• Report: #1077424

Complaint Review: Sears

  • Submitted: Tue, August 20, 2013
  • Updated: Tue, August 20, 2013

  • Reported By: BillJ — Boise Idaho
Sears
3333 Beverly Road Hoffman Estates, Illinois USA

Sears Sears Holdings Corporation Design Defect in Kenmore Elite Wall Oven Hoffman Estates Illinois

*Author of original report: Update / Comment on Design Defect vs Recall

*UPDATE Employee: SearsCares

*Author of original report: Update

*General Comment: If...

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Kenmore Elite Wall Oven Failure During Self-Clean Cycle

In 2009 we had a home built and following our builder’s recommendations selected Kenmore Elite appliances throughout.  We are quite pleased with the majority of our appliances but the built-in oven (Model 790.48033800) has been problematic.  Shortly after we moved in we needed a service call because the oven temperature was way off.  A technician came out and check it but claimed that it was within specs and left.  We continued to have temperature issues that resulted in a second service call near the end of the warranty period.  After the second service call the oven performed as we expected.  We don’t do a lot of baking and rarely roast anything that creates a lot of mess so we only had a couple occasions to run the self-clean cycle.  Each time we did we shut the oven off when it looked clean and before the cycle had finished its preprogrammed time. 

April 2013:  All was fine until April 2013.  At that point we needed to clean the oven so we started the self-clean cycle.  After a couple hours the oven shut itself off.  It didn’t seem to have taken as long as the display panel had initially indicated but we didn’t think much about it.  A few days later we turned on the oven to back a pizza, waited for the oven to warm up, but the temperature indicator stayed fixed at 100.  The oven wouldn’t heat.  We called Sears Home Services, described the problem, and scheduled a repair visit (Service Order Number 41105646). 

May 3, 2013:  (First Visit) The technician showed up as scheduled (Service Order Number 41105646).  He asked what was wrong and I described what had happened.  As soon as I said “self-clean” he expressed confidence that the problem was caused by a thermal breaker switch located on the back of the unit that is designed to shut off the oven if it gets too hot.  While describing what he though was wrong he commented that this was a fairly common problem and that fixing it required a minor modification to relocate the switch so that it would get a more accurate reading.  He described a “field” repair that was sometimes done that used a couple metal washers as standoffs so that the switch was slightly raised from the sheet metal case where it was mounted.  After explaining what he though was wrong and how to fix it, he informed us that he did not have a cart to set the unit on when he pulled it out and therefore it would take two people to remove it.  A new service appointment was made for May 23, 2013 and he told me that he would order a new thermostatic switch. 

May 23, 2013:  (Second Visit) Two service technicians arrived for the afternoon appointment.  They removed the oven, and then one of them turned to me and said “Do you have the parts?”  I was surprised by the question and unfortunately I did not have any parts – the first technician had managed to record in his computer log a status of “Parts Installed” and he did not order the required parts.  The two technicians made several phone calls trying to determine if there was a part available in the area, but were unsuccessful.  During their discussion they indicated that it was not just a replacement part, but rather a modification kit that was required.  They ordered the parts, reset the thermal breaker that had tripped and shut down the oven, reinstalled the oven, check that the oven would heat, reschedule a third appointment for June 4, 2013, and collected money from us.  At this point we had a working oven but were advised that if we tried to do a self-clean it would likely shut off again. 

After the second attempt to repair the oven had been unsuccessful I called Sears Home Services.  I discussed what had happened and expressed my position that this was a design problem.  The agent offered me $65 as compensation for my troubles.  I told the agent that $65 was not sufficient.  I followed up this conversation with a series of e-mails.  Some of the replies seemed as though they were answered by an automated e-mail replier because they did not refer to what I was asking for.  I was eventually able to have a conversation with a person who identified himself as Keith.  Keith made some notes in his computer records about my problem and suggested that if I wanted further discussion of this matter, that I do so after the repair was completed. 

May 30, 2013:  A small envelop arrived via UPS containing a single part (switch P/N 318004900). 

