In March of 2006 I decided to splurge on a top-of-the-line washer and dryer. I use Consumer Reports regularly and I research anything I’m about to buy months before purchase. When I researched the Kenmore Elite Oasis Washer and Dryer, I read nothing but fantastic reports.
When I got to Sears, I asked to see the washer and dryer I’d been salivating over for months. I saw the washer and dryer on a pedestal and I almost fainted. They were actually pretty in addition to being energy efficient! I was even more ecstatic when I saw the Canyon Capacity washer. You could fit an entire sleeping bag in that thing!
In my current washer, I was up to eight loads of laundry per week. My fantasy was that I could cut that down to four loads with this beautiful set. I spent more money than I should have on the washer and dryer. Final cost: $1500. I declined the extended service plan; after all, Consumer Reports says most extended warranties are for suckers. Plus, the Kenmore name was behind them, not to mention the Sears name.
Two months after I was in possession of my luxurious washer and dryer, the washer began beeping and emitting an error code. The code meant nothing to my owner’s manual or me. I called a technician. He repaired whatever problem it was and wished me well. Five months later, it began displaying a new error code. I called the technician who repaired it without speaking. I should have known something was amiss.
At the thirteen-month mark, one month outside of the manufacturer’s warranty, it began cycling randomly through its water temperature levels. It was like Russian roulette. I never knew which temperature I was going to get. In addition to having several laundry mishaps due to the variable water temperature, the washer began beeping incessantly. I had to add a second door to the laundry area so I could simultaneously sleep and wash a load of clothes.
I called Sears and received the proverbial runaround. I was encouraged to buy the $129 extended service plan. I refused on principle because I had purchased the top-of-the-line model and did not expect further problems. Sears said it couldn’t help me unless I paid the $95 service call. I told them to forget it; I’d live with the beeping and the crazy water temperature.
I did not know the beeping was about to herald a worse problem. The washer actually refused to wash my clothes. I looked on line and discovered thousands of people having the exact same problem with these washers. The FixYa guy indicated that we all needed a new Interface Relay and that a technician would have to come out.
I contacted Sears about the “known defect” since so many people were having the same problem. They reported that statistically it was not a “known defect” and they were therefore not responsible for the problem. I demanded a free technician. They refused.
I filed a Better Business Bureau complaint. Sears responded by sending out a technician for free. Sears called to set up the event – a five-hour window on one of my working days. I agreed to take the time off work and made sure they knew all symptoms pointed to a problem with the Interface Relay.
The technician showed up and diagnosed it with, “You need a new Interface Relay.” I said, “I know.” He said, “I have to order the part and you need to pay me before I can order the part.” I said, “What? I told them about this two weeks ago!” The poor technician just shrugged. I tried to contact the customer service representative, but surprisingly enough, I could not reach her. I ended up shelling out $170 for the part.
After I took another day off work for the five-hour window of repair service, the technician told me on the sly, “Buy the warranty. These things are going to go bad every year.” I was horrified that I’d have to pay the extortion fee of $129 a year on something I’d paid $800 for 15 months previously.
I did not buy the warranty. I am an idiot. I should know when to just take my tube of Vaseline and go home.
Today is the anniversary of my possession of the washer and dryer. The dryer has decided it won’t run unless I stand there and hold the “start” button. I went online, and guess what? Thousands of people are having the same trouble.
I called Sears and bought a three-year extended warranty for both. This made for an additional $600 price tag to insure I won’t have to pay the parts, labor, and service charge to have a technician come out to my home to repair my “luxury” items.
I will never buy another product from Sears again as long as I live. The entire customer service process is laughable. I will encourage all and sundry to stay away from any Kenmore product, and if they simply must buy that brand, they absolutely must pay the extortion fee – otherwise known as their Master Service Plan. That is the price you must pay for a Sears product in my humble and dissatisfied opinion.