This week, the temperature in many parts of the country has been cranked up to “broil.” We all know what that means: air conditioner breakdowns on a massive scale. Veronica’s sick, elderly parents purchased their central A/C from Sears four years ago. When she called up Sears, they told her that they could send someone to look at it at the end of the week. That wasn’t acceptable to Veronica: it was 103 damn degrees out there.
Even though a repair person not affiliated with Sears has already come and gone, they needed a Kenmore part and a technician in the employ of Sears to approve it for warranty coverage. An ever-helpful customer service representative suggested that the family buy some window A/C units from Sears while they wait for help. Right.
I just had one of the most frustrating experiences with another big corporation, this time the bully is Sears. I never cease to be amazed at how greedy and self serving they are after you spend thousands of dollars on their crummy products and services. I wrote the following letter after spending an entire morning on the phone with their parts and then the repair departments. I was being pushed back and forth between them, each telling me to try the other, until they suggested, the words I always dread hearing, CUSTOMER SERVICE.
It was awful to say the least. Their girl, [B.] made some pretty infuriating remarks and seemed truly oblivious to the dilemma. I wrote this letter and emailed it to firstname.lastname@example.org (never mind the irony in the name) after seeing a post on e-pinions that got some action:
“To whom it may concern:
Yesterday my parents’ Kenmore central air conditioner broke down. They purchased it 4 years ago through Sears. I call Sears and they don’t have anyone available until Friday to even come out and look. It’s Monday and 103 outside, my dad has a heart condition, and my mother and sister are both diabetics.
I called another repair service, who came out the same day within 2 hours of my call. He found it was the compressor and mentioned that the $1000 part should still be under warranty. The only thing keeping him from repairing it was that no one at the Sears parts department could help get us the warrantied part. They referred me back to the repair department, who couldn’t help me get the part either.
Someone finally referred me to customer relations. I had the misfortune of having my call handled by B. I explained my situation but she countered that the technicians were working until 10 pm in some cases and there was nothing she could do. I said I understood, but I was offering the solution. I had my own person who could do the work straight away if she would help figure out how to get the part.
She suggested we instead run out and get window air conditioning units from Sears. Way to put salt in the wound! If I could afford to run out and spend money on air conditioning units for my parents entire home I wouldn’t be on the phone with her. I would have paid for the $1000 part and gotten someone to fix it today.
She further informed me that even though the air condition repairman that I chose is fully licensed and insured, they cannot take his word for it. When Sears finally sends their techs out, they will charge us the $70 for their assessment, and then we will have to wait for them to order the part and for the part to come in.
I asked to speak to her supervisor several times during the conversation and she ignored me then insisted that she was it, the end of the road. In desperation I scheduled the Friday appointment but I have not given up hope that I will find one merciful competent employee that can do something helpful immediately…”
Well that was my formal plea, or as best as I could manage as worked up as I’ve gotten over this throughout the day.
What a nice little deal they’ve set up for themselves here. By going through Sears and getting a Kenmore they’ve ensured that they are the only ones that can fix your problem. So they get to take as long as they like and charge you as much as they want. What a terrible deal for the consumer. I tried calling Kenmore before realizing they are one in the same.
We will see what happens when the tech comes out. I made some more noise, and thanks to the 888-266-4043 tip I found on this website I was able to reach the Sears Executive level. [Redacted] started a trouble ticket for me and listened to my grievance. He’s going to try and get someone to come out sooner than Friday.
How nice, it only took me an entire day to get a hold of someone really willing to do something even remotely helpful for a customer.
That’s the state of affairs for a lot of companies, not just Sears. Still, I wonder whether this was the the same thoughtful and gracious customer service rep who suggested that a reader’s daughter cancel her vacation because Sears couldn’t get someone out to repair her air conditioner.