 June 2, 2013:  After repeated attempts to contact the Customer Solutions team via e-mail and getting very generic replies that seemed as though they were auto-generated, I finally received a short message indicting that Customer Solutions was the “highest office you are able to reach through phone or e-mail. All agents have the same authority and empowerment to assist you.  If you would like to speak with a manager we ask that you please call Customer Solutions directly at 1-800-479-6351 and request to speak with a manager on duty.”  The message went on to indicate that the $65 refund was all I was going to get.  Wording of the message suggests that it came from someone outside of the US or possibly someone with poor English language skills. 

June 3, 2013:  I made contact with the Sears Customer Solutions escalation team at 800-479-6351 and asked to speak with a manager on duty.  The person who answered my call indicted that there was no “manager on duty” and that he had as much authority as anyone else in the organization.  I spent 40 minutes on the phone talking with “Keith” about the problems we were having getting the oven repaired.  He said that he made notes in our “record” indicating that we though the problem was due to a design problem and that we wanted Sears to pay for the entire repair cost.  I agreed to gather more information during the next repair visit and would contact them again after the repair if the oven was not working properly.  At the end of our conversation Keith asked if I would continue to be one of “Sears Valued Customers”.  I replied honestly indicating that it all depended on how Sears responded to my request for reimbursement of this expense and that I was prepared to never do business with Sears again.  He gave me their direct e-mail contact address (solutions@searshomeservices.com) and said that was a good way to contact them.

June 4, 2013:  (Third Visit) Two technicians arrived for the service appointment.  They asked me if I had received a shipment of parts.  I indicated that I had one part and for a moment they appeared a bit confused, thinking that there was a modification kit needed.  They checked on their portable computers and finally concluded that the new part was sufficient but was to be installed in a different location.  They removed the oven, removed the protective panels, and took out the thermal switch.  The new switch was installed in a location about 8 to 10 inches above and closer to the center line of oven from its previous location.  What is interesting is that the sheet metal on the back of the oven had a spot already stamped and drilled to the exact shape of the switch and location of the securing screws.  In a couple minutes the installation was completed.  They reattached the metal panels and installed the unit back in the wall, then tested it to make sure the element heated.  It did.  Then they collected the remaining balance for the repair. 

The total bill for this repair was $277.20.  It is my contention that the problem with the oven shutting itself off during a self-clean cycle is a basic design flaw or design deficiency in the oven.  We had run the self-clean cycle two or three times prior to the switch “failure “but had turned the oven off after a couple hours because it was clean and there was no reason to continue the cycle.  The failure in April was the first time we had tried to run the self-clean cycle for its full duration.  Our next door neighbor has the same oven and had the exact same problem.  Fortunately for them, the builder suggested that it would be a good idea to run the self-clean cycle before the warranty period was up.  Theirs was repaired under warranty.  Our neighbor has a friend with the same oven who had the same problem, also repaired under warranty.  One other interesting thing about this repair is that we were charged $110.57 for the part.  A check at SearsPartsDirect shows that they are charging $78.98 for the same part.  I have strong suspicions that the switch did not fail, but rather functioned properly.  The technicians made no attempt to determine if the part was faulty or not.  It is also obvious that the replacement switch is physically different from the factory installed one, thus confirming that there was a design issue. 

June 10, 2013:  I sent a long e-mail to solutions@searshomeservices.com documenting the series of issue we experienced with the oven.  The e-mail address I used was the one that “Keith” told me was associated with their issue escalation team.  I never received acknowledgement of the message nor a response. 

June 19, 2013:  We baked muffins.  The oven worked as expected. 

June 20, 2013:  I ran self-clean cycle using the default settings.  The oven door locked, the fan ran, the ven heated up and appeared to have run the self-clean cycle.  The display panel indicated that the self-clean cycle shut off after exactly 3 hours.  The door remained locked until the oven cooled to a safe temperature, then released.  After the oven cooled down to room temperature I tried to use the bake, convection bake, and broil modes.  None of them worked although the control panel indicated that the elements were being turned on.  I strongly suspect that at some point near the end of the 3 hour cleaning cycle the thermal breaker switch tripped and disabled power to the heating elements. 

