Question

Why does Sears Refuse to Honor their Warranty on Mower repairs?

I took my electric Craftsman mower (model 37016 I believe) into the service center located at 3630 E Front St, Kansas City, MO 64120 to be repaired on Monday November 12th, 2012 at 11am. It was only 18 months old (purchased on April 14th, 2011 with my Discover Card) and was under a 2 year parts and labor warranty. On Tuesday November 13th, 2012 I got a call from this service center employee (John I believe). He started the conversation by stating the mower I brought in yesterday, Sears no longer makes this product and can’t get parts. I did a search and found that this product is still being sold by certain Sears locations as found on the Sears web site ( http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-19inch-premium-electric-lawn-mower/p-07137016000P ).
Granted this unit is only 18 Months old and it’s something Craftsman made and is still available online so parts and the product should be available. Yet the repair representative told me it was not.
Then the Sears employee proceeds to tell me that since they can’t get parts they won’t repair the unit and I can either come pick it up or they will destroy the mower for me. I ask him how the mower credit will be applied since what I paid for had a warranty and if it will be credited toward another purchase in the store?
He said “NO” credit will be provided as he will just mark it up as I must have done something to make the mower motor assembly break. That he will write in his paperwork it is not any known defect in hardware so the warranty wouldn’t apply and Sears would not be responsible for crediting or replacing the mower. I asked him why they would mark it as something I did when there was no way for me to break internal bolts.
Again I told the Sears employee the mower bolts holding the blade and motor housing together snapped while mowing. I explained how “Lucky” I was the blade did not hit me, as when it separated from the broken motor housing it dug into the ground or else it could have caused major injuries! I asked him how I could have caused the bolts to snap? According to the Sears Repair Center Rep it’s not their problem and I need to come get my Craftsman Mower or they will just destroy it. Then he proceeds to tell me they have specials on new mowers and to talk with the manager to see if he might help me out finding a new one.
I again asked why they were not honoring their warranty and he stated I just needed to pick up my mower. Their refusal to honor a warranty, falsify documents negating the warranty and deceptive practices are unacceptable.
I realize this company profits from negating warranty claims and minimizing the loss to profits from pay outs yet this is ridiculous. To blame consumers and refuse to honor their Warranties is a pathetic and immoral way of handling customer service. I told John to hold onto my mower at the center until I speak with someone who can address this issue. I have contacted their customer care group and not been replied too. I have also requested the service manager call me back and no call has been received. Please address this issue and I will await your reply.

Answers

27 answers

  1. I am having a Warranty issue as well. for 2 months I have been trying to get my mower repaired. Excuses, passing the buck (to the repair provider), and just simple not taking responsibility.

    I paid SEARS for a mower AND a warranty. SEARS is responsible for the fulfillment of the contract. Either FIX the mower, or Replace it, I dont care. Just quit telling me its not SEARS' fault and that they have no control over the repair contractor.

      • San Jose, CA

    Be SURE to take pictures indicating how the mower did not "hit" anything, but, just suddenly came "unscrewed", almost at random.

    The pictures of the straight motor shaft, and the undamaged motor mount should be very telling in any possible legal court actions.

    And, the condition of the blade is also a good indicator of how you were just cutting soft grass, with not rocks, bricks, sidewalk edges, or sprinkler heads involved to "challenge" the integrity of the machine.

    Sadly, this board does not support pictures being uploaded, or we could ALL enjoy the otherwise pristine condition your mower was in before the loud "event" happened.

    Like they say, "One picture is worth one-thousand words."

      • San Jose, CA

    It's been raining heavily for the last few days. So. There will probably be a whole new "crop" of fist-sized ROCKS a spring'n up out in the yard, meadow, grove, field and possibly at the edge of the forest.

    THIS is where a high-wheel trimmer is worth its weight in broken lawn mowers!

    Even the 0.155 inch "line" (rope?) lasts way longer, after having beat back a great many black-berry vines.

    Sometimes, having more than just one version of a tool is a good thing.

    Like bypass and anvil type of pruning shears for live and dead plants.

    I just recently acquired a set of wood-perfect handled florist shears for trimming even more of the wild life back, that springs up behind the wire cages of the young trees, out to the meadow.

    Sears Parts Direct has the parts you need to get your mower back operational and I highly recommend a Craftsman cultivator tool to help prepare the way for your newly repaired mower to travel through.

      • San Jose, CA

    Who here has ever seen a returned mower with an "L-shaped" mower blade attached to it?

    I have!

    That weren't no "grass" that the blade done hitted itself against!

    On an electric/ plastic housing mower, the motor's mounting screws might even have been torn loose of the motor holder's housing.

