The sucky side of Sears

by Cap'n Carrot on July 17, 2010 · 5 comments

in In the News,News

In an age when most companies are treading lightly on the customer service front, realizing today how far one bad experience can travel through the maze of tubes we call the Internet, Sears seems to have decided it’s not worth the effort. Gather ’round boys and girls; I’ve got a story to tell you.

My mother, a retired elementary school librarian (and about the nicest person you’re likely to meet) had a problem. Her old dishwasher finally died and she took a trip to Sears to purchase a new one. They didn’t have the color and model she wanted but told her it could be installed on the first Saturday in June. Four weeks without a dishwasher may seem a lot, but she agreed. She pays with a credit card and, as she is wont to due, pays the entire balance of the purchase off at the first opportunity. This is the second week of May.

Four weeks pass and no dishwasher arrives. Curious, but this foreshadows more trouble to come. It’s been delayed until the 17th. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it wanted to take a two-week vacation before getting to work? Finally the dishwasher arrives…and the it’s so obviously broken the installers don’t even bother to hook it up. The unit is thrown back onto the truck and quickly driven away.

A call to customer service finds that model in that color is unavailable until September (and considering how easily four weeks became six weeks on their last estimation this doesn’t bode well). After mulling over what to do for about a week she orders the same dishwasher in a different, but available, color. Same price, but at least it’s already paid for and there are no additionally fees to pay. Of course there’s no discount given for the trouble the company has had to deliver and install a single dishwasher, but (as you are about to learn) that’s far from the biggest mistake Sears will make. So on June 23rd she places the new order and sets an installation date for July 15th or 16th.

July 15th arrives without word from Sears as to the installation of the unit. She calls customer service again only to discover there’s no documentation for this second sale and no installation has been scheduled. Oops. Having had enough of this ride she politely asks (much more politely than I would have) for the entire order to be cancelled and her money refunded in full.

Let’s stop for a moment to catch-up. It’s been two-and-a-half months since the original purchase. Since the dishwasher has long been paid off her only recourse is to accept a refund as a credit does her no good. But wait! Because she paid with a credit card there will be a 14-day wait (or in this case a two-and-a-half month plus 14-day wait).

The money will be credited back to her credit card, but a full refund in the form of an actual check will not be available for two full weeks. And that’s no the best part! They won’t even start the paperwork now. She has to wait two full weeks and then call back and ask for a full refund. The process will only then begin, the check will be processed and mailed out after another few business days.

If you’re keeping score at home: that’s three full months (or, depending on how long it takes to process and mail the check – more).

Exasperated, and still without a dishwasher, she began a new search. Today I drove her out to Nebraska Furniture Mart. The store had the same dishwasher in stock, in the original color she asked for, and can have it delivered and installed by the end of the week. Given the trouble Sears encountered in this area I can only assume this is a miracle.

The moral of the story? Well, I don’t really have to tell you, now do I?

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  • Djinni

    That is disgraceful! I work in customer service and I never treat anyone that way, even when the fault is obviously their own. What is wrong with them? I can tell you that I will no longer make purchases from their store, just as much as I don’t buy gas from Texaco anymore. My grandmother went there to get her oil changed and they forgot to put the cap back on. The oil leaked all over the engine. When my dad went up there to complain on her behalf (she was very old) they said they had not forgotten it (when it clearly wasn’t in the engine) and that she was just old and was she sure she’d gone there? People sometimes! Just want to smack them around.

  • Sears Cares

    To Capn Carrot,
    I saw your post here and I wanted to reach out and apologize first and foremost for the problems your mom encountered with this situation. What happened, and I apologize for all the problems you all have encountered, is that President Obama’s nationwide Stimulus program has caused manufacturing delays for every manufacturer of appliances across the board. This caused delays of a month or more as there have so many sales of Stimulus related appliances that every purchase since then has been delayed. We are just now starting to be able as are most other retailers to receive stock and fulfill orders. Some retailers were able to hold on to some local stock and have them available to customers which it seems like happened. I’m glad that she finally got a dishwasher even if it wasn’t from Sears.
    As for the refund, I have no idea why it’s taking so long. It should not take so long, except for the fact of processing the cancelled order which has to be done after the item is received back at the Staging area, but that should have been done the same day it was taken back and the credit should have been processed there for a refund within about 3-5 days.
    My name is Brian and I’m part of the Sears Cares Escalations team and we’d like to step in and resolve this issue for you to your satisfaction. At your convenience, please contact my office via email at so you don’t have to continue to be frustrated by this situation. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the dishwasher was originally purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we’ll call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide the screen name (Capn Carrot) you used to post on this site, for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

    Thank you,
    Brian J.
    Senior Case Manager
    Sears Cares

  • alphamonkey

    “What happened, and I apologize for all the problems you all have encountered, is that President Obama’s nationwide Stimulus program has caused manufacturing delays for every manufacturer of appliances across the board”

    While I (an un-involved third party here) certainly appreciate what you’re doing here, you might want to adjust you language to at least indicate that said delay is (in the context of the stimulus) a good thing. It took a sentence or two to realize there wasn’t going to be an anti-Obama screed tacked on after. But kudos for Sears stepping up to try and take good care of their customer (even if it’s one they’ve already lost).

  • Saint Nightwalker

    Obama is an economic illiterate. To make it worse, he’s an economic illiterate surrounded by other economic illiterates that don’t do anything but come up with the same stupid kinds of ideas. Obama doesn’t know the first thing about economics, micro or macro, because as a first year economics student, I learned about Keynesian Economics, and how absolutely and utterly stupid an idea it is, as well as the fact that it caused a recession to literally transform into the Great Depression. Obama, on the other hand, buys right into Keynesian Economics, as well as the idiocy of ’socialist free market’ lies, and thinks he saved us from a depression. Absolutely sickening.

  • G.L.

    My girl and I bought a TV and fridge from those jerks and it was a damn headache. It’s sad to see American business go down the crapper.

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