June 21, 2013:  (Fourth Visit) I called Sears Customer Solutions team and spoke with Chante’ (sp?) who arranged for a service appointment today between 1 and 5 PM under a new Service Order 41164285.  This appointment is to be covered under the 90 day warranty period of the previous repair.  The technicians arrived at around 2 PM, asked what had happened, and then started looking on their computer, and made a couple phone calls.  They finally determined that there was a modification kit required and that there was what they called a “Service Flash” issued on this oven.  It sounded like information routinely disappears from their records.  From the conversation it also sounded like the “Service Flash” was a special notice to the technician community alerting them to a recurring problem with this oven that required modification to fix the problem.  They were somewhat at a loss trying to explain why the modification kit had not been sent for the previous repair since the technician who placed the order had commented about the need for a “kit”.  They removed the oven far enough to reach the thermal breaker and reset it.  A new appointment was scheduled for July 2, 2013. 

June 28, 2013:  The “Kit for the Thermostat problem #903157-9010” arrived today.  The kit includes a large sheet metal part that appears to be slightly bent in one spot.  There is another smaller flat sheet metal part enclosed in a plastic bag with the installation instructions.  There were 5 sheet metal screws and two flat washers loose in the box.  The two flat washers actually fell out of the box through a hole in one of the corners that must have happened during shipment.  We were fortunate to find one washer on our front door mat and the other on the carpet where I opened the box.  The title of the installation instructions seems to tell the whole story – this is a major design flaw in the product. 

July 2, 2013:  (Fifth Visit) Two technicians arrived just before 5 PM to install the “Thermostat Problem” kit.  The slid the oven out far enough to remove the top sheet metal panel, removed the air duct, and replaced it with the air duct in the kit.  They reinstalled the top panel and retuned the oven to its position in the cabinet.  One of the technicians commented that although he’s replaced the duct before it has not always fixed the problem.  Before leaving they verified that the oven would heat and that the broiler element would turn on.  I filled out the customer satisfaction survey and entered a complaint that requested a contact by phone. 

July 3, 2013:  Received a shipment from the Sears parts distribution center that contained another thermal breaker switch PN 318004900. 

July 25, 2013:  Called Customer Solutions at 800-479-6351 and talked with a female agent.  She looked up the case using my phone number and the Service Order Number.  I quickly explained that I wanted a full refund of the money I had spent on the repair since the repair was necessitated by a manufacturers design defect which they (Electrolux) had corrected with redesigned parts.  She said that she would refer this to the Customer Solutions Team and that I would receive an e-mail contact within 24 hours. 

July 29, 2013:  Called Customer Solutions at 800-479-6531.  Due to “high call volume” I was put on hold.  My call was answered in about 5 minutes.  I spoke with Kizzy and described the issues I’ve been having and that I wanted a refund of the $277.20 that I had previously paid for the repair because the repair was intended to correct a faulty product design.  She indicated that she would submit a case to their Customer Solutions Team for research and that I would either receive an e-mail or phone call within 3 to 4 business days.  If I do not hear from them by Friday I should call back.  The case number is 1599681. 

July 30, 2013:  I received this e-mail message from Sears Holdings Corporation:

Dear William ****,

Thank you for contacting Sears Holdings Corporation and allowing us the opportunity to address your concern regarding your recent experience. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced and we appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Please be advised your issue is being addressed and case 1598681 has been created. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us by replying to this email.


Thank you,

Customer Solutions Department
Phone: 1-800-479-6351
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 7 AM - 9 PM CST & Sun 10 AM - 6 PM CST 

August 2, 2013:  I received this e-mail message from Sears Customer Solutions:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Sears Holdings Corporation.  We thank you for allowing us the opportunity to assist you with your recent experience. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us by replying to this email or via phone.

Please see below for the results of our research.  

