Sears has struggled as a company over the last few years, from job losses and executive departures in 2017 to a bankruptcy filing in 2018. In 2019, the company started having to close hundreds of stores and continued to face problems throughout the pandemic, forcing even more closures. Now, there are only about 25 Sears stores left in the entire U.S., which is significantly lower than the 3,900 stores that existed at the started of 2010. That’s not the end of Sears’ woes, however. Customers are railing against one specific Sears purchase, and they’ve been doing so for years. Read on to find out what they’re warning you to never buy from the retailer.
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Customers who bought Kenmore refrigerators from Sears say the appliances are breaking.
Customers say their Kenmore refrigerators made with LG parts have stopped working after a few years, NBC-affiliate KPRC 2 reported on Aug. 16. This brand of fridges is only available at Sears.
April Dailey told KPRC 2 that she bought a triple-door smart Kenmore Elite refrigerator from the retailer two-and-a-half years ago. But despite paying $2,248 for it in 2018, she says the fridge has already stopped cooling. According to Dailey, the digital read-out on her fridge says it’s 33 degrees inside, while a thermometer reveals it is actually 64 degrees. And this isn’t the only problem she’s faced with the appliance. A year ago, Dailey says she paid $380 to repair the fridge’s ice-maker that had stopped working.
Several lawsuits have been filed against LG for a faulty compressor in these refrigerators.
According to KPRC 2, Sears, Kenmore, and LG have known about the issue with these refrigerators for nearly eight years. In 2013, the first class action lawsuit against LG for its cooling system refrigerators was filed by Jeannette Clark, who alleged that the “smart cooling system is defective.” LG ended up settling with Clark and another plaintiff in a different suit, but the company has not recalled these refrigerators or stopped selling them. Another lawsuit against the company is pending from plaintiffs Shannon Marriot and Michael Wasle, who both bought Kenmore Elite refrigerators in 2016 that they say stopped working within three years.
The plaintiffs say that these smart cooling fridges use a compressor that has a valve made from plastic which can fail and cause systemic breakdown in the appliance. “LG’s compressors have caused consumers problems for many years,” they allege.
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Customers have to pay hundreds of dollars to repair this part, despite having warranties.
Sears Repair Center is the only place authorized to repair Kenmore products. Dailey told KPRC 2 that when she called, they sent a third-party repair company that advised her that the LG compressor in her fridge would need to be replaced. Although the replacement compressor is covered by Dailey’s warranty, she would still have to pay someone to replace it.
“It is important to note that the manufacturer’s warranty covers the part and it specifically notes that labor is not covered,” a Sears spokesperson confirmed to KPRC 2. According to Dailey, it would cost her at least $500 to pay for the labor. “That just wasn’t an option for us. I just don’t have that money right now,” Dailey said.
Best Life reached out to Sears for comment, but has yet to hear back.
Sears says that customer satisfaction is its “top priority.”
Sears’ spokesperson told KPRC 2 that “the satisfaction of our members and customers is [its] top priority.” In terms of the Daileys’ situation, the spokesperson said that the company has “provided responsive service on several occasions and they have opted to forego the repair because they did not want to pay the charges they were obligated to pay.”
“We contacted the Daileys today to explain this and we arranged to repair their refrigerator this afternoon under the terms of their warranty. Our lead refrigeration technician completed the replacement of the compressor this afternoon and all is operating properly,” the Sears spokesperson added.
But customers warn that these repairs don’t actually solve the larger issue. “Even if a repair is performed, [the Kenmore refrigerator] … remains substantially certain to fail within two to three years because LG and its authorized technicians use the same defective parts as replacements,” Marriot and Wasle said in their lawsuit. In Dailey’s opinion, the fact that LG has paid consumers damages in their lawsuits but not admitted wrongdoings and continued to use these compressors is “shady” behavior. “I mean, a big corporation like that should be able to retract products and you know, take care of their consumers,” she told KPRC 2.
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