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November 2, 2009

Sears: They Only Call it a Refrigerator

Filed under: Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:57 am

Walletpop reports that a senior citizen recently bought one of those mini dorm-size refrigerators from Sears, and was having a problem. Her food was spoiling after only a day or two, as the interior temperature of the refrigerator reportedly hovered between 50 and 65 degrees, and higher on hot days.

When she contacted Sears, the consumer recounts, “a technician who handles warranty service for Sears told me it is quiet because there is no compressor in it and it cannot keep food cold enough to eat safely if there is no compressor.” Please visit Walletpop for the rest of her tale, and learn whether Sears gave her any money back.

Here is how Sears promotes this refrigerator on its website:


It is described in part as:

This Thermoelectric refrigerator chills your food without noise and vibration. You’ll never notice it’s there until you need a snack! With no harmful refrigerants, this quiet, compact, thermoelectric refrigerator will be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.

It is nice to know that this appliance has no harmful refrigerants, but it does have something worse.

*MOUSE PRINT: The disclosure that is missing in that product description is that it is not safe to store perishable food in this “refrigerator.” According to the Food and Drug Administration, refrigerators should be kept at 40 degrees or below, which this appliance is apparently unable to do.

The FDA goes on to say:

“The goal is to keep yourself and others from being sickened by microorganisms such as Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and C. botulinum, which causes botulism. Keeping foods chilled at proper temperatures is one of the best ways to prevent or slow the growth of these bacteria.” –FDA

Given the limitations of this unit and the potential illness it could cause, it seems to us that Sears should pull these units off the market or clearly label them as “coolers” along with appropriate warnings that perishable food should not be stored inside for more than a few hours. It would also seem appropriate that Sears either warns existing purchasers of the potential danger of these units or recalls them.

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  1. Sears apparently has no intention of correcting their misleading (and illegal?) advertising. The referenced article at Walletpop is dated Oct 28 and all the discussion occurred before that.

    The Sears online site still lists that unit as of this morning (how long does it take to correct a web site entry?) and the price is now higher than the graphic you show here, so editing has been done in the meantime. Someone at Sears should be strung up by the, er, ah,… toes.

    Comment by Bob — November 2, 2009 @ 8:03 am
  2. Even though Sears will refund your money it is a lot of trouble to take the thing back.I think if the right person could be contacted at Sears then they would change their description of this item. A shareholder might have a little clout maybe? How about it shareholdrer?

    Comment by Billy Martin — November 2, 2009 @ 11:36 am
  3. Lawyers need to keep an eye on this story because it is a massive law suit waiting to happen as soon as someone becomes gravely ill or dies due to spoiled food. Sears folks better look up the definition of botulism.

    Comment by myra — November 3, 2009 @ 9:30 am
  4. “…will be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.”

    Except for those who thought they were purchasing a – REFRIGERATOR.

    Do you think Sears will take Monopoly money as long as I say it’s cash? Oh, no wait, that would different.

    Comment by Ron — November 3, 2009 @ 10:51 am
  5. NOTE TO COMMENTERS: No comments will be reviewed and approved until late Thursday this week.

    Comment by Edgar — November 3, 2009 @ 12:43 pm
  6. Wonder how long it will be until there’s a class action where the lawyers make a few mil and the purchasers of this “refrigerator” get a $20 coupon for a real one.

    Comment by Robert — November 3, 2009 @ 1:20 pm
  7. Sears isn’t the only culprit to this cooler situation. I purchased a Haier dorm fridge and it states that it has no refrigeration Freon to worry about, its totally green friendly. I don’t know if it stated that it shouldn’t be used for food, but I do know that when it’s above 70degrees outside I can’t cool a can of soda.

    Comment by Donald — November 7, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

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