Sears Is Out Of Kitchen Appliances

Sears twice confirmed the date and time they would deliver Sandra’s six new kitchen appliances. She had her plumber and contractor standing by for a day of hard work when Sears called to say they weren’t coming. After hours of futile calls, Sandra finally tracked down the delivery warehouse manager who explained that Sears had run out of kitchen appliances.

He just laughed when I went through my story of frustration with the Sears service personnel and told me he had had 75 similar calls in the last 2 days. His bottom line: Sears is not sending him product and he has nothing to deliver.

Sandra writes:

I’m wondering if you’ve had other tales about the woeful lack of service from Sears and their so-called “Delivery Specialists?” I’ve been attempting to get concrete information about the delivery of 6 kitchen appliances (purchased and ordered for delivery last month). Delivery was confirmed twice by phone for yesterday. My contractor and plumber were standing by to install and do the necessary connections. But then, a Sears call-center rep informed the contractor that nothing would be coming at 1:00 PM, and gave no reason for the cancellation and no date for rescheduling. My contractor alerted me and I started the farcical pursuit of information at that point, totally consuming the rest of my work day. Telephone conversations with the Enfield, CT Sears acting store manager, appliance department sales reps and 3 different “delivery specialists” segued into the last futile hour working with a sales rep at the Enfield store where the purchase had been made. Even his valiant attempts to get info through his channels were all to no avail. We gave up after nearly 90 minutes of total aggravation at the store and left at 6:30 PM.

Starting again this morning, I obtained the number of the warehouse from which the appliances were to be delivered yesterday and finally got through to one of the managers at 7:20 AM. He just laughed when I went through my story of frustration with the Sears service personnel and told me he had had 75 similar calls in the last 2 days. His bottom line: Sears is not sending him product and he has nothing to deliver. Meanwhile, I paid a contractor and plumber to stand by for nothing. And the family get-together I had planned for this weekend will not take place since I have no kitchen appliances and no way to prepare the meals I had planned.

My question: do you know of any way to get straight answers and real solutions out of Sears for delivery problems?

Although the sales personnel in the appliance department at the Enfield, CT Sears store were extremely professional and helpful, they have no tools at their disposal to assist a customer having this kind of issue. I will never, ever, buy another Sears product. My contractor and his plumber agree with me and have said they will advise their clients not to purchase Sears products if they require delivery or service. This is all the more frustrating because I intentionally patronized Sears (and not Home Depot, Lowe’s or Best Buy) because I thought I could count on good service from point of purchase through delivery. You can be sure this extremely negative experience will be shared with friends and colleagues. And the most egregious point of all is I’m sure the customer service management team at Sears could care less.

Straight answers? Real solutions? We can do many things, but squeezing service out of Sears isn’t on the list. We could tell you to launch an EECB or file a chargeback, but for all the good it would do, you might as well fly a kite with “HELP!” emblazoned on the bottom.

Sorry Sandra, you’ve been Seared.

(Photo: jritch77)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. vildechaia says:

    Sears = FAIL.

  2. nightshade74 says:

    Cancel the order and find a local reputable appliance
    dealer?

  3. Shappie says:

    @nightshade74:

    I agree. File a chargeback since I’m sure you ahve been charged for the appliances already and try somewhere else. Ask first if they have the units onhand before you purchase as well…

  4. tahamaki says:

    File a lawsuit in small-claims court for the money you had to pay the contractor and plumber?

  5. huadpe says:

    @tahamaki: 6 appliances, plus contractor and plumber fees is actually probably going to pass the small claims limit for most states. She could file a normal civil suit though. Check with a lawyer. Small claims is usually $5000 or less. This might be more, or her state might have a different limit.

  6. mrdeeno says:

    when will people learn? The low level of customer service at Sears is impossible to have unless they are intentionally trying to aim that low, and that’s because they WANT to die.

    Please, let us all do them a favor and stop buying from them so they can quietly die already…after all, it’s what they want!

