A Sears electronics salesperson has generously offered to share some insider knowledge of how the game is played at Sears. Inside you’ll learn why you shouldn’t buy the extended warranty, why the salesperson keeps steering you towards one certain brand, and the pricing codes that tell you whether or not you’re buying a discontinued product. Enjoy!
1. MPA’s (Master Protection Agreements) for HDTV’s, Cameras and some Gaming Consoles
These are the biggest lie in the world! Never EVER believe what the associates tell you. The agreements cover nothing. When I started we were trained telling customers that the Master Protection Agreements would cover anything on the TV, including a single dead pixel on both LCD and Plasma TV’s. However since January, the warranty has stopped covering this, and numerous people have been returning TV’s for this very reason. If you read the fine print, all the Master Protection Agreement is an extension of the Manufacturer’s warranty. So for most companies, this covers only the defects that come from the factory and not “normal usage”. Also on TV’s, the Preventive Maintance Check is a joke. A tech will come to your house, but all they will do is turn on the TV and say it works. As for your cameras, its the same as the TV’s and if the techs even remotely think your camera was dropped, they will reject it and that would be end of your call. DO NOT BUY THESE they are useless, no matter what the salesman says.
2. Sears Credit Application
Never sign up for a new sears card. Associates are told to push credit no matter what. Even if there is a “0%” or a rebate its not worth it. If you forget about the 0%, most of the sears cards have a 25.8% Interest rate that will catch up with you. It is more than not worth it. Also, there is a high chance that unless you have stellar credit, you won’t get approved due to the Citi Bank issued cards now. Also, if you forget your Sears card and the associate says you’re not in the system MAKE SURE THEY SHOW YOU THE REGISTER SCREEN. Some stores have been so desperate to get credit that customers that have accounts and forgot their cards will look you up, your information will be there, but they will say its not and then make you apply for a new one. This is by far the worst aspect of sears and make sure that you read the whole fine print BEFORE you sign that dotted line.
3. Sears.com Returns
As an associate, I will say never buy anything off Sears.com. 99% of the time the .com orders will not include the proper documentation for a return. This then requires you to either find your email confirmation, or calling up Sears.com to get the information. Then if your lucky you’ll be able to do a return, but not first without proving who you are by State ID’s and also managers approval for the return. This whole process can take over an hour and I have had some that have lasted as long as 3. Also, the Consumerist is right when they say that orders get all screwed up, this happens so often, it makes Sears look like it’s online store is run by idiots.
I will tell you that the HDMI cable you buy from Sears is overpriced and if you have a computer you should buy it online. Associates are trained to push accessories more than anything else. That cable will cost you almost 75% less from an online retailer than buying it in-store. Be educated about the product you’re buying, because associates are trained to push products that you don’t even need. Keep this all in mind before you buy the accessories. I will say though, some of sales that you may find with Memory cards can be less than online retailers, but always do your homework before buying.
5. Price Matching
This is the biggest misconception of all time. No where does a Sears ad say this, but for Sears to price match another store they MUST have the PRODUCT IN STOCK. and when I say in stock I mean in the store ready for you to buy. The associate has to call and find out if in fact it is there and if it isn’t, your out of luck. Also, Sears won’t take care of past products that were bought if in the 30 days the product goes lower two times, you only get one shot — not mentioned anywhere. So you can only price match one time for your product. And if your product goes to a discontinued or clearance, you can’t match it if you bought it at that price. Finally if something is a “Great Price” you can’t price match that either….. This leads me to my next point…
6. Price Codes
There are various codes that sears uses that even the consumer can figure out and see if an Associate is snowballing them or is giving them a good deal. Here is the chart. These are all based upon the cents in the dollar.
.88 – Discontinued. This means that Sears will no longer be carrying that model and 99.9% of the time you can’t get a new one.
.97 – Clearance. This means that it has gone beyond Discontinued and is on the fast track to being thrown out. Note that this is for Electronics. The other parts of the store use .97 instead of .88 (Exception is Appliances and Tools)
.93 – Clearance – Same as .97, except these products could be much older.
.99 – Normal Price/Sale
.00 – Great Price – Items bought at this price code can’t be price matched
7. Do your homework, very rarely trust the associate
Associates that work in Electronics are given an “Advanced Commission” sheet that gives them extra money for selling a certain product. Understand that they will always first show you all the TV’s or cameras that are on this list first before anything else. Know what you WANT and don’t listen to them when it comes to your electroics. However, most associates can tell you about the differences in TV’s and Cameras if you are confused, but trust consumer reports, cnet, Gizmodo etc before a sales associate.