Who will fix my appliances?

November 5 2008 by Ellen Roseman

I bought a new refrigerator a couple of years ago, replacing my 20-year old energy hog with a more efficient model. But the LG I chose (because it was recommended by a salesperson) had a problem. The freezer door did not seal properly when closed.

I had the fridge fixed under warranty, but now I can’t get free repairs. And the door seal is still acting up.

This is the dirty secret I discovered when doing a column about buying major appliances. The manufacturers give warranties as short as one year and wash their hands of problems that appear later on.

The reaction from readers made me sad. Many are living with serious quality issues that the manufacturers refuse to address. Some people are throwing away their expensive new appliances that just don’t run properly. So much for energy efficiency.

What about the omnipresent computer chips inside the new fridges, stoves, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers? Do they make appliances run better? And is it at the cost of making them harder to fix?

I think the appliance repair system is in need of repairs. I spoke to Miele Canada, a German maker of vacuum cleaners and other machines, which has redesigned its business model to keep in closer touch with customers.

When you buy a Miele appliance at one of our authorized Chartered Agents, your transaction is actually directly with us. From payment to delivery to installation to service, we’ll make sure you’re well taken care of.

Our records are kept current with your exact models and service plans, as well as your preferences for contact information. We also have a large, dedicated customer care centre located at our headquarters in Vaughan, Ontario, where our expert staff will handle your needs. We believe that all our customers deserve the very best in service.

I’m posting some readers’ laments below, so you can see why they’re so upset with appliances that break down and stay broken.

91 comments

  1. JM

    Nov 5 2008

    I have an 8-year-old Kenmore front-end-loader washing machine. Months ago, it started making a huge racket while in spin cycle.

    I called Sears, which sent a repairman who wanted $100 to step through my door. He was in my home for approximately two minutes, spun the dial on the washer, told me the bearing was shot and to buy a new machine.

    I was seriously disappointed with the service, or lack thereof.

    I’ve since had the machine repaired by a friend. The diagnosis was correct, the new part was $250 and I gave him $50 for his efforts.

    I believe Sears could have diagnosed the problem over the phone and saved my time and money. I’m someone who actually wanted to repair this fairly new washer, in lieu of throwing it in a landfill.

    I, too, believe that appliances should last a lot longer than they have in recent years. Are we not trying to move away from a disposable society?

    Longer warranties ensure better built products!

  2. PC

    Nov 5 2008

    We purchased a GE bottom freezer refrigerator from Sears for $1,649.99 on Oct. 21, 2005.

    This summer, the fridge started to make a clicking sound. This turned out to be a well documented product defect related to the control board.

    Sears came out and fixed the problem by replacing the defective control board at a cost to us of $349.47. They said that it was not covered under warranty past 1 year.

    I thought that was ridiculous and went to GE’s website and sent them a message requesting some relief. I had no response from GE.

    We see lots of advertising now asking us to upgrade our appliances to save energy. But from a financial standpoint, the cost of this repair will negate our energy savings for many years to come.

    Products need to be made energy-efficient but also durable. There is no net environmental benefit of things that use less energy but must be continually repaired or discarded.

  3. BM

    Nov 5 2008

    I will share my story with you regarding SEARS and Maytag/Whirlpool/KitchenAid appliances.

    I have 14 appliances in my house and cottage. They include fridges, stoves, washing machines, clothes dryers, built-in dishwashers and microwave ovens.

    Of these appliances, 8 are one of these three brands. My understanding is that these three brands are all similar, with similar parts and technology, and that they are all made by the same manufacturer.

    What is interesting to me is that the 8 appliances by Maytag/Whirlpool/KitchenAid I own, while all relatively new purchases, are the only ones that have given me serious trouble.

    The remaining ones, with brand names such as Woods and GE, I have owned completely problem-free for over 15 yrs. Some are still going strong after 25 years.

    In the first year or two of owning these appliances, major things go wrong, just like your reader in today’s Star column says. Here are some highlights:

    The circuit board in my dishwasher has fried itself for no reason and has had to be replaced, not once but twice, costing over $400 in parts alone each time.

    The electronic controls on my stove seem to be possessed, turning themselves on and off without me touching them.

    My fridge’s freezer drain backed up and flooded the inside of the fridge and my hardwood floor.

    My microwave turned itself on and ran itself for I don’t know how long — probably a few days — until it completely melted and charred everything inside the microwave (the glass turntable, the turntable bracket and the floor of the microwave itself). The only reason it didn’t burn the whole house down is that it’s stainless steel on the inside and that stopped the fire from spreading.

    The best story, though, is about my washing machine. It’s a Maytag, the one they advertise as never breaking down.

    It would frequently run through its entire wash/rinse cycle, but never drain out any of the dirty soapy wash water. I had to rinse and wring out the clothes with my hands in order to get them done and into the dryer.

    I had at least 25-30 service calls from SEARS over the course of about 10 months, trying to solve this very annoying problem.

    The servicemen SEARS sent did not seem to have any idea what to do. They replaced every major part, from the pump, to the motor, to the control dial, to the circuit board, at least twice and could not fix it. In the end, one of the service guys admitted to me that it was a known problem at SEARS as well as at Maytag, and that it involved replacing a minor part worth about $5.

    It’s working again now since this one guy knew the answer and replaced that simple part.

    What I learned through this process is as follows:

    1) Don’t expect today’s appliances to last anywhere near as long as those built before about 2000. I have asked several of the servicemen coming to my home why my relatively expensive KitchenAid/Whirlpool/Maytag appliances keep breaking down so soon after I buy them.

    I mention how my other appliances from other brands like GE are major workhorses that have not needed any repairs or service calls whatsoever after 15/20/25 years, and what changed?

    They tell me that today’s appliances have lots of electronic and computerized controllers and other parts in them. They say that these parts are very finicky and are prone to problems.

    They say it is unrealistic to expect that technology like this will have the lifespan that our mothers’ appliances enjoyed. I got the impression that you are lucky if you get 3-5 trouble free years out of one now.

    I think the manufacturers are now viewing these products the same way as the computer companies view their laptops and desktops. They’re not built to last a generation any more. The plan is that we’ll just go out and buy a new one every few years.

    Some repairmen have also said Maytag/Whirlpool/KitchenAid have had a lot of problems over the past few years as they’ve tried to integrate their manufacturing operations. I don’t have any experience with other brands to compare to, so I can’t tell if the issue is with this one manufacturer or if all modern appliances using extensive electronic/computerized parts are the same.

    2) Sign on for the extended maintenance agreement. While I have never been a fan of extended warranties and the seemingly frivolous charges they involve, I have reluctantly signed on with SEARS for these for the major appliances I have at my home.

    They cost me about $100 per appliance each year, so they’re not cheap. I pay over $500 per year for such agreements. It really adds up over the years, and you have to include this in your budget to buy and own appliances.

    But it’s still much less expensive than having to pay the regular fee of $80-90 per service visit, plus parts and labour in the hundreds of dollars if they actually try to fix something, which is what it always seemed to work out to.

    None of the parts ever came out at just $30 or $40. And none of the calls ever were covered within the original time allotted for the service visit. That’s really just the cost for them to arrive at your front door. Or to replace the appliances with new ones frequently.

    A word of warning on those agreements, however. They provide some peace of mind, but it’s not guaranteed, even if they tell you it is. If you are unlucky enough to get a real lemon, they will try to renege.

    After the first bunch of service calls on my washing machine, SEARS informed me that they were no longer willing to come and service it, even though I had paid for a full year of service. They said it was costing them too much to service it and that they weren’t interested any more.

    They were insisting that I had to take a credit of $200 toward buying myself a new machine at SEARS, which would easily have cost me $1,000. I had to go all the way up the ladder to get somebody to reverse this decision and make them come and fix my machine. I won, but it was really aggravating and took lots and lots of phone calls.

    3) Don’t take No for an answer. Anybody trying to get SEARS to fix an appliance should be prepared for the long haul and to be feisty with both the serviceman coming to the house and to the SEARS people on the service centre’s 800 number.

    If you’re lucky, the repair is simple and will be done easily in one visit at minor cost. I have enjoyed a few service calls like that.

    However, should the repair not involve an inexpensive part and just a few minutes work, things will not go so smoothly, and you have to be able to insist on getting the problem fixed properly.

    It depends on the skill of the service guy they send. After repeated service visits, I was able to figure out which SEARS techs know what they’re doing and would ask that only those people be assigned to my visit, even if it meant waiting for 2 weeks without a working dishwasher. It was worth it, as they usually could fix a less-than-obvious problem.

    But sometimes those guys would be busy and SEARS would send somebody else. Often, the visit would end with the tech telling me it was all my fault because I don’t know how to use a washing machine properly or how to stack a dishwasher (seriously — I’m not kidding!).

    Or the tech would tell me it was all Maytag’s or KitchenAid’s fault, because they came up with a poor design or a part that does not work well. They’ d tell me to phone Maytag or KitchenAid and that they’d fix the problem.

    Of course, when you call the manufacturer and tell them what the SEARS people said, they just laugh themselves silly on the other end of the phone before telling you there is nothing whatsoever they can or will do for you or your problem.

    So you have to be prepared to go up the chain of command with SEARS, if that’s who you bought it from and/or bought the service contract from, and not take NO for an answer. You usually don’t get any traction until you’ve escalated things to a manager at Head Office.

    Hope this helps in your research into the current state of affairs for consumers buying appliances from what are supposed to be a major retailer and a major brand manufacturer.

  4. EZ

    Nov 5 2008

    We purchased a Frigidaire Gallery Series front load washer and dryer from Caplans in Toronto in January 2006 (delivery and installation in March 2006). We also purchased a 4-year extended warranty.

    From the very beginning, we noticed that the washer did not drain water properly and that there was a residue of approximately a cup of soapy water sitting in the rubber ring at the front after each wash cycle was completed.

    In a very short time span, we had mould around, and in the folds of, the rubber casing and the accompanying musty smell was very noticeable.

    Within about three months of installation, we complained to Caplans, who told us to talk to Frigidaire as the appliance was still under the manufacturer’s warranty. We explained to Frigidaire that it appeared to be a design flaw, that water just wasn’t draining after the final spin cycle. (It probably was not draining properly at any stage in the cycle as we noticed soap in the water left behind.)

    As we examined the washer, we noted that the drain hole(s) are an inch or more higher than the bottom of the rubber ring, allowing water to pool in the bottom. I believe this is a serious design flaw.

    We suggested a repairman come and replace the rubber part with another one with holes more strategically placed in the bottom of the ring to allow water to fully drain, OR that a repairman come and put more holes in the existing rubber part in our machine. We were told that that none of these suggestions were an option and that we would lose all warranty coverage if we tried to repair the problem ourselves.

    Instead of a repair, we were told to complete a cycle of vinegar and water to remove the mould. The service rep seemed to be familiar with the complaint and her suggestion appeared to be the standard reply.

    However, the vinegar solution didn’t do the job satisfactorily and we ended up trying to scrape the mould off and applying other cleansers directly to the mould. Some of it was not removeable and is still there.

    Frigidaire would not replace the defective part. The response from Frigidaire was unsatisfactory because it was clear the problem was not being fixed and would continue with each use of the machine.

    We had paid considerable money for a poorly designed machine that does not work properly. We have had to live with mould, with trying to mop up the excess water after each wash, with leaving the door of the washer ajar in between use and with the constant smell of mould and mildew.

    We think the manufacturer should take more responsibility for an inherent flaw in their product.

  5. RB

    Nov 5 2008

    My husband and I are retired. We recently moved out of his home of 47 years to a 6 year old condo.

    We inherited the appliances. After using the dryer for a month or so, I thought that it did not seem to heat up on the cotton setting.

    I remember the old dryer (15+ years old) in the house, when set to the cotton setting, the sheets would be hot when I took them out, so much so that sometimes I could not touch them. This dryer barely gets warm.

    I read the manual and checked the breaker, cleaned all the vents and still no change. I then searched for the service number, it connected me to Direct Energy and asked if I wanted a service call.

    I explained my problem and asked if anyone could answer my question and the answer was no. I declined the service call but did not give up.

    I found a website for GE and a “contact us email”. I sent an email asking what degree of heat I should expect. The reply was for me to contact Direct Energy for a service call. Now what do I do?

    If I call Direct Energy, they will send someone and it will cost $90. The service man may tell me that this is as hot as it gets and my $90 is gone all for nothing.

    With the economy the way it is and my husband and I having seen half of our retirement investments wiped out in the last few months, I refuse to give $90 to Direct Energy maybe for nothing.

    If there is something wrong with the dryer, who knows what the bill to fix it would be in total? Maybe it would be better to start all over again and buy a new one. What to do??? 

    This was my solution. I use a drying rack. I put the clothes in the dryer just to get the wrinkles out and then I put them on the rack for a few days and they are dry.

    Sounds like something my mother did before dryers were invented. I remember seeing the clothes hung on the line both outside and in the kitchen.

    I am sure there is someone out there who can tell me whether this dryer is supposed to get hot on the cotton cycle. Until I find someone who will part with that info for free, I will not make any decisions to have a serviceman come into my home and have a look at the dryer.

    It also makes me feel good to know I am saving energy and $$$ on my electric bill.

  6. BC

    Nov 5 2008

    We have had similar problems with our Maytag washer, as you reported in your Toronto Star column.

    Our Maytag washer is model MAV6000AWW but is a top washer. We have had problems with smell and at times the clothes are still wet after the spin cycle.

    We called Magtag about the smell and were told to call a Maytag repair person. We spoke to others to see what soap they were using and decided to change from Tide dry soap to liquid. No change. We still had the smell.

    We finally decided to have the repair person come to our house outside Orillia to look at both problems. He took the machine apart and we took the drum outside and I powerwashed it. It had a white residue all over it….no fungus that we could see.

    He checked the belt while the drum was out and said it was fine and nothing else inside the machine appeared to him to be faulty. He sold us four pills for $15 that “remove odor-causing residue in HE washers”.

    The smell problem continues, the pills do not work. Our charge in total was $100 and nothing has improved.

    So the manufacturers do not have a satisfactory warranty for these expensive items. And in our case, the repair person has not been able to resolve our problems.

  7. HG

    Nov 5 2008

    I agree heartily that appliances should have more than a 1-year warranty.

    In 2005, my sister and I bought a house together. We bought all new appliances, leaving our old ones behind.

    We bought Kenmore – a brand we’d both had in our homes, operating perfectly for years.

    One of the purchases was a dryer. Based on the previous reliability of Kenmore products, we did NOT take the Sears extended warranty.

    That dryer cost us about $800. It lasted 13 months. Then it just stopped drying. We only do 3 loads of clothes a week, so it was NOT overuse.

    Sears came out to fix it – diagnosed a burnt-out circuit board. Replaced it. Charged us another $400.

    As far as we were concerned, a faulty circuit-board went right back to the original point of manufacture. It shouldn’t have been used.

    We started our complaint about faulty parts with Sears, who referred us to Kenmore, whose attitude was “tough luck – it was a fluke.”

    We sent back to Sears, where we were told that we should have bought the extended warranty, and since it was 1 month past the manufacturer’s warranty, they were not prepared to do anything about it.

    Feeling that we had been sold a faulty machine in the first place, we continued up the Sears complaint chain.

    We finally gave up, when one supervisor told us that the machine breakage is all part of a government plot to keep the economy circulating.

    OLDER machines were reliable, and strong and worked for 10-20-30 years. THAT doesn’t keep the money flowing around the country.

    Sears staff told us that the government now regulated all manufacturers as to what type of material and/or parts they could manufacture with, so that they would break down sooner, and keep money/industry moving by customers having to make a replacement purchase.

    So we had no right to EXPECT an appliance to function for 10-20-30 years any longer.

    And the fact our dryer functioned for only 13 months was the government’s fault, not Sears. Why did we think that Sears SOLD extended warranties? Because THEY knew the government had helped create deliberately flimsy machinery.

    So there we sat – dumbfounded at the idiocy. And now possessing a dryer that cost $1,200 No one would take responsibility.

    Please, please – expose this “government plot” as a lie. And please – money is so hard to come by, make the manufacturers back up their products with a 2-to-3-year warranty.

  8. JP

    Nov 5 2008

    In October 2005, we purchased several appliances from Sears in the approximate value of $11,500. We expected to receive good value and service from such a large retailer.

    On Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, we noticed the fridge was warm, even though the bottom freezer was still frozen. We called Sears to ask for repairs and were told that there were no available appointments until Wed., Oct. 16.

    The repairman showed up and told us that the circuit board was not working. He did not have this part with him to do the repair. He made a call and ordered a circuit board and we were told that a repairman could not return to fix it until the following Monday.

    In frustration, my wife asked him what does Sears do for people in our situation, being without a fridge for 8 days. He merely said that people normally have two fridges!!!

    He advised that we monitor the drainage pan behind the fridge for excess water. However, he could not assist my wife to pull the fridge out from the wall because he said had a bad back!!

    This is the third time since we purchased this fridge that we have had to call Sears because it was not working properly. We feel that something is not right with this particular model, which I conveyed to Sears.

    On the first two occasions, we did not have to pay for service/repairs, because it occurred within the first year!!

    We have had a number of phone calls between their Customer Service and ourselves, expressing dissatisfaction with this appliance and feel very frustrated.

    On Oct 22, after speaking with Customer Service, we were told we will be receiving a $50 credit for “inconvenience”. Incidentally, this does not cover the cost of spoiled food and eight days of being without a fridge.

    In 2006, we purchased a fridge from Sears for $800 for our cottage, which we feel works much better than the more expensive unit.

    The bill for the third repair/service call is $267, which we feel is not justified since this fridge was, in our opinion, faulty and a lemon.

  9. CN

    Nov 5 2008

    My husband and I are both runners. We shower twice a day so we have a lot of laundry.

    In August 2007, I bought a state of the art Kenmore front loader washer and dryer. This past October, my washer started to make an awful noise. I shut it off, had dinner and then went back to it.

    We called Customer Service at Sears for support at 8 pm, the Customer Service rep walked us through his list of procedures. My husband read the manual inside out.

    Sears told us they will send a service rep on Oct. 30. I begged, pleaded, asked if we could pay extra for someone to come right away. They said no.

    My husband then asked to be put on a cancellation list. They put us on, but the service date remained the same.

    Over the course of the weekend, everyone I spoke to said I must have misunderstood.

    I called Sears on Monday Oct. 17 to see if I misunderstood, I called every customer service number that people gave to me. The service date remained the same. I have been a loyal customer to Sears. I have bought thousands of dollars of appliances from Sears.

    My uncle worked for Inglis about 20 years ago. At that time, the turnaround service was 24 hours, 12 hours if it was a fridge.

    I wrote to Sears in frustration, they offered me a gift certificate, they told me to take out an extended warranty but the service date remained the same. I found this very insulting. They stated that even if I took out a extended warranty, the service date would have remained the same.

    The next Thursday, Oct. 23, I Googled my problem and found a few options. I tried the first option and sure enough my washer powered up and has worked like a charm. I saved myself a service call of $100 plus, plus and plus.

    We waited until Monday Oct. 27 to cancel our service call. I told the rep what I did and that their customer service rep never asked me to do this on the machine (pull out the plug and press start at the same time).

    I have to be honest, I am relieved. I am not certain if I would ever buy another Kenmore again.

    My husband and I did use Camco about 10 years ago for a kitchen stove. The service rep came the same day, the service tech was excellent.

    I can only hope that my story may help other buyers. My uncle, who is 74 years old, may need to come out of retirement as he has wonderful customer service skills and may be able to do a better job then most people who are half his age.

  10. JS

    Nov 5 2008

    We bought the front load washer in January of this year. In June my son started complaining that his clothes stunk. I rewashed all his clothes again myself (as he normally does the laundry and I fold it, we have 5 children!).

    After his telling me the clothes stink, I started to pay more attention to the laundry. I spent 8 hours one night washing everyone’s clean laundry, my own way, not letting it sit in the machine, folding it as it came out of the dryer.

    I also noticed that when getting out of the shower, the towel you would use to dry with stank. I figured it was a towel from the pool shed that had made it to our in house towels ……….not!

    In October, I started to Google the washer issue and came across a blog about these washers and the mold issues. Inspecting our own machine after reading this, I can clearly see mold on the inside of the glass panel on the front of the machine.

    In October, our machine stopped draining. I called Sears to get it fixed, while fighting to get a repairman in earlier then one week.

    I asked about the mold issue with the machine and told them I wanted to send it back. I was told that the time frame for return was up and I was stuck with it!

    The repair man came in and I bought a product called washer fresh. He told me the smell is caused by hard water in Toronto, he did not know what to say when I told him we have a water softener in the house!

    I have used the washer fresh on the machine, and granted the smell is not gone but not as strong, if that makes any sense, as well as the fact that I am using fabric sheets yet once again!

    I want this machine gone! I figured it was a lost cause. I have tried to fight Sears in the past to no avail.

    Please tell me what to do. I took Sears at their word when they told me that I was simply stuck with the machine. oh, I asked the repair man about the stuff in the glass panel, he told me it was lint. I agree this machine should not be on the floor in a Sears store.

    I feel like I have let a big mean monster into our home. We protect our children outside the home as best we can, then we bring a machine into our home that is known to cause mold and smells to the makers of the machines, and take a chance of making our own kids sick.

    I would like to kow how many Sears higher ups have front loaders in their homes!!

  11. RO

    Nov 5 2008

    It drives me crazy when a customer service rep calls up after a new appliance purchase and tries to convince you that you need to purchase the extended warranty.

    My response to them is to ask if the appliance is not made well enough to outlast the regular one year purchase and perhaps I should consider returning it.

    Of course, the customer service rep is not in the business of defending the brand. They only work for the company that sells the warranties, so essentially don’t care one iota about the brand.

    I consider myself an informed shopper. I really try to limit my consumerism to items that I actually need. Try not to engage in impulse shopping or shopping to pass the time (economic downturn or not).

    Having recently undergone a major renovation in my house I tried, wherever possible to by Canadian, if not locally. Not an easy task. I expanded to buy ‘North American’, not so easy either, but it can be done if you’re willing to pay higher prices. I’m not saying that buying Canadian or paying higher prices assures quality, but it does support the local economy at the very least.

    Can’t we return to the days when appliances lasted and were not considered disposable? I heard a segment on CBC radio about a month or two ago that featured an appliance repair man that you could phone in and ask questions. He urged, nay begged, listeners not to buy new appliances this year or in the next few years if they could possibly avoid it.

    His thoughts were that manufacturers have cheaped out big time for the last decade or so. Whether it was to do with offshore, zero quality control or production standards, he said anything you buy today is not going to last more than a couple of years.

    As technology advances and electronic components become cheaper and cheaper, it is cheaper to replace than repair. Throw away appliances – who woulda thunk it? But it’s here and now.

    Maybe there ought to be a law.

  12. JA

    Nov 5 2008

    We moved into our present home in December 2003, and for the first time we indulged ourselves in our choice of appliances, since budget was always an issue before.

    We bought 9 appliances in the GE Monogram series. From the beginning, we have had issues.

    The fridge, which cost $5,900, was to be an integrated part of the kitchen cabinetry, and it took six or seven deliveries of trim kits by CAMCO of Hamilton (GE’s parts and service company at that date) before we got the correct one.

    Shortly after moving in, within the first six months, there were problems with the dishwasher – leaks, etc. – which resulted in a new dishwasher being installed. This WAS covered by warranty, but required many tense phone calls to get satisfaction. The dishwasher cost $1,700.

    In 2006, the gas range began to leak and a new valve had to be installed. The stove was shut off for almost two weeks until a new part was received.

    I had chosen a professional range with gas and electric, which cost $8,500, but it was, at this time more than two years old, and was NOT covered by warranty. Interestingly, on the literature with the stove, it states that the stove is covered by Full Warranty for 5 years in the States, but we were told it was only 2 years in Canada.

    At this time, CAMCO had been replaced by MABE and Direct Energy was the service provider.

    The final straw has been that in the second half of last year, our refrigerator, which has always had interior moisture problems, had serious ice buildup inside the body of the fridge. We called to ask for help and, I must say, for coverage by warranty since the fridge was so new, but it was never addressed properly and we were so fed up with the appliance problems, that I cleared the ice myself, and it seemed to have solved the problem.

    But this last month, the same thing has happened, and this time it leaked down into the basement ceiling, leaving stains. Again on the literature, the Full Warranty in the States lasts for five years.

    We contacted MABE, which was not an easy thing, and went through the song and dance about extended warranty which we do not take, assuming that, if we pay good money for something, it should last!

    So we are probably not covered for the fridge repairs, and we have just found out that the bottom rack of our dishwasher, which needs to be replaced, due to rust and breakage, costs $995 to replace.

    We can only imagine what the cost of the parts for the fridge might be! We will need to wait until November 11 to find out – the date our repairman is coming.

  13. Nicolas

    Nov 5 2008

    BestBuy and Future Shop are being sued in class actions in Quebec in relation to extended warranties.

    Under the Quebec Consumer Protection Act, goods forming the object of a contract must be durable in normal use for a reasonable length time, having regard to their price, the terms of the contract and the conditions of their use (Section 38).

    This being said, should an appliance fail after a limited amount of time which fails to meet the standard of the Act, a legal warranty applies even if the manufacturer’s warranty is expired.

    This is great in theory but two issues remain:

    1, People are unaware of this (as I am for other provinces) and

    2, you might have to go to court to have this right respected.

    I would strongly suggest individuals contact the different consumer unions they know when something like this happens.

  14. AT

    Nov 6 2008

    I too have been dealing with issues with a large manufacturer, specifically LGE Canada’s customer service department regarding my 50” Plasma Television, which carries a 2-year parts and labour warranty.

    I tried to call LG Canada’s Customer Service Manager, but was unable to reach him via telephone. So I found his email address online and sent him a message directly.

    Here’s a quick overview of the situation:

    – I purchased the television in June 2006 for $3,300 (plus tax). On Oct. 4, 2008 the TV made a “popping” noise and went dim.

    – I contacted LG Customer Service immediately, and faxed them a copy of my receipt on Oct. 5.

    – On Oct. 8, I received a message telling me that my warranty claim was denied.

    – On Oct. 9, I called LG and spoke to two CSR’s. The first told me they “didn’t escalate claims”, while the second told me a Supervisor would call me back within 2 business days.

    – The Supervisor called me back on Oct. 15 and left a message. I promptly called him on his direct line but didn’t hear back.

    – After leaving several messages over 3 days, I called the main CSR line and spoke to another representative. This CSR told me that Jules wants to see a copy of my bill (which I had sent 2 weeks earlier).

    – I finally got hold of the supervisor on Oct. 20. He told me that without an invoice from their recommended service agent (Tripole Electronics), LG could not act.

    – On Oct. 22, Tripole Electronics came to service my TV – parts were $657.85 and labour was $200.

    – I faxed the invoice to LG on Oct. 23 and was told that the supervisor would call me back within 2 days.

    – By Oct. 27, I still hadn’t heard anything so I called. LG claimed they didn’t receive the fax. The CSR asked me to email it to her. On Oct. 28, she said she had received the invoice and I would be contacted within 72 hours.

    – Again, I didn’t receive a response from LG, so I called back on Oct. 31. The CSR said LG would cover the labour cost of $200. When I asked how I was to receive the money, they told me they would contact Tripole and have them reduce the invoice. After informing them that the invoice was already paid, I was told I was “out of luck”.

    – After disputing with the CSR, the supervisor agreed to escalate to the Customer Service Manager (Jamie Buchanan). I was told that he would contact me immediately.

    – Based on LG Canada’s track record, I decided to email Mr. Buchanan immediately, however I did not receive any response.

    – On Nov. 4, I again called LG and spoke to another CSR. He told me that the manager was on a call and would return my call when he was free. Again, I did not receive a call from LG.

    – I sent a follow-up email to Mr. Buchanan on Nov. 4, asking him to call me. Instead of calling, he sent me the following response (24 hours later).

    ————————————————————
    Dear Mr. T,

    Thank you for your inquiry about out of warranty assistance for your recent repair. Unfortunately LG Canada cannot assist customers who have already paid an ASC for an out of warranty repair.

    I have reviewed your case notes with each of the agents involved. It is clear that you were asked to send an estimate from a servicer for review to determine if we could assist to some extent.

    Because you proceeded with the repair at your own cost, we are unable to assist after the fact. If we have an opportunity to review an estimate, it is possible that we may assist some customers by providing authorization to the servicer through our systems to cover some part of the charges; but this is not our default strategy.

    The warranty period which a manufacturer offers defines the parameters of coverage for repair of the product. Your product carried a 2 year warranty which represented exceptional coverage compared to our competitors’ offerings. I hope that this correspondence clarifies any questions which you may have had about this process.

    Regards,

    Jaimie Buchanan
    Customer Service Manager
    LG Electronics Canada Inc.

    ———————————————————–

    As you can see, I have been dealing with this issue for over a month now. After research on the internet, I have discovered that it is a known problem.

    In the US, LG Electronics has been providing extended coverage (up to three and four months beyond warranty) for both parts and labour.

    Considering the large amount of money I paid for this unit two years ago, as well as the cost of the repairs relative to a new model, I find LG’s decision hard to accept.

    I would appreciate any assistance that you can provide.

  15. LB

    Nov 6 2008

    You asked if it was right for manufacturers to offer only a one year warranty on major appliances and consumer electronics. I don’t think it is.

    We bought a new Kitchenaid refrigerator last month because it has a 10 year warranty (parts only) on the sealed refrigeration system. The salespeople suggested we buy one of the other models made by the same manufacturer, such as a Maytag. They are less expensive but do not have the same warranty.

    However, during our conversation, the salespeople said you will not get 15 or 20 years out of an appliance any longer.

    When you’re spending a considerable amount of money on thse items, you expect they will last as long as they did a generation ago. At that time, you did not need a long warranty because, if you got through the first year, any defects would probably have shown up and you knew there would be no problems for years to come.

    Now it appears the manufacturers figure they can build a stylish unit that lasts considerably less time, people will buy it and in 10 years or so the next management team will deal with the consequences if any.

    A typical shortsighted approach: make the fiscal quarter look good, get the bonus and let the next person deal with the problems.

    Too many things look good but cannot stand up. The auto industry slowly learned this lesson. Even if the Detroit Three are making cars as well as Honda and Toyota, it will be years before many consumers believe them.

    Off my soapbox for today.

  16. George

    Nov 6 2008

    I am a handyman and fix a multiple of things. I believe that these warranties are no good and are put there in order to have their product just last with this warranty. Once the warranty is gone, the machine breaks.

    This is a common manufacturing principle right now. It will change, but when? I guess when enough people get sick of buying crap.

    If you sit down and figure it out, you are sucked into spending less now but more in the long run. Let’s WAKE UP!

  17. Jamie

    Nov 6 2008

    The declining length of manufacturer warranty has been driven by the retailers who want to sell sell sell their outrageously marked up third party warranties. If a manufacturer wants to sell a product with a longer warranty they will find their competitors product pushed over theirs, or even not carried by the relatively few dominant retailers.

    In Europe the same product often carries a longer manufacturer warranty, thank our virtually non existent consumer protection laws for that.

  18. Quetzal

    Nov 6 2008

    OMG, BM! You’ve the patience of a saint!

    I’d be inviting some of those repair technicians to the balcony to discuss human flight [I Kid, but you know...]
    .
    BTW, GE today [greed electric as described by a repair website] is not the same company it was 10/15/20 years ago.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    EZ, those front load washers require waaay less detergent than stated on the detergent’s packaging, I’ve read. In fact, one should use 1/4 the amount stated on the packaging!

    I’m currently purchasing a dishwasher, washer and dryer — thank you, I’ll be purchasing Miele, 5 year warranty on dishwashers and 10 year warranty washer/dryers. Sure they may cost me 1/3 more, but they’ll last 5 times as long, easily.

