If You Give Sears Your Phone Number, They Might Harass You Like A Clingy Stalker

Sears, Sears. We know that you’re desperate. But acting clingy and desperate is no way to win over customers, especially the ones who have just made a purchase in your store. While it seems like every retailer is pushing their service plans on customers, they don’t usually resort to phone stalking, like what you did to your poor customer Mike. He had to resort to contacting the FTC and your corporate offices about the stalking.

It’s over, Sears. You should have taken the hint one of the first few dozen times you called. Now Mike really never wants anything to do with you again.

I thought I’d tell you about my recent Sears nightmare. It isn’t with the sales process, or the Kenmore appliances I’ve purchased, but rather with the recent barrage of calls that wouldn’t stop until I contacted Sears’s corporate offices. The short lesson is, never give Sears your phone number.

From January 18 through January 28, I received 2 phone calls per day, including Sundays, trying to sell me an extended service plan. After ignoring the first 9, I finally called back to get off their list when I realized that they weren’t getting the message. The manager I spoke to, [redacted], told me that she couldn’t find my phone number in the system, even though their dialer has managed to call me 9 times already. She was completely useless and unapologetic. She stopped just short of trying to sell me a plan herself.

After 12 more phone calls, I filed an FTC complaint and finally contacted Sears on their Facebook wall. At that point, I was contacted by a “Social Media Case Manager”, and after she took all my information and entered it into their corporate “No Promotions” list, I only received two more calls before they stopped.

In the end, 23 phone calls in 11 days was so infuriating, I’ve now started warning people to avoid Sears. I knew Sears doesn’t have the best track record, but my family has bought Kenmore and Craftsman since the 1970s, so I always did the same. But I’ve decided to show my displeasure the only ways I know — with my wallet. My future appliance and tool needs will probably end up being from Home Depot or other big box stores.

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  1. mauispiderweb says:

    Isn’t that where they make the most money … service contracts? I think I had to say no to an associate at least 6 times, when buying a new washer.

    • Admiral_John says:

      I worked at Sears in the early 90’s in the Vacuum Cleaner/Sewing Machine department (Sears Suckers And Sewers, as I called it) and we were required to sell a percentage of service contracts on the stuff we sold. I can’t remember what it was, but it was a firm enough policy that I saw people lose their jobs over not meeting the quota.

    • deejmer says:

      NO!….They “make money” by infuriating already loyal customers to ensure they never shop there again!

    • Dr.Wang says:

      Sometimes I just say, “all I want is the (insert device name here).” And no matter what they say I just keep repeating that line. Sales people are trained to deal with your objections but they are not trained to overcome non-participation in a dialog.

  2. scoutermac says:

    Seems Kmart/Sears is trying to make themselves go out of business.

    • kc2idf says:

      They have opted to close the Kmart in a local mall. Too bad, really . . . the Sears store at the other end of the same mall would have been less of a loss to the community.

    • Conformist138 says:

      I determined this to be the case when I found something on Kmart.com that I wanted. I saw a link about “free ship-to-store” and… oh god… it’s bad. That takes you to A WHOLE NEW SITE! Gofer.com or some nonsense. You have to locate the same item on THAT site, and when I went through all that kmart.com said the store had the item in stock, and the ship-to-store site claimed the same item was out of stock.

      I vowed to not support idiocy anymore and that experience was on par with discovering websites with ‘operating hours’ (not hours to chat w a rep… actual ‘this site is closed’ hours)

    • MeowMaximus says:

      I hope they succeed soon!

  3. Lyn Torden says:

    I no longer have a landline phone. When a sales clerk asks me for my phone number, I pull out my cell phone and look at it and say “Sorry, I don’t have a phone”.

    • scoutermac says:

      I just say “No Thank you”

      • longfeltwant says:

        Seriously. I’ve learned to do this, but it’s hard! In our culture when someone asks you a question, you normally answer. To hold back is counter to our training.

        Still, screw these companies. It’s even more rude to spam me.

        PS learn to say “No, thank you” to the police, too.

