By Kurtis Ming

Melinda Gill of Suisun City has been waiting a long time for this.

After nearly two months — seven weeks and three days to be exact — it finally looks like her broken Sears washer is getting fixed.

“It’s a huge relief,” she said.

A busy schedule is nothing new for Gill — a military wife and mother of two, including a newborn daughter.

So when the washer first broke, the $214.99 extended warranty Sears suggested to her seemed like the hassle-free solution, she said, and she bought it.

But weeks later — and after hours and hours of time taken off from work to wait at home — the washer still sat in the middle of her garage, in multiple pieces, waiting for a Sears repairman.

“They just never showed up,” she said.

She said repairmen showed up the first time and ordered the wrong part, then they failed to show up for the next two appointments. A repairman then came the next week and ordered another part, but she said they stood her up twice more after that.

In the meantime, she said she’s spent $200 on coins for the laundromat — not to mention the fuel it takes to get there.

“You don’t know if you want to scream, cry, yell, curse,” she said. “You want to call everybody and take it out on them, but you know it’s not their fault.”

“They’re really in breach of their agreement,” said Gary Almond of the Northeastern California Better Business Bureau.

Almond said there are three words that never fail to scare businesses straight: small claims court.

“Take them to small claims court,” he said. “It’s part of the civil code, it’s people’s rights.”

That civil code — California Civil Code Section 1722 — grants consumers the right to sue a company of 25 employees or more for up to $600 if repairmen fail to show up, under certain conditions.

Almond said that means Gill could file a claim for each incident — up to $2,400 for lost wages, expenses incurred and actual damages.

On the day CBS Sacramento visited, the repairmen showed up, much to Gill’s surprise.

“This really should have taken maybe a week,” said one Sears repairman who helped finally fix the machine. “Parts, ten days. No more than two weeks, at the worst.”

When CBS Sacramento contacted Sears, the company apologized, saying, “Due to Ms. Gill’s inconvenience we agreed to cover 100% of the repair for both parts and labor and reimburse her $100 for laundry care while her machine was not in service.”

She said she’s now considering filing in small claims court to help make up for her lost time and all the frustration.

“I will never buy Sears products ever again,” she said.

  1. still kicking says:

    There isn’t one of us that hasn’t suffered through the same hassles. I realize the reason for giving customers a time frame when the repair person will arrive but not showing at all, and then never even calling to explain why, is simply bad service. Why can’t these service companies have people make a simple call to customers updating them on parts orders, time arrival, and the like? There is nothing more frustrating than being in the dark wondering if your problem will ever be solved.

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