Sears Complaint - Beware the Extended Warranty...
SALINAS, CALIFORNIA -- We'd paid for the Water Heater extended warranty for about 7 years. After calling the Sears technicians out sev times in late 07, the WH died. We had just renewed the warranty in late Nov 07. Sears said they'd have to charge us $78 more for parts. OK, we paid. Fri afternoon before Christmas guests arrive, the Sears contract plumber came out and essentially said that if we wanted hot water, we would pay an additional $540. We paid... we needed to take showers & wash dishes. Afterward, we discovered our recirculation system no longer works well. We now have to waste a lot of water trying to get hot water to come.
We complained, spending sev days on the phone. Essentially Sears employees said what their contractors do is not their problem. The Sears technician who can condemned the WH in Dec came out and said there was no need to move the WH the 9 or so inches that the original plumber indicated was part of the reason for the $540 charge. Part of the charge was $170 for a “difficult installation”, which really meant, he had to walk down some brick steps and along the front of the house and install the WH in a nicely open area with decent headroom. Further the Sears technician said that the contract plumber had now piped the WH such that any leak or problem would require them to cut pipe (potentially more expensive repairs in the future). Finally in response to my calls or perhaps to the technician filing a report, another plumber from the original contractor came out 14 Jan 08. He agreed that there were some mistakes and made some changes. He said "the additional $540 charge was to bring the system to code and said he'd show us the code as he always carried it". We followed him to his truck and then he decided he didn't have the code book. He promised to mail the appropriate pages. We've never rec'd that information.
In getting shunted around Sears, we also discovered that Sears policy isn't exactly what we were promised. The manufacturers warranty would run CONCURRENTLY with the 2 year warranty we had just paid Sears for. Since the WH was sick, I had asked the Sears Warranty agent specifically...if what we paid for the warranty and the WH broke... would the extended warranty be added on to the manufacturers warranty or how it was handled? He swore to me it would be added on, not run concurrently. Sears supervisors in that section now say essentially... too bad. He was wrong. You lose.
So far, we've been able to get no real help from Sears administrative staff. Several employees were sympathetic. A couple gave me bad information and wasted even more of my time.
Here's the bottom line. Most financial folks say that extended warranties are generally not worthwhile, but what they rarely say is that they deliver you into the hands of contractors who may or may not deal with you fairly. You lose control. You may lose what you've paid for the warranty... and more