SALTSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — A Saltsburg family told KDKA it’s been without heat since mid-December and feels betrayed by a Sears warranty program.
“We can’t be the only ones. Maybe we’re the only ones that put up all winter like this,” said Jack Newingham.READ MORE: County Fire Marshal Investigating Lea's Floral Shop Fire In East McKeesport
The family told KDKA it placed its trust in a Sears warranty called the Master Protection Program. But when the time came for a replacement, the family says they got the runaround.
Several electric space heaters still sit on the dining room floor. The Newingham family says it endured the coldest winter of their lives, even resorting to turning on the stove for heat.
“(It got down to) 50 degrees in here, 45 actually,” said Jack Newingham. “You see behind you blankets hanging in the hallway, blankets here, blankets out there.”
Jack Newingham showed KDKA the copious notes he’s kept since Dec. 15, the day the family’s downstairs furnace broke.
“It does say on here, ‘Service promise: we’ll fix it on our first service visit,'” he said.
He reads the warranty paperwork and shakes his head, staring at what he calls a “black and white issue.”READ MORE: Two People Injured At Seven Springs Pond Skim Event
“(It says) replacement guarantee: if we can’t fix it, we’ll deliver and install a new one,” Newingham said.
But he says that didn’t happen, no matter how many years he and his wife, Janet, paid into the Sears Master Protection Agreement.
“We figured over the years, since 1974, we’ve paid like $13,000 to $14,000 for this maintenance agreement for them to do their job,” said Jack.
The couple told KDKA they documented calls to Sears and service appointments since first reporting the problem. Several months later and no replacement. Jack says a few weeks back, an email arrived with an offer for Sears to cut them a check.
“Run around, that’s all it was. The complete runaround. And then it got to the point where all they want to give us is $1,900,” Jack said.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller called and talked to the director of public relations for Transformco, the company that purchased what remained of Sears when it filed for bankruptcy. The company said, “The satisfaction of our members and customers is our top priority,” adding that it will contact and work with the customers directly.
Jack told KDKA he paid another company Friday to install a new furnace, unable to let his diabetic wife suffer in the cold one more night. A several thousand-dollar difference, he says, from the offered amount from Sears.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In West Virginia: State Reports 5 Additional Virus-Related Deaths
“I just can’t accept $1,900 to have for a furnace replacement that doesn’t even cover it. All the years we were paying the Master Protection Plan, we thought we were gonna get close to that amount that we had to pay. But not even half?” Jack said.