    What can a manufacturer do to prevent its product from being steered into hazardous areas of someone's yard?

    The plastic-headed sprinkler heads were a start...

    The riding mower blade mandrels sure don't have soft metal alloy "keys".

    The snapped deck belt and lose of 50 dollars for a new belt done told me that.

      • San Jose, CA

    Sometimes a lawn mower will "find things" that its steel blade was never meant to be able to cut, and that the mower may "take exception" to being subject to the attempt to deal with such things.

    I've found a few things, while mowing, that would be included in this category, including bushes not cut down to ground level, rocks, a stuffed teddy bear and a 12 inch long piece of T-bar fencing.

    This is probably one reason I invested in a belt-driven Craftsman high-wheel trimmer (wheeled Weed Wacker, powered by a lawn-mower type engine) some years ago.

    The belt-driven ride-on mower hitting that piece of T-bar fencing cost me 50 dollars for a new deck blades belt.

    I think the direct drive electric or gasoline rotary mowers are possibly the worst tools to send in to an area that is not already extremely well trimmed and clear of potential obstacles.

    Did your mower encounter anything other than "grass" before the bolts left it?

    1. I cannot think of one gasoline powered direct drive mower that I have come across, and have stripped that far down, that does not have a soft alloy key between the crankshaft and the flywheel. When the blade and thus the crankshaft are abruptly stopped the kinetic energy stored in the flywheel is absorbed shearing the key with normally no damage to other components except perhaps the blade itself. As I said in my response to madgolfer on 19th, below I am not sure if some similar arrangement exists on the direct drive electric mowers or not.

  2. Bigtx, any chance your credit card company will cover your loss? Some cards offer purchase protection for failed products.

    1. In response to madgolfer

      That is 'Helpful' and sensible. Elsewhere in this thread we have wandered from the original poster's question. I believe the conclusion we have arrived at, based on the information that we have, which is not complete, is that the poster 'does not have a case' as the damage was very likely, but not yet positively, caused by means not covered by the warranty or a PA. Anyone agree or disagree?

      • San Jose, CA

    ALL the parts seem to be available for the 247.370160 Electric Mower.

    Take a look on the Sears Parts Direct.com site for the 247.370160 machine.

        • San Jose, CA

      The motor bracket is available. But, hopefully the number 63, 725-1715 Rectifier is still intact.

      • San Jose, CA

    What is the long model number of your mower?

  3. Hi bigtx, sounds like repair service is invoking the broken crankshaft clause in your warranty. Check your Protection Agreement about what's not covered.

    1. In response to madgolfer

      Crankshaft on an electric mower?

    2. In response to madgolfer

      Crankshaft, driveshaft whatever the shaft that drives the blade is. To successfully dispute repair services finding would require documentation from another reputable repair provider that the unit was defective and not accidentally damaged.

    3. In response to madgolfer

      The terms in the 'Agreement' here: http://www.searsfinancial.ca/InsuranceServices/ProtectionPlans/TermsandConditionsforProtectionAgreements.aspx do note that the crankshaft is not covered, together with a great many other parts, but not a 'driveshaft' or 'whatever the shaft that drives the blade is'. Just another good reason not to purchase a Protection Agreement from Sears, too many 'we can wriggle out of it clauses'.

    4. In response to madgolfer

      Oh it's definitely the electric motors crankshaft that was damaged, I was just trying to identify the part for you since you seemed confused. What are the other great many parts that you are referring to?

    5. In response to madgolfer

      There is an exploded parts diagram and a list of those parts for this mower at http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/lis_pdf/OWNM/1009620L.pdf (pages 20 and 21) there is no reference to a part called a 'crankshaft' on either of those pages. Could you please identify, on the subject pages, what part you believe failed? I have put in close to 60 years in 'engineering' and I have never heard of any part or even any component of any part, in the above parts diagram which could be called a 'crankshaft'. The closest I can come to anything even similar is the 'spider' of the 'armature' or 'rotor', on very much larger machines it is even possible for a human being to get in between the 'spokes' of the 'spider' for examinations, cleanings etc. Now it is a far cry from normal engineering nomenclature to call the power output shaft of an electric motor a 'crankshaft' but going by "Webster's" definition of a 'lever at right angles to a shaft for imparting or receiving motion' it could be taken as a 'crankshaft'. By the original poster's description this is not the part that failed. So what part do you believe failed, using the above diagram and list as reference? The 'other' parts I was speaking of are those listed in the 'Agreement'.

