• Report: #854041

Complaint Review: Sears

  • Submitted: Wed, March 14, 2012
  • Updated: Mon, April 09, 2012

  • Reported By: BGreen — Oceanside California USA
33 Beverly Rd Hoffman Estates, Illinois United States of America

Sears Sears Holding Co Won't honor lifetime warranty on Kenmore dishwasher tub Hoffman Estates, Illinois

*Author of original report: Success via CA Attorney General Office

*Consumer Comment: To the Author

*Author of original report: Update - Warranty Scan

*Consumer Comment: Here's the warranty

*Consumer Comment: I'd Like to See The Warranty Image TOO!!

*Consumer Comment: Please Post

*Consumer Comment: Stop beating your kitchen sink up

*Author of original report: Rebuttle

*Consumer Comment: MANY warranties of this type have limited time labor warranty...

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Here is my complaint concerning my Kenmore Ultra Wash Dishwasher, Model No. 665.16039400, Serial No. FR4704571, purchased 01/08/2005.
The tub developed a small crack and leak on the inside where a screw on the outside of the tub attaches a metal bracket to the tub. This leak allowed water to accumulate on the floor under the dishwasher, eventually soaking and ruining the toe kick portion of one of our kitchen cabinets.
My owner's manual shows the dishwasher tub has a FULL (not limited) WARRANTY for the life of the dishwasher against leaks. The owner's manual states the following:
For the life of the dishwasher, if a leak should occur as a result of failure of the polypropylene tub or inner door panel due to cracking, chipping or peeling, Sears will replace free of charge the tub or inner door panel.
I called the Sears 1-800-4-MY HOME customer service department and talked to two representatives. The first told me that the dishwasher was only covered by a one year warranty. I explained to her that my owners manual stated the dishwasher had a lifetime warranty on the tub. After checking with her manager, I was told that if the tub is defective, they will replace it for a $129 charge. This charge is for the Technician Service Call to diagnose the problem.
At first, I scheduled a technician, but called back immediately after hanging up because I was confused. I wanted to know if the $129 service charge would be waived when the technician verifies the tub is defective and under warranty. The second representative also said the $129 service charge would apply even if the tub is under warranty. Since I was not satisfied, I canceled the service call. I then went to my local Sears store where I bought the dishwasher and talked to the appliance manager. He could not help me, but did give me the 1-800-549-4505 corporate number to discuss the problem.
I called this corporate number and talked to a representative . She again told me that the $129 service fee would apply. Again, I tried to explain that the tub had a full lifetime warranty, so she put me on hold to check. While on hold for an extended period, I was hung up on.
So I called back again (now a fourth time) and talked to another representative. She understood my problem and frustration, and looked up the warranty information on my dishwasher. She verified that the tub was covered with a lifetime warranty. When I asked why I would be charged $129 for a service fee, she tried to explain to me that the PARTS were covered by the warranty, but the LABOR was not. She said the $129 service fee was a flat rate labor fee to install the free parts.
At this point I became quite frustrated and explained to her that she was incorrect. I quoted the actual FULL (not limited) WARRANTY language (a copy of which she had in front of her), stressing that it said Sears will replace FREE OF CHARGE the tub or inner door panel. She insisted that this was poorly worded and that it only covered PARTS, not LABOR. I disagreed and told her that this is a legal contract AS WRITTEN for a FULL (not limited) WARRANTY between the manufacturer and the customer. As such, it is not limited to parts only. I also told her that no where in the tub warranty paragraph does it stipulate ONLY PARTS, NOT LABOR is covered.
She sympathized with me, but said my hands are tied. She said she could only offer a technician to replace the tub for a flat $129 labor fee regardless if it took 30 minutes or 30 hours to fix. Realizing I was getting no satisfaction, I asked to speak to a manager that could offer me something that would be beneficial to both of us. She responded that she was a supervisor and has the ability to authorize action, and there was no higher authority. My response was that she was not offering any solution different from what the other customer service representatives were offering. She then provided the contact information to me for the Executive Customer Relations department.
So I wrote a letter, took pictures, scanned the owner's manual, and emailed all of this to the Customer Solutions Department at Sears Holdings Executive Customer Relations Department at the following email address:
The first email response I received said the dishwasher was not under warranty. So I replied that they were wrong, and stated that their own customer service representatives on 3 occasions had verified that the dishwasher was under warranty.
Their second email response to me said they verified that the dishwasher did have an "exceptional parts" warranty, but that a technician would be required to examine the dishwasher and the claim to verify that it is covered by the warranty. The email also said that Labor would not be included for this service.
I responded again and said this was a FULL LIFETIME WARRANTY, and as such Parts and Labor should be included. There was no response to this.
At present, the dishwasher has been out of service for over 2 weeks, and I have heard nothing back from Sears Holding. So I forwarded this complaint to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Illinois Attorney General Consumer Fraud Bureau for their investigation and assistance. In the meantime, I am posting this to various online consumer protection websites to share my negative experience with Sears, and to declare that I will never purchase another Sears branded product ever again.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/14/2012 07:52 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Sears/Hoffman-Estates-Illinois-60179/Sears-Sears-Holding-Co-Wont-honor-lifetime-warranty-on-Kenmore-dishwasher-tub-Hoffman-Est-854041. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Success via CA Attorney General Office

