I like the way you did that!” said Mike, but I sat down and hyperventilated for ten minutes. Then, not being a drinking person, I opened a sack of potato chips and ate a cookie.
An hour later the phone rang and Mike answered. Turning to me, he reported, “That was Sears. The repair is scheduled between 1:00 and 5:00. No guarantee on when he’ll actually show up. He’ll call an hour before he comes.”
Sears wants us to pay $550 for extended warrantees on our four new appliances. What do you think? Should we buy into this racket? Or play the odds and perhaps come out losers? KW