Within a short period of time Sears managed to lose a customer that has spent several thousand dollars with them over the years and would have continued to do so over time. All over about $200 and lack of accurate information their employees give customers over the phone.

The title may seem familiar to some of you, taken from the movie “How to lose a guy in 10 days” – http://www.howtoloseaguymovie.com/.

I’ve been a customer of Sears for quite a few years. On the bigger ticket items I will often get their extended warrantee – often the in-house option.

One example is the Craftsman Snow Blower (actually now they now called Snow Throwers) we bought about 4 years ago. In the first year it got a flat. No problem, called up Sears and their technician came out to our home and fixed it. Last year our extended warrantee expired and we chose to renew it. About a month after that the Snow Blower stopped working just as I finished clearing off my driveway. Again a call to Sears, they came out and fixed it at no charge, turned out to be a belt that needed to be replaced. Now that monster does not fit into my little Ford Focus so I would have had to rent a truck or U-Haul to bring it in to be serviced.

So far I was very happy with the service. About 2 weeks ago I thought I remembered that part of the extended warrantee included a yearly tune-up. I called Sears and they said that it was included and scheduled an appointment for the coming Friday December 12. The gentlemen on the phone gave me 2 options: 8-12 or 1-5. As I had some plans for the morning I chose the 1-5 option.

So, what’s the problem?

On Thursday (the day before the scheduled appointment) I received an automated call from Sears confirming my appointment between 8 AM and 5 PM. I called them back to specify that we scheduled 1-5, not a whole day appointment. I was informed that in my area they do not offer 4 hour windows, only whole day windows (Strike 1). As luck would have it, that Friday was the day of the big Ice Storm in New England. So the appointment got pushed off a few days until Tuesday.

Around 4:30 the technician called and came to our house. To our surprise he said that the tune-up was NOT covered in the plan we have and that we would need to pay $100 for it. He also said that we were not the first and not the last customers with the same issue. He told us that their extended warrantees had not cover tune-ups since 2000 (Strike 2). We chose not to pay the $100. As it turns out what they do in the tune-up is change the oil and check the spark-plug, both of which I was able to do my self. 

Ready for strike 3?

When we bought our home we also bought a Kenmore Dehumidifier from Sears. A bout a month ago it stopped working. I tried the usual – making sure it was plugged in, cleaning the filter and seeing if I could see anything wrong. The motor and fan were running, but it was not collecting any water. So about a week before the Snow Blower incident I called up Sears to see what warrantee options are available. From the manual I found that closed internal parts were covered by the manufacturer warrantee for 5 years.

Great, it was only 4 years. Now it looks like Kenmore is owned by Sears. When you go to their site for service they send you to Sears (http://www.kenmore.com/shc/s/nb_10154_12604_NB_CustomerCare?adCell=AH).  So I called up and the issues began.

The person on the phone told me that I had two options: to have someone come to my home or bring it to a repair center. After a few minutes of searching he said that their were no repair centers in my area and that my only option (other then driving to another state) was to have the repair done in my home. The cost to have a technician come over was about $100 or $65 if I brought it to a repair center.

I asked if that money would be refunded if it turns out the issue was under the manufacturer warrantee. To which he said no (Strike 3). Huh? Why am I paying $65 or $100 to repair something that is under warrantee? This was an item that we bought for about $160.

To anyone at Sears: Even in regular times you want to make sure that your customers are happy within reason. Even more so in these tough economic times. You need to make sure that:

1. The employees in your call centers are giving your customers accurate information (see strikes 1 & 2 above).

2. That your policies make sense and are reasonable (see strike 3 above).

Congratulations, within a short period of time you managed to lose a customer (me) that has spent several thousand dollars with you over the years and would have continued to do so over time. All over about $200 and lack of accurate information about the yahoo bad credit lenders your employees give customers over the phone.

Update:
After publishing this post I also contacted Sears to get their response. Below is part of the email they sent me a few hours later.

…We apologize for the misinformation that you have received. Just to clear the record, what you paid for was a “trip” fee. You were actually covered under the warranty…

We truly apologize for this misfortune, and hope one day you may decide to come back to us. If you do not, we are sorry for our loss. We did appreciate you as our customer, and we try everyday, when training our employees to instill in them to ask, and not just answer a question, if they are not sure. It happens in every business. Unfortunately, we lost a great customer due to something like this: Misinformation, and Miscommunication on the product warranty.

We do appreciate you.

Here you can read the last EZTrader review and please let us know your thoughts on it.

Sincerely,
Rosa…

It sounded like she just skimmed my post instead of fully reading it and did nothing to try and rectify the situation.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Blogosphere News
  • Blue Dot
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot