Grandma in fight with Sears over faulty sewing machine

A Winnipeg grandmother says her dispute with Sears Canada over a faulty sewing machine and its extended warranty is putting her home-based business in jeopardy.

Sylvia Wiebe says dispute is jeopardizing her home business

A Winnipeg grandmother says her dispute with Sears Canada over a faulty sewing machine and its extended warranty is putting her home-based business in jeopardy. 1:55

A Winnipeg grandmother says her dispute with Sears Canada over a faulty sewing machine and its extended warranty is putting her home-based business in jeopardy.

Sylvia Wiebe, 71, is demanding that Sears replace her $3,199 Kenmore sewing machine after it broke down five times in five months.

Wiebe said the sewing machine had been taken to a Sears office in Winnipeg for repairs five times since July, but it kept malfunctioning.

The machine was then lost while being shipped to Regina for more repairs, she said.

Without a sewing machine, Wiebe said she cannot work on the sewing and embroidery projects she had been taking on for extra income.

"I can't do my own sewing, let alone sewing for other people that call me to do repairs for them — replace zippers, shorten pants, do a little bit of embroidery with a name on a towel or embroider a picture on," she said in an interview.

The extended warranty that Wiebe has been paying since she purchased the sewing machine in 2004 guarantees her a replacement item — or issue store credit for the same value — if the original product has to be repaired three times during a 12-month period.

While Wiebe was speaking with CBC News on Tuesday, a Sears representative phoned and offered her $1,200.

She is demanding a full refund or a new sewing machine, citing the warranty.

"So your warranty isn't worth the paper that it's on?" Wiebe told the representative.

A Sears official told CBC News that someone is looking into Wiebe's complaint.

"We try to satisfy our customers and I will approach our team on Mrs. Wiebe's behalf and look forward to a satisfactory resolution," Vincent Power stated in an email.

Wiebe said the situation with Sears is especially disappointing given her husband worked for the company for 43 years.

For now, Wiebe said she is losing income as well as the pleasure she took in sewing gifts for others.

"I'm five and a half months backed up with embroidery, sewing, pyjamas for my grandchildren for Christmas," she said.

"How am I going to get them done? And they always look for Grammy's jammies at Christmas."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.