Record Number:  1598681

Phone Number:  2083011467

Research Request: Customer Solutions has reviewed the charge for recent service on your oven. Our records indicate that there wasnot a charge for the recall service.  The charges are correct.  For customer satisfaction we would like to offer a $65 service refund on the initial service call.  Our records indicate the service was paid using a card.  

Research Results:   If you would like us to process the above offer, please contact us at the phone number below with the card information.  For security reasons DO NOT provide the card information via email or fax.

Thank you, 

Customer Solutions Department

Solutions@searshomeservices.com

Phone: 1-800-479-6351

Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 7 AM - 9 PM CST & Sun 10 AM - 6 PM CST

At this point I once again called the Customer Solutions number and spoke with xxxx.  After looking up the case she said that on the previous submission it was noted as a billing dispute and did not refer to or document my contention that the repair was necessitated by a faulty product design.  At this point I indicated that I was giving them one last chance to address the problem to my satisfaction or I would be taking them to small claims court.  She spent a lot of time trying to defend what had happened then indicated that she understood what I was asking for.  She asked if I minded being put on hold for a couple minutes which I agreed to.  After 3 or 4 minutes the music ended and I could hear conversations in the background but she did not come back on the line.  After about 5 minutes trying to get someone to answer I heard a rustling sound from someone picking up the microphone and then the music came back on.  After a total of 27 minutes on the phone their system hung up on me.  I called back and after being on hold for 2 ½ minutes their system hung up on me.  I called back and was put on hold.  After a few minutes Frank answered the phone.  I briefly went over the history of my problem and then told him I was looking for the $277.20 refund.  We had some discussion and he (the first person to do so) told me that the only compensation they were authorized to offer was a $65 refund on the service call.  After it was clear that Customer Solutions was not going to do anything for me he did offer to give me the corporate e-mail address:  shc@customerservie.sea5rs.com

I sent a copy of this document to the above e-mail address along with an explanation of what had happened today and what I was looking to Sears to do.  The e-mail also included a copy of the e-mail that I had received from Sears Customer Solutions earlier in the day.

August 5, 2013:  This morning I received the following e-mail from Sears Holding:

Dear William ****,

Thank you for contacting Sears Holdings Corporation and allowing us the opportunity to address your concern regarding your recent experience. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced and we appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us by replying to this email.


Thank you,

Customer Solutions Department
Phone: 1-800-479-6351
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 8 AM - 9 PM CST & Sun 10 AM - 6 PM CST

I replied to the e-mail asking when I might expect a response that addresses the resolution I am seeking. 

August 7, 2013:  Searched the Sears corporate website and found a “Contact Us” link with an online chat capability http://www.sears.com/shc/s/nb_10153_12605_NB_CSHome# .  Here is a log of the exchange: 

Please wait for a Sears Customer Service Representative to respond. This chat may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes. Thank you for holding.

Hi, my name is Keith, and it is my pleasure to assist you today.

Keith: Good morning William. It's nice to have you on this chat.

Keith: How may I help you today?

Keith: I have not received a response yet. Would you like to continue chatting with me, William?

William ****: Keith. I had a Kenmore Elite wall oven repaired by the Sears Home Service organization. It took several visits by repair people. Finally it became clear that the sources of the problem was a design issue in the product design. At that point I asked to have my repair cost refunded. The Customer Solutions Organization has been going in circles and avoiding answering my requests. Can you direct me to someone who is empowered to respond to me?

Keith: I understand that you had a problem with your Kenmore Elite wall oven and our technician tried to repaired it.

Keith: Finally our technician made it clear that the problem that your oven had is a design issue in the product design.

William ****: That is correct. It took 4 visits before the techs had all the parts. It turned out to require a redesigned part, relocation of the part and installation of a new sheet metal baffle.

Keith: I understand that you want the amount that you spent on repairs and services of the oven to be refunded to your account, however, our Customer Solutions Organization is not helping you to get the refund.

William ****: It is clear that the manufacture had been experience a problem that required an engineering team to address the issue and come up with modified parts and a repair "kit" to fix the problem.

William ****: Customer Solutions acts like they want to help, but when I ask to have the cost refunded they offer me a $65 refund and say that's all they are allowed to do. When I ask for the full refund they just start over -- thus going in circles.

