5 On Your Side

Sears struggling with customer service complaints

Sears - once known for quality products and service - is struggling with dissatisfied customers who complain about almost-new appliances that cease to work, weeks waiting for repairs and repairmen who just don't show.

Posted Updated

By
Monica Laliberte
, WRAL executive producer/consumer reporter

Complaints are piling up against a company once known as the go-to for home appliances. Sears – once known for quality products and service – is struggling with dissatisfied customers who complain about almost-new appliances that cease to work, weeks waiting for repairs and repairmen who just don't show.

A Raleigh woman's experience is just one example.

Wanda Brewington loved her new Kenmore Elite refrigerator from Sears, until it stopped cooling after less than 2 years.

"It was the Cadillac of refrigerators," she said. "I feel just, you know let down."

For more than two months, Brewington has had to use coolers to store milk, medicine and other essentials.

"We left our baby's little teething ring (in the refrigerator) in the hopes that she's still a baby whenever we get it fixed and she can use it," Brewington said.

Added to the insult is the fact that Brewington paid hundreds of dollars extra for a warranty through Sears Home Services.

When Brewington tried to schedule repairs, Sears kept delaying appointments. After 5 On Your Side called, a Sears technician came out, but two days later the fridge stopped cooling again.

In complaint after complaint online, customers criticize Sears' customer service.

Jim Gimeson, chief operating officer and general manager of Sears Home Services said, "We do fall short on occasion and have recently faced some staffing challenges in Raleigh." He blamed an "incredible demand for services."

He said the company has hired 55 technicians locally and is still hiring.

This year, Gimeson said, Sears has done more than 21,000 repairs locally and that "response time is typically under five days."

That wasn't the case for Brewington. After four failed repairs, 10 weeks without a refrigerator and help from 5 On Your Side, Sears replaced her fridge with a brand new one.

"I'm glad that there's somebody out there that's working for us, that I knew who to call," Brewington said of 5 On Your Side. "You all delivered. You got it done."

As for the bigger issue of repairs, a Sears spokesman told said customers should call their member solutions team at 1-877-496-8746.

Sears said they "have not seen any specific issues with any specific brand or appliance."

 Credits

Monica Laliberte, Reporter
David McCorkle, Photographer
Jodi Leese Glusco, Web Editor

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