If Sears isn’t happy with its sales figures, it can blame itself by looking at the example of the way it treated Teresa — a frustrated would-be customer who tried and failed several times to buy a PlayStation 3 from the store.
Her absurdist tale of existentialist angst and befuddlement is worthy of Albert Camus:
On 12/8/2009 at around 5PM, I walked into a Sears store at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, WA to purchase a Playstation 3 to use up the $100 gift card I have for Sears.
After waiting for a clerk to help me (apparently, they’re scarce in the Electronics department there), I was told they did not have any in store but *I* could call the other stores to check availability or I can use one of their terminals to check availability. After I asked the salesguy to show me how to check on their terminals, he relented and helped me search. Sears.com showed that the Federal Way store had 2 in stock. The salesguy then told me I would have to call the store to confirm availability.
I called the Federal Way store and was told that yes, they had 2 in stock, but the salesguy refused to hold one for me so that I could drive there in 30 minutes and pick it up. He wanted my credit card information over the phone to place the purchase….according to him, this was the only way to guarantee that I would have the item. I, of course, refused to give my him credit card information and said that I would drive to the store.
After 30 minutes, I arrive in the store. Waiting around for another 30 minutes, I was told that no, they did NOT have any Playstation 3s in stock.
So, I am still without a Playstation 3 and a $100 gift card that I must use up. On the next day, at around 11AM, I check Sears.com and it shows 2 Playstation 3s available at the Southcenter store near my home. I called the store and was told that yes, they did have the Playstation 3 available for pickup if I ordered it through Sears.com. Sears.com stated that I could pick up my item in 2 hours after I receive an email from them that it is ready for pick up. I did not get any confirmation emails from them, but was given a confirmation number from the website.
I waited until 5PM and called the joke of a Customer Service at Sears.com. After being transferred repeatedly and put on hold numerous times for an hour, I was told that my purchase had been flagged for some sort of fraud investigation since the item was some sort of “special ticket item” and that it could take up to 24 hours to get my item. I asked why I wasn’t informed of this at purchase so that I could decide not to buy from them. The rep said that it is random and they don’t notify the customer of it…. I wrangled with the rep and asked her to tell me WHEN this process would be complete. She then put me on hold and said that the credit department had just cleared my purchase and were sending the order to the store. I was told to wait 20 minutes and then call the store to make sure they process the order in the store….as she could not be sure they would. (Gives you a lot of confidence in the Sears process, hrm?)
I waited 30 minutes and called the store. The sales rep I spoke to on the phone said that no, they did NOT have any Playstation 3s in stock. They do NOT have any record of my order and that if they ever got the order, it would be Cancelled due to not having the item. He said that Sears.com does not have an accurate inventory.
I called Sears.com again. I informed them that the store does NOT have my order and that they do NOT have any Playstation 3s in stock. The rep I spoke to said that she shows the store having 2 items in stock and that my order was STILL stuck in the credit department and had not processed to the store. I told her that I’m sick of wasting my time on this and that they should just deliver the item to me whenever the order finished processing. I was then told that Playstation 3s are in store pickup ONLY. The rep told me that I should wait for my order to finish processing. I asked her that if the store is correct in that they do not have the items in stock, the order would be cancelled, correct? She responded yes, but I should WAIT for it to finish processing. The rep said the only thing she COULD do is cancel the order…that’s it. I demanded to speak to her Manager because I was quite tired of dealing with Sear’s customer dissatisfaction. I was informed that there were NO managers I could speak to. What she could do was resend the original confirmation email that I had never gotten from Sears.com.
So, I wasted at least 4 hours on this already. No Playstation 3 and still stuck with dealing with Sears.com and Sears.
I was told from EVERY rep that this is normal process for them.
After I use up this gift card, I will never buy from Sears again. They should be avoided like the plague and I wish the same customer mangling on their reps that they have visited upon me.
Sony, whose PS3 is still bringing up the rear in this generation’s console sales, has got to cringe when it hears this kind of thing. My heart aches for her simply because she’s unable to experience the glory of the PS3-exclusive “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.”