Question: My home was damaged when Sears installed a defective Whirlpool refrigerator in February.
Only hours after the technicians left, I found a large puddle of water extending out past the refrigerator into my kitchen.
I threw towels on the water and raced to the basement to turn off the valve for the water to the refrigerator. There was another puddle of water on the floor about 10 feet across. Water was running down the wall, and three ceiling tiles were broken, falling and hanging down with two more tiles with water stains.
Sears promised to not only fix the refrigerator, but also pay for all of the damage to my home. Although the company has repaired the refrigerator, it is dragging its feet on the damage, referring me to a Mexican valve manufacturer for a resolution.
Can you help me give Sears a little push to pay up? — Kathleen Pierz, Detroit
Answer: If Sears promised to cover the repair and damage, then it — not a Mexican valve manufacturer — should pay the bill.
I reviewed your correspondence with Sears, which was extensive. There’s a long trail of emails, phone calls and registered letters, some of which the company responds to with form letters, and some of which it ignores.
The best way to break such a deadlock is to appeal your case to a manager in writing. You might try sending an email directly to one of these folks.
I think you’ve been more than patient. The company needs to pay for the damage its refrigerator caused, and quickly.
I contacted Sears on your behalf, inquiring about the delay. It responded to you promptly, promising yet again to get to the bottom of the issue.
But instead of paying up, you received yet another letter from a claims management service, asking about the status of your claim. In comparing it with previous correspondence, it appeared to be a copy of another letter it had sent to you this spring.
You sent a polite but firm response to the claims adjuster, saying that Sears had promised to fix the damage. Not Whirlpool or some Mexican valve manufacturer – Sears.
A Sears representative responded with an offer of $1,669, which covered the damage to your kitchen.
(Photo: Mario Sp ann/Flickr)