Appliance warranty complaints lead to class-action lawsuit and Action 9 results

ORLANDO, Fla. — A local woman paid thousands of dollars for an appliance repair warranty over the past 15 years.

When the well-known service failed to fix her refrigerator for two months, she called Action 9 for results.

Pat Keefer is using a borrowed refrigerator belonging to someone from her church because the freezer on her Kenmore refrigerator failed eight weeks ago.

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Keefer has a Sears Home Services warranty, so she thought the repair was covered.

“You were paying for appliance protection. At the end of the day, did you get it?” Todd Ulrich asked.

“No, not so far,” Keefer replied.

Keefer contacted Action 9 claiming Sears was slow to respond, and says the only repair that was made, failed to fix her freezer.

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Two months later, she still can’t use the refrigerator.

“They said, ‘Well your parts were hard to get, and you know techs are short because of COVID-19,’” Keefer explained.

She said she’s been paying for a Sears appliance warranty for at least 10 years and she paid more than $400 for the latest premium.

Nationwide, Sears has more than 2,600 complaints at the Better Business Bureau, with most involving failed repairs. The company is rated A-plus for responding to those complaints.

There’s a class-action lawsuit against Sears Home Services that was started by an Illinois couple. They claim they didn’t get the repair protection they paid for.

The lawsuit claims Sears was in breach of contract and involved in deceptive trade by selling appliance warranties the company failed to fully honor.

Consumer experts say that with any warranty, be prepared to stand up for the coverage you paid for.

“Make sure that you stay on the timeline, because in the end, you want to make sure that you aren’t the reason they declined coverage,” BBB president Holly Salmons said.

Ulrich contacted corporate managers at Sears about Keefer’s complaint, and on that same day, Sears said she would be getting a new replacement refrigerator and $400 to cover food losses. The company claims they had already planned to assist Keefer in this way.

Keefer said she had not heard about Sears’ intended assistance, prior to Ulrich’s conversation with them.

“Were you ever able to talk to a supervisor?” Ulrich asked.

“No,” Keefer replied.

Warranties sold in Florida are a type of insurance, so you can send claim complaints to Florida’s Department of Financial Services.

SEARS response:

“At Sears, the satisfaction of our members and customers is our top priority. We value Ms. Keefer as a customer and yesterday we had already authorized her for a replacement (although she apparently did not get our email advising her of such due to email issues she was experiencing).When we provided her with the information today along with updates on the models that were available, we were able to schedule her replacement refrigerator for delivery on Oct. 11. In addition to the replacement, she was unaware that she had already been provided with the maximum allotment of $200.00 in food loss reimbursement that was sent out as a check last week, and we provided another $200.00 as a courtesy that she should receive about a week after she receives the other.”

Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich, WFTV.com

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.