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:
"FULL WARRANTY FOR THE LIFE OF THE DISHWASHER, ON ULTRA LIFE TUB MODELS, AGAINST LEAKS IN THE TUB AND INNER DOOR PANEL.
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.