We posted the following to the addressee via USPS on 3/24/03
March 22, 2003
Mr. Jerry Hauber
National Customer Relations Manager
Sears Merchandise Group
3333 Beverly Road - 731CR
Hoffman Estates, Illinois 60179
RE: Abysmal quality and after-sale support/service
Dear Mr. Hauber:
Thank you for the usually fine Sears service and products we have enjoyed for the last forty plus years. Your excellent policy of guaranteed satisfaction has kept us loyal customers since our youth, when our parents experience and recommendation led us to our very first credit transactions with Sears.
Unfortunately, as with so many other large corporations over the last decade and a half, Sears products, and service has deteriorated dramatically. As more and more modern businesses have succumbed to the pressures of the almighty bottom line, we have come, for the most part, to accept these declines as a normal part of business these days. However, when we pay Sears full, higher price for any given product, and are then faced with not only faulty merchandise, but an egregious lack of support and after-sales customer service, we feel we must make our experience known. Not only to the senior management of any given concern, but to the widest possible audience in the hope that a large enough number of consumers that refuse to accept such shoddy treatment will exert sufficient market force to effect a positive change in the philosophies of offending corporations.
Following is a chronology of events we have been subjected to in attempting a simple purchase and delivery of a Kenmore Washer/Dryer set:
03/03/03Purchased Kenmore model # 26 23022 washing machine and model #26 63942 dryer at Sears Victorville, California store. Paid full price and contracted for extended area delivery on 3/11/03.
03/05/03Contacted salesman at Sears to have him REMOVE the $19.99 + tax SETUP AND CONNECT charge for the ELECTRIC, PLUG IN DRYER, that we had NOT requested. Accomplished
03/10/03Received phone call from contract delivery person informing us he would be in the area between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We agreed to this four hour window.
03/11/03Took a vacation day to remain home to accept delivery of the laundry set. Performed CUSTOM INSTALLATION of same entailing relocation of exhaust vent and re-routing and installation of rigid vent pipe to accommodate design of new dryer.
03/11/03 (evening)Wife became aware of numerous small scratches on top surface of dryer. These were NOT due to any mishandling or abuse by the contract delivery personnel as we had monitored them closely as they uncrated and brought both appliances into our home. Convinced wife the scratches were minor and that we could touch them up to ALMOST new appearance.
03/13/03Opened exterior door to service porch and, due to the extra light from outdoors, discovered a significant dent in the toe panel of the dryer. Was completely UNABLE to convince wife that replacement of the toe plate would make the dryer just as good as new. Notified sales personnel at Sears Victorville store. To their credit, they INSISTED on replacement of the entire unit. Unfortunately, it would be another WEEK before we can order one from the warehouse and setup a delivery date.
03/13/03 (evening)Wife received phone call confirming 03/20/03 delivery date for replacement dryer.
03/19/03Received phone notification from yet another contracted delivery service that they would arrive between 12;00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m on 03/20/03. We agreed to that two hour window. Will take ANOTHER days vacation to remain home to accept delivery of the laundry set tomorrow.
03/20/03 (2:45 p.m.) Delivery person arrived forty five minutes late with replacement dryer, very carefully uncrated and inspected it, and then carefully moved it into the house.
03/20/03 (3:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) REPEATED all steps of the custom installation of the dryer except for relocation of the exhaust vent.
03/20/03 (8:01 p.m.)Started dryer to test all systems/cycles. Ten minutes into the test, discovered absolutely NO HEAT. Spent until 11:00 p.m. reading all accompanying literature for the dryer and troubleshooting all possible causes for malfunction. Determined that malfunction was NOT due to any custom installation procedures.
03/21/03 (7:00 a.m PST)Called 1.800.4MYHOME to request priority service call so my wife, whom does laundry EVERY day, would not have to face the entire weekend with no laundry facilities.
The representative that answered the phone listened patiently to our story, agreed that we shouldnt have to go the entire weekend without laundry facilities, explained, AGAIN, about the 4 hour window commitment policy, and asked if we wanted the window between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30, or 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.? We opted for the 7:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m. window a.m. and the representative set up a PRIORITY WARRANTY SERVICE CALL for that window.
03/21/03 (12:05 p.m.)Called 1.800.4MYHOME again and was subjected to the computerized voice system that CONTINUALLY repeats Im sorry, we didnt get your response. Please choose from the following options. When we opted for hearing status of a pending service call, we were treated to the information that a service call had already been scheduled for between 7:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on 03/21/03, and were offered no further options.
We called 1.800.4MYHOME AGAIN. When we were FINALLY able to navigate the system to a human representative, we INSISTED she READ the previous computer notes so we might avoid repeating our plight yet AGAIN. After reading the notes, she could only parrot that, A service call has already been scheduled for between 7:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on 03/21/03. We reminded her that the window had ALREADY EXPIRED. When the rep was unable to assist us further, she excused herself from the line for an INTERMINABLE period of ON HOLD, but finally returned to inform us she had Charles on the line from National Customer Relations.
