His Kenmore washing machine glass shattered. Now what?

When the top of Joseph Hill’s new Kenmore washing machine shatters into a thousand pieces, he calls Sears for help. And waits. And waits. Will his appliance ever get fixed?

Question

I purchased a Kenmore Elite washing machine and dryer about six weeks ago for $2,200 and had it delivered and hooked up. The washing machine glass shattered in the middle of the night 35 days after installation.

A repair technician came out the same day I called — a miracle, in hindsight. He documented and advised it was defective and ordered a replacement part. He advised me that it would take three to four days to deliver. Even though he cut his hand on it, he still insisted that he wouldn’t remove the broken glass and told me to put a towel on it. I told him that he is liable if someone gets cut on it, so he put a blanket from his truck on top of it and duct taped it to the machine.

There has been no update in eight days. When I called Sears, they advised that the part is on backorder for several weeks. I would like the machine replaced or full refund. At this point, after speaking to six different people today and several hours spent on the phone, I can see that Sears is not interested in making me whole. They don’t care that my wife is going to laundromats daily to do laundry for our five kids. The return policy is 30 days, and it became a safety hazard and unusable after 35 days. Is there any way to get this handled quickly to end the suffering? — Joseph Hill, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Answer

Your Kenmore washer shouldn’t have shattered into a thousand pieces. And if it did, the company and the retailer, Sears, should have quickly taken responsibility for it and fixed it.

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I’m impressed that Sears sent a technician the same day to look at your broken washer. That’s prompt service!

A quick online search reveals lots of horror stories about shattering glass on Kenmore appliances, and not just washers. It’s unclear if they had the same model that you did. But what is clear is that this isn’t a new problem.

The washing machine glass shattered creating a dangerous mess

I’m having a hard time following the sequence of events. If a repair technician showed up the day of your implosion but refused to clear the glass, I have to wonder what kind of technician he was. He should have been properly trained to retrieve the glass without injuring himself. And covering the shards with a blanket — with five kids in the house? Not good.

You could have escalated this to Sears. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Sears customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site. Or you just could have done what everyone else seems to do when their appliance shatters: They take pictures of the broken washer and post them online for the whole world to see. At the very least, you should do a quick online search before buying your next appliance. You might be surprised by what you find.

I contacted Sears on your behalf. The company reviewed your case and, noting that “our top priority is the satisfaction of our members,” expedited delivery of a new washer. Hopefully, this one won’t shatter, but my advice is to close the top very gently.

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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