      • AnonymousCommenter says:

        This is what i do as well. If they are persistent, i will give them the local area code and 555-1212

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        One thing I do when I sign my name is print ‘no solicitations’ beside or underneath my name. When I have room I put ‘personal information not be sold or given away’

      • AngryK9 says:

        I should make a T-shirt with that printed on it. Then, when they ask, just point to my shirt.

        “No, I do not want to buy a service plan.”

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      Google Voice is my solution. Since you may actually need a delivery person or service tech to be able to reach you, so all calls to it are forwarded to my cellphone number which I only give out to close friends and family.

      Any company has one shot at an unsolicited sales pitch or solicitation, then their number is blocked in such a way to give them the disconnected number tone when they try to call. If they then want to try spoofing or blocking their caller ID to reach me again, then things get really nasty.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        I ♥ the “out of service” feature of GV so hard. I want that so badly for my home phone!

    • hahatanka says:

      I pull out a dollar and read of the serial number. Done that hundreds of times. Only 2 clerks ever caught it. One was a Radio Shack guy who got irate.

  4. The Lone Gunman says:

    Google Voice works best in these situations, I’ve found. It’s rare for me now to get any telemarketing calls, and when I do, I block that number forever afterwards.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      So much THIS. I only give out my GV number now, even to businesses I’ve worked with and trust.

  5. brinks says:

    At a previous job, we were told to let them say no three times before shutting up about the service plan.

    THREE times is pushy. Good God, Sears.

    • Murph1908 says:

      I would say no 4 times to that tactic. Three times no to the service plan, and one time no to the entire purchase if someone harassed me like that over it.

  6. GrapeApe says:

    I had the same kind of problem with Sear years ago. I would get multiple calls everyday, but it was from their partners mostly. Like the OP, this caused me to stop shopping there entirely.

  7. APCO25guy says:

    ah…the sleazy side of Sears. you mean people still shop there? I haven’t stepped foot in their stores since I was like 9. and have no intention to. Frank Zappa…”is that a REAL stereo or a SEARS stereo?”

  8. longfeltwant says:

    My wife and I were shopping for a new fridge. We shopped at a lot of stores, and one day we were near a Sears. We went in, the sales person was perfectly nice, and they had many fridges just like the one we eventually bought. But, no, I told my wife I wasn’t comfortable buying it from Sears, because of stories I’ve read on The Consumerist.

    Sorry, Sears! Actually I’m not. I’ve held a grudge ever since you (rightly) fired me in 1998.

    • Swins says:

      So you just wasted your time shopping in Sears knowing you were not going to buy!?!? What a smart Consumerist

  9. zandar says:

    I’m just sure there has been hand wringing at board meetings over falling profits resulting in memos to managers asking their staff to push service contracts more aggressively in a futile attempt to fill the gap.

    Perhaps they even subcontracted telemarketing companies to do it. That would explain both the ignorance and the apathy.

    • incident_man says:

      I believe it’s because of all the MBAs that have been and are being hired at these mega-corporations. The only thing they know is the World According to Excel and PowerPoint. if something isn’t on one of their PowerPoint slides or is contained within an Excel column, it doesn’t compute for them.

  10. u1itn0w2day says:

    The OP will have to get on a no call list. Also they can contact the credit bureaus & the direct marketing association to have their name put on a no solicitation list.Since the calls might very be recorded verbally tell no more calls.

    Unless the OP signed a document opening themselves up to solicitations they should be able to get them to stop. I think there is a loophole that allows marketing/solicitations directly related to the purchase but once told no more they should listen.

  11. consumer says:

    Also got hit by a barrage of extended warranty calls… I got them to stop by asking them to send me the details in the mail, and to remove my number from their list. They instead said “we can send it to your email!, and remove your number”. Got the email, deleted the email, no more calls ;)

  12. u1itn0w2day says:

    The FCC has some information on unwanted calls. There is contact information near the bottom of the link.

    http://www.fcc.gov/guides/unwanted-telephone-marketing-calls

  13. rlkelley says:

    A few things based on my previous employment at Sears.
    1. At that time (6+ years ago) the sales guys got reamed pretty hard if they didn’t sell the service contract. Once you leave the store without buying one, your info is given to another sales group who makes even more money selling them, and they have been known to make promises that arn’t actually within the rules of the program.