  7. bnelson333 says:

    I’ve bought 4 appliances at Sears and have had very little trouble, but I always pick them up and install them myself.

    I wish Sears would get its act together, it used to be a top notch store, but now it acts like a dinosaur in a new age.

    Just last night I went to pick up a cordless drill they had on their site for $40 but was surprised to find it marked at $70 in the store. I asked the associate if they would honor the online price and he gave me some song and dance about the Sears store and the website being two different companies blah blah blah. After no less than 10 minutes of screwing around, I asked him just to scan it and see if the sale price comes up — sure enough it did, and I was on my way.

  8. Kloud says:

    That’s depressing, but you lost immediate leverage when you stated you’d never patron Sears again.

  9. u1itn0w2day says:

    @bnelson333:

    I kind of agree with the store clerk and Sears in that I was always told that companies save money when the customer uses the internet compared to a person.The theory is ordering online cuts out alot of the cost of a store including a clerk to take your money.

    But when you take the time in person to buy that same item I think you should get that price anyway.Even if you ordered online they still would’ve had to pay someone to get that item to you from the warehouse.

    Running out of appliances sounds like an tech support problem for Sears.Somewhere they are loosing track of sales.I wonder if there is a different computer system for internet sales and store sales.Why a rush on appliances in late August?

  10. reflection717 says:

    @nightshade74: I agree – Cancel the order immediately. I’m not blaming the OP for using Sears but at this point vote with your wallet. If people don’t put up with poor service either the service will get better or the store will suffer.

  11. coren says:

    @huadpe: Don’t need the small claims suit to recoup the appliance cost, a chargeback or even a refund should take care of that one.

  12. GearheadGeek says:

    I don’t know if this problem is recent, regional or both, but when I remodeled the kitchen of our new-to-us 55-yr-old house last summer, I bought the Kenmore Elite dishwasher and slide-in range from Sears, and had bought my dishwasher, range and refrigerator from sears for the last old house I remodeled in the ’90s and a front-load washer and dryer in 2001. I had on-time deliveries of the right merchandise in good condition and good service when the dishwasher turned out to have some initial issues. One new pump and everything works great. It’s a shame that they’re not living up to their historic level of quality, because it definitely sounds like they’re not doing well of late.

    The “I don’t have your merchandise for the delivery WE scheduled yesterday and didn’t cancel until the last minute” response is totally unacceptable and I’d demand a full and immediate refund. I like my Kenmore appliances but they’re all available under the brands of the actual manufacturers, the only reason to get them all from Sears was convenience and promo financing.

  13. acasto says:

    Haha… that picture is from Brevard. I was wondering perhaps if Sears made it a point to setup shop next ABC stores. I used to work right across the street from that Sears/ABC store.

  14. atypicalxian says:

    What a shame. I remember back in the day, Sears/Kenmore was synonymous with quality. Growing up, all my clothes came from Sears because they would take any beating kids would give them (I wore Sears Toughskins jeans, and admittedly I was not stylish but my parents didn’t care about stuff like that). The store is nothing like that now. Basically, it’s Kohl’s with appliances.

  15. eirrom says:

    Speaking of that picture, everytime I see that picture of the “modern designed” Sears store, I just chuckle. It looks like it was freshly remodeled in 1979! That crooked 10% off sign in the window just screams what Sears has become.

  16. huadpe says:

    @coren: A chargeback, maybe. Good luck getting a refund from Sears. Also, a refund probably would make you sign something waiving further liability.

  17. OldJohnRobinson says:

    That is shocking supply chain management more so than bad customer service. If we weren’t in a recession, it would be possible that the appliances are being ordered faster than the factory could make them or transport them, but that is highly unlikely in this day and age. If the regional WH manager really had received 75 calls over the last 2 days, then Sears is either going to show inflated same-store sales numbers for this quarter or show a staggering loss.

  18. 6 appliances in one kitchen? Can somebody explain?
    Aside from the 3 I know of, what else goes in a kitchen these days?
    The kitchens I know have a refrigerator, oven & range, and maybe a dishwasher.
    I even thought maybe the oven and range were separate and considered a microwave but thats still only 5 items.