    I’ve read enough horror stories and will never deal with Sears or large box stores, a dealer I found [nope, not Capl..], that a phone call discussion was informative, covered all the bases and I had no questions to ask afterwards.

    Sure, I’ll be paying for installation, but I’d rather have an expert do it once and they’ll take away the old appliances. They also won’t give you a quote till they’ve been to the site! WooHoo.

    Thanks. Ellen, and contributors here. Much appreciated.

  19. AT again

    Nov 7 2008

    Hi Ellen,

    I just spoke with Jaimie Buchanan at LG. They have decided to cover 100% of my claim.

    Apparently they agree that this is a known issue with the television and have a technical service bulletin on it.

    Thanks for contacting LG. I appreciate your help.

  20. GS

    Nov 7 2008

    I have a beef with Kitchen Aid. I am rather disappointed with their response, as this machine cost over $300 and it’s out of order in less than 20 months with little use.

    I could not find an email address to send this info to Kitchen Aid in Canada so I sent it to the States. They returned it, requesting I contact the Canadian office.

    I did contact the office by phone. They said because the warranty had expired, they could do nothing about it. I would have to pay to get it repaired.

    I tried to send this email to the office in Canada but it’s rather confusing to find the email address and someone to send it to. So I just gave up. I read your article in the Star and decided to forward this email on to you.

    To: countertopcollectionusa@kitchenaid.com
    Subject: Kitchenaid.com Contact Form Submission

    model: 4KFP750OB1
    serial: WHT4207729
    contact_method: Email
    product: Food Processor
    body:

    I purchased a 12-cup onyx/bk food processor from Sears Canada on Feb. 1, 2007. I have hardly used this machine since it was purchased as I am a senior and have been travelling quite a bit in the last year.

    I went to use the machine today and it would not work. The light went on but it would not spin. Apparently, when the container is pushed in a complete locked position, the little plastic in the handle does not make contact. However, when it is pushed back a little to the left, contact is made and the machine spins.

    The little plastic part in the handle of the container is probably defective.

    I am afraid to use the machine. It may be a safety hazard.

    I would like to know whether you would replace the unit or the container.

    Most of my large appliances in my home are the Kitchen Aid brand.

    The food processor was highly recommended for its simplicity and easy to use (the reason I purchased it).

    ——————————————————————————————-

    Ellen, thank you for sending to Kitchen Aid, which has promised to replace the 12-cup work bowl for the food processor. This would resolve the problem.

    It’s currently out of stock and should be mailed in about 3 weeks. Will let you know when I receive it.

    Many, many thanks again for your help.

  21. Lisa

    Nov 7 2008

    I too have had problems with a limited warranty and Sears.

    We purchased a floor model Kenmore fridge from our local Sears store. It came with a one year warranty. Within just a few months, the fridge broke down.

    That issue was fixed, but sure enough, one month after the warranty was up the evaporator started to leak. The estimated cost of repairs was more than we had paid for the fridge.

    Sears refused to help. I argued that a one-year warranty on a fridge is ridiculous. They weren’t standing behind their products.

    Even when I begged, letting them know that I had a baby at home and nowhere to store her food, there was no offer of help. My husband tried to reason with them, but that did not change their minds either.

    I tried talking to our local in Port Perry, but all they would do is give me the customer service number that I had already been calling.

    We also tried talking to Whirlpool, the fridge maker, but they said they had no responsibility in the matter once the fridge was purchased by Sears. Once again, a dead end.

    Finally a friend suggested that I check my Visa agreement, as some Visa cards will double warranty on items purchased on them. Sure enough my Visa does this.

    I talked to RBC Insurance, where the customer service representatives were actually helpful and, go figure, friendly and courteous. Within two months, we had an agreement that once we purchase a new fridge they will reimburse us up to the full cost of the Kenmore fridge.

    We are currently looking at new fridges. Believe me when I say we will not be purchasing a new fridge or any other item from Sears in the future.

    We will also probably be buying the extended warranty if we find the fridge we like only has a 1 year limit again.

    It seems to me that these companies have found another way to make money – extended warranties. I’m pretty sure that in the past, major appliances came with better warranties. This truly is the age of customer lack-of-service.

  22. JD

    Nov 7 2008

    Yes of course they should give longer warranties. Car makers do it to show pride in their product; so could appliance manufacturers.

    We have purposely paid extra for some Energy Star products but have been disappointed by breakdowns and short motor life.

    How does it save the planet if we have to throw them out after just a few years?

  23. MB

    Nov 7 2008

    A few months ago, we had the same problem with our 3-year old GE Profile fridge.

    The Sears repairman charged us $88 to tell me our problem. Within one week, another serviceman came with the circuit board and installed it at a cost of $298, including parts and labour.

    This was not our first repair on this refrigerator. After only six months of buying it, the gasket around the freezer section had to be replaced; fortunately it was under a 1-year warranty.

    Also at that time, I complained about the vegetable trays coming off their tracks and falling down; the serviceman ordered new tracks, along with the new gasket.

    Sears called to say there was no such item as new tracks. To this day when I open and close the trays, they fall off. Needless to say, this has been a very bad buy.

    Thank you for allowing me to vent my frustration, obviously they don’t build anything to last like the good old days.

    By the way, I am using my neighbour’s e-mail address. Please use this, if you need to reply.

  24. GB

    Nov 7 2008

    I have had a concern with a smooth top stove, manufactured by Frigidaire but purchased from Sears in February.

    After it was delivered, it was used for household cooking and the burners of the smooth top stove showed discolouration.

    I called Sears. They sent a technician, who said 90 days had lapsed since purchase and there was nothing he could do.

    I said I had been to the same store within the 90-day timeframe and had complained about the discolouration. I was told by the salesperson that I needed to purchase a particular cleaning liquid. I did. While the cleaning liquid helped, it did not completely remove the discolouration.

    Finally I spoke to customer service who sent me the following e-mail.

    “As the technician has already informed you, cosmetic issues are not covered under the warranty. If you read the warranty section of your owner’s manual, it does state that.”

    Sears is a reputable company and I have had dealings with them for the past 15 years. There is one question I have: How is the customer supposed to know about the discolouration of the burners of the smooth top stove until he or she is informed by the salesperson at Sears.

    Also, how are you supposed to read the manual until you actually purchase the stove or are informed by the salesperson at the time of purchase? Clearly, I was not informed about the discolouration, and had I known I would not have purchased it.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    After you wrote to Sears, I was offered $200 compensation for the discolouration of the ceramic stove top.

    I accepted his offer and received a cheque. I would like to thank you for taking the time to write to Sears. I really appreciate the effort made on your behalf.

  25. Jim E

    Nov 7 2008

    Wow, Ellen, looks like you’ve stuck a nerve with this article. Comments about this topic may rival complaints about Bell & Rogers.

    Keep up the great work.

  26. PR

    Nov 7 2008

    Professional Engineer gets stumped by microwave oven by LG.

    –2 year old microwave oven LG unit, dead in the water.

    –One week to get LG to send a serviceman.

    –$128 flat fee paid for the call.

    LG sent the serviceman in with the wrong part (the famous “magnetron”) despite having had the correct model number communicated to them.

    I had to help the serviceman remove the unit from the wall and take it to their shop.

    Was told it would be a week (since this past Monday – today is Friday PM).

    About 20 minutes ago, I received the call – your part is back ordered – it will be approximately 2 weeks until it gets here.

    One clear message – stay away from LG microwave ovens – do your homework – search on the internet – see the horror stories.

  27. Gerry Taylor

    Nov 7 2008

    I find myself contrasting the service or lack of it that consumers receive here in Canada with real service outside of Canada.

    Elsewhere, products must be “fit” for the service they were sold for. If they are not fit for that service, whether it be a washing machine or a microwave oven, then the end-user has recourse through various government agencies.

    In Canada, it seems that if you do not get satisfaction with a personal approach to the vendor (i.e. Sears or whoever..) your main avenue seems to be with the credit card company you used to buy the item. What is wrong with that picture ? Well for one thing, answering my own question, that’s why credit card rates are at 20%± and there is a large annual fee…

    How come there is a lack of consumer protection laws and regulations here ? and a supportive voice at a consumer protection line to assist you ? It seems to me that all any agency does is to parrot the guarantee you yourself tell them about, instead of advising you that the product is not fit for the purpose for which it was sold….

    Is this yet another example of “Welcome to Canada” ?

  28. KK

    Nov 10 2008

    The online journal for this can also be found at http://www.appliancejournal.com/appliance-repair-help/washer-repair/why-kenmore-front-load-washers-fail-271/

    My experience is with Sears and the front load washer that is made by Frigidaire (as best as I can tell).

    I bought this near high end unit about 4 years ago from Sears after the old top load washer died after about 20 years of use.

    In the last month, this new one broke down and from reading all the journals and my tinkering at it, I have the same problem as all the rest.

    The spider assembly that holds it all together broke – they attribute it to using a detergent that is not rated “HE” for high efficiency.

    Basically the detergent has corroded the aluminum arms that hold the stainless steel drum in place and the entire unit fails, requiring the entire inner tub (plastic and stainless steel) to be replaced.

    Even when I called Sears parts, the part needed was out of stock, and others who have tried to buy it have run into roadblocks.

    From reading the journals, I decided to not even bother trying to repair/replace it as

    a) the cost would be higher than a new machine

    b) it would break again in 3-5 years

    c) the initial call would have been $80+ just to have a technician look at it for 5 minutes to tell me the problem I already knew.

    Unfortunately I have already discarded the unit and all receipts, although it is registered with Sears on their database. From everything I have read, they will do nothing and I don’t have the time to chase after them.

    Hopefully you can help others out who are going to be (or are already in) the “same boat” and either get Sears to do a recall or a refund to those of us who spent over $1,000 on a machine that lasted 4-5 years.

    Needless to say I’m not buying another major appliance branded by Sears and have already replaced my washer with a name brand from Future Shop.

  29. PC

    Nov 10 2008

    Here’s my recent experience with Direct Energy.

    In July, my GE front load washing machine (less than 4 years old) broke down.

    I contacted an independent appliance repair company which has been in business in my area of the city for many years. They diagnosed the problem, but suggested that I may wish to contact the authorized service provider as the part which needed replacing and was quite expensive may be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

    Accordingly on Aug. 5, I called Direct Energy. At this time I was advised that the first service call available was Aug. 20. An appointment was made for that date.

    On Aug. 19, Direct Energy called to advise that the technician wasn’t going to be on the road on Aug. 20 and they would like to reschedule for Sept 5.

    I made my dissatisfaction clear and was able to obtain a ‘cancellation’ appointment on Aug. 29.

    This appointment took place, the problem was diagnosed, part ordered and a notation made that the repair would require two technicians. The labour costs would reflect this.

    On Sept. 8, I called to see if the part had arrived. It hadn’t.

    On Sept. 12, I called to see if the part had arrived. It hadn’t, but I was advised that their dispatch would be contacted for follow up.

    On Sept. 15, I called. The part had still not been received.

    On Sept. 18, I called. The part had still not arrived, but I was assured that someone would be emailed to determine when it would arrive.

    On Sept. 19, I called, only to be told that the part had arrived but had been sent back. No reason was given.

    On Sept. 22, I called and was told that the part had been reordered and would arrive by that Friday.

    On Sept. 24, I was contacted and an appointment scheduled for Oct. 2 to repair the machine.

    Around 8:15 a.m. on Oct. 2, I received a call that the technician would be arriving within the hour.

    About 30 minutes later, I received a second call, advising that, in fact, the repair would not be done that day as they had ‘just realized’ that it was a two-person job (which they knew and had noted on the invoice on Aug 29!).

    They could reschedule for Oct 15.

    I contacted a senior customer service person to express my total frustration and dissatisfaction with this whole process. I was able to pressure them into promising that the technicians would come out the next day, Oct. 3, to repair the washer.

    On Oct 3, three technicians arrived. They took the washing machine apart, only to inform me that a second part was required. They had no idea how long it would take to order and receive this part.

    I was at the end of my patience, so I went to Sears that evening and purchased a new washing machine.

    Two weeks later, I received a call from Direct Energy wondering why I had not confirmed the appointment made for Oct. 24. This was odd, as no one from Direct Energy had contacted me to arrange any such appointment.

    As you can understand, I have absolutely no wish to deal with Direct Energy ever again.

    I have contacted their head office, the head office of GE and the Home Depot store where I purchased the washer originally. Only GE bothered to respond, but only to tell me that I should contact Direct Energy!

    I hope my story will save other readers some grief should they encounter a similar situation.

  30. Riscario Insider

    Nov 10 2008

    Yikes! The problems reported here are alarming, especially since appliances are getting more elaborate and expensive. Price does not seem to correlate with quality.

    Before purchasing an appliance, we do research online. This has worked well. Only one appliance has needed servicing: our Kenmore washing machine (about 8 years old). We called Sears but were unwilling to wait four days for a technician. So we found an appliance handyman through a neighbour. He found the problem and devised a workaround until we got the part replaced. Total cost: $125.

    We make purchases with a credit card that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty. We’ve had no claims. We only purchased an extended warranty once, when we bought a 56″ Panasonic HDTV in 2000. No repairs required.

    Maybe we’re lucky. Maybe research pays off.

  31. LP

    Nov 10 2008

    We purchased a Samsung 32-inch LCD Television (model LN-T3242H) in 2007 that cost nearly $1,200. We ordered it August 23 and took delivery August 29.

    On October 20, 2007, the TV broke for no apparent reason. We looked through the paperwork we got at time of purchase, and noticed Samsung offered a 3 month warranty extension if we registered online, so we registered online.

    We are not sure if we registered earlier as we have changed email addresses.

    We contacted Sears in Lindsay, where we bought the TV, and were advised to contact Samsung. We contacted Samsung by phone and were told variously:

    a. they do not offer an extended warranty

    b. the extended warranty only applies in the US

    c. they cannot explain why there was an extended warranty pamphlet in the box that came from a Sears store in Lindsay, Ontario, or why it specifically refers to Canadian residents on the reverse

    d. they would honour a one month only extended warranty

    e. they had no proof we registered online (we provided them with a copy of their confirmation email)

    f. the warranty extension was only applicable if you registered online within 30 days of purchase (the pamphlet does not state this)

    g. the warranty extension was only applicable if you registered online within 10 days of purchase

    h. the warranty commenced August 23, the day the TV was ordered, not August 29th, the day we took delivery

    i. the person on the phone was the only person we could talk to, they had no boss and there was absolutely no one higher to escalate our complaint to

    j. we could take the TV to Easyhome in Lindsay and pay for the repairs. Easyhome does not do repairs, they are a furniture and electronics rental store.

    Since we were completely stonewalled by Samsung, we spoke to the Sears dealer in Lindsay again. She gave us the phone number to Sears Customer Service and advised us to call them.

    We did so, and got the same runaround with Sears Customer Service, i.e. there is no one higher you can talk to, the agent had no boss and was the only one you could speak with. We were completely stonewalled.

    They further went on to say it did not matter to them whether we spent a little or a lot at Sears (we spend thousands of dollars there because in the past they have always been good to deal with).

    They said that if they did anything to help us with this out-of-warranty product, they would be out of business. They no longer have a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” policy because they have been ripped off by so many customers (implying that we were trying to rip them off).

    We took the broken TV to Peterborough (a 2-hour round trip) and left it with the authorized Samsung repair company. They were also unable to help us.

    They said the TV had a broken inverter that would cost $483 to repair, and likely a broken panel that would cost $900 + $240 labour + taxes, in all a total of about $1,800.

    They recommended we buy another TV, the cheapest we could find because they only last 3 – 5 years (or less), and we pay for extended warranty. We made a second 2-hour round trip to pick up the broken TV and paid the repair shop $40.

    I am retired and my husband is on disability now. We do not have the funds to spend $1,200 on a new TV every year. We think this new “customer service” world, where there are no bosses and there is no way to escalate a problem, is outrageous.

