Skip to content

A Tale of Two Appliances

Sit back, kids, because I’ve got a story that’s over a year in the making. I’ve contemplated telling you this one before but I never felt inspired. Plus, it’s a really really long story. I’ve highlighted the important points for you skimmers out there.


In January of 2006 Dale and I went shopping for a new refrigerator. We went to Sears (cue scary music) because I read up on fridges in Consumer Reports and they liked a particular Kenmore model. It had an ice maker, which was about the only fancy thing I cared about, and it had some nice features like a digital read out of the temperature of the fridge and freezer. Most importantly, though, Consumer Reports recommended it. So, we go to Sears, purchase the fridge and schedule a delivery. Bad thing the first: Sears delivery isn’t free and it will be 4 weeks before they can bring it to us. I get a look from Dale, who wanted to go to a local appliance store for this purchase, but this is the fridge I want so he goes along with it.

The day of the delivery comes. It’s a Friday and I take it off from work. And I wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally, I call Sears and ask them where the fridge is. After much time on hold I am told that the refrigerator they had to deliver to me was damaged so badly that it never made it on to the truck and my delivery was canceled. No one thought to call me and tell me this and I wasted a day off from work and still have no fridge. Bad thing the second: Sears delivery is unrealiable. After much yelling on my end, they miraculously locate another fridge and reschedule my delivery for the following Monday.

So, I take Monday off and wait for the fridge. It comes, it looks good and then the idiot delivery guy breaks the switch that turns the freezer light on and off. You know the one that automatically turns on when you open the door? Yeah, that one. But he tells me it’s okay because it’s under warranty and repairs are free. I’m furious. I don’t want a brand new, $1000 repaired fridge. I get back on the phone with Sears and yell some more. They can’t find another model like this one and it’s going to be a month before they do. In the meantime, they want to order the part and schedule the repair and then I can decide. So, I schedule the repair for the following week.

The day of the repair comes but the part hasn’t arrived. Neither has my new fridge. I wait. At this point my memory of this whole disaster gets a little fuzzy. There were at least two more fridge deliveries that were denied by me for various reasons. One had a big dent in the side. Another one arrived fine but they hadn’t switched the handles on the doors to open from the right instead of the left and the delivery guys didn’t know how to do it so the fridge had to be denied. I was supposed to receive a $50 gift card for Sears for my pain and suffering but it never came. Then they were supposed to credit my account $100 for my pain and suffering but that never happened either. Bad thing the third: Sears customer service lies.

In the meantime, the part for the light switch arrived and I figured fixing the fridge already in my kitchen was a better plan than relying on a successful delivery from these fools. So, the light was fixed and all was right with the world.

Except for one tiny problem. The ice in the ice bucket was melting and freezing into a solid mass. And the food in my freezer all had freezer burn and ice crystals. The freezer wasn’t working properly. Grrr.

At this point, it was about May or June. I couldn’t deal with Sears any more and I turned the problem over to Dale. I figured he had the summer off from work and he could be around for repair people and at least I wouldn’t have to take any more time off to deal with fridge issues. So, Dale calls and explains about the freezer problems and he gets an appointment for some time in August. The guy that comes takes one look at the fridge, tells Dale there’s nothing wrong with it at all, it’s just not level. He levels it, tells Dale to defrost it, clean it out and it will be fine. He also suggests we buy a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the freezer. Yeah, buddy, okay. Let’s got buy a thermometer so that we can monitor the temperature of our brand new $1000 refrigerator. What an ass. Bad thing the fourth: Sears repairmen don’t actually know how to repair.

But we do what he suggests – except for the thermometer – and we clean it out and wipe up all the frost and empty out the ice block that is supposed to be ice cubes and we wait. One day later and we’ve got frost build up and a block of ice again. Grrr. We get back on the phone to yell at Sears some more and tell them to get a repair man out here who knows what he’s doing.

By now Dale is back to school and he schedules the appointment for a morning when he doesn’t have to drive the bus. And he waits. And waits. And waits some more. He finally calls Sears to ask where the repairman is and they give him the guy’s cell phone number. Dale reaches him and the guy says he won’t be over until 4:00 and what’s wrong with the dryer anyway? Dale says, it’s not the dryer, it’s the fridge and the repairman says, I don’t do fridges. Bad thing the fifth: Sears repair is unreliable.