Keith: I truly agree with you. If the product is having any manufacturing defects then the manufacturer can only have the issue fixed.

William ****: But will Sears refund what I paid to have it repaired?

Keith: May I have the phone number through which you have contacted our customer solutions team, William?

William ****: 800-479-6531

Keith: Thank you.

Keith: May I place this chat on hold for 3 minutes while I check the details to which your concern needs to be forwarded, William?

William ****: Yes

Keith: Thank you.

Keith: Thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience.

Keith: William, I will provide you with the contact details of our Home Services department. One of our associates will be happy to check the details and help you with regards to your concern.

Keith: Before I provide you with the contact details, could you please let me know if you had also purchased the Protection Agreement for the oven?

William ****: I have not purchased a protection agreement.

William ****: I contend that since the manufacturer has produced a modification kit for the issue, they recognize it as a significant and deficient product design. I should not have to pay to have my appliance retrofitted with their modification.

Keith: As per the Protection Agreement, if your purchase exceeds more than 4 repairs and services and still the product has the same issue and it is not resolved, then the full refund of the product is issued, however, as you have not purchased it, I can't assure you that the full of the repairs and services charges will be issued.

Keith: Not to worry; our associates from the Home Services department will be happy to check your issue and do the needful for you.

Keith: I truly agree with you. When did you make the purchase of the oven, William?

William ****: The oven was purchased in September 2008.

William ****: Sorry, September 2009.

Keith: Since the purchase was made almost 4 years back, I want to check the issue with our Online Solution Expert.

Keith: May I place this chat on hold for 3 minutes while I check the issue and it's resolution, William?

William ****: Yes.

Keith: Thank you.

Keith: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.

Keith: Thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience.

Keith: I have checked with our resources and I sincerely request you to contact our Home Services department. Since we were not able to repair the item, our repairs department should be able to refund the amount.

Keith: Please call at 1-888-266-6317. The hours of operation are 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, 7 days a week, CST.

William ****: I've been trying to make that happen for almost two months. Do you have a contact number for a specific individual who is empowered / authorized to make decisions of this nature. FYI. I checked my records and there have actually been 5 visits by technicians.

Keith: I understand that you have contacted us many times and our technicians have visited your home 5 times for repairs and services. The refund can only be issued from our Home Services department because the details of the repairs are available in this department only.

William ****: Thank you.

I will give it a try but I am not very hopeful that they will do anything.

Keith: Our Repair department will have the information of the repairs and services that was offered to you for your oven so please contact the above phone number. Our associates are very helpful and do the needful for you.

Keith: Kindly accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused to you with this, William.

William ****: Is there a Sears Holding Company vice president responsible for customer relations? If so I would like his / her telephone number.

Keith: Since you have contacted our Customer Solutions for the refund of the repairs and services charges that you spent on your oven and your issue is still not resolved. Above us, we have checked your issue with our Online Solution Expert and suggested to contact the Home Services department for further resolution.

Keith: I understand you want to contact our higher level and have your issue resolved so I will be happy to provide you with the phone number that will connect you to our corporate office.

William ****: Thank you.

Keith: The phone number is 847) 286-2500. I suggest you to contact our Home Services department first because our associate from the Home Services department will be able to resolve your issue.

Keith: Thank you for allowing me to serve you today. Have I answered all your questions, William?

William ****: Yes and thank you for your time.

Keith: Thank you.

Keith: We hope to see you again soon!

Keith: Thanks for chatting with me regarding the repairs and services! Please take a moment and click here to fill out an Exit Survey. We greatly value your feedback! Thank you for choosing us today; we appreciate your business. Good bye and have a great day!

Thank you for chatting with us. 