    2. While working there, it was convenient to have them change the oil on my car, since it would be done by the time I got off of work. They had made a mistake in entering the make,model & year for my car in their system, and they were the only company I did business with who had my vehicle info listed as sch. For several years later I would get 3rd party promotions for extended warranties, or trade-ins that matched the data they had as opposed to the car I actually drove. Fortunately I was able to have a friend who still worked there change my contact info in the system so that I never got those promotions again.

  14. fearuncertaintydoubt says:

    We stopped shopping at Sears because their sales and service has really deteriorated and we had some bad experiences. We now always go to Abt. If you’re in the Chicago area, it’s by far the best place to go. I would even recommend them to anyone shopping online, their service is that good. I know this probably sounds like some kind of advertisement, but I really just empathize with the stress of major appliance buying. Having a good appliance store is like having a good mechanic.

  15. Daddy-o says:

    I learned my lesson long ago. A store doesn’t need to know your phone number to make a sale. I routinely give them fake phone numbers and fake email addresses. It’s all a big game.

  16. Swins says:

    For those that say they won’t give your phone number…you can’t refuse in this case.

    If you buy an appliance from ANY retailer that includes delivery, they won’t let you not give them a phone number. Best Buy, Sears, Walmart, Kmart, CostCo, BJ’s all require a phone number for delivery.

  17. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    The harder Kmart / Sears they squeeze, the more customers will slip through their fingers. I wanted to buy laundry detergent at a Kmart but they wouldn’t give me the “sale price” unless I signed up for their frequent shopper card gimmick. I politely apologized for wasting the cashiers time and left without the detergent. I guess I was wrong when I thought they had hit rock bottom, they still had diamond tipped drills at their disposal. Could anyone imagine if their biggest rival Wal-Mart tried doing this? There would be riots.

  18. miltona says:

    I had a similar problem. They were calling me 8 times a day. Two per day for each of the two mowers I purchased there, and four more times per day for the previous owner of my phone number. The calls would all come within minutes of each other. I had to actually change phone numbers. I haven’t bought anything big from Sears in several years because of it. I consider them a store of last resort due to my bad experience.

  19. drewsumer says:

    The Dream of the 70s is Alive at Sears! (Sears)

  20. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I know the DNC list allows companies to call you if you have a business relationship with them, but there should also be an easier opt out feature. No one should get 23 calls about the same thing before begging a company to stop.

    This doesn’t apply just to Sears. It applies to any company. The fastest way to lose a customer is to pester them repeatedly about things they clearly don’t want.

  21. Dr.Wang says:

    This is why I got a google voice number. I give it out to anyone that wants it. It never rings my home and I get a record of who calls. They can ring it 100 times a day and it won’t bother anyone. I ported over my cell number and got a new cell number for actual friends/family.

  22. thesalad says:

    I once made the mistake of giving Raymor and Flannigan my phone number when I was looking for a mattress.. so they could “Keep me on file and give me the advertised special once i had received the money I was expecting”
    Instead they called me once every 2 weeks asking if I was ready to come in.. then it switched to telling me about the specials..
    I had to tell them no more than 3 times to stop calling me that I wasn’t interested.. the 3rd time I told them that I’d call the AG on them for violating my DNC request… they finally stopped.

  23. kataisa says:

    There are still people out there who give stores their real phone numbers?

  24. SearsCares says:

    Dear Mike,

    We are very sorry that this situation occurred. We can definitely understand your frustration with the phone calls that you continued to received after you requested us to stop contacting you regarding your protection agreement. We are glad that after contacting our office we were able to resolve this for you in a timely manner. After one of our customers purchases an appliance, we do want to give them every opportunity to protect that appliance against long term problems. Many of our customers do find our protection agreements give them a peace of mind and the ability to keep their appliance in top operating condition without any further out of pocket expense. That said our Protection Agreement office will make an effort to furnish you with information on protecting the value of your appliance and purchase. In this case, it appears we may have gone overboard with the attempts to contact you. Again, please accept our apologies regarding this situation and if there is anything else we can do for you in the future contact us directly at smsupport@searshc.com.