    It is ridiculous that such an expensive item barely made it out of the manufacturer’s original warranty before it broke, and that the company would struggle so hard not to honour their own warranty extension. And we are very annoyed with Sears and their lack of interest or concern for us.

    We used to have a family policy of buying everything from Sears, but there is no point in having that loyalty any more.

    It is a very enlightening experience (we found too late) to google “Samsung complaints” and read the pages and pages of complaints about this company, particularly about them not honouring their warranties. We mistakenly thought they were a reputable firm.

    All we wanted was for Samsung to honour their own extended warranty and repair the TV for us, since an item this costly
    should last longer than 13 months. They do not care.

    We thought you would be interested in our situation. Unfortunately, it is not an uncommon one.

    Please keep writing your interesting and informative articles as we look forward to them every week.

  32. RB again

    Nov 10 2008

    Just wanted to let you know that I had a call from GE, as well as one from Direct Energy.

    We went through a number of things over the phone and we have determined that the heating element in my dryer is probably not working properly.

    Now as to whether I am going to get it fixed or not, I am not sure. I am used to putting stuff on the drying rack and it makes me feel good to think I am saving energy both from an environmental point of view as well as saving $$$ on my hydro bill.

    The dryer still gets warm, and it is enough to get the wrinkles out and that is what is important to me, no ironing!

    Thanks for your help and intervention regarding my problem with my GE dryer. Lets hope GE or Direct Energy takes the hint and sets up a hot line where someone can call and ask questions about home appliances.

  33. Joanna Alpajaro

    Nov 10 2008

    I have written on Ellen’s site before about the problems we have had with appliances from Sears.

    We’ve had 10 breakdowns on our super expensive 3-year old top-of-the-line Kenmore Elite stainless steel TurboZone Super Quiet dishwasher – thank goodness 10 of them were covered by the extended warranty that we had purchased through Sears.

    We fought for them to offer us a free couple of years of warranty – they offered us 1 year only but we were still grateful.

    But there was still a cost with each breakdown – I had to take one day off work to wait for the service guy to show up, then another day to actually fix the problem, since for some bizarre reason they never seem to have even the smallest, most common parts in the big cargo vans they drive around!

    I was on the verge of getting fired from work for taking too much time off – for our DISHWASHER. It was crazy. Each breakdown meant more than a month of non-operation of our appliance since they took so long to come, and then there was always the second visit with the part.

    I found a clause in our warranty that said that they will replace appliances that have had the same component fail three times within a calendar year. We had the same component fail four times. When we brought it to their attention, they said it referred to a “Major” component, and the component that kept breaking and rendering our dishwasher completely unusable was not considered “Major” as far as they were concerned.

    Even if they would replace it, they would charge us a “usage” fee. That was the biggest joke. They would charge US for use of a dishwasher that was almost constantly broken and cost us so much in lost time and money.

    We’ve had no breakdowns now in a month and a half and we are truly AMAZED (knock on wood). We would replace it but from what I’ve read, what brand is better, and what retailer offers better guarantees/service?

  34. Lior

    Nov 11 2008

    I sympathize with you guys. Thank you for sharing your stories.

    Sears and Direct Energy definitely won’t be on my list when it comes to purchasing appliances. These two companies are continuously being brought up in conversations here. One has to wonder whether they know what the hell they’re doing to begin with.

    Don’t be surprised if you’ll find their spokespoodles coming here and offering excuses left and right for their company’s incompetence.

  35. bm

    Nov 13 2008

    Soon the world will know. Modern appliances are all junk.

    I work on repairing these things and I will not buy any new appliances. I fix my old ones. It’s cheaper and more energy efficient in the long run.

    The life of new appliances is 3 to 5 years, depending on what you are willing to pay to keep them going. They are now disposable. It’s all about volume. You cannot make money on something that last 25 years.

    Do not be surprised to see warranties completely disappear, only to have a customer option with extended warranties. They trick you into what appears to be an appliance and then the real cost shows up after a year.

    Some day, someone will make a big stink about all this crap going to landfills and the energy saving myth.

    How much energy does it take to manufacture these things, transport to Sears, transport to your house, have service people drive to your house several times during warranty, ship parts all over the place, then transport the thing to a landfill, push and crush it with big machines and then start all over again every 3 to 5 years?

    Let’s not forget about the massive cost and energy of finding and digging a new landfill farther away than the last one, which will require more energy to get everything else to it.

    People need to start saying no to these companies and their electronic controls. They are garbage, but like a new car with a fancy new stereo, stupid consumers just have to have it. Well, in the long run it’s going to cost.

  36. Tony P.

    Nov 13 2008

    I was appalled to learn in a recent issue of Consumer Reports that, in general, the repair/replace decision point for most major household appliances occurs at the 4 year point and the replace timeline is about 6 years. My own experience with a GE fridge (major repair at the 2 year point; replace after 5 years) and a Maytag dryer (major repair at 4 years) aligns with these numbers.

    Perhaps one of the benefits that will accrue as a result of the current financial maelstrom is that manufacturers of household appliances will focus on durability and value for money rather than rapid rotation through households.

  37. IH

    Nov 15 2008

    I purchased a few appliances (including a GE refrigerator) from Best Buy when I moved into my new house in 2003. A few months after, the fridge did not work. All foods went bad.

    I was told by the repairman that the heater was gone. And luckily I purchased a warranty, otherwise it would cause me $220.

    OK, I thought that should be fine for a few years. No, that was not true. The ice cube maker went wrong. The crusher did not work properly and only released crushed ice but not ice cubes. I called the company (it was Camco, then changed to Mabe, and then Direct Energy). One unscrewed the panel, took out the part, ran the ice-covered part under hot tap water and put it back. The others came and went.

    A total of 9 services placed. I told them I would call them and make sure my fridge is fixed before the warranty expires.

    Finally, they ordered a part and my fridge is fine.

    Not just appliances. It happens to cars too. Our new car had minor issues. We reported to the dealer when changing oil, but they DID NOT record the issues. Only when the warranty expires, they will fix the problem with charges.

    Very sad.

  38. BG

    Nov 17 2008

    When I saw your article, I thought of the comment that I made to the Sears rep the other day while we were shopping for a gas range.

    We were discussing different brands and the relation between higher price to higher quality. I said that these days, no brand seems to be good past the warranty time.

    I mentioned the Bosch dishwasher that we purchased in 2007. It was rated the best buy by Consumer Reports. We bought it particularly for the super quiet feature, since we have an open floor layout on the main floor and sound easily travels between kitchen. dining room and our great room (family room and guest room).

    I finally called Bosch and they explained to me that since it was past 1 year warranty, no labour was covered. But if any part was needed, it would be covered under the 2 year warranty.

    We got an authorized agent to do the job and it took 3 weeks to get the part. I also paid a hefty labour price of $150 + tax. This would represent 18% of the initial purchase price.

    A week after the repair job, the washer is still NOT quiet and the noise level is not what it was in the beginning of the purchase back in early 2007.

    In another experience in 2005, we purchased 3 appliances from Sears. I negotiated and received 3 years of extended warranty. The 3 appliances were all recommended by Consumer Reports (particularly the Amana fridge was highly recommended).

    The washer and the dryer are still running with no problem, but the fridge (Amana brand) became noisy and made weird sounds occasionally.

    Under the warranty in the 3rd year, Sears did come to the house but found no fault. The explanation was that most likely the fridge rattles due to rubbing/touching the next item or the counter next to that!

    As of today, the noise level on the fridge is high and it looks like we just have to get used to it!

    In our household, we take care of our appliances. We use and maintain them according to manufacturer instructions. In addition to that, I always research before committing to a purchase. I mainly use Consumer Reports.

    Ellen, my conclusion is this. Unlike old time appliances that were so durable and worked forever, today’s appliances are just good enough to work through the warranty time.

    Buying more expensive brands and even researching the brands does not guarantee any more years of trouble-free usage.

    My sense is that manufacturers knowingly make the appliances not durable. How else would they be able to sell more of what they make if their products lasted long? I really think this is the number one reason. Any thoughts?

  39. DW

    Nov 17 2008

    Last summer, my wife and I helped our son and daughter-in-law when they moved into their first house. We bought them a refrigerator from Sears.

    Four months later, the racks and crisper drawers started to break.

    Are you ready for this???? Sears repair says that the racks are “cosmetic” and not covered under the warranty.

    Our home has been filled with Kenmore appliances for decades, and we passed on this tradition to our children. Not any more. Sears has really fallen into the abyss.

  40. DW

    Nov 17 2008

    In June 2007, I purchased a $10,000 Brand New Coast Hot Tub, made in Canada. It was leaking the 1st day, the 1st week, the 1st month, the 1st 3 months, the 1st year.

    Two more leaks were found after the 1st 3 were “fixed” under a 5 year “No Leak” Warranty by a “certified technician”.

    My nasty shock is they only “replace” cracks in the shell and the manufacturer does not cover “transit damage”. “Go to the dealer”.

    One day to fix the 1st leak is good service. One month to fix the 2nd leak, I start to question.

    It took 5 1/2 months to fix the 3rd leak “in a timely manner” and 3 1/2 months to try to fix the 4th leak. The 5th leak was waiting to happen in the 2nd cracked suction.

    All along I was told “Condensation, evaporation, spill out, splash out, run off, water left on the skin” after “topping up” 100+ gallons of water last winter.

    The head office rep told me “1 in 1000 might leak, it’s made by humans so there is potential for human error”. Why am I the “unfortunate” 1 in 1000? How many “fixes” before I call it “a Lemon”?

    Common courtesy return calls do not exist. (I’m considered “a nasty customer”?) My hot tub is shut down now for three months empty, waiting for Customer Appreciation and Compensation of Damages.

    There is a backlog at the Ontario Consumer Protection Branch. The BBB reported “fixed in good faith”. Didn’t I purchase “in good faith” under the Sale of Goods Act? Was it “reasonably fit for use”?

    Did I purchase “implied conditions” (Section 15)? How “Unfair” is “False or Deceptive Representation” (section 14)?

    “The World’s Best Built Spa”. “Holding ourselves to the highest standards is the only way to keep you happy through years of worry-free enjoyment.” “Committed to providing customers with on-time delivery of defect-free products. Quality shall, in every case, take precedent over quantity. Coast hot tubs are built to last.” “Integrity, Quality, Service”, “Always delivering more than the customer expects.”

    Do I have a “Right to Rescind the Contract” (section 18)?

  41. BH

    Nov 19 2008

    The plan by Miele to become “the retailer” and to sell through “agents” may be OK, but it could lead to the problem I recently encountered with Sunbeam.

    I bought a Sunbeam breadmaker online at Zellers’ website. I collected the machine from Zellers in Peterborough (a one hour drive from my home) and my payment was made to Zellers.

    They did make it clear that if anything was wrong within 30 days, they would take the machine back; anything after 30 days had to be dealt with through Sunbeam.

    After 30 days (of course!) I found the machine was not running properly. I contacted Zellers. They said call Sunbeam.

    I called Sunbeam and was told to take it to their nearest designated appliance repair shop – in Pickering, a 2.5 hour drive from here.

    I called the appliance repair shop to see if they could recommend anyone closer. I was informed, not very politely, that if I wanted it repaired it would have to go to Pickering — and in any case, it would take at least 6 to 8 weeks to repair.

    If I drive with the machine to Pickering and then go there again to fetch it, or send and have it returned by courier, it will cost me more than the machine cost in the first place.

    This warranty is effectively worth nothing.

  42. Stephanie Thornbury, Zellers spokeswoman

    Nov 19 2008

    Dear Ms. H, thank you for bringing this to our attention (through Ellen). Notes such as yours help us better assess situations and ensure our customer’s satisfaction.

    I have spoken with our store operations team and we would be happy to help you deal with the product issues you are facing.

    If you would like to take the product back to our Peterborough store, we will replace it with a new one or refund your money – your choice.

  43. DN

    Nov 20 2008

    When my husband and I separated 2 years ago, I had to replace the washer he took with him. Having 2 teenage girls who played a lot of sports, I needed something dependable and reliable.

    After much research and recommendation, I settled on a Bosch Nextt Essence front load model. I purchased this with an extended warranty from Goemans Appliances
    (Mississauga) for approximately $1,300.

    Since I have owned the washer, I have had 6 service calls for the same problem. During the rinse cycle, the motor runs, but the drum doesn’t spin. When this happens, the only way to complete the load is to remove half the articles and re-start the whole wash cycle.

    The technician claims it is designed to handle up to 8 bath towels or 6 pairs of jeans per load, though each of my loads is smaller than either of those.

    Elite Services took a look at the washer, claiming there was nothing wrong on 2 occasions; on the 3rd, replaced the drive belt. I was assured it was repaired.

    For the 4th call, Goemans sent Kampen Services, since Elite was incapable of repairing the problem. Kampen determined the problem was one of the 2 motors was malfunctioning.

    It took them 5 weeks to obtain approval for a replacement and finally returned on Oct. 17. During the 2nd load on Saturday, Oct. 18th, the problem re-occurred.

    When I contacted Goemans, Kampen, Walker Group (the extended warranty company) and Bosch on Oct. 20th, I was given nothing but the runaround. Each claims the responsibility lies with one of the others.

    Bosch will not deal with me because I have an extended warranty; Goemans doesn’t deal with anything beyond the manufacturer’s warranty; Kampen says I have to deal with Goemans or Bosch; Walker Group says my only recourse is to contact Bosch or wait until I’ve had 5 service calls for the same problem.

    I hope you can sense my frustration. If I could afford to give this machine away and start fresh, I would. But with my twin girls in 1st year university, I can’t afford to follow that path.

    I’ve come to the conclusion I have a lemon and don’t know what to do or who to turn to. Using this heavy duty, resource efficient model, I’m using twice as much of everything – electricity, water, detergent, waste water and my time because I’m only running 1/2 loads.

  44. NG

    Nov 20 2008

    After reading your column, I thought I would share my experience with you and your readers.
    Â
    After over 10 years of flawless performance, my Hitatchi VCR died. I would have gladly purchased another Hitachi VCR, but they are one of the many companies no longer manufacturing VCRs.

    So, on Nov. 14, 2006, I purchased a JVC VCR, model HRA592U. It wasn’t long (maybe 2 months) after I began using it that I regretted my purchase.

    One night when I went to program my VCR to record, the on-screen menu (which controls all the functions of the VCR) would not come up. I called JVC Canada’s service department and described the problem to their representative. He could not explain what was wrong with the machine and suggested I take it in for service.

    I was stunned!! After roughly 2 months of operation, a VCR shouldn’t need to be serviced.

    Being a problem-solver by nature, I called JVC Canada back and asked to speak with someone in the engineering department. When I described the on-screen menu problem to him, he knew what the problem was right away.

    He told me that I must have pressed too many buttons on the remote control while programming the VCR to record. (Per the VCR instruction manual, you need only press three buttons: “Power”, “TV/VCR”, and “Menu”, which is what I did.)

    He told me that I would have to re-set the VCR by unplugging it for 5 – 10 seconds. Needless to say, this worked and the VCR did not need to be serviced. This problem re-occurred, without any forewarning, multiple times during the life of the VCR.
    Â
    In July of this year, the “Play” function of the VCR began to act up (it was running too slowly), ruining several of my VCR tapes and quickly stopped working altogether. The JVC VCR lasted just under 18 months!! And, of course, the manufacturer’s warranty only covers 1 year parts and labour.

    As the summer Olympics were coming up and I didn’t want to miss recording some of the events, I had no choice but to purchase another VCR (on July 27, 2008) to replace the JVC machine.
    Â
    When I purchased the JVC VCR back in November 2006, I put it on my RBC Visa card, which provides me with a 1 year extension on the manufacturer’s warranty. Thus, I decided to try and file a claim with RBC Visa for the repair of the VCR.

    I spoke with a woman named Gloria at RBC Visa Insurance, who explained that in order to file a claim I would need to provide RBC Visa with the original Visa receipt, original manufacturer’s warranty and address of the manufacturer’s service facility.

