The infamous Kenmore (Frigidaire) 417 and BBB (long, but need advise)


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Old 05-27-09, 12:12 PM
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The infamous Kenmore (Frigidaire) washer 417 and BBB (long, but need advise)

Hello,

I am the 'proud' owner (my wife rather ) of the infamous Kenmore 417.XXXXXX Frigidaire-made washing machine. Lately the machine became extremely loud while spinning. I read hear as well as many other forums and learned that my rear bearing is on its way to yesterday's land.
I did open the back cover, everything is amazingly clean, literally looks brand new (we got the machine on August 2003, so a hair short of 6 years), there are no leaks, no grease/oil stains, etc. Although somewhat a DIY'er I immediately waived off any remote chance of me tackling this myself. Just seems too complicated to me.

My wife and I knew that we would probably have to look at a new machine. We called a local appliance repair technician just so that we won't regret it after the fact "why didn't we at least listened what a technician had to say", and his $69.99 advise was "go buy a new machine".

Somewhere on the web I read that someone said "file a complaint with BBB". So I said "what the heck" and I did, on a weekend couple of weeks ago, with no real expectations.
Wouldn't you know it, the following Wednesday I get a call from a very nice lady at Sears HQ who wants to discuss. She wants to send a technician (free of charge) to evaluate. I told her no problem (after I expressed my disappointment and the fact that this is a well known issue and that Sears makes tons of money out of it). She also said "we'll wait to see what our technician has to say and I am willing to work with you".
To make a long story short - Sears tech. came last Saturday, everything was already ready for him on his laptop. Total cost to repair - $501. He said "go buy a new machine"...

...continue below
 

Last edited by SBI; 05-27-09 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 05-27-09, 01:01 PM
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(sorry about that, I thought the 2nd part was posted earlier.)

Fast forward to today - the nice lady from Sears called back to follow up. Here is what she offers:
Basket (although in like new shape, must be replaced) - under warranty.
Other parts - $281; she'll give me credit (after I pay and repair) of $100 towards parts, so total parts for me - $181.
Labor - free.
So, it will cost me $181 to fix the damn thing.

By all means this is an awesome deal. Sears is obviously troubled by the BBB complaint and will do whatever they can to make me happy.
On the balance is a 4.0 cu ft. LG machine at Home Depot, original is $899, today's deal is $699 plus 10%, free delivery and removal of old machine. This LG is direct drive, larger machine, better warranty, and if I use my HD card I get to pay around $60 a month for the next year and I'm done.

Now, here is my dilemma:
$630 vs. $181, obviously $181 to repair this machine is a great deal. BUT - from what I understand this repair involves removing of the door seal. I get dizzy just thinking about the potential damage this kind of thing has in store (leaks, etc).

So, does it really worth dealing with this machine and Sears in general?

What do you think?

Thanks
 
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Old 05-27-09, 01:08 PM
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If $181 would fix your Sears washer up enough to last another six years, I'd go for it. I'd definitely ask if there was any kind of warranty on the repair, just to allay your concerns about removing/replacing the door seal.

I know major appliances aren't designed to last as long as they used to be, but to junk out a washer after six years seems rather wasteful. Another thing to check out about the LG appliances is how available is factory authorized service in your area?
 
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Old 05-27-09, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Beachboy View Post
If $181 would fix your Sears washer up enough to last another six years, I'd go for it. I'd definitely ask if there was any kind of warranty on the repair, just to allay your concerns about removing/replacing the door seal.

I know major appliances aren't designed to last as long as they used to be, but to junk out a washer after six years seems rather wasteful. Another thing to check out about the LG appliances is how available is factory authorized service in your area?
They will provide 90 days warranty on the repair. I am kind of aware of my relationship with Mr. Murphy....my seal will brake down on the 91st day.

BTW - we did buy a Kenmore dryer together with this washer and believe it or not it broke on the 364 day...I called Sears that night, they said "you are out of warranty"...I had to tell them to double check because we were under warranty until the next day.

How do I check if there is authorized LG service in my area? I would assume there is...after all it's not a minor brand and they are around for some years now, isn't it?

