October 16, 2018 by phicks2012
I have a maintenance agreement with Sears that covers up to 20 items, parts and labor, and if the items cannot be repaired they are supposed to be replaced. I’ve had my MPA (Master Protection Agreement) for over three decades, and while it’s a bit pricey it’s been well worth it — and usually (if you don’t count my recent Garbage Disposal Issues) straightforward.
But in one area, I’ve had chronic problems with Sears, and that’s when the repair has involved my heating or air-conditioning. Every time I’ve had a problem with one of those Sears has tried to get out of doing the repair or replacement. They’ve claimed they couldn’t get the parts — which was ridiculous since I’ve always been able to find them on-line — or that my warranty was voided due to rust — on copper pipes and fittings? — or that they didn’t work on my brand — which I knew they did. On two occasions it has taken months of wrangling to pin them down and get them to cover the repairs, so whenever I have any sort of HVAC issue I pretty much expect Sears to make an attempt to get out of doing the work.
Can’t get the parts? BULL! I can find the parts myself. The companies just might not sell them directly to me because I’ve not a licensed HVAC technician.
Rust voids the warranty? BULL? Copper doesn’t rust.
Don’t work on this model? BULL! You covered it and have worked on it before, so suck it up and do the work!
So, on October 5th my A/C stopped working. I called Sears and they sent a technician out the same day, and he replaced a fuse and the A/C came back on — for about 4-5 hours. Yeah, I pretty much knew that was too good to be true.
Jason took a look at the unit and said he suspected the problem actually was the blower motor, which was over-heating and tripping some internal breakers. He said it looked as though the blower had, over time, sucked in dust an insulation from inside the case, and that this had made it work harder. We’ve gotten it to come back on a couple of times, but the problem keeps recurring, so it’s very possible that he’s right (he’s worked on simpler a/c units at my rentals, so he’s not a total novice) and the electric blower motor simply needs replacing, or that it’s simply a bad relay. That could be the case too. Fuses, as a general rule, exist to prevent other issues, usually electrical, so this told me the fuse itself simply wasn’t the problem.
I called Sears early on Saturday the 6th and told them the problem was not fixed, and that they needed to come back and handle it, but they told me they only serviced our area on Fridays, and the quickest appointment they had was for October 12th. I had to wait another week. Great!
On Friday the 12th the same tech came back, fiddled around a bit, and then said that the problem was in my furnace (where he’d previously replaced the fuse) rather than in my a/c (which was listed as a different item, so he said he couldn’t fix the “furnace” without a corrected work order). He called Sears to get this straightened out, and they didn’t call him back, so he said he was going to leave to catch another appointment and would then return (the same day) to get back to work on mine. Note, that he still wasn’t entirely sure the short wasn’t outside near the a/c unit. 😦 He also told me that Friday was NOT the only day they were in my area, but that’s another matter.
He never returned, nor did he order parts or set up a new appointment, and when I called Sears again they said the soonest they could get someone back out here was (you guessed it) Friday October 19th (Friday again?) — though this time (at my insistence) they wrote service orders for both the furnace and the a/c. I also informed them that I would not be jacked around on this, and that either Sears had to fix the problem, or pay someone with a clue and actual expertise to do so. I was not happy.
The agent on the phone was not a native English speaker, and I’m not entirely certain she got the point that I am extremely persistent, and intend to annoy the Hell out of Sears until they fulfill their obligations and fix whatever is broken. Jason thinks that relay needs to be replaced (a small and easily replaceable part) but for some reason the technician was reluctant (i.e. unwilling) to do that. No idea why. We probably ought to just pick up a new relay and replace it ourselves, but the parts and repair are supposed to be covered by SEARS, and they need to take care of BOTH!
So this is where we stand at the moment, waiting for the next episode of “Terrance Probably Doesn’t Do Furnaces”. Stay tuned. Same HVAC time. Same HVAC channel.