    Thanks,

    Susan R.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

    • D007H says:

      Thanks for reminding why I should always pay cash and never give out my personal information should I ever be unfortunately enough to shop at Sears/ Kmart. Don’t know about OP Mike, but I’ve been given more than enough form letter responses from their customer reps in the past.

    • Major Tom Coming Home says:

      Susan;

      I understand you are paid to represent your company and that your own personal feelings may differ. We customers don’t want sales people chasing us after us after we leave the store. Give us the spiel before we make the purchase, and if we say no leave it at that.

      Also, I don’t know if you represent only Sears or Sears and Kmart, but why do I need to give you my personal information before I can buy laundry detergent at the sale price? I think I may know the answer to that, but there are a lot of other stores that don’t have this policy and I will be shopping with them.

    • scoosdad says:

      Susan, you’d do well to search for “Sears” here on Consumerist, then take the dozens of hits the search returns for the last year or so back to your bosses at Sears so they can see first hand how their customers feel about the company.

      This latest practice of social media monitors responding in one-off posts to one specific instance isn’t helping the thousands of people like the original poster who didn’t find a public enough place like Consumerist to complain loudly.

      As we say an awful lot here, “why should it take a public shaming to get companies to do the right thing in the first place?”

  25. D007H says:

    Sears/ kmart is pretty bad with email spam too if you got an account with them. Like Kmart would send you “reminders” if you put items in your cart but never follow through. They would also send you “reminders” to log into your account if you haven’t visited their website in a while. Pretty stalkerish. Of course, you can try to opt out all you want and complain to their customer reps but that won’t do a damn thing.

  26. SJ says:

    I nominate this as understatement of the year:

    ” I knew Sears doesn’t have the best track record…”

  27. scoosdad says:

    This is why I love my VOIP provider. Call me once like that, and the number goes into a web-based database where I can select the “punishment” the caller receives the next time they call my number: no ring, go instantly to voicemail, get a busy signal, get a custom recording I can specify, forward the call to another number I specify (CVS’s robocallers reminding me every month to refill obsolete prescriptions go right back to the originating pharmacy), or get that phone company “BE BEE BEEP” tri-level tone and recording saying the line has been disconnected, “with no further information available”. The last one is my favorite and I use it 99% of the time.

    I wish for another choice– a fax machine tone. That would be killer. Calls from Sears trying to sell me an extended warranty would get forwarded to the appliance department of another Sears. Or a K-Mart.

  28. shmoos says:

    I’m from Canad and they must have different management because I never had a problem.
    I don’t have a problem with K mart because they closed up long a long time ago in Canada.
    We have another Canadian chain called Zellers. It’s been taken over by Target.

  29. khooray says:

    I always give my old landline number. I never hear anything, but if someone else has that number, they probably do.

  30. SearsCares says:

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to assist you with your recent request. We are very pleased that we were able to assist you with your issues. If we can help you in the future, please contact our office directly via email at smsupport@searshc.com. In the event you do reach out, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the item you are inquiring about was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly.

    Thank you,

    Susan R.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

  31. SearsCares says:

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to assist you with your recent request. We are very pleased that we were able to assist you with your issues. If we can help you in the future, please contact our office directly via email at smsupport@searshc.com. In the event you do reach out, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the item you are inquiring about was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly.

    Thank you,

    Susan R.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

  32. gilbertdave says:

    Sears’s very unreliable customer service support, they’ve confirmed to me twice on two different days on scheduled service for repair for today. When I called and informed sears of arrival of part (which I was not asked to do) and that I am ready for the repair as scheduled, I was told that that no service appointment was scheduled for me but they will be happy to scheduled it for tomorrow. Which mean I will either take the day and lose a day’s pay or waiit until next week.

    Sears is on schedule to meet it’s demise.