    Being proactive, I asked Gloria what would happen if JVC declined to repair the VCR because the cost of the parts and labour required to do so could exceed the original cost of the VCR ($84.99). She told me that I would need a letter from JVC Canada confirming this and then RBC VISA might refund me the purchase price.                            Â
    Â
    I called JVC Canada and was told that JVC does not repair VCR’s. Someone suggested I call their warranty department to find out what, if anything could be done.

    On July 24, 2008, I called the JVC warranty department and after being transferred several times I spoke with a man named Adam in the “White Glove Department”. He confirmed that JVC does not repair VCR’s and indicated that the wrong warranty card (which did state 1-year parts and labour were covered) was inserted with my model.

    He promised to issue me a letter confirming that JVC does not repair VCR’s, by both e-mail and snail mail. To date, I have never received this letter and thus, I have been unable to file my claim with RBC Visa.
    Â
    I believe that some electronics manufacturers knowingly offer consumers merchandise with life-spans that are way too short. With such short product life-spans, consumers are forced to replace the same product more frequently, which generates more revenue for the manufacturers.

    All I really want at this point in time, is for either JVC Canada or RBC Visa Insurance to refund me the original purchase price of the VCR($84.99, with taxes total $96.89).

    I would very much appreciate your help in this matter.
     

  45. CK

    Nov 20 2008

    My husband won a 52″ Magnavox Plasma TV at his work on April 16, 2007.

    We watched this TV a maximum of 6 months, as we stay at our trailer from April until mid-October. This year in April, the TV just died a week after the warranty expired.

    We called a reputable repairman, who took the circuit board with him, but returned it to us a few days later, stating he could not get any parts to fix it and charged us $20 for a house call.

    We called customer service for Magnavox and we were told that there was nothing they could do as the warranty had expired and the TV was manufactured in 2006. They advised us to take the TV to their dealer in Mississauga.

    So on Oct 24, we took the TV to Unitech Electronic and paid $50 for an estimate, only to be told that they really didn’t know what the problem is. They wanted to replace all four boards at a cost of $850.

    We don’t know what to do and can’t get any answers anywhere. It seems ridiculous to have to spend that kind of money on a TV that was used for 6 months.

    I am disappointed in Magnavox, which I understand is a subsidiary of Phillips, that they don’t have better customer service.

  46. RT

    Nov 20 2008

    I’ve had an ongoing problem with a washing machine I purchased from Morley’s Appliances on Feb. 10, 2007.

    This washer has been the subject of many service calls while under warranty, and the last service call that was scheduled was outside the warranty period due to the unavailability of the required parts.

    Whirlpool insisted that I would now be responsible for the cost of repair, even though the repair was to correct something was previously repaired under warranty and was not fixed properly and reoccurred.

    Here’s a brief chronology of the events below. As I am out of the country quite a bit, this washer does not get the use it would in a normal household, and as a matter of fact I have been at the cottage for the summer, which explains why I am now taking up this cause again.

    Feb. 10 2007: purchased the washer at Morley’s Appliances

    October 2008: Called for service, washer making noise not identified in the manual. Serviceman called Vince came – took apart machine rotor assembly determined nothing wrong and put it back together.

    I was reading information to him from the manual— he seemed to be unfamiliar with this machine. He said if it happened again to call for service.

    Nov. 14: Called for service because the noise was still occurring. Vince came back and ordered the part for the washer Motor Assembly.

    Dec. 9: Called for service because I had not been contacted by Whirlpool. Spoke to Chris who confirmed that the parts had been shipped Nov. 27. I told him I would like a different service person who was more knowledgeable about the product, but Vince came back and changed the Motor Assembly (a major part).

    Dec. 19: Another service call. This time, they had to change the control panel (the computerized touch pad panel). The machine was not useable for at least three weeks due to this problem … again a major part.

    Jan. 31: Machine making the same noise AGAIN even after they changed the motor assembly. Another technician Hyman came. He was better than Vince and would not comment on repair by Vince. Changed another internal part-sensor. Machine still making noise, same as before… and now machine is leaking.

    Hyman returned and said he had to change another part and the hoses must be changed. He called Adrienne at Whirlpool for authorization since the machine was now out of the warranty period. (Keep in mind it was the same problem at all times and the leak started during the warranty period as well.)

    Adrienne said Whirlpool would cover the cost for the sensor and the labour, but not the hoses.

    Hyman spoke to his supervisor and called me back to say that Whirlpool will cover the cost of the repair. As soon as the parts are in, they will come to fix it.

    June 4: I called and spoke to Nadia because the technicians did not arrive. She said they cancelled the call (WITHOUT TELLING ME) because it was a job that required two technicians and the 2nd person was not available!!!

    June 27: I called to follow up and spoke to Stephan, who said my file has been escalated to the “TEAM” and would call me back. Two hours later, I called back and spoke to Grace, who would look into the file… no call back.

    July: Message left on my machine. Whirlpool was prepared to give me a credit of $400+ toward another machine and asked me to send a fax of the invoice (which I did). I told them this was unacceptable and insulting … they should have fixed the original problem, which occurred and reoccurred under warranty numerous times.

    In the year I owned this machine, I think it would be safe to say that the down time of the machine, not including my time waiting for service, was in excess of 30 days.

    The machine was not used during the summer and I have not called Whirpool back. I am STILL WAITING FOR A TEAM MEMBER TO CALL ME BACK.

    In conclusion, it is not fair that Whirlpool hides behind their Consumer Affairs Board. Although the team approach is admirable, it seems that nobody is prepared to take a position in this matter.

    I paid $1,081.86 for this washer and I am sure that the repairs and the outstanding repair owed to me exceed this amount.

    Don’t you think it would have been good business if they would have replaced the washer early on and mitigated their damages?

    I still have a machine that makes noise and leaks. Both problems were reported during the warranty period and attempts to fix it were unsuccessful.

    ——————————————————————————————

    Hi Ellen. As a result of your involvement, I have received a response from Whirlpool Canada.

    They are prepared to provide me with a replacement washer (same model), but this new machine would be WITHOUT WARRANTY unless I pay $200 for delivery and installation!

    They also indicated that I could choose another model made by Whirlpool, subject to a price adjustment.

    I am somewhat leery that they do not want to honour a warranty on a new product. Are they concerned that it too will fail? And to suggest a payment for coverage borders on insulting.

    At this point, I think it is only fair that I accept a new washer (same make and model) with full warranty at no additional cost.

    They should be prepared to remove the old unit, deliver the new unit and install it, since I have already paid for these services when I purchased the original washer.

    ———————————————————–

    Whirlpool provided me with a new washer. However, I did have to pay for delivery ($80) in order to have the unit “under warranty” and I had to make my own arrangements to have it installed.

    So for now the matter has been resolved….

    I am an avid reader of your column and have noticed the numerous situations regarding appliances. As a consumer, I am quite concerned.

    The lack of warranty and the high cost of servicing these appliances almost make them “disposable.”

    It is faster, easier and cheaper to just go buy a new one. Unfortunately, we are filling our landfill sites with these discarded appliances. So much for recycling.

  47. JJ

    Nov 20 2008

    My wife and I had a similar experience with Sears. As soon as retired, our Kenmore clothes washer finally died after 30 years of service.

    We decided to buy another Kenmore washer. After 14 months, it stopped working.

    I called Sears customer service and they said “that’s too bad, you should have purchased an extended warranty.” They offered a service call at $100 an hour + parts, which I refused.

    I called customer service management, customer service for warranties and the National Sales manager for appliances — and all with email backup because I only got to leave phone messages.

    One person told me to get it fixed and they would allow me to buy an extended warranty.

    I eventually had the machine fixed locally at less than the cost of the Sears service call. The part was $25 and it was plastic. The old one basically fell apart.

    The response from Sears was very condescending. I was district sales manager for 26 years and never treated a customer as I was treated. If I did, I would not have had any customers left.

    Sears has now lost a 35 year customer.

    P.S. Why do stores insist on an extended warranties? This makes me think the products are not as good as advertised. Everything seems to need repair after the warranties are up.
    This smacks of “planned obsolescence.”

  48. DD

    Nov 20 2008

    Your column on appliances last Saturday was very timely. The following is a fax that I sent to Mr. Dene Rogers, the President/CEO of Sears.

    Mr. Rogers has not replied to five faxes that I sent to him, but I will continue to send follow up faxes.

    I was thankful I purchased a Sears extended three year warranty (cost $140) on the refrigerator when it was purchased, as the appliance was only guaranteed for one year otherwise.

    ——————————————————————————————-
    Mr. Rogers:

    Thank you and your staff at the Scarborough Town Centre for arranging to repair the refrigerator.

    We are extremely disappointed in the quality of your appliance and the level of service provided to us in this matter.

    The refrigerator was purchased in May 2007 and required repairs that took nearly a week to perform. Your serviceman (1 day and three hours late) was concerned that he was pulled off a furnace-cleaning job to inspect the refrigerator initially.

    We made numerous calls to repair the defective appliance. We encountered buck passing, long waits on the telephone, sometimes in French (we are English), broken commitments and several broken service call appointments.

    The week before, we had major trouble with a 2.5-year-old Kenmore top of the line dryer (manufactured by Frigidaire). (The dryer was a replacement for a defective Kenmore dryer.)

    In my opinion, you should not be selling products requiring servicing when nearly new, that you cannot service in a timely manner and that are promoted as: “Sears Sales Associates take great pride in bringing you the best possible product for the best possible price. They are trained professionals who will ensure your satisfaction continues long after your initial purchase.”

    In the future, should we expect the same quality of appliance and level of service from Sears as we have experienced in the last 2 and one half years?

    ——————————————————————————————-

    I recently received a thank you letter for being a valued member of the Sears Advantage program.

    Effective immediately, please make arrangements to discontinue automatically billing my credit card for membership in this program and please confirm that you have done so.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    Thank you for cancelling my membership in the Sears Advantage program.

    It is unfortunate that as a valued Sears Advantage customer, I was treated poorly by many levels of your organization when I was trying to obtain servicing on a Kenmore refrigerator only 15 months old.

    It is also unfortunate that 3 appliances we recently purchased from Sears have either required servicing (including the refrigerator above) or replacement.

    In the future, may we expect a significant improvement in Sears’ level of service and products sold?

  49. ML

    Nov 20 2008

    Can you help me? Last February, I ordered a part for my garage door opener from Sears and $85.87 was charged to my MasterCard account.

    I picked up the part from the Sears store in Brantford as instructed on Feb. 28. The part did not fit, so I returned it to the store the next day.

    I have never received a credit for this. I have telephoned many times and was directed to various departments and was promised immediate action, but so far nothing.

    I then wrote to Mr. Dene Rogers, President & CEO of Sears, outlining the problem and enclosing proof of my claim. My letter has now been returned to me marked “Moved, return to sender”. I don’t know where to turn.

    I am an 81 year old pensioner and really can’t afford this loss. Anything you could do to help would be much appreciated.

    By the way, Sears charges an annual rate of 28.8% on THEIR overdue accounts!

    ——————————————————————————————

    After you emailed Sears on my behalf, I received a call from Mr. Colin James, who was very apologetic and promised to look after the problem.

    Mr. James called several times informing me of progress and also sent me a gift card for $50 for my trouble.

    Yesterday, I received my MasterCard account and the refund was listed on it. Hurrah!!

    It is a very powerful weapon you wield. The old adage “The pen is mightier than the sword” is still true, although in this electronic age perhaps it should be amended to “a mouse can intimidate an elephantine corporation.”

    Without your help, I would still be waiting. Many thanks.

  50. CS

    Nov 20 2008

    We purchased a GE fridge from The Bay Furniture Outlet at Honeydale Mall on Dec. 01/07.

    The fridge worked until the end of June this year. I placed a service call on July 9.

    Repairman from Direct Energy came July 14 – changed the main circuit board around noon, but by early evening there was still no change in the temperature. The freezer was not working and the fridge was too warm.

    Called Direct Energy to tell them the fridge was still not working. The same serviceman came back 2 days later and said it needed an overload relay, which according to him was not in stock and had to be ordered from manufacturer – would take 2-3 weeks.

    Someone called from Direct Energy to book an appointment when the part was in for Aug. 6. On that day I called, since I did not hear from serviceman about when to expect him. He said he did not have the part and would have to reorder it (2-3 weeks).

    I have been in touch with a manager at The Bay who referred me to their leadership hotline. When I last spoke to her on Sept. 9 (now 2 months from my original service call), she said that since the fridge was under warranty it was out of her hands and up to the manufacturer to repair it.

    The manufacturer of GE in Canada is MABE, which says that under warranty I have to wait for the part to come and Direct Energy does the repairs for them. Considering that I have been waiting so long, they will forward this info to a manager.

    Everyone I have called has just been passing the buck. I am the one who always has to initiate some type of response from them and they rarely call me to update me.

    I have checked other complaint websites, mostly from the USA, about many problems people have experienced with GE appliances, service and warranty.

    We also purchased the totalguard warranty from the Bay. This gives us added protection like food spoilage up to $250 and a no lemon guarantee. This has done nothing for our situation.

    Two months without a fridge is not acceptable. We went and purchased a Frigidaire fridge from Lowe’s.

    I checked the GE website and discovered that the fridge we purchased was discontinued and was 5 years old. I just wonder how many times it has been sold and returned by other customers if that is the case?

    It doesn’t seem that The Bay is willing to take back this fridge, nor is GE (MABE) willing to fix it. What do we do with this big white cabinet taking space in our kitchen? No one seems to want it.

  51. GK

    Dec 1 2008

    This is an easy problem to solve, Ellen, for your fridge door seal. Take your hair dryer, open your door and blow hot air on the rubber seal. The seal will loosen, flex and expand as it warms.

    If parts of the seal don’t expand, then gently pull out with your fingers. Close the door and check the seal. If there are any problem areas, open the door and focus your hair dryer on that seal area. Then close the door and let the seal cool. It should keep its position.

    You might have to do this a second time the next day for touch-ups.

  52. BH again

    Dec 5 2008

    Thank you so much for all this. I received emails from Stephanie Thornbury at HBC and have sent her the reply below. I also received an email from Dan Bower, which I’ve copied below my reply. It’s a little weird!

    BH

    ——————————————————————————————–
    Dear Ms Thornbury:

    Thank you for the offer of replacement or refund. However, I think that if Zellers is selling an item, then Zellers must take some responsibility in helping buyers to resolve any issues they may have, and having a “policy” to the contrary doesn’t relieve the company of its responsibility.

    Initially, I called Zellers and Sunbeam hoping to ask someone about the performance of the bread maker. There may not be a problem with it – perhaps that’s how it’s supposed to perform – but I couldn’t get any help from either company.

    I’m still trying to find someone to ask. If this fails, I will take the machine back to the Peterborough store.

    Thank you for taking notice and for acting so promptly.

    ——————————————————————————————–

    From Dan Bower (presumably from Zellers or HBC):

    I got a note from the office that you are having an issue with a return. As per our policy, we ask the customer after 30 days to call the vendor.

    At most times, the vendor is very effective in fixing the issue. Sometimes they replace the part as in a broken patio table glass. Sometimes, they even send a new item right to the customer’s address.

    However, some vendors are not so nice. In that case the customer calls back and I personally call the vendor. If I am not happy with the vendor’s answer, I give the vendor a piece of my mind on the situation.

    Sometimes the vendor just is not cooperative and we resolve the situation at store level. I wish you would have just called back when the vendor gave you a hard time and I would have fixed the situation, as I do for my other customers.

  53. FrustratedConsumer

    Dec 29 2008

    I bought a brand new Frigidaire freestanding range and a new Kenmore top-bottom refrigerator when we bought our house 7 years ago. Let me also preface that my husband and I both work and we don’t do any entertaining – the house is too small for that. So the stove probably only gets used in the evening.

    The oven hasn’t worked in the range for the last 3 years; we’ve purchased a large toaster oven and smaller baking dishes to compensate. If we have to make anything larger, such as a turkey or roast, we either come up with a stove top or crockpot recipe, or go over to my mother’s to bake it.

