Heard an old episode of Michael Feldman's radio show.
In one segment he reads memos or other printed stuff listeners send
This was from the ownwers manual of a something-something Kenmore
refrigerator with a bottom drawer freezer. In the section one what
noises the appliance might make, it had this list:
Hissing or popping-normal sound
One more sound-normal sound
Sounds exactly like the manual for mine, which sure enough is a Kenmore
bottom freezer- the something something is french doors. Maybe they
were anticipating a lot of service calls; since everything short of
explosive is described as normal operation.
I had the most fascinating conversation today with the helpful people at
Sears. My washing machine, which is little over a year old, stopped
mid-cycle and began emitting a series of beeps. The LCD on the panel
said E10, which I assumed was an error code, so I went through all the
documentation and could find nothing about error codes (though there
were other "troubleshooting" suggestions like checking to make sure the
power was plugged in and the hoses attached, etc).
I called the Sears 800 number, and they immediately began to schedule a
service call for next Wednesday. I said that I didn't need a service
call; that it was likely something simple and if someone would kindly
tell me what the error code means, I could take care of it myself. She
told me that there was no number for tech support -- that the only way I
could talk to a tech support person was to schedule a service call for
them to come to my house. "Are you telling me that your tech support
has no phone?" I demanded, to which she asked, "Do you have an extended
warranty?" I told her I didn't, to which she responded that in that
case, they do not have a phone number. "So what you're telling me is
that they have a phone number, but that you won't give it to me because
I didn't purchase your extended warranty?" I asked. She said that it
was an "internal" number, and no, I couldn't have it. I then asked why
they even bother to display the error codes on the machines if they
aren't going to give customers the information that the error code
references, and again, she tried to schedule a $90 service call.
I told her how delighted I was with my choice to purchase my washer and
dryer at Sears, along with what she could do with her service call, and
hung up. Then I re-set the washer and it re-started and ran through the
cycle without a problem. Guess I'll never know what caused the error,
but. . .that's got to be the most amazing service policy I've ever heard
of. Bottom line is. . .even the simplest tech question costs $90.
The moral of the story is. . .shop with care if you're intent on
shopping at Sears at all -- and for goodness sake, don't buy Kenmore.
At least with any other brand, I could have called the manufacturer.
The reason a phone number would have been available to you if you had
purchased the protection agreement was that, they then would have wanted a
tech to walk you through the problem to avoid a service call that would have
come out of their pocket. If your machine had been under the regular
warranty, you also would have been handed over to someone who would have
walked you through the codes to again try to avoid a service call at Sears
expense. I'm not saying the above policy is right or wrong but unless
they've changed since I retired, at least the person you talked to was based
in this country and spoke pretty good English or Spanish (if requested).
By the way, I scheduled a maintenance check up on a 15 yr old central A/C
system once. After the third time that my appointment was re-scheduled, it
occurred to me that I had used the words "annual maintenance checkup" in my
service request. The tech was assuming that I was looking for the "annual"
that comes with a service agreement and since they are usually overbooked
and they assumed I would be paying nothing for this service, they kept
pushing me back. I called and rather heatedly pointed out that I was
expecting to pay for this service call and that nothing was under warranty
and a tech was knocking on my door a half hour later.
I"m not arguing with you, since you said you're not saying if this is
good or bad, but you point out the very thing that is annoying about
this to Perri. Warranty or protection agreement, they would want to
walk the customer through to avoid a service call at Sears expense,
but if the customer is paying they won't even put the error code and a
little bit of walk-through in the owners manual.
People understand why even on Usenet, posters don't want to answer the
same questions over and over again, and why a ng will write an FAQ or
why posters use canned answers, or tell people to search the web.
Perri didn't start out expecting to talk to the service deparatment
for free, and even when he wanted to, he would have settled for one
sentence that explained E10. But noooooooo, they kept that a secret,
and it's almost like they want to encourage service calls when the
owner has to pay for it. That is very annoying, to say the least.
I had something a while back that had a list of error codes in the
manual, can't remember what it was, but the only ones they listed were
codes that came up normally, like "out of paper" or "paper jamb".
Things that represented more serious malfucntions were not listed at
all. I think I was able to find out on a computer ng what the code
meant (but that wouldn't help most people who don't even know
newsgroups exist. :) )
Indeed it is, and in this case, the "he" is a "she". But I can still
attempt to fix a washer myself if I know what's wrong with it. But I
confess that I actually *was* expecting to talk to a service tech for
free -- but only to find out what the stupid error code meant.
Yes, they have the simple stuff, like electrical and water connections
in the "troubleshooting" section (those types of things don't show on
the washer as LED error codes), but not a word about the error code
messages other than "contact your local Sears Service Center." They
sell the washer, but not all the information that should be with it.
Anyhow, after re-starting the machine (sort of like re-booting the
computer), the washer finished out the load without the error code
popping back up, so all is well -- for today. As for Sears, this isn't
over. I plan to call on a weekday and insist on a copy of the error
codes and what they mean. I feel entitled to that information.
Depending on which washer was purchased, the error code information
might be in the technical information either inside the control panel,
or in a plastic sleeve inside the machine. For example, in the HE3
series of Kenmore front load washers, there is technical information
inside the kick panel area.
