How Decades Of Sears Loyalty Screwed Over My Family

Dee is a regular Consumerist reader, but her family’s 30 years of loyal Sears shopping outweighs the occasional tales of crappy service she has read here. When her mother’s dryer broke down, she ordered a few other appliances while she was at it and while Sears was sending a delivery crew. Things went smoothly, until they learned that they had been misled into believing that Sears would ever deliver and install a houseful of appliances on the same day.

Also, her father died a few weeks ago. How can that be relevant? You’ll see.

Here’s a story about how brand loyalty completely screwed my family over.

My mother’s dryer conked out, so she decided to get a new one from Sears. While there, she also ordered a new washer, dishwasher, and range. My parents have been loyal Sears customers for almost 30 years, so my mother did not dream of going elsewhere. We ordered the appliances on a Thursday, and were told that the delivery and installation would take place two days later (Saturday). On Friday night, we received two phone confirmations, one automated and one human, that the delivery would take place on Saturday.

Come Saturday morning, we were in for a bit of a surprise. The installer phoned us to state that Sears does not do delivery and installation on the same day, and that he would not be able to install the appliances until Monday. When we explained that we were told both would happen on Saturday, he demanded the name of the salesman. When we informed him that the manager also confirmed the dates, the installer insisted that no manager would ever do that. My brother tried to explain that he would not be available on Monday due to our father passing away, the installer interrupted, saying “I don’t care; my father died too.”

My brother immediately drove down to Sears and was able to speak with a District Manager, who assured us that the installation would take place that day. The appliances were delivered, and then the installer came a little while later. The delivery man claimed that he could not install the washer, because we needed a different size elbow joint. The installer came, and installed the other three appliances. To give him credit, he was apologetic about his earlier comment, and offered us his condolences.

On Sunday, we went to Sears to try and get the elbow joint needed to install the washer. We were informed that the elbow is not even necessary for installation, and that there was nothing to prevent them from installing the washer the day before. We were able to get a second installation appointment for the following day (Monday).

On Monday, the delivery person came to install the washing machine for a second time. He said that a valve was unable to be turned off, and that the water needed to be shut off in order for the installation to occur. My mother said that she would shut off the water from the main. One of the delivery men phoned the office and spoke to someone in another language, then handed the phone to my mother. The lady on the other end of the line attempted to schedule another installation appointment. My mother explained that there was no need for another appointment, as she would shut off the water. She was then placed on hold for so long, she thought the lady had hung up on her. The lady came back on the line, and the delivery man took the phone from my mother and started speaking to the lady again. They then walked out of the house and left, without saying another word to my mother.

This is despicable behavior from a name as trusted as Sears, with whom we have had a relationship for so very long.