Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Sears Refrigerator Fiasco

This is a long entry, and unfortunately it's not very fun.  But I'm hoping that by getting the word out, about my experience - which, if you look at the Sears page on Facebook, it's unfortunately all too common - maybe someone else can benefit and avoid the same headaches.

We're staying with my aunt for the time being, and her refrigerator started leaking from the ice maker/water dispenser. Friday, 7/20, she and I went to Sears to buy a Kenmore that was on sale for $849. We weren't really thrilled with it, but we were limited by budget. When we got there, they had a Samsung that was only $50 more, which we liked a LOT better. The sales rep told us that it was clearance priced because someone had ordered it and then changed their mind. He assured us that it would be treated as a new purchase, and covered by the manufacturer's warranty. We paid for it, and it was scheduled to be delivered a week later (Friday, 7/27). 

SO... the delivery guys showed up, unhooked our old fridge, and brought in the new one. First off, there is a spot about an inch around where it's been scuffed and the enamel has come off. This wasn't visible at the store, and it wasn't noted in the sales rep's paperwork. Luckily, it was on the right side, against the wall, so not REALLY a big deal. Whatever.

Then, it didn't have the compression valve for the water line, so they couldn't hook up our icemaker. Okay, we're getting a little annoyed at this point, but we've been without an icemaker for a couple of weeks already and it's a cheap part at Lowes. Still not a huge deal.

They plug it in, push it back into the little nook, and assure us that it'll be to temp in a couple of hours. They go even further, and tell us to go ahead and put our food in it because "that will make it cool down faster." We questioned that, but the guy swore that's what his boss always tells them to say, and "he's been doing this for over 13 years, so he knows what he's talking about." And then they leave. They didn't even bother to level it. In the meantime, our old (still working) fridge was hauled away.

Four hours later, and the temperature in the new fridge hadn't dropped a single degree... both freezer and refrigerator were registering at 80 degrees. I try to adjust the temp, and it doesn't work. We figure out that it's still in demo mode, so I look up how to switch it in the manual. Try it, and no dice. I call customer service, and end up talking to two different people, one of which walks me through the same steps, and then has me unplug it, wait, and plug it back in to see if it would reset itself. Still nothing, so they transfer me to a 3rd person, who tells me they will contact the delivery guys to come back out SAME DAY. Instead, around 6pm, we get an automated phone call from the delivery company, saying they'd be here between 11am-1pm today. So I call customer service again, and end up talking to another person who can't get hold of anyone at the store, and can't help me. At this point, my aunt is frustrated and upset, and I'm pissed. So I drive out to the store (20 minute drive, each way) to talk to the store manager.

They gave me a loaner fridge, dorm size, and helped me schedule for a technician to come out on Tuesday to try to repair the fridge. She also gives me a number to call, to try and get reimbursement for the food we've lost, because it sat out for 6+ hours with no refrigeration. That number ended up going to the Sears Delivery hotline... where the REAL fun begins.

I call the number, and the obviously outsourced agentl informs me that I need to call back in the morning, when the store is open, so they can confirm everything with the store itself. Okay, fine. I call this morning, delivery transfers me to the people who handle their protection agreements (which we didn't purchase), and that person transfers me to Josh in what is supposedly "Escalations." 

This guy seems like he's gonna be nice, and actually accomplish something. He says we're better off just getting a replacement fridge, and he can arrange for it to be delivered on Tuesday, instead of the service tech. He then tells me he is putting me on hold, so he can get the contact information for the delivery company, because it's been determined that THEY are liable for the food, since the delivery guys didn't actually check to make sure the fridge was working properly before they left. Okay, whatever. But then, when he gets back on the phone, he informs me that because the fridge we bought was marked as a clearance item, they can't replace it with the same model, unless we pay the $500+ difference between our price, and their full price. Even though it wouldn't cost them a penny more, because they're the SAME THING. So I pretty much lost it, with him, and demanded to speak with his supervisor - which he swore that he was the highest level (Not true). Anyway, our other option was to have them pick up the fridge on Tuesday, and then wait for them to mail a refund check after it gets checked in at the warehouse, potentially leaving us without a fridge for another week or more.

At this point, I posted a big long angry paragraph on their facebook page, and got some canned response about how they want to make it right, and asking me to email some special address with my contact information. Okay, fine... I emailed, and I asked if I would be hearing from someone *today*. The commenter confirmed that my email had been received, and said "You will be contacted today for help with your refrigerator issues." So I waited. And waited. And waited. Then I commented on their facebook page again, that it had been 6 hours, and no communication. I was told, by the SAME commenter, that the case managers had gone home, but "We do commit to a 24 hour customer contact time frame." At which point, I pretty much lose it again, because now I've got this frustration, added to what we were already dealing with.  

Today (Sunday, 7/29), instead of the expected phone call, I received 3 emails, each from different levels of Case Managers (with the most recent email being from a Senior Case Manager) from their executive offices.  I provided the newly requested information, and even called the number and extension included in the latest email.  I got a voicemail, and I have not received any further responses via email or phone.  In the meantime, we've already ordered a new refrigerator from a local retailer, so the only "compensation" Sears can really offer is to expedite the delivery of our refund check (overnight would be good), and maybe throw in some money for the food.  I'm not gonna hold my breath.

To sum it up, I've talked to (and these are just the reps I got names from) - Melanie, Sean, Ryan, Tammy, William, Emjay?, Josh, Tammy again, and then Susan (on Facebook) and I've heard from Eric O., Stephanie Bullard, and Stephanie R. via email, and still have no resolution.  Having worked in customer service and retail, I find much fault with Sears customer service practices.  Believe it or not, I actually hate to cause a fuss, but I feel it's my duty to spread the word about how absolutely miserable this experience has been so maybe others can avoid the same troubles by going elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. I hasd similar response from "sears" customer "service". "sears" is no longer in the customer service business, it is about selling service agreements, then finding fault with consumer and backing out of agreement, and wanting consumer to shell out more for what had should been a warranty issue.
    Personally, I will no longer buy any "sears" on sell merchandize. Nor will I use "sears" credit card, & if I do I will not buy anything other than craftsman tools.
    As far as I am concerned "sears" will fold in not so far future. Good riddance.