    The cheap plastic brackets that hold up the storage drawer broke off after the first year and they discontinued the parts. So now, it basically sits on the floor.

    As for the fridge….The molded plastic ‘rails’ that jut out from the interior to hold up the rolling drawer rack in our freezer unit has long chipped away and now you can see that it was made of a remarkably thin layer of plastic.

    Again, our purchases are only 7 years old now but most of these things occurred within the first 4 years of minimal daily usage.

    Before buying the current oven – in our apartment – we had this porcelain beast of a gas range made in the early ’30s. Despite the fact it was a little scary when the oven kicked on, every part of it worked and it made wonderful cookies! It had a side storage unit that fit all of our baking sheets. They just don’t make things that last these days, I guess.

    In our basement is an old ’40s Kelvinator fridge, complete with the metal ice trays. Yes! The first manufacturer of refrigerators! I bet if I plugged it in, I’d find that it still works!

    (I just got a call from Sears while writing this response. We finally bit the bullet and purchased a new gas range. They’ll be delivering my new Kenmore tomorrow. Want to make a bet this stove won’t last more than 7 years?)

  54. Dan Nicotera

    Dec 30 2008

    The GE Profile side by side refrigerators with bottom freezer, stainless steel, are junk!!

    With my fridge, a year and half old, the display stopped working and the compressor seemed to be running quite often. I called the repair and it only had a 1 year warranty. I had to pay for a repair guy to come out and replace a whole motherboard on the back.

    I argued with the people at MABE and they ended up sending me back the cost of the board, but I had to pay for the service call. These are known faults.

    Now the right clip on the top of the door has broken off!! It seems to be part of the plastic sleeve inside the door. Just a thin piece of plastic, just junk, not made to last.

    I hope I can get at least 10 years out of this fridge, then never buy anything from GE again!!

  55. BC servicer

    Jan 1 2009

    Yes, most of the warranties have been cut back to a year. Higher priced appliances will sometimes come with a longer warranty.

    The reason for the shorter warranties, as explained, was “to provide our customers with better service”. HUH?

    Also, the warranty on replacement parts was cut back from one year to 90 days.

    I am an all brand servicer for most if not all manufacturers and YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!!!!

    I expect customer service to get worse, not “better.” Soon, Canada will treat its customers like the Americans do. The day that comes, I shall QUIT!!!!

  56. RA

    Feb 13 2009

    My $1,200 Craftsman snowblower is broken.

    Phoning Sears customer service in Belleville got me a very polite, “You should have bought the extended warranty, sir.”

    I was also assured that it really wasn’t a Sears problem; it was a Craftsman problem(!)

    Now I’m confused. I’m pretty sure it says, ‘Sears’ on the snowblower just before it says ‘Craftsman’, and I know I bought it at a Sears store.

    And here’s the best part. When I googled Craftsman to talk to their ‘customer service’ department, the SEARS home page came up. You can’t make this kind of thing up.

    Thanks to your sending my letter to Vince Power, I have had contact with Sears customer service department again.

    The first call was a message. When I tried to call the number back, it wouldn’t answer. On the screen, it says, ‘unknown caller’. This must be what Sears calls corporate pride.

    Today, they called back and I took the call. To his credit, the customer service rep got nearly four minutes into the conversation before he used the words, ‘extended warranty’. This, in my experience, is a record.

    I learned two things from the call. One, they don’t offer extended warranties on exercise equipment or lawn machinery.

    So there’s some advice for your readers. If you want lawn machinery or exercise equipment, don’t go to Sears.

    My local lawn equipment dealer tells me it’s not uncommon to see Toro snowblowers running after 15 or 20 years. His words were, “If you buy good quality in the first place, you don’t need an extended warranty.”

    Don’t ask me why I didn’t ask him about Sears before I bought from them; I don’t have an answer.

    The second thing I learned is that a Craftsman snowblower is associated with Sears only when you’re in the store giving them money. Once you own it, and it breaks down, it suddenly becomes a HUSQVARNA. I’m not kidding.

    Again, you couldn’t make this stuff up. The customer service rep had gone to some trouble to look up Husqvarna’s website. He didn’t have a phone number, but he invited me to contact them through their website.

    So there’s the story. I’m having the machine repaired in Oakville. I’ll run it until the next breakdown and then I’ll probably throw it out.

    Even when people don’t ask me how I’m doing with Sears customer service, I’ll tell them anyway, and I know a lot of people in Oakville.

    My advice to your readers is this: One, if you’re thinking of buying anything mechanical from Sears, be very careful.

    Two, if you own Sears shares, sell them.

    Sears talks exactly the way the British car companies did 40 years ago and the way General Motors did 20 years ago.

  57. RA again

    Mar 25 2009

    On Feb. 13, I got an email from Sears CEO Dene Rogers, saying he would have Peter May straighten this out for me.

    When Dene Rogers says, “I’ll get Peter May to straighten this out for you.” he means, “I’ll get a guy who works for Peter May to call you and tell you we can’t do a thing for you.”

    This experience has taught me a lot. You might want to share some of it with your readers.

    First, with or without an extended warranty, don’t buy anything mechanical from Sears; if it breaks, you’re on your own. Towels, washcloths, blankets are probably fine.

    Second, if anything goes wrong in any dealings with Sears, and you think the name, the history, or the reputation of Sears will be there to help you, you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s exactly like dealing with Bob’s Appliances and Screen Door Company.

    To my own discredit, I think I’ve been living in another era for a very long time. The new reality is, look at everybody, buy on price alone, and pay no attention to any advertising that hints at ‘the _____ family’, _____years in business’ or any other quaint twentieth century notion.

  58. Ellen Roseman

    Mar 25 2009

    Dene Rogers sent a reply to this customer and to me:

    Thank you for your feedback, we always strive to do better.

  59. JO

    Mar 27 2009

    I hope you can help me with my Samsung television. We bought a Samsung 42”LCD Model #LN-S4051D in November 2006.

    We bought it from Best Buy in Whitby and we paid $2,100 for just the TV. We did not get the extended warranty. The sales associate told us we would be wasting our money because Samsung televisions will not break down for at least 5 years.

    I remember this claim because the next day we went back to Best Buy and bought a stereo and I put the extended warranty on that.

    On Feb. 14, the sensor went on the television. I emailed the president of Samsung and said the sensor problem was because of a defective part and I felt Samsung should cover this under warranty, which they have refused to do.

    They said this was a isolated problem and I had to pay to get the television fixed, approximately $400.

    I then Googled “problems with Samsung television model #LN-s4051D” and a website called Tech Report has 14 complaints. All of them had to do with these sensors. This was just one website and I am sure there are more.

    Samsung has ignored all the customer complaints and will not cover any repairs. Samsung has known about this problem with the sensor for at least 2 years and they are still selling these TV’s to the unsuspecting consumer.

    Can you get Samsung to do the right thing and cover the sensor? This is a manufacturing problem and has nothing to do with just normal wear and tear.

    ————————————————————

    Hi Ellen, I have just received a call from Samsung and they are going to fix my TV under warranty. This would not have happened without your help. Thank you so much.

  60. EB

    Jul 14 2009

    Whatever happened to the days when pride of workmanship and product quality actually meant something?

    I have been married for 35 years and all of our original household appliances lasted for approximately 25 years.

    Since then, we’ve replaced each appliance twice, the latest being a Kenmore front load washer that lasted a mere three years.

    We bought this machine from Sears in Oshawa in 2006 for about $1,100. It’s now worthless and neither Sears nor Kenmore could care less.

    Per this washer, since day one, it sounded like a jet plane taking off. Now, three years later, it started spewing grease all over our clothing.

    When the Sears aplliance technician paid a house call, he informed us that the motor bearings were worn out and the repair would be over $600. So, basically, buy a new machine.

    What surprised me even more was that both Sears and Kenmore are well aware that this is a common problem, see http://www.thenewhomemaker.com.

    Imagine, $1,100 for three years, what a travesty. And, considering that I have purchased multiple appliances from Sears over the years, I expected better treatment.

    Oh well, I guess it’s just a sign of the times. Quality was important when these appliances were manufactured in North America, but now it’s all a matter of where can a company build them for the lowest cost, to heck with quality and standing behind their products.

    Let’s produce them in Singapore where we can pay the lowest labour rates and who cares how long they last, people
    will always need appliances so, when one wears out, they’ll have to buy another.

    I can tell you this though, never again from Sears and never another Kenmore. Quality may not matter to them, but for $1,100, it sure means something to me.

  61. SW

    Aug 5 2009

    We purchased a washer and dryer straight from Whirlpool in Mississauga. It is a top load HE unit. That means it uses hardly any water, but looks like a conventional washer.

    Our problem is this model’s design. Like a regular washer, there is a wash tub inside the washing machine. On this particular model, there is a space all around the top that allows clothes to fall in behind the inner tub and get trapped in the bottom of the outer tub.

    It is bad enough that you lose the clothes, but eventually they end up blocking the ports that drain the water from the tub.

    Twice since I’ve owned it (which is less than a year), I’ve removed clothing from the bottom. The third time I couldn’t get the clothes out so I had to get a service call. Luckily, it was covered by warranty.

    Whirlpool will not admit it is a design flaw and either add a shield or replace my washer. Instead, they suggest we put small articles of clothing in a mesh bag they provided.

    They say it is only a design flaw if the washer doesn’t do the job it was designed to do. In my opinion, it isn’t doing the job.

    I should add that we bought the new washer and dryer as we have a newborn. He is a little over 2 now. That is a lot of little articles of clothing that need to be put inside a mesh bag, not to mention one of the articles of clothing removed from the tub was my wife’s bikini bottoms.

    I’m not talking about a thong here. I’m talking regular size bikini bottoms. So about half of every load would need to be bagged, according to that.

    The tech that serviced our machine told us this model is well known for this flaw.

    ————————————————————

    Thanks for helping out. We really appreciate it.

    I received a call today from Karey Car at Whirlpool. She is mailing me a cheque for $100 so I can buy laundry bags.

    I’m still not satisfied. I think that washing machines should wash clothes. The extra step of putting anything in a wash bag is preposterous.

    She says all lingerie including bras, panties, all socks and baby items need to be bagged.

    Have you ever heard of anything so crazy? I asked if I could trade it in and she said no way. I’m not expecting a full credit. They still claim it is not a design flaw.

  62. MZ

    Aug 6 2009

    My wife bought a Maytag washer in March 2007. The cost was $508, plus a two-year warranty ($110), called TotalGuard, which runs from 3/16/08 until 3/15/10.

    A “repairman” came to our home and said the appliance needed a new part, but did not indicate the part or the cost of the part. He had to check with his office first.

    The response my wife got is a shock to us.

    In the very fine print on the back of the “warranty” it states under Replacement Option:

    “At our option, We may replace Your eligible product with a new or refurbished product of like kind and quality, if We are unable to repair Your product, or where the cost of repair may exceed the current retail replacement value of Your Eligible product.

    “The price of the replacement product shall not exceed the retail purchase price of the original eligible product. If We elect to replace Your eligible product, we may choose to provide you with with an HBC gift card, etc.”

    No one brought this absurd and ridiculous term to our attention.

    In fact, all salespeople at HBC readily recommend buying these so-called warranties.

    No one has ever told us what the cost of fixing the washer would be. No one has even told us the problem.

    HBC unilaterally decided to send us a gift card for $508.
    What about delivery charges, what about removal charges, what about taxes and the extra purchase costs?

    Ww want this Maytag repaired. Maytags are supposed, by law and otherwise, to last more than two years.

    This warranty appears to be a gigantic sham since HBC and TotalGuard are obviously one and the same.

    ————————————————————

    Thanks for your help, Ellen. HBC told my wife they will allow us to buy a new washing machine up to $749.

    They will pay the tax and cover delivery, installation costs and removal of the old machine. They will also give us a new 2 year warranty.

    The money they make on these so-called extended warranties must be incredible.

  63. ET

    Aug 9 2009

    In January 2008, our built-in stove circuits blew when a little water from the counter seeped under the stove top. The stove was gone and needed replacement.

    Since our house is small and old, we needed a smaller stovetop and built in oven than ordinary. We searched and found it difficult to find exactly what would fit.

    Finally going onto the internet, we discovered Madison Appliances in Brooklyn NY, which had the size we needed, and the manufacturer was Bosch.

    We checked prices in Toronto, which were around $2,700 to $2,800 for both stovetop and built in oven. However, all stores had to order them in, as it was not a popular size.

    We then discovered ApplianceWarehouseDirect.com, which could order it in for the same US price, $2,338, since the Canadian $ was almost at par with the US $. So we ordered, received it, installed it.

    First problem was the clock would go from 11:59 am to 1 pm, then 1:59 to 1 pm again. We called and Bosch arranged to have their service company replace it.

    The first repair circuit was doing exactly the same. Bosch admitted they knew the clock had a defect and sent out the part anyways. Well, the second circuit worked fine but we had to wait over a month for the part.

    Then we discovered that the large burner would not hold a boil after reaching the boiling point. The temperature sensor would cut out too early.

    We complained and were told by two separate service companies that our pots were not exactly straight. Never heard of that before and that was the end of the matter.

    Nothing could be done, except to learn how to cook pasta, and perogies a little differently because the boil would stop till the temp sensor kicked back in.

    So we’re happy we got it cheaper, but are very disappointed in Bosch in knowingly selling defective equipment. We leaned to Bosch, because their prices were higher than other brands and had a good name. But now the name is not so good.

    For what it’s worth, I just thought to share this with you, as I’m sure others may also want to send in their experiences with you.

  64. J Birck

    Aug 31 2009

    We have had our share of appliance horror stories. We have had only one really good experience, and I think this is worth throwing into the mix.

    We bought a Panasonic Viera Plasma TV. As Murphy would have it, the TV recently died, a few months *after* the warranty had already expired. When we contacted Panasonic by e-mail, they responded within a few hours. They sent a technician out the same night to assess the problem.

    My husband talked with Panasonic the next day and expressed disappointment that the TV would break down so soon, presumably because of a known issue. Panasonic offered to pay the entire cost of the expensive part we required, as long as we paid the labour cost for the service. We did not even request that they do this. The repairs were done within a few days.

    Because of their great customer service, we will be buying Panasonic again, and recommending their products. I don’t know why more companies don’t understand the basics of good customer service. What goes around comes around.

  65. Tax Guy

    Sep 9 2009

    We bought a washer from Sears when we moved to our new home. After 1 year, the machine died and the cost to fix was more than a new machine.

    I was told these machines are now only made with a 5 year life span – I bought a new one and the extended warranty.

  66. NC

    Sep 17 2009

    Maybe you can help us… with our GE refrigerator.

    We bought a brand new french door fridge from Sears on July 14, 2008 and thought with Sears it’ll be a good product, based on Sears reputation. Whoops, we were wrong.

    On January 8, 2009, the bottom shelf cracked and one crisper needed to be replaced. I called Sears and set the wheels in motion for a repair – not too complicated or so we thought.

    The crisper was no problem to replace, but when it came to the bottom shelf, it became a bigger problem. It now the middle of September and we still have not had the shelf replaced.

    First we were informed the part was on back order and wouldn’t come in until April 2009. In April, the part arrived but someone goofed and the shelf was too narrow.

    Back to Sears again and after numerous phone calls, an individual at corporate customer service told me to just wait and nothing else would be done for us. He was curt and fairly rude, not what I expected from corporate customer service.

    I requested some type of compensation and pushed the envelope by saying I had no faith in the product and wanted a new fridge. Well, I was told that my request was ridiculous and I would not receive anything until the service was complete – when will that be?

    As well, the bottom freezer handle swung free on one side 30 days after the warranty expired. A service call/repair to a loose screw cost us $90 – that’s a lot for a screw!

    The last technician offered us a two year extended warranty for $199 that would be credited/refunded back if we didn’t use the service. We jumped at that, based on our lack of confidence in this GE product.

    To this point, I have put in far too much time in waiting for a customer service agent on the phone, as well as probably 8 calls to Sears regarding this part replacement.

