Friday, May 2, 2008

Why I'll never give Sears another dime of my money

Recently my Jenn-Air refrigerator, that I purchased from Sears, stopped cooling. Naturally I call Sears' repair line. The representative that answered the phone informed me that the warranty on my refrigerator that was purchased at the beginning of 2005 was expired. BUT, they had a great deal for me; if I purchase their extended warranty for $250 + tax, they would cover all costs of repair AND give me additional warranty coverage for 1 year.

This sounds too good be be true, but knowing that the costs would easily start at $300 and go up from there, I was convinced this was the right choice. I was even more convinced when he told me I had 60 days to change my mind. So I whip out the credit card and happily pay $272 and schedule service for Monday morning.

Bright and early Monday morning a very pleasant service guy and his trainee show up. They quickly deduce that the problem is my compressor and inform me they will have to order the part and that it won't arrive until Thursday But they have good won't cost me a thing!!! (except the $272 I think to myself, but it could be worse...right?)

Tuesday evening, I receive a phone call from Sears. "Has the part arrived?", they ask. "I don't know, I'm just pulling up to the house, but if it has can you come Wednesday?", I inquire. "I'm sorry, but we have no openings then, it will have to be Thursday", she says.

Thursday morning arrives and I'm at work when I take a 5 minute bathroom break. When I return to my desk my co-workers inform me that my cell phone was ringing. I return the call to Sears repair center. "Mr. Smith, we need to reschedule your service for tomorrow." I ask why and I'm informed that the service tech tried to call me and since I missed his call I have been booted off the schedule. As you can guess I wasn't too happy and asked them to see if they could find a way to fit me in later today and was told they would look into it. This was around 10am. Shortly after noon I call back and ask for a supervisor who promises me she will get a message to the dispatcher.

By 5:30 I'm pretty pissed and I kind of suspect what will happen next. I call in and as I suspected I'm informed that if I want service it will no longer be Friday, but it will be Saturday. "SATURDAY?!?!?!?!?! WHAT HAPPENED TO FRIDAY?!?!?!" Remember, I have not had a working refrigerator since Thursday of last week. I ask for a supervisor, this takes several minutes of being on hold before I get transferred to a ringing line that eventually goes dead.

Now I'm about to drive home take that compressor to the closest Sears and throw it through the window! I call back again and ask for a local representative in hopes that I'd get close enough to someone who could make some changes to the schedule to fit me in. I get a girl in Farmer's Branch and I think "Great! A local girl will surely help me!" I'm then informed that since I didn't make a decision earlier in the day to accept Friday, that I was left with Saturday. So now it's my fault. I don't recall telling anyone NOT to schedule Friday and to wait, I just asked them to see if there was any way to fit me in Today.

So, at this point I can safely say that Sears has some seriously bad policies when it comes to repairs and customer service. How could they boot me off the schedule after missing a phone call while in the bathroom? How could they let an already inconvenienced customer be further inconvenienced by letting the schedule slip another day? But wait, it's not over. There's more....

I'm so pissed at this point that I'm looking for ways to complain about Sears online, to their customer service, perhaps their CEO. While online I run across something that makes me decide to visit the Jenn-Air website. There I run across a link to chat live with a support representative. Here's the Reader's Digest version:

Lisa G: Hi, my name is Lisa G. How may I help you?
You: I have a refrigerator and I want to know that the warranty term on the compressor is?
Lisa G: The appliance appears to have been purchased Jan 2005 and there is a warranty on the sealed system which includes the compressor for parts and installation labor for 5 years of date of purchase.
You: wow, Sears is charging me for a $250 extended warranty to repair it. How should I handle this?
Lisa G: You will need to contact another service company.
You: So Sears cannot handle your warranty repair?
Lisa G: Sears is a separate entity and they do not honor the 5 year warranty.
Lisa G: We apologize
You: so it should cost me nothing to repair...correct?
Lisa G: The only thing you would have to pay for if it is not apart of the warranty
You: ok...thank you

WOW, I AM BLOWN AWAY! Sears basically lied to me. Sure, part of the warranty that covers certain things has expired, but the major system components are covered for 5 years. Sears completely failed to tell me this. NO, Sears LIED and told me I had NO warranty.

So, while I have Sears on one phone, on the other phone I dial an authorized service center suggested by Lisa G during our chat. I tell Sears I want a full refund and I want my extended warranty cancelled. They tell me they can't while a service call is scheduled. "So cancel it!" While Sears has me on hold, the service rep in my other ear happily schedules a service call for the next day. She even tells me "Keep the part, our service tech will make some calls and perhaps may be able to use that part from Sears for you." YES!!! THIS IS GOOD SERVICE!

To my surprise, the Sears rep comes back on the phone and informs me that within 72 hours I will receive a $272 credit on my credit card and that the service appointment has been cancelled. Wow, that was easier than I expected.

So despite the somewhat positive outcome, I can honestly say that Sears is no longer the great customer service oriented company that I knew as a child; the one that always did a good job on my parents appliances. Instead they have become a company of consumer unfriendly policies and procedures that do nothing to make sure the customer is taken care of. And this is why they will never receive another dime from me.


Anonymous said...

This is a huge problem with all stores. Rarely will you find a store that will standby the warranty and handle everything for you without purchasing a service plan/extended warranty.

I can see you would naturally assume to contact Sears first, but I am more than sure that appliance came with a book to contact them incase of a problem.