I called 888-266-6317 and did not find any part of the phone tree that applied to my issue so I pressed “0” and was put on hold for “the next available agent.”  My call was answered my Naylene (not sure of spelling) who spoke with an accent that was difficult to understand.  I told her what I wanted, gave a brief synopsis of the history of the repairs, and asked if she was authorized to issue a refund.  After going a couple rounds (tried to convince me that no refund was called for) she finally decided it was time to pass the call off to someone else.  Rachael came on the line and started collecting some information.  She first said that a case had been opened on August 6 by “Angle” that appears to be in response to the e-mail exchange that took place a few days ago.  The case notes indicted that they could not follow up because of the time zone difference and that they needed to call me to get additional information.  So far I have not been contacted.  Rachael did ask some questions and I recounted the sequence of events surrounding the repair.  She put me on hold to talk with a supervisor, came back on the line after which we talked about the $65 check that had been sent and figured it was a result of the first technician’s visit and inability to solve the initial problem.  I was put on hold for a much longer period while she typed up the notes from our conversation.  She came back after talking with her supervisor and said that they we offer me a $50 Sears gift card but were not willing to refund the amount I was asking for.  She then told me that she had discovered the case was “in review” under case number 1620059 and that I should call Customer Solutions at 800-479-6351 to check on the case status if I had not been contacted by Friday (8/9/13).  This call took about one hour.

August 14, 2013:  I received this e-mail today:

Dear Customer:  

Thank you for contacting Sears Holdings Corporation.  The Customer Solutions team is dedicated to providing you with a pleasant experience and we appreciate that you have provided us with feedback.  Displayed below is the information that you requested regarding your purchase or service experience.

The service order charges are correct. We can offer you a $100.00 gift card. If you accept this please respond.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please reply to this email.

Thank you,

Customer Solutions Department

Phone: 1-800-479-6351

August 15, 2013:  I received this e-mail today in response to my e-mail of August 5, 2013 asking for a clear and direct response to my request for a refund:

Dear William ****, 

Thank you for contacting Sears. We appreciate hearing from you.

We understand that you are requesting your money back that you pay for

your recent service appointment. We have reviewed your service order and

it shows that you were charged correctly. We are not going to be

refunding you.

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue has caused you. Thank you

for shopping at Sears. We appreciate your business.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kim-Marie S.

Sears Holdings Corporation

 

Notice that the English is poor and possibly suggest that the individual who wrote it may have another primary language. 

August 20, 2013:  I called 847-286-2500 which was answered by an operator who said “Thank you for calling Sears Holding.  How may I direct your call?”  I asked to speak to Customer Relations.  She transferred me to a phone tree that sounded just like the “Customer Solutions” phone tree that I’ve been interacting with for the last 3 months.  I hung up and called again this time asking for the Director of Customer Relations.  She said she did not have a detailed phone list and then quickly transferred me to the “Customer Solutions” phone tree.  I hung up and redialed.  This time I asked for Investor Relations and was told to call 847-286-3050.  I called this number and left a message for an unknown individual. 

I did a web search for “sears customer relations department” and found a site that provided some information (http://www.corporateofficeheadquarters.com/2011/02/sears-corporate-office-headquarters.html  it listed an e-mail address as smsupport@searshc.com .  I composed a short e-mail summary of what has transpired and sent it to the e-mail address above.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/20/2013 11:21 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Sears/Hoffman-Estates-Illinois-60179/Sears-Sears-Holdings-Corporation-Design-Defect-in-Kenmore-Elite-Wall-Oven-Hoffman-Estates-1077424. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Update / Comment on Design Defect vs Recall

AUTHOR: BillJ - ()

I generally agree with your sentiment, but respectfully disagree that a design deficiency or defect will necessarily result in a product recall.  A recall is necessary when there is a safety issue involved.  For example in the case of an oven, if there was a history of the over-temperature thermostatic breaker failing to operate resulting in fires, then the manufacturer would be obligated to recall the product.  In my case I was fortunate that the fialure was not catistrophic.  The breaker switch functioned but did so when it should not have.  This could be due to the original location of the switch, the switch design itself, or lack of sufficeint ventilation around the oven.  I will likely never know for sure which cause is most significant, but obviously the manufacturer recognized that their design was not adequate and released a repair kit.  If Sears was an orgainization that really cared about their customers they would have been up front with me when it became obvious that the problem was caused by a known design issue.  They would have said they were sorry for the inconvience and fixed it without charge (in my case I'd paid for the repair before I knew for sure it was a design issue so they should have offered to refund my money when they installed the modification kit or the first time I called their Customer Support team).  It would not surprise me at all if Sears has spent 2 or 3 times a much money as I was asking to have refunded, just in labor costs to spend several hours of their employees' time talking to me and doing "back office" processing of my complaints.