    Perhaps, you might have some better luck in getting our part because 9 months is a long time to wait for a shelf (or even better a new fridge for all the trouble and aggravation Sears has caused us).

    Frustrated beyond belief with Sears!

    ————————————————————

    I heard from the same customer service manager last night (nice). Here is her update.

    They contacted the manufacturer of the part and best guess is maybe 6 weeks more, but in her words that could mean 6 months.

    I gently asked her if this was an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a part and she said absolutely, it is unreasonable, anything beyond 30 days is unacceptable within their code of conduct for service.

    They are going to try and see if a part from another model might fit our fridge.

    At this point, I’d just like a new fridge. She did indicate that might be a route to go and talked about some charge for ‘time of usage’ to be adjusted from a new fridge. In our case, I would deem that to be approximately 5 1/2 months before the crack in the bottom shelf.

    I truly appreciate her follow up (she is very forthcoming with information) but I just want to be done with this whole thing and the new fridge is the way to go (I hope).

    Thanks again for getting the ball rolling!

  67. SJ

    Sep 22 2009

    I have a Frigidaire Front Loading Washing Machine. I noticed water on the floor one day and removed the kick to see what was going on. Water was dripping from the seam where the front and back outer shell joined. This occurred when it was on spin cycle. I had subscribed to an appliance repair forum when I had a dishwasher problem, so I thought I would look there.

    Turns out these machines are notorious for this problem. The machines can go by the brand name Frigidaire or Kenmore.

    My options were: 1. Buy a new machine (cost of $600-$800), 2. Have it repaired by a service technician (cost of $250-$300), or 3. Try and repair it myself (cost parts only). I found out the seal (or what they call O-Ring) was only $22.00, so I figured I would give it a go.

    I found instructions on an appliance forum website and went to work. First thing I discovered was that one of the shock absorbers was broken. Another call made to find out whether part was available. It was, but it cost twice as much here in Canada for it than it would have in the States. ($70.00). Strange how the price of the seal was the same in the US and Canada but the shock absorber was double. I continued to disassemble the machine to make sure I would not have to buy anything else. Once I made repairs, I reassembled the machine and ran a test load. No leaks from seal, however it was now leaking at the drain boot. #)*#$&#*&. Looks like a couple pinholes. I sealed with silicone sealant, but will have to purchase a new drain boot.

    Be forewarned. These machines are plagued with problems. The leaking seal is one. The rear bearing is another. The spider (which is like the back frame of the steel drum) corrodes and breaks. The controller board has been known to go. The problem I had was the cheapest one to have. If the bearing goes, you end up replacing the rear shell for close to $200.00. If the spider is broken, you end up replacing the whole drum for over $200.00.

    I picked up the drain boot. It was listed as $36.00 US and I only paid $24.00 Canadian. There seems to be no consistency with the pricing on these parts. A pen went through the wash a month later and part of it lodged in the pump. I replaced the drain boot when I fished the pen out of the pump.

    A month later I noticed that the washer had started cycle and was just sitting there not doing anything. I restarted washer and as soon as it started to fill, water came out the front. Great.

    Took clothes out and noticed front seal had come away from drum. Very odd. Took top of unit and found out why…one of the support springs broke and the drum had dropped, pulling the seal off. I also caught a whiff of burning electrical something.

    Took back off unit to see if motor was damaged, did not appear to be. Put meter on motor but was getting no voltage. Fortunately there were schematics in an envelope inside the machine, and the was a trouble shooting section at bottom. Turns out the motor speed control board is fried. Online price $160.00. Spring 22.00. Now the big decision. Should I get these part and add that to the close to $200 I spent a couple months ago? If I replace the motor speed control, I am not sure it will even work. There also could be problems with the timer or even the motor. And then there is the inevitable bearing that will undoubtedly break.

    Time to cut my losses. Out the door it goes.

    Cost to buy a new front loader one model up in size is around $800.00. Because of the problems I have had with this one, I would definitely buy extended warranty. That will add another $200 to the price. But wait…the extended warranty is good for 5 years. My machine stopped at just over 6 years.

    Or, I could buy a top loader for $450.00 and forget the extended warranty. I have had a top loader before and they don’t often break. They do use more water, but when you look at the big picture, is spending close to $600.00 more for the front loader and warranty equivalent to the money you would save over the life of the machine? I doubt it, considering you might not get more than 5 or 6 years out of a front loader.

    So I went to Sears to buy a top loader. This particular Sears is a Dealer Store that mainly sells appliances and other big ticket items. The owner is local and I have dealt with them before.

    He saw us checking out the top loaders and said we should really consider a front loader. I told him I had one that died and I wasn’t about to make the same mistake again. He told me that the one I had was one of the “original” models and they are build so much better now. I told him I was on the internet the previous day and saw horror stories from people that had front loaders that were only one or two years old.

    In the end we bought a top loader for about ½ of what I would have spent on a front loader with extended warranty.

    As an aside…his comment about them being built so much better now? The dishwasher I bought 4 years ago quit working after 2 years. I had to replace a valve and controller board. I seriously doubt that front loading washer I could have bought today is any better than the one I bought 7 years ago. I expect my top loader will last 15-20 years.

    Considering the fact that we are supposed to be more ecologically minded now and save resources, I fail to see how it is better for me to trash a washing machine that is less than 10 years old, than it is for me to use more water. If the government were more concerned with the environment, they would have stricter rules in place about the life span of anything that is supposed to “help” the environment.

  68. Matt

    Oct 13 2009

    It was encouraging to see the help you were able to offer two readers with their appliance misfortune in today’s Saturday Star, http://www.thestar.com/business/onyourside/article/708357–powderpost-beetles-in-server-almost-ruin-dinner.

    My wife and I are at the point that we have almost given up with our Kitchen Aid built in combination microwave single oven, model #KEMS308SSS. This is an approx $4,000 unit!

    We purchased this unit, along with all the other appliances needed for our new home that we took possession of, in November 2008. Total purchase of approx $16,000 — to us, a significant investment.

    We felt strongly about purchasing a good brand name in order to get reliable appliances.

    First, the microwave came with a burnt out light bulb, not a big deal since the unit was still functional and was repaired in a reasonable time frame.

    Second, in March of 2009, the microwave stopped working, no heat. After FOUR service calls, through trial and error, the technician ultimately replaced every part that allowed the unit to heat up, except for one part.

    The reason that one part hasn’t been replaced is that the wrong part was sent with the technician on his last visit.

    We haven’t heard from Metro Maytag OR Whirlpool US since Aug. 20th. The repairman told us the parts are very hard to get and come from the U.S.

    At this point, we want a new unit or at least an extension of the warranty by the length of time the unit has not been functional (6 months!).

    You don’t realize how much you rely on your microwave until you are without it, especially with a 6 month old child that needs her baby food defrosted or milk slightly warmed up.

  69. RR

    Oct 26 2009

    I just wanted to pass along my recent experience with my Whirlpool appliance purchased at Sears.

    I purchased a Whirlpool washing machine and dryer less than two years ago (Jan. 6, 2008). I declined the extended warranty (I admit that was a big mistake).

    A couple of days ago when we tried to use the washer, an error code indicated that we had a computer problem with the appliance.

    I called Sears and was told that the issue could be one or two faulty circuit boards. The first of many customer service reps told me to call Whirlpool Canada.

    I spoke with Tiffany Ramage at Whirlpool Canada and was told that they refer consumers of their Whirlpool brands back to Sears for service. They would not offer any assistance.

    Had I known that Whirlpool does not stand by their brands, I certainly would not have purchased their appliances.

    The customer service rep at Sears told me that one circuit board would cost $122 and the other $180. A service call would be $80 and the labour another $70 per board. I purchased the machine for $999.

    Sue, the customer service supervisor at Sears, offered a $100 discount on the service cost if I agreed to her offer within two days.

    I am considering having an independent repair technician fix the machine because I don’t want to give Sears any more of my money. I had also purchased four kitchen appliances.

    I’ve learned an expensive lesson regarding the necessity of the extended warranty. Without one, there is no customer service.

    P.S. I’ve found a tech to fix the machine. When I told Sue at Sears that I’ve been a loyal customer for over 30 years, I was told that they have thousands of loyal customers. Make that one less.

  70. KC

    Dec 2 2009

    I have been in contact with Sears since Oct. 1/09 by telephone, letter and email. They say the manufacturer’s warranty on my self-clean range has expired and that, since I did not purchase a protection agreement, they will not assist me with the cost of parts or repairs.

    I purchased a Sears Kenmore self-clean range in August 2007. By September 2009, I found that the middle oven rack would no longer sit on the rack guides on either side of the oven, but falls down to land on the lower rack.

    The Sears Home Repair technician diagnosed the problem as an “expanded oven liner,” which he attributed to the use of the self-clean feature. He said this was an uncommon problem, but not unheard of in his career.

    Based on his description, this sounded to me like a flaw related to the manufacture of the range. The cost to replace the oven liner is $195 for parts and $130 for labour, plus taxes.

    I disagree with Sears. They keep using the expression “manufacturer’s warranty” to distance themselves from my problem. But their appliance brand name is on this product and I think Sears should stand behind it.

    This range is just two years old, which is a very unacceptable life cycle for a range. My previous self-clean range lasted 23 years, with all the racks intact for the whole time period.

    I started my discussions with them on Oct. 1. Receiving no satisfaction, on Oct. 21 I wrote to Dene L. Rogers, President and CEO, outlining my problem and asking for the repair or replacement of my range.

    It took Cathy from Sears Corporate Customer Service a month to respond. She left me a telephone voice mail message declining to assist me.

    On Nov. 2, I emailed Home@Sears.ca to ensure that they had received my letter. After a series of eight emails over the month of November, they repeated the usual answer, “expired manufacturer’s warranty and no protection agreement”.

    I do not think that this repair falls under the normal wear and tear in the life of a self-clean range. I think Sears should take responsibility for the repair costs, as I think this range was flawed from the outset.

    Use of the self-clean feature should not cause the oven liner to expand and the shelves to become non-operational.

  71. Jenifter

    Dec 7 2009

    My recent experience with Sears customer service has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.

    We are currently doing a home renovation and purchased 3 appliances from Sears over $4,000 in goods. We went to install the wall oven and found the mounting brackets missing from the package.

    Sears said they would take 2 weeks before we could get more. My husband phoned back to say this was unacceptable and was shuffled from operator to operator in the Philippines, despite asking for a supervisor repeatedly.

    After 40 minutes, he was transferred to a customer service rep in Belleville, Ont., and despite the rep saying she also felt this was not acceptable and she would have someone call the next day, we have heard from no one from Sears.

    I have sent 2 e-mails to their customer service, which also promise a response in 24 hours and have not heard back either.

    It is hard to believe 2 small pieces of metal could be so difficult to obtain. Without an oven…

  72. KC again

    Dec 7 2009

    Thank you very much for your help. I received a phone call from the Manager of Customer Service in the Parts & Service Dept of Sears.

    Sears has now authorized the replacement of the oven liner in my range.

    It is truly amazing that you were able to achieve this outcome in one day, while I spent two months trying to get them to recognize their responsibility to stand behind their products.

    Please pass on my thanks to your Sears media contact as well. I am certain that this positive result would not have happened without both his and your assistance.

    I sincerely appreciate your help. Thank you again.

  73. ross g

    Dec 7 2009

    I have fixed small appliances for years (something I’m good at). The sad thing is stuff they make nowadays isn’t worth the plastic it’s made on.

    At one time you could get something fixed, but the repair shops are closing up shop. And it costs more to ship parts than the crap they are trying to sell.

    Heck I still have my Philips coffee maker (less switch), ha-ha.

    Nice article you have. (I forwarded it to my friends.)

  74. SA

    Jan 5 2010

    I love reading your articles and all your advice. Recently I ran into a consumer problem I hope you can help me with.

    I have a KitchenAid stainless steel fridge and it is about 3 years old. I found out the lining is cracked and the crack is getting worse.

    I have had many fridges before and I never have any with the liners cracked. This is supposed to be a top of the line fridge.

    I was delighted to find out the liner is still under warranty. I called KitchenAid and the serviceman told me they can repair it by glueing another piece of plastic on top of it.

    I was not happy at all because I don’t want my 3 year old fridge to look like I got it from a Salvation Army store. Who knows what is leaking from the crack?

    There is a defect in the liner and even if they patched it up, I think it will crack again.

    I called KitchenAid and talked to the supervisor, saying I wanted the repair to look like the original fridge. Either replace the liner or replace my fridge. She refused.

    I went online to type in “Cracked fridge liners” and found tons of complaints about the issue. A lot of the problems got worse after 5 years (when the liner’s guarantee is over). Most of the complaints are Whirlpool and KitchenAid, the same maker.

    A lot of us spent a lot of money on the product, thinking it was top of the line, and were surprised when it cracked after 3 years.

    ————————————————————

    Happy New Year. I just want to let you know the outcome of my complaint.

    I just got a new fridge delivered from KitchenAid and I have to pay $250. At least I am not stuck with a defective fridge.

    I want to thank you very much for your help and support. Keep up with your good work. I will be reading your articles in The Star. Have a nice day.

  75. Joren

    Jan 17 2010

    After reading through all the comments two things come to mind:

    1. I’m not going to give into the front-load washer porn that arrives every week in flyers to my house. I am going to keep the inefficient, energy hogging, environmentally unfriendly TANK of a washer and dryer I have until they have to take it out of my house on a stretcher.

    2. My brother was right. Sears sucks. He bought appliances from them several years back and had to have them replaced 3 times before he even installed them because they couldn’t deliver something that hadn’t been banged/bashed around and had dents in it.

    Kenmore is just another name for crap these days and Sears has become a joke. A friend of mine who works for them in repairs won’t even buy there – what does THAT tell you?

  76. BJ

    Feb 11 2010

    Hi Ellen, trying to find an email for Sears CEO Dene Rogers to forward my complaints and frustrations, I came across your site and thought you might be interested in this other link I found. Started in 2006 and still going strong.

    http://saunderslog.com/2006/05/16/were-waiting-for-a-miracle-from-sears-canada/comment-page-11/

    I have issues with a 6 month old washer. Sears’ lack of respect for my time is a sad statement on the current state of this company’s ability to service its customer base. No wonder they are losing business to Walmart.

    ————————————————————

    WOW, I just had a call from t Sears Home. I cannot thank you enough for forwarding my letter to the “right person” at Sears. I am very sure your clout precipitated the prompt call.

    I am just so stunned, and slightly overwhelmed at the moment (unusual for me ;-) at the response time of Sears. Not the norm for them, for sure.

    Not sure what the final outcome will be as of yet. But at least the ball is rolling, hopefully forward. Sorry to seem just a wee bit skeptical, but it is an automatic response with Sears ;-). We will for sure keep you posted.

    ————————————————————

    Hi Ellen, I have not written sooner to let you know the outcome as I am still holding my breath to make sure it all happens. ;-)

    Sears did give me a credit for my old machine and I have been told that I am not the first to complain and have issues with this machine. HMMM!!!

    I have picked out another model BUT it is on back order and the earliest delivery is March 12th. Until then, I am to have use of the old machine (and we are using all the old towels, clothes, etc :-( Hope that just made sense.

    Again though, there is no excuse for Sears giving loyal customers, those with proven purchasing history at Sears, the hassles and runaround that we received.

    It appears they still have not learned their lesson and continue to treat customers in the same manner. I certainly hope this improves in the very near future.

    As for my family, we are extremely grateful for your assistance in this manner. Our clothes thank you too!!! ;-)

  77. Bonita McCarthy

    Feb 26 2010

    I bought a new central vac (Electrolux Brand) after Christmas and paid for an extended warranty.

    Had it installed 4 weeks ago… neither the power head nor the powered tube work and they won’t replace the parts with a new set.

    It has been one month of calls and visits to the store. Now their repair subcontractor says I have to wait yet another month (or more) for parts.

    It is crazy that for a brand new (defective) item, they won’t just exchange it. I even said I would take one of the store display models.