  19. veryape says:

    These people were just fishing for trouble, i dont trust the dude in the shades, do you?

  20. Triborough says:

    It is always best to deal with reputable local merchants who can easily check what stock they actually have on hand.

  21. lauy says:

    @thisisasignin:

    Other popular kitchen appliances include convection ovens, wine chillers, trash compactors, etc.

    Also, if the OP has a strictly kosher household, sometimes they purchase 2 refrigerators and ovens. I had a friend in college who grew up in such a household.

  22. DjDynasty says:

    Simliar situation with me and a washing machine on the black friday sale this past year. $150 washer. 3 per store. I was the 2nd purchased that day, however because I needed delivery, it didn’t come from store inventory, it came from warehouse inventory. The warehouse services 10 sears stores in my area, and also, only had 3 of these magical washing machines. December 27th they finally delivered an upgraded model because of all my constant complaining to get my washer delivered, or my money back. During that time, My partner went and purchased a significantly more expensive washing machine that’s a front loader, and had it delivered December 20th. I had them deliver the second washing machine to a friend of mine instead and gave it to them as a present.

    Then Home Depot did their own screw up. ordered a dryer on closeout. It must be gas! They delivered electric! Didn’t even unbox it off the truck, we refused it. I contacted Visa right away, did a charge back because the store was a bit hostil towards me “Sir you ordered electric” No I didn’t, unless I personally sat at the terminal, I did not order anything, the person in the ugly orange apron did.

    Home Depot called me 3 days later to come get a refund after Visa already issued one. I informed them that that credit card was already refunded by the bank, and the CS person says “Then just bring your debit card in, or we can refund in gift cards”

  23. newfenoix says:

    I will not blame the OP but this is what happens when you ATTEMPT to get something from Sears.

  24. APowerCosmic says:

    I have seen posts just like this over various items from Sears shoppers. And I pose the same question every time. If you read this site regularly and you know enough about it to contact the editors when you have a problem with Sears, why on Earth are you shopping there? There has not been one favorable article about the company on this site, and I don’t get why readers of this site still shop there.

    If you have been following the site for a while and still shopped there, I say you got what you deserve.

  25. Etoiles says:

    @APowerCosmic: Or it could be someone like my father, who didn’t know this site existed until he got unexpectedly craptacular service from Sears (having expected, instead, the stellar service they had 20 years ago, the last time my folks bought a fridge) and I said, “Oh, on Consumerist…”

    Sometimes the bad service is what brings people here for the first time. Not always wise to prejudge.

  26. Charmander says:

    I’ve always ordered my kitchen appliances from Sears and I’ve never had a problem. The service has always been top notch.

    No, I don’t work for Sears. Just have had good luck with them, I guess.

  27. TashaLuv says:

    Sears Sold Me a CRAPPY Washer/Dryer & I bought & they were Energy Star & They Sure Are esp when the washer DOOR is LOCKED & Will NOT Open & let the Hostage Blanket out & dryer takes at Least Twice Time to dry clothes,so now I Again need to find enough Money in Budjet to Once Again go & Buy another Set & I shouldn’t even be thinking of it for at least 5-6 Years or more but I got S&^%#% by SEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Huh. I’d say get a charge back and they buy some used ones off of Craigslist. Save a bundle and keep stuff out of the landfill.

  29. scoobydoo says:

    I really wish Sears would just do the right thing and close up shop. It’s horrible for the 1000′s of people working there, but no amount of restructuring, or bringing in high paid management teams will ever fix the train wreck that is Sears. The name is doomed, the stores are horrid and they stopped caring years ago.

  30. zoso says:

    @Tasha: Wow, that was one sentence? Props.

