In the end, Mike and Jackie Shivers’ 15- to 20-year-old washing machine could not be saved, so it was only fair that Sears Home Services refunded the $482.56 it charged them for trying to save it.
Less fair was the $270 bill the Shiverses got five months later from a collections agency.
Mike, 83, said a support rod inside the old Kenmore failed, causing the tub to bang against the machine’s innards during the spin cycle. Three technicians from Sears Home Services — the retailer’s in-house repair service — gave up on getting it to spin smoothly again after they found that the tub itself was cracked.
The Shiverses bought a new washing machine and figured that was the end of it until early July, when they got a bill from a collections agency for $270 it said they owed Sears.
Mike said the couple spent considerable time on the phone with the collections agency and Sears disputing the charge, but after being “outsourced to India,” “we realized it was a hopeless situation” and contacted SOS.
On Aug. 9, SOS contacted two Sears officials, Jesse Liszka and Larry Costello, who have been helpful in the past, and Mike said that early in the week of Aug. 13, he got a call from Dana Shoulders of Sears’ Texas office saying that the bill had been erased and to contact her directly if he had any other problems.
SOS got an emailed statement from Liszka saying “the satisfaction of our members is our top priority” and that the “erroneous bill” had been zeroed out.
The mix-up stemmed from “a systems/billing error that has been corrected,” she said.
The April 9 SOS column about an 86-year-old Waunakee woman who wanted delivery of her USA Today was the inspiration for a new song by Madison indie-pop band Woodrow. The band wrote “$19.95” as part of a contest by Madison’s Triple M radio station, 105.5 FM, in which contestants could write a song based on a newspaper story.
“Companies these days don’t really treat you like they used to,” intones Woodrow lead singer Connor Brennan. “USA Today will pay for what you put her through.”
The track, part of Woodrow’s new EP, “Ice Cream for Breakfast,” can be downloaded at the State Journal website. A release party, with actual ice cream, is planned for Thursday at the High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Ave.
Since SOS helped a Madison woman obtain a refund for a Maytag-brand self-cleaning oven that didn’t clean itself, it has received about a dozen other complaints about Whirlpool-made ovens with the allegedly faulty AquaLift technology.
SOS has forwarded all of them to Whirlpool, and over the last two weeks got word of two other belatedly compensated customers. Kathleen Gamoke of Stoughton said the company had her oven picked up on Aug. 17 and she was issued a refund of $1,318. David Haas of Prairie du Sac got a $523.52 refund for his AquaLift model on Aug. 16.