Sears/Kenmore Follow-Up

Background here.

I left several updates in yesterday's thread, but I wanted to do a follow-up piece to let everyone know where things stand.

Toward the end of the day, Dee from Sears Executive Office rang me and offered to send someone 'round to replace the broken panel, free of charge, and give me a 90-day warranty on the new part.

It is an offer Iain and I ultimately declined, because I frankly did not feel good about accepting service in what Sears certainly expected to be an exchange for my letting the issue drop, because I am not letting the issue drop.

I'm not seeking anything further from them in terms of reparations to me, personally. My stove is now my issue. But I have some grave concerns about how this issue is being handled by Sears with its other customers.

If my stove had still been under warranty, it would have been fixed for free, and I never would have started down this road. But I did—and now I know not only that this is a very costly repair (especially relative to the price of the stove), but also that the repair is being made with the same faulty part that cannot withstand typical use.

Sears isn't fixing these stoves; they're patching them. People who get it fixed under warranty may end up with the same broken bracket again a year later, and face a pricy repair then. People who pay for the pricy repair once may end up with the same broken bracket again a year later, and face a pricy repair once more. Sears is kicking the can down the road, and expecting their customers to foot the bill for the problem.

It's a nice little racket, though, to replace a shitty piece with the same shitty piece, and sell $100 extended warranties on the back of a $300 repair—extended warranties that last one year, which seems to be the approximate lifetime of the bracket.

Sears/Kenmore clearly knows the piece is faulty. Dee told me that Sears plans to "address the problem" in the future, but when I explicitly asked if there was going to be a recall, and if I should advise my readers to not pay for a pricey repair on a stove that would be recalled, she said she could not confirm that there would be a recall, nor that future repairs would be made with a different, improved part.

So, on the one hand, they acknowledge having sold a bad product to lots and lots of people, and, on the other, they won't promise to do anything about it.

What they want to do is offer to fix patch the stove of the person with a platform and the willingness to use it to make some noise, and hope that the whole thing will go away.

Sears/Kenmore needs to do better by ALL its customers. Not just me. And they need to something more serious than what is essentially a patch on a known problem.

(I will note that there is also the possibility Sears/Kenmore is already actually repairing the stoves with better pieces, in which case that's just a different problem—charging people to do what they should be doing for free with a recall.)

As I said in my post yesterday, this is a low-end model Kenmore stove, bought primarily by people unlikely to be able to purchase "optional" extended warranties in the first place, unlikely to be able to afford $300 repairs, and unlikely to be able to buy a new stove when faced with a $300 repair (plus $100 extended warranty!) to avoid giving more money to a company that exploited them.

Six months after Louis J D'Ambrosio took over as CEO of Sears Holdings in February of this year, he was given a $2 million bonus, bringing his total compensation to $3.15 million. He is the 27th highest ranked CEO within the retail sector.

How many people have paid costly repair bills to replace a part Sears/Kenmore knows to be faulty, in order to give Mr. D'Ambrosio a $2 million bonus?

Do the right thing Sears/Kenmore. Recall this stove. And don't charge another person for a shady repair.

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Note: Kenmore is reportedly deleting critical comments from its Facebook page, and @KenmoreConnect did not respond to tweets. Sears has been more receptive: Tweet at them @sears, @SearsHoldings, @SearsAppliances, and @SearsCares.

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