"While online I run across something that makes me decide to visit the Jenn-Air website."

You may have had a bad experience with Sears, but if it's a place you enjoyed to shop I would take this as a learning experience if anything, because there aren't many places that are going to give you much better service.

sherry said...

Sear service is terrible, unreliable. Twice they have confirmed appts. with me and twice they have called to cancel they day of the appt. with the excuse that they have overbooked their service reps. They are unreliable and I DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT recommend using them.

William said...

Sears does not care. Why? Because they're idiots. Why? Because, at least in my case, I'd accept half-assed service, even poor service, if the sales department was at least polite.

But not only are the sales department -- indeed, any department that might have contact with the customer -- specifically NOT trained in basic communications skills, they're a stunning combination of ignorant AND rude (no extra charge). I say this because I had the experience of talking with everyone on the appliance sales floor (six sales associates), their department manager (the next day), and the "branch supervisor" (later that next day). I am exceptionally polite under pressure -- a trained negotiator -- and the attitude, comments, and behavior would have had me firing them on the spot (verbal, written first, written second, final written warning, and "buh-bye").

I know what pressure is. I know what customers want (and deserve!). I run an installation department with very expensive AV equipment. We show up on schedule, are polite and helpful, and the customer is satisfied ... OR we start giving discounts, gifts, and the like. Cookies, free service contracts (with 4 hour response), free installation, product upgrades -- all part of doing and keeping business. Now, we're not patsies, but we know what's only fair. 95% of our customers are repeat customers, and almost all give referrals of "good" to "excellent". It may be why our business is only off about 12%, while two of our competitors are out of business.

Why can't Sears, a huge business, do as we do? We make more on courtesy than "efficiency". We make more on "we'll make it right" than "not our problem" (even when it's not our problem.

And the joke is, when we started, we tried to be what we remembered Sears as being -- good selection, good prices, great service... and now, Sears is 0 for 3.

Sears should pay attention -- close attention to all of your experiences.

Anonymous said...

Here's my Sears story: I have an expensive refrigerator, Kenmore, and an extended service contract. OK so far. Ridiculously expensive but so be it.
My refrigerator is leaking. I made an appontment for the repair tech to come. I was told it would be sometime between 8 and 5, and no, we can't tell which end of the day or how to reach the technician. you can just wait.
I waited. By the phone. It's now 6:00 and I called the repair line again and they tell me that I was booted off the repair list.
Although I have a cell phone I don't have cell service at home. I can't pick up a cell phone call without driving 8 miles.
What Sears does, and they've done it before, is call my cell number and then boot me off when I dont' answer. I've told them countless time -- yes, countless repairs -- not to use the cell phone. They continue to use it.
So, a full day shot. No repair. And a new appointment scheduled for next week.
I will never, never, never buy a Sears product again.
All I'm looking for now is opportunities to tell my story everywhere I can.

Anonymous said...

I bought a TV from sears 2 years ago, with a 3 year warranty. My TV will no longer turn on so I figured... USE THE WARRANTY!! THIS WAS OVER A MONTH AGO!!! the tech came out, tried to turn on the tv and WOW!! IT WOULDNT TURN ON!!! who woulda thought... Im NOT a complete idiot!! I just called again and they need to check with the tech to see where the parts are... funny... they told me they would be delivered to MY house! wait let me look... NOPE NOT HERE!
They even had the nerve to tell me it was my fault b/c I didnt answer the phone and had no answering machine to leave a message... Funny... I ONLY HAVE A CELL PHONE!!!!! im done with sears!

Anonymous said...

Hands down the worst....product reliability, customer service, customer care, etc.

My story sounds like everyone else's. Bought an expensive appliance and a master service agreement. Appliance stops working within warranty. Called the customer service, took 2 weeks to get someone on-site, they spent 5 minutes, said it was fixed and guess what??? It wasn't. Next day call again. Next available appointment 2 weeks out. Shows up again, can't fix it and has to order parts. Seven days for the parts to show up and 2 weeks for the next available appointment. Did I mention, they commit to show up sometime between 8a & 5p??? The 3rd time, they don't even bother to show. When we call customer service, they tell us the tech is running behind and will have to reschedule. Ok, so I have alreay had to take 3 days off from work and now after waiting 84 minutes on hold, they tell me the next available appointment is 10 days out. When we escalate to Customer Cares (fraud) to request a replacement unit within the terms of our agreement, we are told we are not eligible as the original service call was "closed out". We need 4 service calls on the same incident. Well, obviously, this is the same incident. If it weren't, our appliance would be repaired. You'd think the next call on the same issue/same appliance, coming hours after the repairman left would be a clear indicator.

Net, still no repair and no eta with "next available appointment" 2weeks out.

Sears will not get another penny of my money.

poursole said...

Ordered a washer 12/3/09, delivery in a couple days. Nope, delivery on 12/8 - called to reschedule - waited on hold for 20 min. only to be cut off, called again waited more than 20 min. then I hung up. Finally got a person, said delivery on 12/15. I NEED A WASHER NOW! Called 12/4/09 to cancel order, paid for on my credit card. I was told the cancellation must be approved by another department. WHAT! I either have to suck up a loss or take a washer? I bought a better washer from Lowes. As I type the washer is being installed. It's 12/6/09. Sears HAS changed and for the worse. Say GoodBye Sears!