Many of you have met Dale. You know him as an even-tempered sunny-disposition kind of guy. I have never seen him as furious as he was that day. He was so angry he was shaking. I think he even raised his voice. So he got back on the phone with Sears and he laid into them like nobody’s business. He reiterated our problems going back to freakin’ January and he told them that I would be home from work at 4:30 and a repairman who worked on refrigerators had better be in the driveway waiting for me.

Lo and behold, I get home and there’s the repair truck waiting patiently. And this repairman actually knows what he’s doing. He shakes his head in disgust at the story I tell him and orders 2 parts. A main control something or other, and something else. We schedule an appointment for 2 weeks later and I sit back and wait for the parts. And wait and wait and wait.

November rolls around and the parts finally arrive the week before Thanksgiving. So we call and schedule an appointment again and I ask specifically for the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing but they tell me they can’t guarantee who I will get and I’ll just have to take my chances. The guy who comes isn’t the one I wanted but he’s okay. He installs the something else and then hits a snag. The main control something or other part, the part that we waited 6 weeks for, is damaged and can’t be installed. But, he tells me, it’s okay, because the other part is really the one we needed and the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing was just being overly-cautious by ordering this extra part. I’m dubious but figure I’ve got no choice so I sign his slip and off he goes. Bad thing the sixth: Sears repairmen lie.

Things in the freezer look good. The ice isn’t melting into a solid block and the food doesn’t have freezer burn. For about a week. Yes, my friends, one week and it’s all back to frozen blocks and ice crystals.

I get back on the phone and start yelling some more. I tell them to just reorder the part that wasn’t installed but they tell me we have to have a service call first to determine what’s wrong with the freezer. So, once again, I schedule a repairman to come out. And guess who it is? It’s the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing and he once again orders the main something or other and something else which is a different something else than the something else he already installed. And we wait for parts.

Four weeks later the parts arrive. It’s now February 2007, in case you weren’t keeping up with the time line. The repairman comes, it’s not repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing, but this guy is okay. He installs the main something or other but says that the something else isn’t the right something else for this model fridge. But he tells me it’s okay because the other part is really the one we needed and the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing was just being overly-cautious by ordering this extra part. I’m dubious (again) but sort of believe him this time because I’m pretty sure this is the part we needed, too.


That was one month ago and (knock wood) so far, so good. I still go into the freezer every day and shove my hand all the way to the bottom of the ice bucket just to make sure they aren’t frozen together. And I’m actually stocking the freezer with things like frozen pizza and ice cream now and it’s not melting/freezing/crystallizing.

That’s the tale of one appliance. It’s a long and sad tale, isn’t it? The tale of appliance two is much much shorter.

Monday, our dishwasher died. It’s been on it’s last legs for a while so this was no surprise. Tuesday afternoon at 12:30 I went to Meserve Appliance, the place Dale wanted to go when we needed a fridge. I walked in and about 5 minutes later I had purchased a very nice Whirlpool dishwasher from the very nice lady at the store. She asked when I would like it delivered and I said as soon as possible and she said they can come this afternoon. By 2:45 pm I had a new dishwasher installed.


I told you it was a shorter tale. You know, I always say “trade local” and for some reason I didn’t when it came time to buy a refrigerator. I learned my lesson the hard way but you can bet that I will never ever ever buy another appliance from Sears. I’ll be trading local from now on. I suggest you do the same.

This Post Has 81 Comments

  1. I was also going to comment on the neatly organized freezer … or maybe it was the ice cream that caught my eye. 😉

  2. OMG! That is a nightmare. I agree with Lark; take this to the top! You just can’t let it end there; you should have received a brand new, WORKING replacement a good long time ago. I, too, will never buy from Sears again.

    I see a future headline “Knitbloggers’ Boycott Causes Sears to File Bankruptcy” 🙂

  3. What an awful experience! I’m sorry you had to go through this, a year of fridge pain. Thanks for the words of warning, though, I will stay FAR away from Sears and their appliances.

    Reading through the comments, I just wanted to say: Consumer Reports also reports (or used to) an index of reliablity and custom service for the various appliance companies. If you had an awful experience, it might be worth dropping them a line and telling them just how bad the service was with Sears.

