My wife and I purchased a new home in the small town of [redacted], NY. We bought a water softener from our local Sears store, and also paid for the installation through Sears. After being delayed twice, the installation finally took place on January 3, 2013 (original install date was 12/29 or 12/30). My father was at the house and let the contractor in. In addition to the initial $149.99 installation, the contractor charged another $100. Total out of pocket installation expense was about $250. Not bad. However, the install was absolutely horrible. It was sloppy and unprofessional.
When I arrived home from work, I went down to the basement to check it out. I found 2 major leaks. The first leak created a fairly good size puddle of water in the basement in a matter of 2 hours, and was located off of the water main on/off valve. The other leak was on a joint that the contractor did. After seeing this mess, I decided that I should inspect the installation more closely. After further investigation I found that the drain hose from the water softener was led down into the trench in my basement. This set off major alarms in my head…not good. I also found that the side of the water softener was covered with solder. Sloppy.
I called Sears the first time, and they connected me with the installer. He new exactly where the leaky joint was. When I asked why he left it that way he said it was not leaking before he left. I then asked about the drainage hose. He explained to me that he ran the water softener drain into the trench because the sub pump would then drain the water. Only problem is……I DO NOT have a sub pump. After arguing with him some more he finally said he would come to the house and fix the problems. I told him not to bother as I did not trust his work. He was rude and told me to do what I had to do.
I called Sears back (2nd call). I was escalated up the line fairly quickly. I spoke to a gentleman and explained my situation. He told me that the Sears policy is the person who installed it has to fix it. I told them that as the home owner I did not want that same contractor back. His work was horrible, and I went into great detail describing the problems. The person on the phone said he would bring it to the next level, but Sears policy is Sears policy. He took my info, including my phone number, and said he would call me back. He never called back.
An hour after the 2nd call I called Sears a 3rd time, and after waiting for 44 minutes I finally got through to someone. They started arguing with me. They finally said they would escalate me to the next level. I was put on hold for an additional 11 minutes, only to be disconnected. Now, very upset, I called back a 4th time. After 2 more long waits, I finally decided that enough was enough. I requested that a claim/complaint be filed, and that Sears would refund the cost of the installation.
I was told that Sears would review this case, but there is no guarantee that I would get my money back. Unfortunately, as we just purchased a new home a week before we bought the water softener, I do not have the funds to pay for another plumber to fix this. So tonight, my father and I will be doing our best to fix the problem so that we can have water in the house. I paid for a service in confidence, thinking that should anything go wrong Sears would make it right. Boy was I wrong. The installation was lazy, incomplete, and half-heatedly done. But even worse, the Sears customer service was absolutely putrid.
Lesson learned: hire a contractor that you know, trust, and comes recommended. I will never, ever use Sears installation services again.
One would think that a contractor being dispatched by a trusted retailer like Sears should be enough of an endorsement…but that’s no longer true, if it ever was. Do your research and ask around, then choose your own contractor.