A few years ago my wife gave me a lovely Kenmore Elite wine cooler as a gift. This appliance lives in our kitchen, doing exactly what you’d expect. That is, until last month. Last month the cooler temperature went down to near freezing and could not be adjusted. Thirty-six degrees Fahrenheit is much too cold for wine.
Since it’s a Kenmore appliance I called the Sears appliance repair service to come service the gadget. The technician arrived and diagnosed the issue based solely upon my description of the problem. He said that controller board was faulty and should be replaced. It seemed a sensible diagnosis.
He then quoted me $130 for the part and $275 in labor to install it. With taxes, the repair was going to cost around $450. That’s not much less than the cost of a comparable, brand new wine cooler. A new cooler would have a warranty.
Thinking that cost of the repair was too high, I declined to act on the quote. I paid him the $99 they want for the service call, and sent him on his way.
A few days later a most curious thing happened. Sears sent an email follow-up, offering to sell me the part. They offered a link to Sears Parts Direct, right to the very part I needed. Surprisingly, they offered it for just $65 with free shipping. That’s half of the part cost quoted by the technician! Being handy with a screw driver, I jumped on this offer right away.
I’m happy to report that last evening I replaced the faulty board without issue. The board was accessible after removing just two screws. Transferring the 8-9 different wires was simple enough. The whole process took less than 20 minutes.
Once the the board was replaced the cooler reliably held the target temperatures in both zones. Being able to make the repair myself was a treat. In this computer-based world it’s not often that I get to make physical repairs to genuinely useful stuff.
I consider the $99 fee paid for the service call to be essentially a diagnostic fee. I applaud Sears for following up and offering the part. For their effort, they garnered at least a portion of the business that was otherwise lost.
While Sears as whole may be in some trouble, in this instance they made good on earning at least a portion of my business.