    I bought a microwave from Sears for my in-laws because they trust the Kenmore brand. The order went through fine and it actually arrived on time, except when I went to pick it up the service was awful. I had to go to their underground loading zone (our local Sears is attached to a mall) and back up to a dock that was meant for their 18 wheeled delivery trucks. I got out and went into the dingy waiting room and sit while they found my microwave (no big deal, I’m not complaining about the wait – it’s a warehouse, they’ve got lots of stuff). The guy told me “get back to your car, I’ll be at the dock.” I found this kind of weird, since he had the microwave in his hands and he just had to pass it over the counter to me, but I didn’t say anything, just went back to the car. I get to the dock and he’s nowhere to be seen and the microwave is half hanging off the edge of the dock (which is above my head). So here I am, trying to juggle a microwave above my head and get it into my car, and I see the guy out at the entrance to the underground having a smoke. Nice.

    Maybe I’m wrong to complain about service I get from some lifer who works in the warehouse, but I should be able to expect help lifting a heavy microwave from above my head. I’ve had great warehouse help at tons of other stores, even the more downtrodden and apathetic Bay.

  31. Sears is good for one thing, and one thing only, and that’s craftsman tools.

    Of course, if I could get the Snap-On and Cornwell guys to stop at my house, I wouldn’t need craftsman either.

    It is a bit easier to return craftsman tools that you’ve obviously abused though.

  32. IndustrialGradePrime says:

    I’ll warn you straight off, I do work at Sears. I’m in consultative electronics sales, and I can honestly say that I am also losing faith in Sears as a whole. I do my utmost to help the customer to have the best experience possible, but the delivery channels at Sears are seriously flawed. If possible, I always recommend having something delivered to the store and picking it up yourself. We can much more reliably have it in store on a certain date than the delivery system that delivers it to your home.

    I do agree with those who have been saying that Craftsman tools are still worth it. Most stores I’ve been to have had no problem with taking back hand tools, I’ve seen tools that were very obviously abused replaced with no problems, I’ve done them myself.

    My basic opinion of Sears at this point is that the cooperation is a mess. It doesn’t know its real place in the market, its support channels are in serious need of an overhaul, and their upper management doesn’t know what it’s doing half of the time. Their legendary quality is quickly slipping away, but to be fair, I don’t think that’s only true of Sears. From my place on the floor, in one of the experimental “Sears Grand” stores, I don’t think that Sears is in any place to compete in today’s marketplace. I don’t think that they’ll be going away yet either, especially as huge and property-rich as Sears is. Hopefully they’ll figure out how to stick a pin in the bloated carcass that the company is becoming, though, and make it mroe like what it once was.

  33. Mr_Human says:

    @APowerCosmic: Using your logic, then, readers of this site couldn’t actually shop at _any_ big chain retailer.

  34. maines19 says:

    My favorite Sears experience was the time they sold me a defective water heater. i called about it and they connected me with someone who answered the phone “Customer Service,” then proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t help me because her department wasn’t supposed to talk to customers.

  35. APowerCosmic says:

    If this is their first time here, so be it then they have learned a valuable lesson. But logic being what it was, I would wager more than a handful of these complaints were from people who knew the score. I remember a couple of stories like this from “longtime Consumerist readers”, but that could be lip service too. Eh!

  36. lingum says:

    @zoso: Lean on the horn, someone will come.

  37. wellfleet says:

    @thisisasignin: fridge, oven, dishwasher, over-the-range microwave or vent hood, under-counter ice maker, trash compactor, built-in oven, warming drawer, dish drawer, wine fridge, fridge drawer, cooktop… Big time appliance nerd here.

    Also, this doesn’t necessarily sound like a Sears problem as much as a supply-chain issue at the warehouse. Ask the associate who sold you the appliances for a discount for all your trouble. You probably will get your appliances and the salesperson will want to save their commission.

  38. Ubermunch says:

    @APowerCosmic:

    “If you have been following the site for a while and still shopped there, I say you got what you deserve.”

    Your blaming the OP arrogance aside…

    Care to tell me how many stores sell **lawn mowers**? Let’s see there’s Home Depot, Sears, Lowes…. and uh… Since you must avoid every store that has a bad rap, what other store do you suggest?