AUTHOR: BGreen - (USA)

On 3/14/2012, since I live in CA,  I entered my complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs, which is a department within the California Attorney General Office. I also sent a copy to the Illinois Attorney General Office, since Sears HQ is in Illinois. On 3/15/2012, the CA Dept of Consumer Affairs sent me a letter saying they were investigating the complaint and asked me to send additional information. On 3/27/2012 I emailed them a copy of my original complaint letter I wrote to Sears, plus copies of my emails back and forth with Sears, plus a scanned copy of my warranty and original purchase receipt.

On 3/29/2012, I received a call from Sears. A customer service representative told me that the CA Attorney General Office had sent my complaint to the Sears Legal Office. The Sears Legal Office then instructed the customer service department to contact me to offer to replace my leaking dishwasher tub "free of charge". This customer service rep was VERY accomodating and offered to send a technician the next day to inspect my dishwasher so the proper parts could be ordered. Since Sears was now willing to honor their warranty, I scheduled the technician.

On 3/30/2012, the technician arrived and immediately opened the dishwasher and knew exactly where to look for the leak. He then pulled up his pc, found the parts, and ordered a new tub. When I asked him if he had ever seen this problem before, he said yes and showed me a service bulletin on his pc from the manufacturer that documented my issue EXACTLY, and how to correct it. The root cause was an improperly designed heating element for this machine. My machine has a somewhat rectangular heating element that runs essentially around the bottom perimeter of the tub, where as the redesign has a smaller round heating element that only runs around the center drain console. The technician said the problem is the heating element weakened the plastic tub where the support bracket is screwed into the tub, causing a crack to develop over time. The technican said that the heating element is used to heat the water for washing and rinsing, as well as to dry the dishes, so even though we never used the heated dry, the tub still failed.

The parts were ordered, and a second technician scheduled to do the repair. I received the parts and the techician was just here today 4/9/2012 for about 2 hours and replaced the tub. Everything seems to be working fine. I ended up needing a new tub which included a new heating element, and a new door seal. All this was provided to me under warranty at "No Charge".

I am sharing this so that others might consider contacting your State Attorney General Office when all other attempts to work with the manufacturer fail, and you feel that your legal warranty is not being honored. This also shows the value in keeping your owners manual, warranty, and original purchase receipt.

One last note. I had to sign a receipt for the work done. On the receipt the labor cost was $147, and the retail parts cost was $424.70, for a total of $571.70. Even if the wholesale cost of the parts were only 1/2 what the retail cost is, the cost to Sears is over $350. In my original complaint letter to Sears, I suggested that they provide me a $200 voucher towards the purchase of the new dishwasher at Sears, provided it was not a Sears branded model. My reasoning is that a dishwasher should last at least 10 years, and since mine was 7 years old, I thought a 30% prorated discount was fair. A new dishwasher with similar features retails for about $600-700, so 30% works out to about a $200 discount. But Sears never took me up on my offer, even though one customer service rep and one of the technicians said they have done this before, even up to as much as $500. So I guess Sears just wanted to pay good money to throw away a loyal customer. No wonder Sears Holdings is in financial difficulty. So sad what an iconic American brand has sunk to.
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#2 Consumer Comment

To the Author

AUTHOR: Cody - (U.S.A.)

You are 100% correct in your claims. The warranty clearly spells out what you are entitled to and Sears is not honoring it.

If they refuse to honor their warranty, here is what you can do.

1. Request the service call. They can not ask you to pay until the service is rendered.
2. Allow them to come repair it.
3. Once it is repaired, kindly ask the person to leave.
4. If they feel up to it, let Sears try to sue you. If it came down to court, you would win.

What they are doing to you now is railroading you because they know you will most likely not resort to taking them to court over that amount. Turn the tables on them and make them take that action if they feel they must.

One other option is if they insist on a credit card before the service call is rendered, then give them one. After they repair the dishwasher and leave, dispute the charge on your credit card and provide proof to the credit card company of the warranty and I be you a dollar to donuts, they will not honor the charge to Sears.
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#3 Author of original report

Update - Warranty Scan

AUTHOR: BGreen - (USA)

Thanks for all the replies. I had considered pursuing Sears in Small Claims Court, but I was hoping to avoid that hassel, and just convince Sears to do the right thing, and honor their legal warranty contract. So far all I have got is a complete runaround and stonewalling from Sears.

