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Call Kurtis Investigates: Stores Charging Customers for Parts They Don’t Need

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Some stores across the nation are offering refunds to consumers after a Call Kurtis investigation.

But an undercover Call Kurtis producer found major appliance retailers may be telling customers they need to buy extra parts when they buy a new washing machine — when those parts are sometimes included.

Most washing machines do not come with the rubber hose needed to hook it up in your house — but a growing number of them do, including many made by Samsung and Bosch.

But Brian Kirk said he didn’t know any better when Lowe’s delivered his new washer without a rubber hose. He ran out to buy a stainless steel one, but later spotted a diagram in the manual showing it should have come with the washer.

“It definitely says it’s included,” Kirk said.

That hose is supposed to come in the bubble-wrap plastic bag that accompanies the washer.

But Kirk said he only got a small wrench in that bag — no hose — forcing him to spend $21.96 on an extra one.

The majority of washers don’t come with hoses, but we checked the manuals and found select Samsung and Bosch models do — including the model Kirk bought.

Stores like Home Depot, Sears and Best Buy confirm a hose is included on their website — but when we add one of these washers to our cart, the three stores automatically add hoses at a cost of between $11.99 and $29.99.

“I think of all the people that have wasted all this money, spent all this money on these hoses and they didn’t need to,” Kirk said.

A Call Kurtis undercover producer stopped by some stores to see what would happen.

At Lowe’s, the worker doesn’t try to sell us a hose, insisting it’s included with the Samsung model washer we ask about.

But at Best Buy — it’s a different story.

“So I need to buy the rubber hose?” the producer asked.

“Yeah,” the employee said. “It’s $29.99.”

Best Buy’s website shows that same model washer includes the hose at no additional expense.

Similar story at Sears, where a worker tells our producer this washer doesn’t include the hose we know it should.

“So I would need to buy that too?” the producer asked.

“Yes. And it’s only like $11 or something like that,” the employee told us.

But Sears website said hoses are included for this model.

“I’d be infuriated if this happened to me,” said consumer attorney Ian Barlow of Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff.

He said if this is being done intentionally, it could be considered fraud.

“They’re telling consumers that they have to purchase things that are completely unnecessary,” he said.

“Where are all these hoses?” Kirk asked.

Lowe’s couldn’t tell Call Kurtis what happened to the hoses supposed to be included with Kirk’s washer, but said it wasn’t intentionally left out.

The company called it an isolated case, and after Call Kurtis got involved, agreed to send Kirk a refund.

As for Home Depot, Best Buy and Sears — each told CBS13 it would no longer automatically add hoses for certain models on their websites if customers don’t need them.

Sure enough — all companies fixed it.

Kirk hopes that will keep other consumers from spending money they don’t have to spend in the first place.

“Look at your instructions. Look what’s included,” he said. “Don’t trust everybody.”

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