  4. Similar tale here as well, only with a washing machine. After it finally died, my aunt was purchasing us a new one for a gift and insisted we check Sears. Luckily I pursuaded her that another store would be cheaper and quicker. I rarely even go into a Sears now.

  5. I’m laughing so hard I think I wet myself! Not AT you; WITH you. I’ve had similar experiences (of course). Not with Sears, though. In fact, my Kenmore appliances are the only reliable ones I have ever had–so much so that I only buy Kenmore appliances now. And our local Sears is pretty good. But I did have to call Sears customer service once, because my dryer arrived with no owners’ manual, and the fiasco that ensued was worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit. By the way, you should definitely demand that Sears replace the fridge. I don’t know what state you are in, but they probably have some sort of “lemon law” to protect consumers.

  6. Damn Carole! I would’ve blown the thing up by now and sent them the parts! What an ordeal! Yay for your new dishwasher!

  7. Oh my goodness, how frustrating, I would have totally lost my cool and I’m usually a very patient person!

    Isn’t that terrible, they take your money and they hold all the power? It’s difficult to get them to come in and fix it. Gah!

  8. HOLY crap! You must have been at the point (if you didn’t need the damn fridge) where you would have liked to have it delivered to the front of the store. I have never bought an appliance from Sears and certainly never will now. I do agree that for the most part, small and local is the way to go.

    BTW…your freezer contents looking fucking yummy! Wish I didn’t live so far away! LOL

  9. Oh, I can sooo appreciate this story!! I got a new washer a while back. I’d had it for FOUR DAYS. It was a front loader that could hold about a houseful of laundry, so I figured I’d put on my bathrobe and wash EVERYTHING I owned. Why do two loads when I could get it all done at once, no? Well, about 2/3s into the cycle, something went kerflooey and the washer decided to hold my clothes hostage!! I did manage to drain, but the door wouldn’t unlock. I called Sears in a panic, and it only took 3 days for them to get someone out there to open the door. Then there was the ordering of new parts, etc. Oh, I was sorely displeased. Won’t go into the gory details, but I can so feel your pain!!

    I had two thoughts when reading your story. First, you might want to send a detailed letter (registered) to the Big Guy at Sears, perhaps with a cc to the BBB and your favorite lawyer friend. Second, did you ever get the gift card or $100 credit they promised you? Have you considered calling one of the local TV consumer reporters, like Hank Phillipi Ryan on channel 7? I’m thinking that kind of public humiliation might make an impression. Hey, the stocks in the public square were invented for a reason, right? 🙂

  10. OH my gosh what a nightmare!!!!! We got a new dishwasher a year ago and decided to go with the local people since we recently bought this cute little house in a quaint little town in rural Kansas. Let’s buy local and keep the money here rather than spending it in the big town we are trying to excape from.

    Whew. We’re so glad we did. Our dishwasher story was almost exactly like yours. 🙂

  11. That’s unbelievably horrible. Big box thinking at its finest, I guess. I hope you at least got some good knitting/spinning time in on the two days you had to take off work!

  12. What a hassle! My father has also had very bad luck with Sears. He bought a big screen tv from them and had a similar experience.

  13. I had the same kind of experience with a washer and dryer from Sears. After a year, I made them come and take it away and give me a full refund. And we went to the locally owned shop for a better set. I don’t think Sears learns from these things!

  14. At least your basement wasn’t flooded! That happen to us just a few months ago because of a Sears repairman who UNPLUGGED my sump pump to use the outlet for his computer. And the dryer? Cost me over $300 and broke a week later when I found out that the pump had been disconnected.
    And don’t get me started on our dishwasher. We’re on our 4th in a year.
    I will never, ever spend my money at Sears for a major purchase again.

  15. OMG I can’t believe it…. replace refrigerator with “craftsman tractor” and its MY STORY! Same no show, no knowledge, no customer service, no parts (actually the shipped it to me and I installed it myself!) This is just crazy! We are so disgusted and fed up with Sears that we “went local” and bought another tractor. maybe we should start a “Sears Horror stories” blog? Would they even care?

  16. Sears denied me credit when I was a college student with an income. I haven’t been back since. I vote with my feet.

  17. Yup serious woes for us too. Or should I write SEARious. The repair guys who don’t show up or cancel due to no part. Or the guys who show up and no part. I don’t like Sears either. I spent more money at the laundrymat then on the cost of our high price washer and dryer. Sigh. I did, however, get seriously hooked on that wash and fold service. OMG. Loved it.

