The lid on my Kenmore washer shattered. Help, Sears!

shattered glass

When the lid on Charlene Molina’s top-of-the-line Kenmore washer shatters, Sears doesn’t do anything about it. Why is it so hard to replace the shattered glass on her appliance?

Question

We have a top-of-the-line Kenmore Elite Washer that I bought from Sears. It’s just four months old. The glass lid has spontaneously shattered.

We called a technician, who came two days later. He examined the washer and said this was a “known issue” and put in an order for a replacement. Two weeks later, Sears called and said the lid was on backorder. No one knew when the part would be in.

I have returned to the Sears store where I bought the Kenmore Washer. A supervisor there promised to “escalate” to corporate and then have them contact me. She also promised to follow up with me. Neither has happened.

I contacted Sears’ executive customer support, which claimed to open a service order requesting for a new washer since there is no known arrival time on the part. But the first service order apparently didn’t have the request in it. I never heard back after placing a second service order, despite a promise I would hear back within 72 hours.

I have been transferred around in circles. I’ve talked to people who don’t care. All they will tell me is that I must wait until the item is on backorder for at least 31 days before Sears will consider replacing my washer. We’ve been without a washing machine for five weeks. Help! — Charlene Molina, Riverview, Fla.

Answer

If Kenmore had a “known” problem with its Elite lids, it should have fixed it before it sold you the appliance. But let’s give Kenmore the benefit of the doubt and say it wasn’t fully aware of the issue. If that’s the case, then Kenmore should have either quickly fixed the problem or replaced the washer — and not force you to wait five weeks without a washing machine.

This isn’t the first problem with shattered glass on a Kenmore appliance. A quick online search reveals lots of horror stories about cracked Kenmore appliances, and not just washers. I’m not sure if they had the same model that you did. But what is clear is that this isn’t a new problem.

You were more than patient with Sears. You practiced restraint when contacting the company, followed the correct steps to a resolution. And you created a thorough paper trail.

You could have escalated this to Sears. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Sears customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site. Then again, you just could have done what everyone else seems to do when their appliance shatters: They take pictures of the broken washer and post them online for the whole world to see.

Why the delay?

If I had to guess why your part was delayed, I’d say it’s because, as of last year, manufacturers such as Electrolux, LG, and Whirlpool build the appliances like your washer under the Kenmore brand. That shift may have made it harder to secure a replacement part.

This story has taken on a life of its own since it was first published. In response, Kenmore issued a statement.

“Within the first year of purchase, on a very small number of units, failure in the glass may be due to imperfections in the glass at installation and would be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty,” a spokesman said. “Breakage beyond the first year following purchase is most likely due to damage caused to the glass during use.”

I contacted Sears on your behalf about the shattered glass on your Kenmore washer. The company apologized, cut you a check for $100 to cover five weeks worth of laundry expenses, and delivered a new washer to your home.

Posted in Problem Solved Tagged , , , , ,

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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