I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the way Sears dealt with my layaway transaction. On Thursday, February 17, 2011, I initiated a layaway order for a Sony Bravia 60 Inch LCD TV, advertised in your weekly circular for the price of $1499.00 (Order Confirmation Number 190785296-See order details below). At the time of my order the only instructions given regarding policy were in reference to maintaining bi-weekly payments in order to keep the layaway in effect.
Subsequently, I went out of town for the holiday weekend (President’ s Day) and returned on Tuesday to find a message on my answering machine stating that my order had been cancelled. When I contacted the department which had left the message, I was informed that the fraud department cancelled my order earlier today. The department representatives could not provide a reason for this, stating that my card was fine and the funds were available. In fact, my bank had approved the transaction, but for some unknown reason Sears decided to pull my order for verification, and cancelled it because I was not available for 72 hours. There was no mismatch of information or any other identifiable cause for this action.
After many calls and letters, Sears agreed to reinstate my layaway. I received the following on 2/24/11 from Sherry B. at Sears.com customer care:
Good Morning Mrs. Payne,
Thank you for contacting Sears.com regarding order # 190785296. We truly apologize for the misunderstanding in this matter. This is what we will do for you if you agree. We will offer to give you the original price of $1499.99 on the TV. We will ask you to place a new order, however, you will have to pay the price it is now up front and once the order has gone through we will reimburse you the $750.00. To take advantage of this offer, please place the order online and reply to this email with your new order number and we will apply the discount at that time. This must be done within 72 hours from today, 02/24/2011. If your order is not placed by the end of the day on March 27, 2011 the offer is void. If the inventory is gone because of the sale, the offer is void. We hope this is a satisfactory solution and look forward to your response.
I agreed and placed a new order-see below:
Thank you for placing your order with Sears! Your order confirmation number is 214275135. We are processing your order right now and will notify you as your items are ready.
For the items you ordered for store pickup we will send you separate notification for each store location you are ordering from as your items are ready to be picked up.
Today, I get a call from the Orland Park store telling me they only have 2 models in stock and I can not put it on layaway when they only have 2 left. I asked for the manager Theda Ikenberg or the district manager Ann White but was told I could not speak with them. I was told I had to come into the store with my letter rather than emailing or mailing it to prove that I was allowed to reinstate this layaway. Even when I explained that this was originally an email, Jay refused. This places undue hardship on me to go out to the store after a long day at work, especially if nothing will be done to satisfy me. If this is the policy, why does the website allow me to put it on layaway? I specifically searched to find stock at that store, and the system showed me the two available when it allowed me to initiate the order. It is my suspicion that someone else wanted to purchase the item, which was one of the last available models, and therefore it was taken from me-AGAIN!!
This is no way to treat a loyal customer, and represents unethical business practices.
It is my hope that someone will consider the needs of the customer in this situation and act with some integrity, to restore the reputation of Sears.