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Sears Slammed by Shoppers for Selling Products With "Unreasonable Risks"

The retailer has been hit with a new lawsuit over Kenmore appliances.

Sears has certainly seen better days. The retailer was once a dominating presence in the department store world, but now shoppers would be hard-pressed to find any of its locations still open at all. There are less than 20 Sears stores left in the U.S., and its spin-off Hometown business just filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2022. Now the company is getting hit with yet another blow as it finds itself at the receiving end of a major new lawsuit. Read on to find out why Sears is being slammed for selling products with "unreasonable risks."

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Both Sears and the Kenmore brand have struggled in recent years.

sears department store closing sales
bunlee / Shutterstock

Kenmore is a brand of appliances owned by Transformco, the parent company of Sears. In the early 2000s, Sears dominated the market over other retailers and Kenmore was one of the top appliance brands in the U.S., according to CNN. But over time, both have fallen from grace. And as more and more Sears stores close throughout the country, the value of Kenmore appliances has largely dwindled in the eyes of consumers.

"It's a durable good. People have concerns that they'll be able to service it, that they'll be able to get the part they need eight years down the line," Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at the Columbia Business School and a former CEO of Sears Canada, explained to CNN in 2018. "They have to be confident that someone will be there to stand behind the product."

Now, it seems that some shoppers aren't so sure of Sears or Kenmore appliances.

Now the retailer is being hit with a lawsuit over this appliance brand.

Sears retail store refrigerator appliances department, Saugus Massachusetts USA, March 19, 2018

A new lawsuit brings to light consumers' diminishing hope for the Kenmore brand. On Mar. 2, plaintiffs James Cristofoletti, Caroline Hatchett, Anthony Latuja, and Dean Nicosia filed a class action suit against Transformco in Illinois federal court over the sale of refrigerators at Sears, Top Class Actions reported. According to the news outlet, the plaintiffs claim that the company has knowingly sold Kenmore refrigerators that are likely to fail before their warranty expires.

Best Life has reached out to Transformco about the lawsuit but has not yet heard back.

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The lawsuit alleges that a defective compressor can be found in several Kenmore refrigerators.

Young couple, satisfied customers choosing fridges in appliances store.

According to the lawsuit, certain Kenmore refrigerators have a defective linear compressor that causes them to stop working properly before their promised 10-year life expectancy. The allegedly defective part manufactured by LG Electronics, which is critical for the refrigerator to maintain cool temperatures, is found in several different Kenmore models.

Allegedly, according to the plaintiffs, there are two main causes for the linear compressor defect. One is that the tubing of the compressor evaporator is prone to corrosion, which can create pinholes and allow refrigerant to enter the tubing. After time, this results in excess pressure on the compressor that causes it to fail. The second issue is that the compressors have a discharge valve that is weak and prone to fail even with ordinary use every day.

Consumers say these products have "unreasonable risks."

Hand opening a refrigerator door.

The plaintiffs say this compressor defect is one that Transformco has known about for years based on numerous consumer complaints. Yet, the company has continued to advertise the Sears products as reliable and failed to notify shoppers about the defect. They claim this is a breach of implied warranty of merchantability, as well as a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and various state consumer protection laws.

Sears selling these products also puts consumers at risk, according to the plaintiffs. The allegedly defective Kenmore refrigerators "pose unreasonable risks of property damage and personal injury via food-borne illness during normal use," they stated in the lawsuit.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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