Help! Sears won't cover the cost of installing my replacement dishwasher
June 15, 2023
Sears promises to cover the cost of Wanda Warren's dishwasher installation. Then it offers her a check for $180 -- which isn't enough. Does it owe her more?
I have a Sears protection agreement on a replacement dishwasher. The terms clearly state that replacement items include delivery and basic installation.
But now Sears is telling me that I have to get the installation done myself, and they will send a check for $180 to cover the cost of installation.
I can't find someone to install my dishwasher at that price. The lowest bid I have is $220. Sears also wants the old dishwasher back but expects me to remove it myself.
I want Sears to honor its agreement or give me a refund. I want Sears to remove the old unit, install the new unit, haul the old one away, and be finished with it! Can you help me? Wanda Warren, Hampton, Va.
I'm sorry to hear about your dishwasher. Sears should have been clearer about what it would -- and would not -- cover.
I asked Sears about the reimbursement. It said your agreement does cover installation but not other items that may be billed during an installation, such as permit fees, code upgrades, any modifications needed to the space, or any additional electrical or plumbing work not already done for the existing installation. (You said this was not the case in your replacement installation.)
That's disappointing because most customers think of an installation like you do. A technician shows up at your home, installs the appliance, does whatever work is necessary, and then hands you an invoice. The details don't really matter to us. But they do to Sears, which parses the bill so that it doesn't have to cover all the expenses.
You reviewed your agreements with other Sears appliances going back to 2000, and they have the same wording as the current agreement.
You may have been able to sidestep this problem by asking questions before you purchased a replacement dishwasher with Sears. It appears there were a few things that got lost in translation, including the cost to you and the requirement to remove the old dishwasher and return it to Sears. By the way, Sears mentions all of that in its terms and conditions, but whoever sold you the replacement should have also informed you of the requirements.
Your case is a reminder to the rest of us to always read the fine print. But it's also a teachable moment for Sears. If you're confused, chances are there are also a lot of other confused customers. And Sears needs all the loyal customers it can get right now.
Ultimately, you could have also appealed to a manager at Sears. I list the names, numbers, and email addresses of the Sears customer service managers on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. A short, polite email to one of them might have helped.
I contacted Sears on your behalf. A representative apologized for the delay in responding to you and offered to reimburse her the difference between the cost of your repair and the initial offer.
Sears sent you a check for $180. You had the new dishwasher installed. Your total charge came to $195 for the installation, which did not include the removal. Sears offered you an additional $100, but you are still waiting for it. Oh, Sears. Really?
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (https://elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at https://elliottadvocacy.org/help/
© 2023 Christopher Elliott