Meet Judy, Sears’ ideal customer. When Judy’s husband died ten years ago, Sears, like her other creditors, assured her that she could continue using her account. Since then, Judy has used her Sears card to buy a washer, dryer, and refrigerator. Yet when Judy recently tried to buy a $142 saw, Sears insisted on immediately closing her account because it was in her late-husband’s name.
My sister-in-law Judy has had an account with Sears since 1964 when she got married. She has been flawless about paying her Sears bill (along with all her other bills. That’s just how she is.) Her husband passed away about ten years ago. Judy dutifully called Sears and every other company she had an account with to inform them of his death and tell them that she might be a few days late with her payment that month because of the funeral, etc. They were all understanding and told her to send in her payment when she could.
OK, fast forward to this past weekend. Judy wanted to buy a saw to take care of some tree branches which fell down during the hurricane force winds we had here on the Oregon coast. She found one for $142. on Sears’ website. Her Sears card, which she hadn’t used in about a year, didn’t have an expiration date on it, so she wasn’t sure it was still good.
She called Sears’ customer service number. Everything was going well until the CSR asked Judy what name the account was in. Judy explained that it was her late husband, to which the CSR said, “Well, I’m sorry, Ma’am, but in that case I’m going to have to close your account.” Judy was speechless but that was that; the account was closed on the spot and Judy was informed that she could call a department which /perhaps/ could help her… but not until Monday, as that department isn’t open on the weekend.
Now keep in mind that Judy has never not paid her Sears bill AND that she has over the past few years, long after her husband passed away, bought a washer, a drier and a refrigerator from Sears, using the same account with no problem whatsoever.
I’m sure that Sears thinks it has some logical reason for treating a customer of more than four decades like this, but it makes no sense to me, especially since Judy made large purchases after her husband’s death. Sears not only lost the $142. purchase, but has also lost a customer permanently, as she tells me she’s livid at them for treating her as if she was trying to cheat them somehow. She found a similar chainsaw on walmart.com and won’t be going back to Sears…ever.
This is what happens when you have ridiculous rules which treat your loyal customers like shit.
Judy’s brother-in-law adds: “No wonder Sears is Where America Used To Shop.”
(Photo: Nelson Minar)