  18. so sorry that you had to find out the hard way that Sears SUCKS. I quit shopping there about 15 years ago. I just won’t do it. If no one else has it but them, then I don’t buy it. period.
    Sears sucks. tell everyone.

  19. Happy to hear that you didn’t buy a Maytag dishwasher. I am now 3 weeks without use of mine because it has been recalled for starting house fires. It seems that there is a breach in the rinse agent something or other, and the liquid was leaking onto wires. You know, the whole electrical/liquid thing? Not good.

    So, I called the day that I got my recall notice in a Consumer Reports email. Yes, Carole and I both rely on Consumer Reports. I was told that my repair parts would arrive within one week. Then I should schedule the repair with a local dealer.

    At the end of week two, I called again, and I couldn’t get through to a live person for 5 minutes because I was forced through their automated reporting service again. Of course at the end of this time, I am steaming and further frustrated because this call happens to be on a Saturday, and Maytag hasn’t bothered to staff up their dishwasher recall line on the weekend, despite the fact that this dishwasher recall affects 2 million+ customers.

    I had sent a couple polite emails to Maytag over the previous week asking where my parts are, and nobody on email customer service had any idea. So I emailed again expressing my displeasure with this situation and requesting a phone call back. The return call came on Tuesday, 18 days after being told that my parts would arrive within one week, and I was told that the parts are back-ordered.

    Now, I am at the 3-week mark, starting week four tomorrow, washing dishes by hand and frustrated as all hell at Maytag. I didn’t make the decision to put shoddy parts in my dishwasher when it was assembled. So, I am waiting as fast as I can, my frustration slowly burning. And by the way, I did but from a local dealer, but such recall repairs are driven at the manufacturer level.

    So the moral of my story is that Maytag lies too. Maybe it’s an appliance company thing?


  20. That seriously made me want to throw up. SAME damn thing happened with the washer/dryer we ordered. It arrived broken, was refused, they were asses about it and it took MONTHS to get a real working one.

    Never again. Grrrr!!!

    I hope your freezer doesn’t break down again. *fingers crossed*

    They are such greedy assholes. Once they get your money nothing else matters. Including actually getting the stuff. :/


  21. I have the same old Sears story–even though my Sears is a locally owned mini-Sears franchise. I went there because of Consumer Reports and because they were locally owned which my Big Box appliance store is not. BIG MISTAKE.

    What I don’t understand is why Consumer Reports still recommends their products. Sears has been terrible for years. I think I’m losing respect for CR too–the baby seat fiasco didn’t help.

  22. Ugh. Thank you for the warning! We’re in the market for a fridge and dishwasher sometime very soon and I’m sooo excited about this and yet am already dreading the process after the year or maybe even year and a half long saga we’ve been having with our stove/oven. I’ve been waiting to bake that blueberry muffin recipe since you posted way back in December, the same week that the oven officialy died. The saga goes waaaaay back beyond that but I won’t go on any more about it here. The recipe has been scrawled on the back of an envelope right here next to the computer ever since you posted it. I had no idea it would be almost April before I could count on the oven to reliably hold the right temperature long enough to bake them!

  23. we have a VERY expensive thermador range. the one we dreamed about having because we cook 2 or 3 times every day in our house and thought we should buy something really good . . . . hmph. in the three years we’ve had it, it has been out of comission at least 12 months totally out. the reapirman is great , but do we really want one we know SO well that he knows where i keep cleaning supplies so he can wipe up after himself without asking?? i hate large appliance purchases.

  24. Years ago, Sears was the gold standard in appliances and service. My mother continues to recommend them whenever we’re considering replacing an appliance, but we had a similar story with them about 15 years ago and I have sworn them off.
    I think you were both extrememly patient. Almost unbelievably so!

  25. You’re not alone in you issues with Sears… I’ve had Sears out each month for the same “over-freezing” issue ever since buying mine less than 6 months ago. I called them on the lemon policy (I have an extended warranty) and they claim you need 4 functional component replacements before they budge… I’m asure the same old do the bare minimum then have to order parts repair guy will show up… that is if anyone shows up…

Comments are closed.

Back To Top