Edited: OK, did a search on LG site and that's what I am getting for my zip code:

LG FACTORY SERVICE TECHNICIAN (FSC)

 
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Old 05-27-09, 03:05 PM
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Sears or A&E usually take care of LG from HD, Lowes, HHgreg and others. Used to recommend LG until ran into parts problem. Had to take apart machine and get part # off old part before LG could send right part. This after calling LG direct to get part #. Only recommend Whrilpool built machines. I would take the offer Sears gave you. Reason basket needs to be replaced is we find bearing surface is bad or pulley is frozen on. after repair your machine should be good for many years. Other common problems with your machine is door lock and we used to have mootor control go bad but I have not replaced a motor control in a couple of years. Pay to have a new door boot installed when job is done if the old boot is glued to front of cabinet. Should not be any more labor as boot has to come off to do job.
 
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Old 05-27-09, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pugsl View Post
Sears or A&E usually take care of LG from HD, Lowes, HHgreg and others. Used to recommend LG until ran into parts problem. Had to take apart machine and get part # off old part before LG could send right part. This after calling LG direct to get part #. Only recommend Whrilpool built machines. I would take the offer Sears gave you. Reason basket needs to be replaced is we find bearing surface is bad or pulley is frozen on. after repair your machine should be good for many years. Other common problems with your machine is door lock and we used to have mootor control go bad but I have not replaced a motor control in a couple of years. Pay to have a new door boot installed when job is done if the old boot is glued to front of cabinet. Should not be any more labor as boot has to come off to do job.
The door boot is included in the parts she qouted, but the part is not the issue, my problem is with the fact that you need to remove it and put it back on, especially if glue is involved. I fear that this stuff is prone to problems.
 
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Old 05-27-09, 04:54 PM
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New boot does not glue on. Boot should not be a problem. Have changed many.
 
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Old 05-27-09, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pugsl View Post
New boot does not glue on. Boot should not be a problem. Have changed many.
But it is glued now, so how does it go on in a replacement?!
 
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Old 05-27-09, 06:30 PM
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the new boot has been redesigned and now has a retainer spring. the boot will not be a problem. if it works for 90 days it could work for another 5 years
 
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Old 05-28-09, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by David_Thompson View Post
the new boot has been redesigned and now has a retainer spring. the boot will not be a problem. if it works for 90 days it could work for another 5 years
Shouldn't the machine frame itself allow for this spring? I don't see how the boot itself can be redesigned to accept the a retainer spring without the frame holding it.

Also, I just looked at searspartsdirect.com and surprisingly the same parts that she quoted for me cost less than the quote Sears gave me. This is ridiculous...she said labor will be free so how come a shell/bearing cost at Sears $169.99 and she quoted $229.48? Same with the kit (door boot) - it is $38.49 in Searspartsdirect, she gave me quote of $51.96. She is giving me a credit of $100 after the repair anyway and trying to make me happy so that I close my complaint with BBB...I just don't get it.
 
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Old 05-28-09, 09:10 AM
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Maybe tgis will help. Sears is a big company in business to make a profit. They are not stupid. The prices you see at SPD are retail. Want to get your eyes opened? Take the part numbers from SPD and look them up on ebay. You'll get an idea of how they can give you the labor for free [hint- it's buried in the parts markup]. Sears does hundreds of thousands of service calls annually. They have the numbers well crunched. Another gimmick Sears has is this- you call for service, they talk you into a temporary contract for repairs that is like $215. Then they tell you that if the repair will exceed $500 they will give you a coupon for $500 off on a new appliance at Sears. The tech comes out, if a particular repair normally retails for say $159, you'll never know that you just overpaid for that repair. If the repair exceeds $500, the tech gives you the coupon. People think, wow, $500 off on a new appliance never stopping to realize that they paid $215 to get the coupon so the discount is $285 not $500.
 
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Old 05-28-09, 12:42 PM
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To answer the question about boot is under the glued part of boot there is a ridge that the new boot goes over and than spring clamp will hold it on. Have done many of them and that is not a problem.
 