  39. pikemu says:

    That’s the problem you only look at the big box stores and not your local independent appliance dealer. They in some cases have better prices and almost always have their own service department.

  40. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    How many Sears horror stories do people need to read before they say no to Sears for anything. This store should disappear. Where David Copperfield?

  41. DrLiquid says:

    It’s a shame Sears has sunk to this level. Even aside from this delivery snafu, the quality of their appliances has gone down the toilet. My parents bought a “top of the line” Kenmore “Elite” refrigerator five years ago. It’s died on them twice and they could never get a tech out to fix it in under a week.

  42. Invisigoth says:

    I had the same problem with Sears. Three promised delivery dates came and went and still no refrigerator. I finally cancelled the order and went to PC Richard. I had my refrigerator in 2 days. Their customer service people were rude when I called to get an explanation. I would never buy any appliance from Sears.

  43. verdantpine says:

    @GearheadGeek: I’m with you, I don’t know if this is perhaps regional… We’re in Texas and recently (this year, 2008) ordered a refrigerator, washing machine and microwave/convection oven from Sears, and added a freezer. All arrived on time and the delivery personnel were friendly and funny. I swear, I don’t work for Sears – in fact, I’ve had to haggle a little to make sure we get exactly what’s offered as a deal online, in the store. (Beware: when you print out some of the appliance pages online, it omits some of the material you see on the screen. Use “print screen” to capture it, and put it in a photo editor, which can then be printed out.)

    They are offering some really great financing. We’ve already paid off the refrigerator and the oven (with 0% financing over 12 months), and are now waiting for our second delivery rebate. The only problem we’ve had is minor – needing a replacement for the light on the oven.

    We just returned from there a few minutes ago after ordering a replacement dishwasher (for the one that came with our “used” house) and checking out their mattress deals. Now that’s where things are nutty – they don’t offer much at all in their mattress showrooms, because people tend to buy them online. That seems a bit extreme from this company.

  44. adama4ld says:

    Here is the problem with Sears as a company: Customers are
    dissatisfied, and Sears does little to help them. As a Sears sales associate, listen to me–If you have an issue with delivery or products, immediately ask for the One Source phone number. One Source is the top of the chain customer service organization for Sears and will handle your issue expediently. The store will then be
    instructed, and subsequently forced, to take care of the problem for the customer. Sales associates are given powerless positions as customer service reps with Sears because they have to obey the manager, who obeys the district manager, who obeys the regional manager, who obeys the boys and girls in Hoffman Estates. There is not a direct answer with Sears until you reach all these people, and that is an obvious inconvenience for the customer. If Sears would find a way to handle these issues at a local level (without punishment, I should
    add), then the company would be much better off. It is a successful company–sales are up even this year with fuel prices and freight prices soaring. Nationwide, stores are in the margin of profit this year. Just imagine where the company would be if it handled issues effectively and kept those customers as their own.

  45. Meathamper says:

    Their next excuse is that the dishwasher was simply “too heavy” to deliver on their big ass truck.

  46. charodon says:

    What happened to the new comment guidelines? This thread is full of blaming the OP. Thanks for emailing Sandra! Except it’s all your fault because you actually, you know, bought things, and expected them to be delivered.

  47. Jonathan D. Parshall says:

    Interesting to see that picture came from my little town.

  48. vastrightwing says:

    Comcast is still in the lead, but Sears coming on strong for ’09.

  49. There’s no good reason to shop at Sears. It’s a store that outlived its usefulness. And now that K Mart carries Sears brands it has become more obsolete.

  50. BubbaJudge says:

    Ive bought 3 major appliances from sears in the last month, all delivered on time, without one problem and the CSR in the store was great to work with.

    Sorry to be the bearer of good news about Sears.

  51. CountryJustice says:

    @Ubermunch: Central Tractor. never had a single poblem buying from the ol’ Farm & Family Center.

  52. describe_one says:

    If Sears didn’t keep trying to act like a retailer that still mattered, then it wouldn’t be so sad.

