Need an appliance repaired? Pandemic-related parts delays, expiring warranties leave customers 'frustrated'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A shortage of parts is causing delays to many home appliance repairs. However, the I-Team has uncovered another problem some people waiting for fixes are facing.

What do you do if your appliance doesn't work, parts are delayed due to the pandemic and your manufacturer warranty is ending. That's the issue one local woman with a dead refrigerator is dealing with.

"It's a nice one, it just doesn't work!" said Johanna Malmgren of New Lenox. She has been dealing with refrigerator repairs since the fall of 2020. Then in March of 2021, "it started making a whole lot of noise again," she said. "The next morning I got up, and the refrigerator was quiet."

That refrigerator, which is less than a year old, stopped working, forcing Malmgren to move her food to an old fridge in her garage.

"Very difficult. We have to go out to the garage and get everything," Malmgren added. "And when you're cooking, you need the other -- and then cooking and all that. Well, usually I can just take a couple steps for the refrigerator and get what I need and now I have to walk up in the garage with any real pain."

She said Sears repair crews have been to her home to try and fix the various problems on the Sears brand Kenmore refrigerator with no luck.

"It's frustrating," she said.

Malmgren reached out to the I-Team because she was told that pandemic-related delays on parts are delaying the repairs, something which industry groups have also reported.

What makes the problem worse is her one-year manufacturer warranty is coming to an end this summer.

"And now I have nowhere to go," Malmgren said.

As the time on her warranty ticks away, she said Sears told her repair crews would have to come out eight times before she could get a new appliance.

So the I-Team reached out to Sears. Within days they delivered her this brand new refrigerator.

"The satisfaction of our members and guests is our top priority. During the pandemic, the availability of parts has been very limited. After three attempts to repair Mrs. Malmgren's refrigerator, we offered to replace the unit...," Sears told the I-Team in a statement.

If you're in Malmgren's situation, the Better Business Bureau said you should:
  • Make sure you have an official case number with the manufacturer;

  • Ask if they can extend the warranty if you're waiting on pandemic delayed parts and delayed repair attempts;

  • And get the name of the representative you're dealing with on the phone and follow up with an email.
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