Reader Chris writes the CEO of Sears to let him know why he’ll never step foot inside Sears ever again.
Dear Mr. Lewis,
We are writing to you to document the abysmal experience we recently had with Sears following break-down of our Kenmore refrigerator/freezer.
The unit broke down on November 2nd, less than 1 year since we purchased it, and we called for repair service under the factory warranty. We were surprised to find that it would take a week before a technician could come to take a look, but we treated this as just ‘bad luck’ and resigned ourselves to throwing away 100’s of dollars of frozen and refrigerated groceries.
The technician came out on November 10th and replaced what he thought was the problem part and left. Within hours the unit was no colder and so we immediately called Sears again and were dumbfounded to be told that it would take another week for someone to come out again!
This was not acceptable to us and so we emailed you to request assistance and as a result were contacted by Carla in Sears Executive Office. When we spoke to her it transpired that she was unable to get our local Service department to respond to her. She said that she would call us back if and when they got in contact. As we did not hear back from her we can only assume they did not respond. If the Executive Office cannot get in contact with the Service Department, we as customers surely stand no chance!
At this point we waited until November 17th until the technician came out again. This time he diagnosed that the compressor was broken and that he’d have to order a new one. The earliest appointment we could get to install it was quoted as November 26th . This would mean that we would have been without a fridge & freezer for some 3 ½ weeks and our big family Thanksgiving Dinner plans would be ruined.
We decided to approach the Sears store that we purchased all our appliances from to see if they could help. The floor manager on duty was extremely unhelpful :
* She said that she couldn’t help us as, in her opinion, this was purely a Service issue and the Service department “is a separate organization”. Clearly your employees do not feel that they represent Sears Holdings as a single entity.
* She said that Kenmore appliances were very reliable but that we should have paid extra for the Extended Service Agreement to get timely repairs. It is extremely annoying to be told this when we already have a broken appliance and are trying to it repaired UNDER WARRANTY.
* She said that if we wanted to buy a new refrigerator she could give us a 10% discount. You can perhaps imagine how angry we were to have it suggested that spending another $1100 on a fridge was a good solution to Sears not being able to repair our existing one in less than a month.
* Understanding that her powers appeared to be limited, we tried to be flexible in accommodating any reasonable alternative approaches to addressing the situation, but even when pressed she could not suggest how we could escalate the issue other than calling the 1-800 number again
We can only hope that this is not how Sears would wish to be represented.
We contacted the Store Manager, who is our one positive experience with Sears in all this. He was very apologetic, and really made an effort to listen to the problem and try to find reasonable and creative ways to address it. He made some calls and we were in turn contacted by Executive Level Customer Support who modified the service date to November 21st (still a huge 19 days after the original problem occurred). Although apparently only having been an employee with Sears for a month, we really feel that the Store Manager treated the issue as his own and with respect, unlike other Sears people we had dealt with until this point.
We hope you would agree that there seem to be some serious problems with Sears Service, and the communication lines between them and the rest of the company. While the Store Manager is a good representative for your company and did his utmost to restore our faith in Sears, we see no indication that we would not encounter a similar situation with Sears Service in future. We were without refrigeration for 19 days, which is bad enough, but if we hadn’t engaged in vigorous, time-consuming and stressful chasing of this problem we may have been without this crucial appliance for nearly a month. We know from frank conversations with everyone involved in this (from Sears technicians to executive customer support) that our problems with getting timely service are not unusual exceptions, but are persistent and endemic.
Your Vision Statement says that “Sears Holdings is committed to improving the lives of our customers by providing quality services, products and solutions that earn their trust and build lifetime relationships.” For us, you have failed spectacularly on all counts.
Our entire family has purchased from Sears for many years based on your historical reputation for good customer service, but they will no longer make any purchases in your stores. We hope that by bringing our problems to your attention it will allow them to be fixed promptly and permanently for the good of other customers. We will not be buying from Sears again.
As Meghann mentioned in a previous post, SEARS customer service is hard to crack. Each division might as well be in another dimension. In fact, their warranty repairs are, they’re in the outsourced division. Lowest bid wins! That’s why Sears corporate can’t rein in the repair guys, they’re not even on the company payroll.