    6. In response to madgolfer

      Happy to clear that up for you Inquisitivemind

    7. In response to madgolfer

      You have not 'cleared' anything up. Just added to the confusion. That being said I believe Sears MAY be trying to use the 'wriggle out' clause "acts of negligence, misuse, abuse," at 15c in the agreement referenced above. I have a suspicion that what the poster is talking about are the 'screws' securing the motor to the 'motor bracket', items 2 and 3 on the above referenced exploded parts diagram. Alternatively the original poster could be speaking of the securing arrangements of the 'motor bracket' to the 'deck', items 1 and 2 above. Now what do you think he/she is talking about?

    8. In response to madgolfer

      Without seeing the mower I can't dispute services finding that the blade hit a root or rock resulting in the motor mounts shattering and the blade separating from the shaft.

    9. In response to madgolfer

      Just a point of clarification, the OP didn't mention at anytime that they had a PA on the mower. In fact, they mention a 2 year parts and labor warranty which is the defect warranty from the manufacturer that comes with that model mower.

      Regardless, if the issue is indeed a damaged crank or drive shaft, that is not covered under either the standard warranty or protection agreement.

    10. In response to madgolfer

      Just using the PA as a point of reference Kevin. Now maybe Inquisitivemind wil list the "great many other parts" not covered by a Protection Agreement on the exploded parts diagram for us. I can't find the spark plug or air filter.

    11. In response to madgolfer

      "Just using the PA as a point of reference Kevin. Now maybe Inquisitivemind wil list the "great many other parts" not covered by a Protection Agreement on the exploded parts diagram for us. I can't find the spark plug or air filter." Please just go to the referenced website and look them up. I will not reproduce list the verbatim as there is such a thing as 'copyright'.

    12. In response to madgolfer

      Kevin - Thank you for a thoughtful response. The manual for this mower available at: http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/lis_pdf/OWNM/1009620L.pdf does note that a bent motor shaft (note not a crankshaft) is not covered. The original poster has not mentioned the motor shaft, or anything similar, just broken bolts. On the information we have, which is very limited and incomplete my very provisional analysis is that the poster 'hit something' but I am far from sure that the 'bolts' he states are fractured are the only damages. How madgolfer can be as emphatic as he is that it is a damaged crankshaft is beyond my comprehension unless he is aware of details that the general reader is not. Thank you again and it is good to see that you are still 'active' with sensible comments. Regards to you and yours for the season.

    13. In response to madgolfer

      Inquisitivemind, the description of the mower blade separating from the broken motor housing indicates that the case hardened bolt that holds the blade split the threaded shaft which you and Webster have concluded is a crankshaft. Comparing the copyrighted list of parts excluded by Protection Agreements to the exploded parts diagram you provided leaves a single match, the blade, not a great many other parts as you indicated above.

    14. In response to madgolfer

      "Inquisitivemind, the description of the mower blade separating from the broken motor housing indicates that the case hardened bolt that holds the blade split the threaded shaft which you and Webster have concluded is a crankshaft. Comparing the copyrighted list of parts excluded by Protection Agreements to the exploded parts diagram you provided leaves a single match, the blade, not a great many other parts as you indicated above." The light dawns upon me! I was not referring to just the parts of the mower not covered by the PA but the fact that the PA specifically mentions many parts, for many products, and by inference many, many others, some of which are part(s) of the mower. The wheels for instance could, and likely would with Sears, come under the "expendable, disposable," definition as they do 'wear out'. My apologies for not making it clearer earlier. Now on to what is/was damaged. The poster has referred to 'bolts' (note the plural) breaking more than once. Now as there is only one bolt (singular) holding the hub and blade to the motor shaft this leads me to conclude that some other bolt or bolts have fractured and perhaps even that the bolt securing the hub and blade to the shaft has not fractured at all. I am not familiar with this particular mower and the parts diagrams give little clue as to how a positive drive is transmitted from the motor shaft to the blade. Looking at the diagram of the locking plate it would appear that perhaps there are two 'flats' machined on the end of the motor shaft which mate with corresponding flats on the locking plate. As the hole blade appears to be circular it would appear that the drive of the actual blade is affected by friction between the locking plate, the blade and the blade bolt. This would appear to give some degree of safety as the blade could 'slip' in the event of it striking a hard object. (The soft alloy key fitted between the crankshaft and the flywheel of gasoline powered mowers serves the same purpose.) This would however require the torque applied to tighten the blade bolt to be strictly controlled. Do you know if this is actually the case? Whilst I agree that, using Webster's definition, the motor shaft could be described as a 'crankshaft' until this time I had never heard such a description used for an electric motor, or generator, shaft.

  4. Go get your mower, get their refusal to repair it in writing, and file a small claims court action, along with a consumer protection complaint in your state