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Consumer Complaint

Sears Kenmore Cooktop, Electric Short Starts Fire

Companies Involved: 
Sears, Kenmore
Issue Area: 
Energy/Utilities

To whom it may concern: We recently had a fire incident with our Sears Kenmore Electric Cooktop Model # 790.45062400, manufactured on January 2004. Our left front burner failed to respond to the digital control and often did not turn off. Then one day we were cooking and suddenly we heard a loud mechanical pop sound that suddenly ignited a HUGE fire! Really scary stuff. Horribly product should be recalled immediately. I have filed a consumer hazard complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Moreover, we had an electrician come to inspect the stove and he attested to the fact that the contacts with the foils were worn out and this is why there was an electric short which probably caused the fire. The landowner and the landowners building insurance are saying that it was not an electric short but a grease fire that started due to our negligence. They are saying that grease came in contact with the contacts and must have ignited a fire. Obviously, they are mistaken. Here is a recall roster published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the Sears Kenmore cooktops. 200,000 units defective and models range between 2001-2009 model years. It's a huge recall and hasn't even expanded to cover all the defective models. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09333.html This fire spread so fast that within 30 seconds, the cupboards were burning, the tiling was on fire, and walls were covered in suit. This company should be sued, they build dangerous and ridiculously defective products. Some more complaints for other Kenmore cooktops http://www.usrecallnews.com/2009/08/cpsc-6786.html http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/frigidaire-and-kenmore-smooth-top-electric-... Here is what other people are saying: Comment by Karen on 17 October 2009: A similar problem happened with my oven. My range is not on the recall list. If my husband wouldn’t have come home, our house would have most likely caught fire. I put ribs in the oven on 225 degrees for 4 hours. After about 2 1/2 hours my husband came home and smelled something burning. When he went to the stove, there was smoke and steam coming out of the vent and burn marks under the control knobs. When he opened the oven, smoke came bellowing out. The broiler had automatically come on. He tried turning the oven off but it would not turn off. He had to turn the breaker off. After about an hour, he tried turning the breaker back on to see if it would work correctly. The broiler came back on automatically without being turned on. He had to turn the breaker back off. Obviously, there is a problem with more ranges than just those on the recall list. Comment by Joshua on 20 October 2009: I have a Kenmore Range with the same problems as others. Front left burner was on high when I woke up in the middle of the night, even though the switch was off. Had to shut off the breaker. The model is not on the recall list but should be. Sears will have one hefty lawsuit if someone is killed due to this defect. Lets hope it doesnt come to that. Of course STOP using this range if you have this problem. The best way to vote is with your dollars, if they wont address the issue then spend elsewhere. That’s what I will do. I will not pay to repair this stove I will replace it with a different brand. Comment by Lisa on 21 October 2009: I own a Kenmore smooth top range which was purchased on 2/23/07. The Model # is 790.9611340A and the Serial # is VF70741026. I am experiencing some of the same issues as all of you in that my left front burner will remain on high after being turned to a low setting and that same burner does not always turn off when I turn it off. Both of these problems will stop when I jiggle the control knob multiple times. When I saw the recall in Consumer Reports magazine, I immediately called Sears and was informed that this model was not on the recall list,but the operator did tell me she had received many phone calls exactly like mine from people experiencing the same problems whose stoves were not on the list. She suggested I report the problem to the C.P.S.C. which I did. The C.P.S.C. sent me a letter confirming the information and suggested I contact the manufacturer. I contacted Frigidaire/Electrolux via e-mail and was told by them that they could not help me and I needed to contact Sears Customer Care as that was the place of purchase. After an e-mail to Sears, I got a phone call from a customer care representative who said that Sears was willing to pay me back the $65.00 service fee if I would pay parts and labour for a technician to come to my house and repair the problem. She also explained that this was a different problem from that in the recall and probably was a control knob issue and that I didn’t need to be concerned about a fire because of it. I did not take the offer [ which is good for 30 days ] because I wanted to do a bit more research into the matter. Now that I have read all of the complaints from so many people like me, I believe this is the same moisture problem which is causing the malfunction. I AM worried about a fire and I agree that this recall obviously needs to be expanded to include many more stoves before someone dies or sustains serious injuries ! I really feel as though Frigidaire and Sears are both aware that this recall is not extensive enough and are putting cost ahead of their customers ! Can you help us get this in the news so Sears Kenmore starts to pay attention? Currently our landlords insurance company is blaming all of this on us and want us to pay $12,000 for damages. Thank you, Alok