Good Luck Actually Getting The Vacuum You Ordered From Sears

Reader Kimberley writes to tell us that in the course of trying to find out why the vacuum she ordered had not been shipped… she was ignored, hung up on or transfered to the phone directory six (6!) times. 6.

She managed to get $11.50 deducted from her shipping total by complaining to the BBB, but the vacuum still hasn’t shipped, and the Sears CSR keeps cheerfully ignoring the fact that her actual complaint is that she was hung up on 6 times.

A friend of mine recommended that I alert you to an ongoing issue I’m having with customer service.

Here is the text of what’s happened so far, including the report made to the BBB

I ordered the Kenmore vacuum on 12/29/2007 with a promised delivery date of 1/3/2008. On 1/2/2008 I accessed the website to track the item. I discovered that the item had not yet shipped. I called customer service at 8:30pm EST and was put on hold for a manager. I was on hold (on my cell) till I hung up at 11pm EST.

At 9:45pm EST I called customer service from my house line, while still on hold on my cell phone. Over the next hour and 15 minutes the following occurred:

Customer service rep #1 said she was getting a manager and hung up on me. I called back.

Customer service rep #2 said she was getting a manager, and transferred me back to the phone directory. I pressed the buttons to get me back to a CSR.

Customer service rep #3 said she was transferring me to a manager, and I was transferred to home delivery.

Home delivery CSR (#4) said she had to get online sales on the call and put me on hold. I was transferred to the phone directory without another word.

Customer service rep #5 explained that the managers had all left at 10pm. She said she would get a supervisor to take a report. Instead I was transferred back to the pone directory.

Customer service rep #6 told me no one could help me and I’d have to call back in the morning. I hung up.

This type of customer service is unacceptable. I want to know when my merchandise will arrive, why I was quoted an inaccurate delivery date with my order, a refund of my shipping costs and a partial refund of my purchase cost. Or a full refund if my merchandise can not be delivered in a timely manner. Mostly, I want an apology for being lied to, hung up on, transferred repeatedly, left on hold for 3 hours and provided no customer service.

I’ve complained via web to: Better Business Bureau Sears community relations Sears customer service email

On 1/3 I receive the following email:

Please include the following line in all replies. Tracking number: XX

Dear Kimberley [redacted],

Thank you for contacting Sears regarding your order number XX.

Kimberley, according to our records your vacuum is getting ready to ship via UPS. The tracking number is XX. We apologize for the delay, and have deducted your 11.50 from your total that you paid for shipping. Thank you for your patience.

We apologize for the difficulties that you have experienced with the order referenced above.

At Sears we value you as a customer and we value your business. If you have additional questions or comments, please contact us. Thank you again for choosing Sears.

Look for Great Ideas throughout the store and find Sears exclusive innovations from great brands like Sony, Kenmore, NordicTrack, Craftsman and Reebok.

Ted M.
Sears Customer Care

To which I respond: Ted M- Actually Ted M, I’m not satisfied due to the absolutely terrible customer service I received last night. Here is the email I sent to the BBB and Alan Lacy last night: (pasted message above).

Then I receive this email:

Please include the following line in all replies. Tracking number: XXX

Dear Kimberley [redacted],

Thank you for your recent correspondence. We are always interested in hearing from our customers, but regret it was this type of situation that prompted you to contact us.

Our records indicate that your order has been shipped and is expected to arrive at your desired location on January 3, 2008. Sears Customers that place online orders that are delivered in a standard shipping method is expected to arrive within 7-9 business days. Please accept our apology for any inconvenience you may have encountered.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your business and value you as a Sears Holdings customer. We certainly hope you will continue to make Sears Holdings your choice for quality and value.


Anthony F. Sears Holdings Corporation

And I respond:

Anthony F- Today is January 3, 2008 and according to the UPS tracking number provided, the item has not left the warehouse.

Your customer service is unacceptable. As I’ve stated several times, the major complaint that I have is the customer service I received on 1/2 and I would like that addressed. I want a manager to contact me today cell at XXXX.

Thank you

So, that’s it.

Kimberley M

Well, Sears. We’re just not sure what to tell people anymore.

Meg: So
Meg: Let me ask you…
Ben: yes?
Meg: Sears
Meg: Has anyone ever had any luck doing anything we’ve suggested?
Ben: I think I was IMing with one guy who on one issue was able to reach the executive offices but they also told him to go shove it.
Meg: So basically, we have no advice.
Ben: I don’t think people have been using the more hardcore tactics though.
Ben: like fax ’em to death.
Ben: or post negative stuff in their stock forums
Meg: But for your basic, “People were rude to me and I want it addressed” complaint…
Ben: SOL
Meg: Right. Shop somewhere else.
Ben: yeah
Meg: Maybe I can post this IM conversation in lieu of advice.
Ben: The only other thing that seems to work is to get your local news station to do a report
Meg: Yes, they do seem to watch TV.
Ben: Sears will respond by improving customer service in the immediate vicinity.
Meg: And continue to ignore everyone else.



Edit Your Comment

  1. deadlizard says:

    I was wondering why Sears is still in business. Now I now people still shop there.

  2. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Ben: The only other thing that seems to work is to get your local news station to do a report
    Meg: Yes, they do seem to watch TV.

    Good call! Maybe the people at sears can’t read the big words, so they ignore the website.

    Maybe a podcast, so they don’t have to actually read? You could have someone (maybe Ben, he’s been on TV!) read the story out loud.

  3. MercuryPDX says:

    She got back her $11.50 for shipping… and if she didn’t feel this was enough I would have just told them to refund the whole order and get my vacuum elsewheres.