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Old 05-28-09, 03:12 PM
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if you can get if fixed for $181 then do it. yes the parts cost more from sears home service than in a store or on the internet which is not surprising. it costs a crap load of money to have 12,000 vans driving around and to support them
 
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Old 05-29-09, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by David_Thompson View Post
if you can get if fixed for $181 then do it. yes the parts cost more from sears home service than in a store or on the internet which is not surprising. it costs a crap load of money to have 12,000 vans driving around and to support them
Right, maybe if they didn't produce (or bought and redistributed such) crapy machines they didn't have to have 12,000 vans. The funny thing is their own technicians tell the customers to buy a new machine, as in my case.
 
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Old 05-29-09, 07:24 AM
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Suggesting a new machine is normal. Sears expects their techs to complete 85% of their calls. If a tech breezes into your home, sees an expensive repair, he/she will suggest a new machine. If the customer agrees, that goes into their log as a completed call for which they did a minimal amount of work. Then they rush off to the next call. I agree with the other guys, if they will fix it for $181, that might be your best route. Back in the 1960's front loading washers came into vogue. They disappeared from the marketplace because they broke down a lot and were expensive to repair. Since the re-emergence of front loaders one company had their model put them out of business. It's just difficult to make a front loader with the same reliability as a top loader but folks seem to like them.
 
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Old 05-29-09, 09:32 AM
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Right, maybe if they didn't produce (or bought and redistributed such) crapy machines they didn't have to have 12,000 vans.
i believe that your main gripe should be with the company that designed and produced the machine(Frigidaire). funny how when someones transmission in their car goes out at 50k miles it is not the fault of the car dealership but the same logic doesnt apply to appliances for some reason unknown to me.
 
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Old 05-29-09, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by daddyjohn View Post
Suggesting a new machine is normal. Sears expects their techs to complete 85% of their calls. Back in the 1960's front loading washers came into vogue. They disappeared from the marketplace because they broke down a lot and were expensive to repair. Since the re-emergence of front loaders one company had their model put them out of business. It's just difficult to make a front loader with the same reliability as a top loader but folks seem to like them.
Sorry, not sure I follow you.
So you are suggesting that Sears (or any other company for that matter who uses the same practice) should not care less about their products and should tell their technicians to try and find a way to advise the (already unhappy) customer to buy a new machine? Please tell me you are not joking.
If this is indeed Sears' policy then all I can say is that I wish they get out of business sooner rather than later.
Company that sells a product should strive to sell a quality product, not something that will last 5-6 years hoping that the (fool) customer will say "oh, OK...I'll just buy a new product from you that will brake down in no time".

As for front loader - with all due respect, maybe it is an easy excuse by American manufacturers to blame "front load" in difficult to make them with the same reliability. No one in Europe use top loads, German machines are notorious for their reliability, even today...not 30 years ago. AEG machine lasts easily north of 20 years. This attitude is very similar to the American car manufacturers who insist of making stuff that was good 40-50 years ago, and then wonder why they can't sell anything.
Not sure what's the big love in this country for top load, but they are so un-efficient, they don't clean as well as front load....nothing to compare to a front load.

Sorry, but to 'blame' the complexity of a front load vs. top load for lack of reliability and bad service is just lame.
 
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Old 05-29-09, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by David_Thompson View Post
i believe that your main gripe should be with the company that designed and produced the machine(Frigidaire). funny how when someones transmission in their car goes out at 50k miles it is not the fault of the car dealership but the same logic doesnt apply to appliances for some reason unknown to me.
Of course it is...exact same logic. Don't get me wrong - my issue is not with the technician. Obviously a technician says what he's told to say. My beef is with the company that buys bad products and pretend to deliver the best product/service in the world.
 
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Old 05-29-09, 03:44 PM
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I wonder, that in the future, as machines get more bells and whistles and become more expensive, in the same mannor cars have -that if it will become more worthwhile to get the machine fixed? (Dishwashers, front load washers, fridges, etc.)

Or, if the repair bill will still represent a given high percentage of the cost of the appliance? My guess is the more expensive the machine becomes, that by and large, repairs will be advised more often. The appliances of the 80's and 90's cost too little to almost be worth repairing. And hence, with what appliance technicians are charging (maybe $70 to show up at the door and not do anything), it often is not worth sinking money into say $275-500 appliances.

But on appliances now that are like $1200 -2000 for some of these fancy appliances, people may opt for the repairs.
 
 

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