As to the request for a scan of my warranty. here it is. I hope it is clear enough and large enough for you to read it. But, I assure you, I have gone over every word on this page, and there is nothing that indicates that labor is not included in any of the FULL warranty repairs, but the labor exception IS noted in the LIMITED warranty repairs. That is the basis for my dispute with Sears. The dishwasher tub has a FULL lifetime warranty against leaks, but Sears wants to charge me $129 to repair it no matter how hard I try to explain this difference.

Oh, here is one additional bit of information. After my initial go around with the first 2 customer service reps, I went to the local Sears store where I bought the dishwasher and talked to the appliance manager. He was suprised I had a Kenmore dishwasher with a lifetime warranty on the tub. He said that he had been there 4 years and had never sold a dishwasher with a lifetime warranty on the tub. He also said that there have been complaints about tub leaks. So it seems that Sears has been aware of this problem, and changed their warranty some time ago. From going online to sites like this, I was able to find at least 2 other instances of other consumers having this exact tub leaking issue on this same model, so I don't think this is an isolated incident.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Here's the warranty

AUTHOR: Ashley - (U.S.A.)

At first glance he seems correct.


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#5 Consumer Comment

I'd Like to See The Warranty Image TOO!!

AUTHOR: Jim S - (United States of America)

If I look at the warranty for the equivalent model today, the wording on the lifetime replacement tub excludes labor, and that's pretty clear from the wording on the remaining warranty, which is full.  I'd sue in small claims once you get the guy out to do the replacement, if your warranty is indeed as you say it is.  Best of luck to you...
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#6 Consumer Comment

Please Post

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

This site has the ability to post images.  So can you please post the scanned image of the Warranty that is in question?    I am not talking about the one section you mention, I am talking about the entire warranty.

I am not saying this because I don't doubt what you say, I am stating this because quite often these warranties generally are not "poorly worded".  They probably had no less than a half-dozen lawyers review it to make sure that every possible contingency where they won't have to pay is covered.  So I am wondering if somewhere else in the warranty does it talk about it being "parts only".

But of course if there is nothing about being parts only, then do as suggested earlier.  Get it repaired, pay them the $129 and then take them to small claims court.  If it is as you say it should be a simple open and shut case.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Stop beating your kitchen sink up

AUTHOR: voiceofreason - (United States of America)

Pay for the dad blasted repair, keep all records and receipts, AND take these creeps to small claims court.

My sense tells me that you bringing the warranty docs into court will get you the repair charge award back to you,  and possibly more if the judge is angry enough.

This is what SCears has come to since Lampert bought them.
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#8 Author of original report


AUTHOR: BGreen - (USA)

The warranty language is very clear and unambiguous. It states the following:

For the life of the dishwasher, if a leak should occur as a result of failure of the polypropylene tub or inner door panel due to cracking, chipping or peeling, Sears will replace free of charge the tub or inner door panel.

This is only 1 of a total of 5 warranties listed. Here is a summary of all of them.

1. Full 1 year warranty on the entire dishwasher.
2. Full 2 year warranty on the electronic control and power supply board.
3. Full lifetime warranty on the tub and inner door panel against leaks.
4. Limited 2 year warranty on Ultra Wash system.
5. Limited 5 year warranty on upper and lower racks.

Note the different types of warranties...Full vs. Limited. In the case of the limited warranties, they specifically state what is not covered, because by law they have to. They say "Consumer assumes any labor costs associated with replacement". This language is not listed on any of the Full Warranties, nor should it be, since a Full Warranty includes Parts and Labor. In addition, the warranty for the tub specifically states "replace free of charge". That clearly means zero cost to the consumer.

So Sears is deliberately trying to say their Full Lifetime Warranty contract is a Limited Warranty, but that is not what the legal documented description states.

I appreciate your response advising I contact my local news consumer protection group, as I has already thought of that. If I don't get any support from the California Department of Consumer Affairs, or the Illinois Attorney General Consumer Fraud Bureau, I might just contact my local news.
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#9 Consumer Comment

MANY warranties of this type have limited time labor warranty...


I usually reads something like " The entire appliance is covered, parts and labor for 1 year and additionally, the tub and door have a lifetime warranty against......

It may NOT add that labor is not included, but that is considered covered in the first part about the overall warranty.

I doubt they're Ripping you off, but if you feel they are, ask your local TV news team to investigate.

I'm no lawyer, but I'll bet they had one write the warranty.

I do NOT work for Sears and never have.
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