February 3, 2014 7:08 pm
Updated: February 4, 2014 2:11 pm

Woman battles Sears customer service after washing machine ‘explosion’


Watch the video above: Woman battles Sears customer service after washing machine ‘explosion’. Sean O’Shea reports. 

TORONTO – Helen Goljak had just got home from a vacation in December and had filled her Kenmore washing machine with the pants and shirts she had brought with her.

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“[There was a] loud rumbling,” she said. “Then the explosion happened. I jumped, the dog jumped and I went downstairs and the washer door had flung open, I saw glass everywhere… there was lots of glass inside with all my clothes.”

Her clothes were ruined. There was glass on the floor and surrounding the machine. She cleaned up what she could and the next day called Sears to figure out what happened to her four-and-a-half-year-old washing machine.

“We went back and forth sending pictures, they were very cooperative and helpful and then I asked about my clothes, so they told me about their insurance company and I can deal with them for my contents,” she said.

She had to pay $75 to get someone to come and investigate what happened to her washing machine. She was fine with paying that though because she thought eventually, she’d get it all back when they refunded her the money for her machine.

The technician said it couldn’t be fixed. But she didn’t want it fixed, she wanted a new machine. So the calls to customer service continued for almost two months while she did her laundry at her neighbour’s house until two weeks ago when, she said, a Sears customer service representative told her “no way.”

“They emphatically said, ‘no way, we’re not replacing your washer, good luck with your clothes,’ and that’s it,” she said.

After that, she contacted Global News reporter Sean O’Shea. Sears then began to offer her store credit, she said.

“[A Sears representative] just said well you know, we give washers eight years and you know this is worth $800 without taxes, so we’re going to offer you $445,” Goljak said, adding that in a subsequent call, the Sears representative said “‘I’d like to solve this before you go to the media.’”

Goljak however doesn’t want store credit but instead a new washing machine.

She spoke with a Sears representative again Monday while being interviewed by Global News. Sears upped the offer to “between $700 and $750” of store credit to go towards another washing machine.

A Sears representative also told Goljak Monday that the offer of store credit was a “goodwill gesture” from the company because her washing machine was no longer under warranty and she would “typically [not be] entitled to anything.”

In a statement to Global News Sears Canada said they have “worked with Ms. Goljak to provide her a fair allowance to go toward replacing her appliance.”

“Sears Canada stands behind our products, which are manufactured to certification standards and which go through significant testing in order to comply with all Canadian safety and legal requirements. What happened with this particular appliance is not something that has previously arisen as a matter of concern, and we have been working with Mrs. Goljak since she first called us to try to determine what might have caused this to happen in her home. Sears takes each customer concern very seriously. Due to the specific circumstances surrounding this particular case, we have worked with Ms. Goljak to provide her a fair allowance to go toward replacing her appliance.”

With files from Sean O’Shea

© 2014 Shaw Media

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