Troubleshooter gets results for Sears customers without a working refrigerator

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When your appliances take weeks to get repaired it becomes frustrating.

When your refrigerator stops working it can be frustrating, but when your appliances take weeks to get repaired in addition to that it adds to the frustrations.

This happened to several Sears' customers when it came to their refrigerators that stopped cooling. The repairs were covered under warranty, but that didn't speed up the repair.

Brenda Winebrenner used a temperature gun to show the state of her refrigerator and freezer after the compressor went out. "It shows it's 76 degrees in there," she said.

She thought it would be a quick fix, but once she called Sears, she ended up waiting weeks. "They said there was nothing that they could do. I just had to wait," Winebrenner said.

In the meantime, Winebrenner used a college dorm sized refrigerator and has to give away a lot of food because she can't store it. "I'm angry, I'm frustrated, I should be focusing my energies on something more than Sears providing a service," she said.

Winebrenner's not alone, as Chapel Hill resident Andrea Vinson said she is feeling the same frustrations with Sears. "I was calling every day to see if I could get a sooner time, and then I found out the parts were never ordered. At that point almost a month had gone by," Vinson said.

The parts eventually came in the mail, but then she said there was no technician around to do the repair. During this time, Vinson said her family of four was getting by using a smaller backup refrigerator. "You can't buy full containers of milk, a gallon of milk doesn't fit in there, so you have to buy smaller containers," she said.

A third Sears's customer, Durham homeowner Billy Williams, said he waited five months for Sears to properly fix his refrigerator.

In February, the refrigerator stopped working, and since then Williams' said they've had six different repairs. The family is getting by with two mini refrigerators, and Williams' said they've lost hundreds of dollars worth of food. "We have to purchase ice every day using water coolers to keep our ice cool."

Besides these three Sears customers, several other customers also echoed the same frustrations when it came to their repairs. The biggest complaint was the amount of time it took for the repair to happen.

ABC11 reached out to Sears, and a representative provided the following statement:

"At Sears, the satisfaction of our members is our top priority. This year alone, we've completed over 21,000 repairs of products in the Raleigh/Durham area - and the overwhelming majority of these customers are satisfied, as reflected by our 4.7 out of five-star rating.

In the case of these specific member complaints, we regret that we did not meet their expectations and have resolved most of the complaints already. We are committed to continually improving our member experience and hope they remain loyal Sears customers.

Even with our very positive customer satisfaction ratings in Raleigh/Durham, we do fall short on occasion and have recently faced some staffing challenges in Raleigh. But it's important for your viewers to know that we have also recently hired 55 technicians in that district.
Nationally, we complete millions of repairs each year - an average of over 100,000 repairs a week - and our complaints are down 37 percent (March-May 2018)."

Sears tackled all of the complaints that were brought to their attention. Winebrenner got relief within days and said a technician fixed her refrigerator and that it's working now. As for Vinson, and Williams, Sears offered them a cash settlement to buy new refrigerators.

"I just wanna thank you for getting involved and thank you for caring, I really appreciate it," Andrea told me.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, the best advice is to keep a record of every call, repair, wait time, and contact that you have with customer service.

The more documentation you have, the better your chances of making a good case.
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