Let me also say that I've had a complete opposite experience with another manufacturer -- Lexus / Toyota Motor Corporation.  I have a 2004 Lexus RX 330 (SUV).  After about 5 years of ownership I had an ignition key fail.  This is one of those anti-theft, laser cut keys with the pushbutton door lock electronics built in.  The key broke apart at the point where the key shaft and the plastic case join.  I ended up spending $250 + to get a replacement key.  I chalked it up to just one of those things that happens from time to time.  Last year the same thing happened to my wife's key.  At that point I made a call to the regional Lexus Customer Service center and spoke with one of their representatives.  I told her that this was the second failure and that it was fairly clear from looking at the broken piecess that the key assembly had a deficient design.  The next day I received a call informing me that I could go to my local dealer and Lexus would pick up the cost of replacing the failed key.  Do you suppose I have very different views of these two companies?  You bet and that will have a lot to do with where I spend my money.

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#2 UPDATE Employee

SearsCares

AUTHOR: Sears Cares - ()

Dear BillJ,

My name is Edwin and I work the Sears Social Media Escalations team. We see that you’ve been working with a case manager on the executive level under case number 1660944 towards a satisfactory resolution. We’ll be happy to forward this information to your case manager for attention. Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention.

Regards,                                          
Edwin C.
Social Media Moderator
Sears Social Media Support 

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#3 Author of original report

Update

AUTHOR: BillJ - ()

Later in the day I made one last attempt and called the Sears Holdings Corporation headquarters at 847-286-2500 and asked to speak to Executive Customer Relations.  After verifying that this was not the same Customer Solutions organization to which I had spoken numerous times I was finally able to get them to agree to refund the cost of the parts.  I was on the phone for just about an hour while the representive listened to my explanation and researched their own records.  It's interesting to note that their records were somewhat inaccurate regarding what had been done or not done during the 5 repair visits.  The existence of the Executive Customer Relations was discovered during a telephone conversation I had with a member of Team Clark Howard (see ClarkHoward.com for more information).

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#4 General Comment

If...

AUTHOR: Tyg - ()

 If it is out of warrenty and you do not have an extended warrenty, you can contend all you like. They will only do what is LEGALLY required of them to do. As from your own post you describe that you used the self clean and turned it off before it was completed, to them, you blew the part by not useing it in the perscribed manner in which it was to be used.

I hope you have more luck then other ppl. Your oven was out of warrenty and no extended warrenty, so the fact that they offered you ANYTHING was going above and beyond for them. I would suggest that you refrain from useing the self clean feature and just use some good ole fashion oven cleaner and avoid having yet another service call. They wont be giving you anything else. You can complain all you like, you wont see what you want from them. The main reason is the very actions you are taking. You have a problem, you look for someone else to blame so they can pay for it. Well the business world has gotten wise to this tactic. As EVERYONE is always trying to get something for nothing. They will only do what they are LEGALLY obligated to do. You can try and take it to court but unless you get a EXPERT in both engineering and design and has worked for that appliance company, you wont see any victory there.

You contend its a design flaw, if that was the case there would have been a recall on all models of that oven. Since there is a "kit", this tells me that they have run into this situation with this model but its not pervasive enough to order a recall. If there is no recall notice for that particular model then you will be fighting and fighting and getting no where fast.

Best Bet: Take what they offer you as compensation. Then never buy thier product again. Vote with your wallet. You can keep posting to whichever sites you feel, but anymore your just one of many who are not happy about something. The internet USED to be a place to air problems, but anymore ppl just use it to complain about situations no one can help them with. Your just one voice in the billions who post daily.

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