Many companies no longer provide technical help outside of warranty or
service agreement expiration dates. I would imagine that Dell
computers is one company that strictly enforces this. Microsoft used
to have a number for free technical help on all their software, and I
bet they've done away with that. Just because a person at an #800 is
easily reachable doesn't mean that the desired information will come
free. It might be easier to find error codes on the internet. And
just because one might find the meaning of the error code doesn't mean
you would know what to do with the information. You might, but you
also might not.
Many people expect certain things to come with a machine, but if you
don't explicitly state that the inclusion of such item is criteria for
the purchase, you have no standing. You could request to see the
owner's manual before making a purchase, but I bet that few salespeople
would have the ability or willingness to fulfill that request.
On 25 Jun 2006 10:50:54 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
This reminds me of when I bought a PCJr, about 1984. This is before
the first PC, iirc, but not much before. It came in a package with an
IBM Graphics Printer (an impact printer), and I wanted to know what
values made the printer did what. A couple weeks after I got the
printer, I called the IBM office here and whoever answered said I
could come in anytime to their PC sales office, right in the heart of
downtown Baltimore, and copy the info out of I forget the name but
some big manual they had. So I left work a little early to give
myself an hour to copy. When I got there someone got the book for me
and I was copying, and after a while someone came over and said I
didn't have to copy, he would Xerox it for me. So he took it and was
gone for a while and came back saying they wouldn't let him do it.
Because he was gone 5 or 10 minutes I didn't have enough time to copy
everything I wanted, and anyone I wanted to talk to the boss, who told
me it was "copyrighted material". I pointed out that IBM owned the
copyright and could give anyone they wanted to a copy. No budge so I
rushed to get down as much as possible, and left when they closed.
A couple weeks after that, I went throught the stuff that came with
the printer again. There had been two owners manuals, each wrapped in
thick cellophane or whatever, and the instructions said that if I
bought the thing after a date (and I bought it months after that
date), I should throw away one of them. I'm too smart to do that, but
I hadn't unwrapped it yet. When I did, I realized it was a lot longer
than the other, and the extra pages were just what I was trying to
copy at the IBM office. I couldn't find any other differences in the
So they used to give this info out for free, info one might need if he
were writing his own printer driver and for some other reasons, and
now they didn't have the energy to go into the printer cartons to
remove the manual, but they were trying to get me to throw the info
away. It seems.
In the last 4 or 5 years, much info that used to appear on US
Government webpages for years, has not only been removed from the
webpages but marked "classified". There seems some similarity.
One of the stereo chains in Baltimore, Luskins, I think, kept the
owners manual for most of its items for sale underneath the item on
its sales display, VCR's, Receivers, and I don't what else, and they
probably still do.
There are so many features on these things. They are certainly not all
listed on the box, and even those that are can't be appreciated
without knowing more details. Upshot, I ended up spending 500 dollars
on a Kenwood in 1984 without knowing all the features or understanding
them, but I really liked the machine, and later when I used cheaper
machines, I found out that mine was really great!
I understand that. It's all about the money. And although I believe i
should have been able to speak with a tech support person, my primary
objection is to the fact that they do not provide the error code data
with the purchase of the washer. That's a "gotcha" -- they've made it
virtually impossible for anyone to fix a problem themselves, thus
guaranteeing themselves the service fee. And the washer was purchased
just over a year ago, but it took them three months to properly install
it, so while technically, from the date of purchase, my warranty period
had expired, due to their ineptitude, I'm still within my first year of
In any event, times have changed a great deal, I fear. Things didn't
used to be this hard.
You got that right!...
Corporations in recent years have insisted that their repair
operations become "profit centers" whereas before, service was
something that all reputable manufactuers had to provide to stay
competitive in sales, even if the service department operated as a
My big complaint is the generic appliance manuals that come with the
machines. While they are filled with warnings about not using gasoline
in your wash load, and who to call for parts.... They tell you
virtually nothing about the operation of the specifc model that you
bought. Sears/Kenmore is particularly guilty of this.
Error codes for specific models, timing diagrams, and an electrical
schematic should be among the minimum requirements for a good service
On Sun, 25 Jun 2006 17:53:40 GMT, email@example.com (Beachcomber)
What gets me is that the safety warnings seem to be the same no matter
what you buy, and I don't read them anymore. What I'd like to know is
what is particularly dangerous about this sort of appliance, that I
wouldn't think of.
A bad example, I've cut the extension cord with the hedge trimmer
three times. But in truth, because of their wierd shape, I thought
those teeth were designed to somehow be rather safe for fingers.
Didn't have the nerve to try it, and now I'm convinced they'r not
designed for that at all. I guess the warnings are generated by the
particular accidents people have and allegations in lawsuits filed, so
maybe no one was as stupid as I was at the start. (Got my hedgetimmer
used anyhow, with no manual.)
All washers and dryers come with technical information that includes at
least a wiring diagram and a timing chart. It usually can be found in
the control panel in top load washers, and inside the kick panel on
front load washers. Some older machines have charts glued to the back
of the unit.
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