What’s your problem? Sears “oven insurance” didn’t cover my range

Question:I’m having some difficulty getting Sears to honor its protection agreement that they sold to me two months after I purchased a Kenmore range.

I bought the unit at the Sears outlet store. A sales person said that the only problem with the unit was the small scratches on the side. Since the range was going between the cabinets and they were not going to be visible, it didn’t matter.

Once the range was brought home and installed, the light did not work, the feet of the unit did not function so it could not be leveled on the floor and all five of the burner adjustments on the unit did not work properly.

I called the Sears repair service and they sent someone out to have the unit looked at. The service man agreed that the unit needed to be repaired and ordered the parts. He said that when they came in that I would have to replace the parts myself. I thought that that was ridiculous so I called the repair service when the parts arrived and they sent a different person to install the replacement parts.

After changing the necessary parts, the technician said the entire valve system had to be replaced. But he said it might not solve the problem, and that the unit may not be repairable.

I then received a phone call from Sears protection agreement insurance department to sell me a policy for my Kenmore Range. They told me that they were aware that my range already had two repair services done to the unit and that if it were to have four within the year or the unit was deemed unrepairable by the repairman, that with this particular agreement Sears would replace the unit with a brand new one.

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I bought the insurance. A technician later determined the unit wasn’t repairable.

After trying to call Sears several times, I finally reached a representative who told me the best he could do was to charge me the difference in cost for a new unit. I don’t think that’s fair. Sears sold me an insurance policy, and I’d like the new range they promised. Can you help? — Anthony Guglielmo, Wantagh, NY

Answer: Sears shouldn’t have sold you a non-working oven. When the oven failed to perform, it should have replaced it immediately, no questions asked.

I’m not sure if I understand why insurance on an appliance is even necessary. It doesn’t matter where you bought the range, the manufacturer and the retailer and manufacturer should stand behind them. In Kenmore’s case, the two are essentially one and the same.

You spend a heck of a lot of time on the phone with Sears. I might have put your grievance in writing, to better track your problem. (By the way, all Sears email follow the convention firstname.lastname@searshc.com.) Forwarding your email to a supervisor would almost certainly ensure your case would be assigned a higher priority.

The fact that you bought the oven from an outlet store should have no bearing on the purchase. As you noted, the only defect were a few scratches on the side of the unit. No one told you the oven didn’t work, and had you known, I’m sure you wouldn’t have bought it.

I contacted Sears on your behalf. While its records do not show you have a purchase protection agreement, your range is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Sears says you can return the oven to the outlet store and select another range or receive a full refund.

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(Photo: Kenneth Moy le/Flickr)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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