Charles introduced himself and proceeded to admit that he had NO KNOWLEDGE of what we, now, had repeated in detail TWICE. He insisted we repeat it once AGAIN. With our repetition, and the computer notes that were RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, he was able to understand our plight, and excused himself from the line, AGAIN for an interminable period, to do some work. He FINALLY returned, and, to his credit, apologized for the long ON HOLD time and informed us, Instead of keeping you on hold any longer, I will continue to work on this and call you back when I have some information for you. We agreed. (Total time of this call was THIRTY EIGHT MINUTES)
Within minutes, yet ANOTHER representative called to say, Your service technician will be there within TWO HOURS (i.e. by 2:35 p.m. as this call ended at 12:35 p.m. PST). He has the order and will be on his way as soon as he finishes the call hes on. We accepted that information as gospel and thanked the representative. We also informed her we would give him until 3:00 p.m. PST before we made other arrangements.
03/21/03 (2:45 p.m. TEN MINUTES AFTER THE PROMISED 2 HOUR WINDOW HAD EXPIRED)Received a call directly from the technician who informed us he had Just gotten the order and will be there within TWO HOURS. We informed him we had already WAITED two hours longer than had been promised and questioned why he would call and request ANOTHER two hours. He informed us again he had just gotten the order and that he was SEVENTY MILES AWAY in Apple Valley, California. Notwithstanding our utter disappointment, frustration, and ANGER, we reluctantly agreed to this further promise and insisted he reiterate his promise was NOT just ANOTHER blatant prevarication.
03/21/03 (approximately 2:55 p.m.)in an effort to ensure we were NOT just getting more of the same runaround, we called 1.800.4MYHOME AGAIN, insisted that the answering rep put us through, directly, to Charles in National Customer Relations. Alas, her most valiant efforts to locate Charles were in vain and we were put in touch with NANCY of National Customer Relations.
Nancy (a real JEWEL of customer service) required we repeat the above chronology yet AGAIN. She then excused herself from the line for SEVERAL minutes while we were treated to a MOST annoying MUSAK. But instead of returning to the line (NANCY was apparently reluctant to deal with an irate consumer) we found ourselves connected to JEAN. After a very few remarks we were able to ascertain that JEAN had been thrown into the situation blind, and merely as an escape route for NANCY. JEAN had absolutely NO CLUE as to the foregoing, neither could she offer any information other than The technician has been very busy todayhes been in Barstow, Hinckley, Apple Valley..yada, yada, yada. We asked JEAN why the technician hadnt come to our location from Barstow (only 25 miles distant) instead of returning to Apple Valley. JEAN was at a loss and could only repeat her ramblings. We inquired of JEAN what possible purpose National Customer Relations could have had for putting us in touch with her. She replied, Because they dont want to deal with the disagreement. This narrative of the conversation with JEAN is not meant to denigrate her in any way. It is meant merely to illustrate the inadequacies of, and the tactics to which Sears National Customer Relations will stoop. After all, poor JEAN was just used as a SCAPEGOAT for the convenience of NANCY and company.
03/21/03 (4:45 p.m.)Sears technician CHUCK arrived to troubleshoot the dryer. He was very professional, efficient, and even empathetic. After determining our custom installation was in no way responsible for the malfunction, he made every effort to bring the dryer to an operable condition. (This, by the way, to the GREAT consternation of the wife, whom DOES NOT WANT A REPAIRED/REFURBISHED UNIT that we have paid FULL PRICE for.) Unfortunately, all attempts at repair failed. CHUCK informed us the unit would have to be fully researched on the bench, and that he would recommend replacing the entire unit once AGAIN. We accepted his diagnosis/prognosis/recommendation and agreed to call the Victorville store forthwith so that we might effect a replacement, If not today, certainly by tomorrow, Saturday, 03/22/03.
We called the Victorville store and were connected to JOY in major appliances. We repeated all the above once AGAIN. JOY was very sympathetic/empathetic and agreed we should have a replacement unit. We brought CHUCK to the phone to confirm that we indeed DID need a replacement, and, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. JOY agreed and promised to call back (or have the delivery personnel call back) within 45 minutes to confirm delivery time and date.
03/21/03 (approximately 5:45 p.m.)As promised, JOY called back within the promised time frame but, unfortunately (AGAIN), had to report that delivery of a new unit wont be possible until Thursday, 03/27/03. She apologized profusely, and offered several explanations as to the difficulties involved, but bottom line is, my wife will have to endure yet ANOTHER week of having NO LAUNDRY FACILITIES.
We are reasonably certain the inadequacies/deficiencies pointed out in this chronology are not isolated occurrences, or are happening just to us. Instead, we are just as certain that Sears products, customer service, policies, and business philosophies have deteriorated to such a degree that we, and any others that have been subjected to such woeful abuse, should consider their customer/brand loyalty to Sears is misplaced and seek more reasonable prices/service/quality elsewhere.
It should be noted that not once, in ALL the contacts we have made with Sears personnel during this misadventure(?), has anyone suggested that, in fairness, Sears might make a reasonable monetary adjustment to our purchase price. Such an adjustment couldnt possibly rectify all the aforementioned issues, but it could certainly demonstrate a genuine concern, and a willingness to live up to Sears satisfaction guarantee.
Thank you for your time and attention. We remain optimistic the necessary action will be undertaken to return Sears to its former status as a LEADER in quality and service.
P.S. Our final call to Sears National Customer Relations connected us to MARTIN, whom assured us there will be an inquiry/investigation of our complaint entered in the stores file. They really dont want that. We fail to see how such a procedure will afford us solace, consolation, or justice.
NEWBERRY SPRINGS, California
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