Fridge Fiasco


Last weekend, I went to Sears and ordered some appliances; washer, dryer, and fridge.  Apparently one or more of them were backlogged, so the earliest delivery date would be Saturday, which is today.

So the guys showed up and first got the washer and dryer down the steep, narrow basement stairs.  It was tough going, but they made it.

Then they started unboxing the fridge.  After a couple minutes, one of the delivery guys came in and said “Um… can you come take a look at this fridge?  Looks like it’s been damaged.”  Uhoh.

I’ll say it was damaged.  The fridge looked like it had been dropped upsidedown or something!  There were big cracks on the tops of both doors, everything inside was a jumbled mess, and the whole thing was kinda racking to one side.  Unbelievable.

“Bad luck dude, this is the first one we’ve had today.” The delivery guy said.  The first one TODAY?!  Like this happens often?

So I called the 1–800 number, jumped through the hoops, and told them the fridge was damaged.  The soonest they could deliver another one would be Wednesday.  Great, now I gotta take time off work because Sears couldn’t be bothered to check the fridge out before delivering it.


I ended up taking the whole day off today, since I had to go do a final walkthrough and close out of my apartment, and Nate came over and helped me move some heavy boxes to the basement, and then the Sears guys were going to show up late afternoon.

Of course they showed up early, and of course I wasn’t there, because I was stuck in traffic trying to get home from the apartment.  After some frenzied phonecalls, it was agreed that they would come back about an hour later.

The delivery team showed up (different guys from last time), and started unboxing the new fridge.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw that this one was damaged as well!  Does quality control exist any more?  At least it wasn’t damaged as much as the first one, but… the delivery guys found an earring inside the fridge!  Gross.

At least the delivery guys were sympathetic, but there wasn’t really anything they could do.  “They won’t let us unbox them until we get to the delivery point.” One guy said.  He said he wished he had a camera phone so he could document this kind of thing.

So once again I called the 1–800 number… talked to one woman, then to another.  I asked her how Sears was going to compensate me for all this, considering I’ve had two damaged refrigerators delivered so far, and had to take time off work for this one… all of which could have been avoided if Sears would simply check the appliances out before delivering them.  “We don’t compensate.” She said in a snotty tone.  “What do you mean you don’t compensate?!” I yelled.  And then she hung up on me.  Hung up on me.  That’s the service in customer service.  That’s the kind of care and attention which has made Sears a household name since Richard Sears started selling watches in 1886.

I had to call back, and sit on hold again… and got some other woman who at least was more pleasant.  She said the only thing they could do there in delivery was give me a rebate on the $50 delivery fee.  Well I already got that from the sales guy when I bought the thing.  Thanks a lot.  She said they could give me a $50 gift card.  Ok, fine.  We scheduled a third delivery for this Saturday.

In the meantime, I decided to have the delivery guys put this second fridge in place, and at least it seemed to work ok, so I’ll have a fridge to use until they bring me another one.  I had cleared out the fridge from the apartment today, and was storing all that in a chest with some ice.  I didn’t want to have to throw all that out or keep buying bags of ice to keep things frozen for the rest of the week.


Another delivery team showed up today with the third fridge.  I fully expected it to be damaged like the other two, but amazingly, it was actually ok.  They were appalled when they looked at the second fridge, and I told them the first one was even worse.  But the earring story was the highlight.

I have to say, after this experience, I’m reluctant to ever buy another appliance from Sears.


The other day in the mail I got a $50 gift card from Sears, so I guess that’s my compensation for this debacle.  Well, at least I got something.  Not sure what I’m going to buy with it.


This never ends.  I was out of town for a couple days, and when I got back home last night, I opened the fridge to get something to drink… and the fridge was room temperature.  Got to be kidding me.  The freezer was still cold, but not the food compartment.  I noticed there was a lot of frost buildup on the back of the freezer compartment.  I did some research online, and it appears that something has stopped working in the defrost system.  I don’t know why that makes the fridge not stay cold, but that seemed to be the answer I read everywhere I checked on the net.

So I threw out all the opened food containers and bottles and such, figuring everything was probably well on its way to spoiling by now.  It is a real joy to throw out what could have been perfectly good food.

This morning I called Sears service and explained the problem.  So they are sending out a repair technician on Sunday.  Today is Wednesday.  Yeah, because it’s not like the fridge is an integral part of daily life or anything.  I mean… you know, if they can get it working again eventually, that’s cool and all but, it’s not really that big of a deal…


They told me the repairman would come sometime between 1 and 5 pm.  So of course he didn’t show up until five.  Determining the problem didn’t take him very long, as I suspected, it was the defrost timer.  But then he said “Well, let me go see if I have one in the truck.  Otherwise, I’ll have to emergency order the part… that’ll take a couple days… so…. probably it would be Thursday.”  This is just like not checking the appliances before delivering them.  Why don’t the repair guys stock their trucks with the most likely repair parts for the jobs they’re going to that day?  In every aspect of the way Sears operates, there clearly is no consideration of the customer.

Anyway, he punched away on his laptop for a while, mumbling about something or other, then went out to the truck for a while.  He was gone so long, I was sure he didn’t have the part on hand, great.  Finally he came back, and said he has a couple parts that might work, but he couldn’t bring up the schematic diagram on his computer for some reason, and so he wasn’t sure.  He told me that since Frigidaire is paying for his time (they make Kenmore appliances as well as their own name), if he put in the wrong kind of part, that would get him into trouble.  I see.

So I rather casually produced the schematic diagram that came with my manual.  Aha!  (This guy was really nice, and seemed to have a lot of experience, but was bumbling nonetheless.)  Now that he had the part number or whatever he needed from the schematic, he was able to punch that into his laptop, and then go back out to the truck.  He came back with a part that wasn’t an exact match, but he thought it would work.  However, after taking it out of the box, he realized that the electrical connection prongs were not the same.  So back out to the truck he went, and emerged again with a part that did connect.  It wasn’t an exact match, but he was “99% sure” that it would work.

Also, he told me that they had just discontinued my particular model this week.  That really gives me a lot of confidence.  I wonder how long it will be before something else breaks?