    They say it is “Store Policy” that they only repair, never replace. I have already dragged it into the store twice and to their repair subcontractor once.

    The rep who called me today said I have to take it to yet another of their subcontractors and he added “You know they don’t make things to last like they used to”. Pretty feeble, considering it has never worked.

    I have been dragging this thing back and forth the highway between three cities and my floors are not getting any cleaner.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  78. Bonita McCarthy

    Feb 26 2010

    I should have added the name of the store to the information I just sent…I had purchased the central vac unit at Goeman’s / Goemans Appliances.
    Thank you.

  79. Richard Lerner

    May 21 2010

    Like so many people I have been frustrated by new appliances. The most interesting twist I’ve had is with Sears.

    Several years ago we bought a Kitchen Aid appliance from Sears, but because of issues that we have had with their service, we decided to have Whirlpool (who manufactures Kitchen Aid) repair the appliance. We have had them repair other appliances (that were not bought at Sears).

    Whirlpool told us that we would have to go back to Sears for service, We were not asking for warranty service. When pressed, the person at Whirlpool said they had an agreement with Sears. Between myself and my wife, we were told this three times.

    I had a long and frustrating series of email with Sears, which kept saying that I could arrange service with Whirlpool, but of course Whirlpool kept on saying “but we have an agreement” and would not schedule the service call. Even though I pointed this out to Sears, they refused to deal with it.

    My take away is that if you buy a Kitchen Aid appliance from Sears, then you cannot go back to the manufacturer for help. I feel that the appliance was misrepresented.

    It seems like a strange way to run a business by both Whirlpool and Sears and has left me with a bad taste.

    Very strange.

  80. Alok Chadha

    Jun 12 2010

    I purchased the following Kitchen Appliances from Bad Boy’s Mississauga store on Friday, April 9, 2010: refrigerator; dishwasher; and stove. The delivery was received on Wednesday, April 14.

    A dent was found on the stove on delivery. We told Customer Service immediately and they offered us a rebate for $75, which we accepted. We were told to collect the same from the Mississauga Store.

    We were initially told by the front desk, after consulting with the Store Manager, to come back in couple of days since the system is showing no refund. Within next 10 minutes the amount was returned and paid when the Customer Service Supervisor called to ask about the same. To make things worse, instead of showing remorse for acting smart, the Store person complained that I called Head Office.
     Why was the refund for dent not given gracefully?

    In the meantime, we discovered that two burners (left) on the stove are not working. This caused a lot of inconvenience, slowing down the whole kitchen work, while stuck with only two working burners. We asked why it was not ensured that appliances are working when delivered. The rough reply given was that this was a Store Model and Bad Boy DO NOT check the appliances before delivery.
     Why should a customer pay up front and then wait to find out if the appliances purchased are working or needs to be fixed?

    Further, we called some contractor to install our dishwasher on Sunday, April 18, and were stumped to find that we are missing the ‘drain hose’ for the same. Since the warehouse was closed, we called the Mississauga Store to enquire and were told that this model doesn’t come with any ‘drain hose’?
     Why instead of your being helpful for the unsupplied Dishwasher’s Drain Hose, I was told that it is not part of the package and needs to be purchased separately? I was even given number of a shop selling the appliance parts. How come when I personally walked into the store with the Dishwasher Manual that part was made available to me?

    Last but not least, I told the Sales Person when finalizing the Refrigerator that the space available under the kitchen cabinet for my Refrigerator is only 69 Inches. I made it crystal clear that I am banking on his professional advice on this and were convinced that the Refrigerator shall fit-in easily. The length of the Refrigerator from front with the design over the top-mount door comes to 68 Inches. Our kitchen cabinet is wasted and it cannot be opened due to the upper refrigerator door as well as hinges on the Refrigerator top.
     Why I was not given a genuine and correct advice? I could have still purchased a Refrigerator but one that would have fit properly.

    After repetitive persuasion, I finally got the call from the General Manager, Mississauga Store on 28th April 2010, Wednesday. I was tried to be swayed that these were isolated incidents that happened unfortunately with me in continuation. I was offered some Store Credit in lieu of the harassment and poor service, which I swiftly & politely refused. How can I even think of making another purchase from a Store after going through this horrifying experience of disgust and insult? Ultimately, I was assured that I shall be hearing again from the Head Office or the Mississauga Store about my demands. I never got any call back…

    All the above instances clearly put light on the malicious nature in which this whole transaction was completed. At every step, the buyer was tried to be befooled and cheated. Is there any end to our painful experience?

    As it stands today, it is obvious that “Bad Boy” Management is not ready to hear and improve the flaws in their Sales & Service. They don’t want to take responsibility for the devious practices being followed and painful service experiences being thumbed upon the unsuspecting customers.

    However, I am determined to keep my crusade against them keep going; consumers certainly need to know about “Un-Canadian” ethics being practiced by retailers like “Bad Boy”.

    Dazed, disturbed & humiliated,

  81. CW

    Jul 19 2010

    I also bought a LG fridge a few years ago. The freezer door has the similar problem of not able to close and seal tightly.

    Since it already passed the short warranty period, I have to put a child-proof lock on the freezer door to ensure it doesn’t open on its own.

    Now the fan on the fridge makes loud noises. The authorized dealer told me that it was very difficult to get replacement parts from LG. Also the cost for repairing may not be that much cheaper than getting a new one.

    It is so ridiciulous to replace a fridge for just around 5 years old. I totally agree that nowadays many big and small appliances have serious quality flaws.

    Most of the time, 99% of the inside and outside of the appliances still work and look perfect. But when a small part breaks, it is almost impossible to find good repair services.

    No matter you go back to the dealers or manufacturers, spending lots of money and time, no one just shows interest to fix the appliances.

    I think appliances sold 10+ years ago actually are more durable than the current ones.

  82. Jay – jfjunior

    Aug 28 2010

    Every appliance I purchased from Sears in the last 5 years had problems: Three fridges and two stoves. The ice dispenser in my last fridge, purchased only 2 years ago, stopped working just a few weeks after the warrant expired. The repair would cost about $300.00, so I went out and bought a few ice trays instead.

    I’ve heard from people in the business not to buy appliances from Sears. Apparently their management has a policy of pushing the manufactures to produce very low quality and cheap appliances so they can sell it more affordable than other retailers out there. The result is that a GE fridge from Sears is not the same quality than a GE fridge sold by other retail store. Obviously I cannot verify this, however it seems plausible to me. Consumers should take special care if they are thinking about purchasing the infamous “Keymore” Sears brand. They are basically junk made by several different manufactures for Sears.

    So no more Sears appliances for me.

  83. dlb3

    Aug 30 2010

    Sears is holding my vacuum cleaner for ransom:

    I sent my vacuum in for the same problem 3 times. The third time was off warranty, so they now want $180 to fix what they did not the first two times.

    They refuse to return the vacuum (un-repaired) without another $50 charge. This is blackmail in my opinion.

    Can I or should I take them to small claims court? What is your opinion?

  84. VN

    Oct 4 2010

    I’m frustrated trying to deal with Sears and maneuver through their endless maze of “customer service”.

    I purchased a GE Profile fridge at Sears in June 2008 at the cost of nearly $2,000. It was running smoothly until about six weeks ago, when my husband and I noticed the temperature display in the fridge creeping up to 68 degrees (F) when the typical temperature is 37.

    Also, the temperature of the freezer was plummeting to -17 (typical is 0).

    We contacted Sears and were told it would be $95 to have someone come out to run a 10 minute diagnostic test on our fridge. Anything the fridge needed above and beyond that (both time and parts) was extra.

    So we waited nearly a week for Sears to send someone out. When opening the freezer and removing bits and pieces, the technician found a fair size crack/hole in the rear of the freezer with scorch marks around it.

    His suggestion? Fill it with silicon. I cannot begin to explain how unbelievably unsafe that is.

    We ended up spending $300 on a new control panel and it took an additional 3-5 days to have it installed.

    For nearly two weeks, we ran up and down the stairs to our spare fridge for each meal and snack.

    I also needed to make and refrigerate homemade caramel for 150 guests for our wedding and that had to go on hold while I waited for Sears to fix our fridge.

    To say I had a bridal meltdown would be an understatement!

    I spent countless hours on the phone, trying to get further up the chain in Sears, to find someone who could solve the issue of the hole with scorch marks around it in my fridge.

    No one seems to care or think this may be a fire hazard or want to help.

    Meanwhile, my husband and I got married and were away on our honeymoon, so we couldn’t keep chasing through the maze at that time. I suppose the silver lining was that at least the temperature was regulated again.

    That brings me to today. We’ve been home less than a week from our honeymoon and this morning we wake up to our fridge broken yet again.

    The temperature gauge is all wonky, and of course, there’s still a burn hole in the freezer.

    I called Sears and was able to get a service appointment for Monday, only after threatening to contact The Star when they initially told me they wouldn’t come until Thursday.

    I spoke to a representative in corporate customer care (one step above the 1-800 number you call) and she seemed totally disinterested in the burn hole in our fridge.

    Our fridge is a fire hazard. Utterly and completely. There is no way that hole is there for any good reason.

    I have asked many Sears reps a question: If they spent $2,000 on a fridge, and then found a hole with scorch marks around it in the fridge, would they keep it in their home?

    Each one always pauses and then refuses to answer. The standard response is: “We need to have a technician see it.” I have had a technician see it. They know the fridge is a hazard.

    Are they waiting for it to REALLY set itself on fire this time so I can sue Sears for burning down my house and possibly killing me, my husband, my stepson and our pets?

    While we were away on our honeymoon, my mom clipped your article about the LG fridges and it set off red flags immediately.

    When I think back about it, I can remember smelling something funny in our kitchen around the fridge (a burning, chemical smell) but my husband and I couldn’t find the source of it, so we didn’t think more of it. I wish we had.

    If there’s anything you can do to help, I’d sincerely appreciate it. I’m sick of Sears and their red tape and their unwillingness to help.

    Clearly I would like my fridge replaced, but they don’t want to pay for the replacement. I cannot keep this fridge/fire hazard in my home. It’s not safe for our family or visiting friends.

    I do not feel like I should be responsible for paying for a new fridge when I paid a considerable sum 15 months ago for a fridge that should have easily lasted 10 years.

    ————————————————————————————–

    Monday at noon:

    Hi Ellen, thank you so much for your help! I received a call from Sears this morning while I had a technician at the house.

    The technician was very thorough and opened up the big crack and found the wires behind literally melted together and the insulation scorched.

    He immediately called Sears customer service to tell them to refund the $300+ I had paid for the control panel that was installed at the beginning of September. He said that the wires had likely shorted out and arced, causing that burning smell and ultimately, the fridge to fail.

    He said in eight years he’s never seen anything like it. He spoke with Ava and they’ve agreed to refund the parts money, as well as a pro-rated amount for the fridge, which was about 80% of what I paid.

    I am on my way to the Sears store now to purchase my new fridge (based on recommendations by the service technician). When it gets delivered, they will refund us the money.

    They are also taking the old fridge to “tag and quarantine” it. It sounds like they are taking it much more seriously now and are going to examine it, plus have GE examine it to see what went wrong.

    I can’t thank you enough for your help in getting this dangerous appliance out of our home! I’m so glad Sears finally took action, although I’m sorry I had to go so far as to talk to the media. It’s very scary to see what had been in my home.

  85. SRotondo

    Apr 1 2011

    Kitchen Aid – Buyer Beware ! Save yourself the aggravation!
    Kitchen Aid does not stand behind their products and have left me with no other alternative but to communicate this to all consumers, considering to purchase appliances, who will listen.
    My retired parents scaled down their home and purchased all new appliances in hopes of a fresh start to a new chapter in their lives. They purchased the Kitchen Aid brand for all their appliances. One of their purchases was a 36″ Hood Island Fan ($1,700) from Appliance Canada in Woodbridge Ontario. As luck would have it, the warranty expired and shortly thereafter the motor on the fan just stopped working. My parents went back to where they purchased all their new appliances at Appliance Canada, Woodbridge but their was no interest on their part in resolving the issue for them. The sale was already made. At my parents request I called Kitchen Aid customer service directly today. They said that they stand behind the quality of their products as long as it is under warranty! There is nothing they will do other then set up an appointment with a repair man to make an assessment and recommend the parts required for the repair. All this, will all be at my parents expense. (estimated at approx. $600-800 !!).This is disconcerting. I just don’t understand how corporations continue to sell garbage to hard working consumers. Seniors against large corporations have no chance of being heard! Moral of the story… Buyer Beware Of Kitchen Aid Appliances!
    Frustrated in Woodbridge, Ontario

  86. MH

    Nov 13 2011

    I have just written a nice rant to the Government of Canada Office of Energy Efficency, as I too have had a 6 year old fridge break down, with no warranty.

    The appliance guy says cost to repair more than the cost of a new fridge. He said few appliances will last longer than 5 or 6 years and only some very costly ones might last 10 years and one day.

    I have had many friends who have had similar experiences and have been told the same thing: if you get 7 years out of an appliance, you are lucky.

    An earlier post above from bm (Nov. 13, 2008) said it all. This is not environmentally responsible when appliances are not made to last and they are all ending up in the landfills.

    Something needs to be done. Consumers and the environment are being ripped off

  87. DaveS

    Jan 22 2012

    My understanding is that the computer boards and sensors inside these appliances are key to the energy efficiencies they achieve.

    A frost free freezer at one stage used a timer which simply counted the days until the next defrost cycle. In a modern frost free freezer a microchip and various sensors calculate the optimum time to run a defrost cycle based on how often the door was opened and for how long etc. This does save energy BUT the extreme environments within appliances (eg heat and humidity) do not mix well with these electronic components. The end result is modern energy star appliances fail early and most repairs involve an expensive electronic part which usually drives the owner to repurchase.

    The government should look at the energy star rating not in terms of the energy saved in operating the appliance but in terms of the total energy cost of ownership, which would take account of appliance life as well as power consumption. I suspect the energy savings we enjoy from these new appliances are more than offset by the cost of such frequent replacement, in both financial and environmental terms.

  88. TN

    Apr 8 2013

    I want to share my bad experience with Brault and Martineau, even though it may not be the right place here.

    I bought a leather loveseat last month, but when it got delivered it was not of good quality. The arms on both sides were not fully filled.

    We went to the store on the same day and the manager said that it takes 3 to 4 days for the leather to be normal.

    We also noticed from the label at the bottom that it was made in China and not in Canada, as the salesperson told us (we had 2 salespersons who served us).

    When we told the manager about this, he said it was the first salesperson who said it incorrectly, but the second salesperson did not say it. The manager said they will send a technician and then will see what to do.

    A technician came to inspect it and said that we are just unlucky. He made a report and said that I should call back if no answer.

    I had to call the store back and they said it was a manufacturing problem and they could do nothing about it!

    If I knew about their no return policy and bad quality products beforehand, I would never have bought from this store.

  89. Jeremy

    Jul 17 2013

    I work at an online retailer of appliance parts. I came across your blog when I was looking for individuals who have shared posts about their experiences related to repairing their own appliance.

    I wanted to let your readers know of a potential resource when their appliances break down.

    We recently revamped our repair help pages to include troubleshooting videos, extensive lists of symptoms common to the appliance and background information and testing instructions for those parts.

    The pages are designed to help homeowners understand diagnose and fix their own appliance problems. The section that I’m talking about can be found here: http://www.partselect.com/Repair/

    It’s always great meeting people who are interested in appliance repair!

  90. Marvin L. Zinn

    Sep 18 2013

    I am writing a college report on the subject of real inflation.

    I have not been able to find a report to cite, but I remember a large appliance, like refrigerator, used to come with a 10-year warranty and now comes with just one year, unless you can pay extra for a longer time.

    This means the price with CPI (used for inflation calculation) is less because you buy less, or lower quality. It is also lower price due to parts being made in places like China, where the laborers are treated like slaves.

    But the average American just wants things cheap, without regard to the real higher cost. I know from experience that REAL inflation is three times what our government calculates.

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