Sears Holdings to Start Buyer Protection Program

Sears said Tuesday that it plans to offer a buyer protection program for its home appliances to help consumers who lose their jobs during the recession.

The free program, which starts Monday and runs through Aug. 1, covers appliance purchases of more than $399 made on a Sears card by cardholders who lose their job. Cardholders must have held a full-time job for at least 60 days when the appliance was purchased.

If a customer loses his or her job, the program will credit 1/12th of the purchase price to the account for each month the cardholder is out of work. If the person is still out of work one year after the purchase, he or she will receive an account credit for what's left of the purchase amount and get to keep the appliance without any further payment obligations.

All home appliance brands are included in the deal, such as Kenmore, LG, GE, Samsung and Whirlpool, according to Sears Holdings, which is led by financier Edward Lampert.

The program also includes service agreements, installation, delivery and other items as long as they were bought with the appliance.

Sears has about 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the U.S. and Canada.