I need Sears to replace this broken refrigerator. Can you help?

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By Christopher Elliott

You would expect the freezer section of your brand-new refrigerator to work perfectly, right?  That was Lorra Manuel’s expectation, too. But she says that wasn’t her experience when Sears delivered a malfunctioning Kenmore Elite to her home.  Now she wants Sears to take the broken appliance and replace it with a working refrigerator. But Sears and a subcontractor called Transformco are taking their time with her case. How can she persuade them to hurry up?

Question

I recently bought a Kenmore Elite refrigerator from Sears. I purchased the Master Protection Plan, which extends the coverage on the new appliance.

On delivery, the freezer didn’t work. I called Sears, and it sent a technician, who replaced a filter and recharged the unit. But that had no effect.

Sears and the company I’m now dealing with, Transformco, have been hard to reach and not very accommodating. It turns out my refrigerator has a recall issue, and I want Sears to replace it right away.

If  Sears won’t replace the refrigerator, I want a refund, and they can take this one away. Can you help me? — Lorra Manuel, Chicago

Answer

Look, Sears should have delivered a working unit. And if it didn’t work, then Sears should have quickly agreed to replace the broken refrigerator.

I’ve reviewed the lengthy paper trail between you and the technicians at Transformco. It looks like you had problems with the freezer section and also protracted delays and difficulties reaching the company. And while it’s true that Sears has had a series of problems recently, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, the fact remains: No company should deliver a refrigerator that isn’t fully functional.

We list the names, numbers, and email addresses for the Sears executives in our database. You can also consult my ultimate guide to getting a repair, replacement or refund for your broken appliance.

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Your case raises an interesting question: How do you persuade a company to escalate your complaint and take it seriously? Do you call? Write? Threaten to sue? How do you underscore that you need a working refrigerator without sounding like a whiner?

Finally! Sears agrees to replace your refrigerator

Well, I think you did exactly what you should. You put your complaint in writing. You were polite but firm with your request for Sears to replace the broken refrigerator. (Related: Sears won’t repair my broken refrigerator. Could I get a refund?)

And you didn’t give up.

I could see that you were already in the process of escalating your case to the Sears executives, so I decided to wait until the process ended. It took a while, but Sears and Transformco finally approved a replacement refrigerator for you. You’re still pursuing a claim for the loss of your frozen food, but with your persistence, I’m confident you will prevail.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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