  53. Marks2183 says:

    Well, I work for Sears and hate to see them continually fuck up. It gets really old. Unfortunately there is one little reason on top of all the others that will help to keep it that way. All employees at Sears are blocked access to The Consumerist!! (I’m outraged!)
    I’ve seen other companies come clean and make things better BECAUSE of The Consumerist, but it looks like Sears would just like to silence you (ha ha) in some pathetic attempt at head-in-sand, rather than deal with their very serious issues or at the very least just help the few screwed customers posting to The Consumerist to reduce the bad press….but no…no turnaround in sight.

  54. amuro98 says:

    One of the few Sears left in my area, put up huge banners announcing their going out of business sale. A few days later, they had another banner right next to it: NOW HIRING.

    I really should have taken a picture of the store with banners reading “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. NOW HIRING”.

    Apparently that was just a mix up over which stores were going to be closed. Not that you can tell – even when the store is open, you can’t find a clerk anywhere. It’s like they’re on permanent graveyard shift or something.

  55. mrearly2 says:

    I don’t think you can “count on good service” from any company.

  56. gwensmom says:

    Well, I sure wish I’d known about this site before I asked Sears to fix my 18-month-old Kenmore dishwasher. It took 10 WEEKS because of screw-ups in the supply chain from Whirlpool (the manufacturer). I spoke to a couple of dozen customer service reps in that time and got nowhere. (It wasn’t an obscure model, either — it’s the #1-rated model in Consumer Reports!) Ridiculous.

  57. loughlin says:

    Sears ran a 20% off sale on appliances if you ordered 3 or more. I ordered five appliances on Sept 4th. I received a confirmation email, my credit card was charged, and delivery date set for Sept 16th. On Sept 5th, I got a call saying that one of the appliances could not be delivered until Sept 23. I asked that all the appliances be delivered on the 23rd.

    I had also ordered some beds and had those schedule for delivery on the 23rd.

    On the morning of the 23rd, I called Sears and was told delivery would be between 10:30 and 12:30. At 1:00 they had not shown up so I called again. I was then told for the first time that the appliance order had been canceled on Sept 12th. The reason given was that they were out of stock on all five appliances. A request for credit for the appliances was made on the 23rd and they said it would take a few days to process.

    And the beds, all that was on the delivery was the box springs.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, I did not learn about this site before buying my new Consumer-Reports-recommended cook top from Sears, on sale. Fortunately, I also bought the extended warranty, much as it helped. One year and twenty days after purchase, (and only about three months’ worth of use), the frame and internal parts came unglued from the ceramic top and fell down inside the cabinet.

    The gory details are many, so I will try to be brief. The repairman needed a part. The part did not come in (backordered, then unavailable). Sears decided to order a new cook top for me (again, backordered, then unavailable). Sears then offered to replace with an equally-priced (or less) model to what I paid. (I bought on sale, remember? Why have a warranty, if not to repair or replace a defective item in kind at no cost to the consumer?) After much argument, Sears finally agreed to replace in kind, no cost. Then, the local store could not get the item for another three weeks. Total time elapsed: three months and six days, through the holiday time of year.

    I talked to people in Customer Service, Warranty, Repair, One Source, and who knows where else. Calls were never less than an hour, most on hold; I never talked to fewer than three people per call. All were nice; only one or two were helpful. No one EVER called me back anywhere near the promised “24” or “48” hours. (Apparently, Sears time is an entirely different dimension than the rest of us.)

    The weirdest part: I requested a warranty extension of three months to make up for the time I did not have a working cook top. Customer Service sent me to Warranty, who said this should be handled by Repair (what?) who sent me back to Warranty, who said the warranty did cover something during the period I didn’t have a cook top: renting a replacement. (A rented cook top? Really?) However, rental is covered only if the item is to be repaired, not replaced.

    Nope, I will not only never shop at Sears again; I will never darken their door; I will go out of my way to avoid walking through to get to the mall.