    I give her a ton of credit (and the Saintly Patience award) for going 2 hours on hold… wouldn’t have been worth it for me.

  4. bohemian says:

    So what would be a good replacement store for all those soon to be vacant mall spaces around the country?

  5. DeeJayQueue says:

    The only thing I buy at sears is Craftsman hand tools, and that’s only because I don’t know a Snap-On or Mac dealer.

  6. TWSS says:

    Why is any Consumerist reader buying anything from Sears since, oh, last summer? I actually got in a tiff with my husband about it because he thinks they’ll have the best price on the mattress we want, and I responded with “Are you KIDDING me?!”

  7. elislider says:

    i went to sears yesterday at the lloyd center (portland oregon) and i was in the game/electronics area, and i wanted to get the price of an xbox accessory in the glass lock-case. i looked around and could see no employee within visible range. i wandered around and overheard the one employee i could find getting shot down while trying to make a pressured sale on stuff he clearly didnt know anything about. i caught him for a sec to try and get the case unlocked and he didnt have keys and had no idea where anyone was who could help me. i left the store, went to hot topic and bought some vinyls on clearance for $3 (1/2 off clearance!). At least hot topic has more employees in their tiny store (3 i think) than sears has in its entire electronics and appliances department

  8. GregC1968 says:

    Alan Lacy was canned when Lampert took over.

    Go somewhere else. Sears is horrible.

  9. 8abhive says:

    @deadlizard: The Times is about to break a story about Sears. Turns out their stores are really sham fronts for massive bowling alleys in the basements where execs meet for good times and to compare their golden parachutes. The poor sods working the shoe counters are the same ones who take our customer service calls. Have you tried to transfer a call while holding smelly shoes and a spray can in your hands?

    I give her the benefit of the doubt since a friend had to tell her about consumerist.

    Sears dead pool, anyone?

  10. MercuryPDX says:

    @elislider: not that it’s much better… but there’s a Gamespot and an EB games on floors 2 and 1 (respectively) where the ice rink is. :)

  11. m.ravian says:

    i ordered the SAME exact vacuum for my parents as an anniversary present last summer. it was ordered online AND even picked it up in store, with no problem. it was even loaded into my car by a very nice Mennonite man who didn’t appear to be sure i could lift 30 pounds.

    sears sucks, though. the only reason i had to go through them is because my parents are old school and attached to their Kenmore appliances.

  12. alfista says:

    Vacuums suck.

  13. mindshadow says:


    I’m going to say… Q4 of 2009.

  14. econobiker says:

    Q1 of 2010 after the disasterous 2009 Christmas season…

  15. That is nothing comparing to my experience of trying to order a t-shirt from

    It has been over a month now, I still don’t my shirt.

    For your reading pleasure, I have document my experience here including email exchanges:


  16. TWSS says:

    @MercuryPDX: Lloyd’s totally ghetto anyway. I was at the Sears at Clackamas Town Center and we had to fight them off with broomhandles in the appliance department. Probably a three-to-one ratio of salespeople to customers. That was the same Sears where I found the used feminine hygiene product in the ladies fitting room, incidentally.

  17. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    Just keep complaining and threatening. When sears had their home furnishings store open in the mid 90’s my grandfather ordered a new bed for me. They were late with delivering it and kept pushing it back. He bitched at them and threatened them until they finally gave him his money back for shipping (which was a lot) and a discount on the bed, and it arrived the next day.

    That divison of sears is no longer in business, went down a year or 2 later. But it seems that complaints and threats seems to be the best way with sears.

  18. deadlizard says:

    It looks like Sears is trying to shoo away the three people that still shop there.


  19. KimberleyM says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect to see this posted so soon! I’d ordered from Sears because that is who my parents always bought from and they had the vacuum in stock. I’d not heard of till a friend posted about it, I just assumed the company my folks had always trusted was a good one. Lesson learned.

    As follow up, here’s what’s happened since:
    I called the executive offices. On the third try I reached a customer service manager at Amanda in customer service proceeded to explain to me why there was a shipping problem, but refused to cancel my order. Finally, since they’ve already charged me, I got her to focus on the terrible customer service of her store. Why did I keep trying? Because I’m mad and if if someone doesn’t make a point of going after it, how’s is it going to ever change? 1 hour after Amanda and I started talking she assured me not only that my vacuum was going to be here today, but that she would be contacting me soon for further follow up. 15 minutes after that call I received the following email:

    Please include the following line in all replies.
    Tracking number: XXXXX

    Dear Kimberley [deleted],

    Thank you for your recent correspondence. We are always interested in hearing
    from our customers, but regret it was this type of situation that prompted
    you to contact us. Please accept our apology for any inconvenience you may
    have encountered.

    Your order is scheduled to ship on January 3, 2008. Standard shipping takes 7-9 business days.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your business and
    value you as a Sears Holdings customer. We certainly hope you will continue
    to make Sears Holdings your choice for quality and value.


    Michelle M.
    Sears Holdings Corporation[/i]

    So, no, I won’t ever shop there again. And I will keep calling and emailing and talking to people. It may be beating a dead horse, but who knows. Maybe it’ll make a difference.

  20. themediatrix says:

    I have been waiting since MID-NOVEMBER for Sears to install a range hood at my place. They came and installed a range, but a different “vendor” installs the hood.

    Every time I call Sears, the rep puts me on hold, calls dispatch, and then I’m told the installer will call me right back to arrange for a delivery time. Last week I managed to peck my way through a phone tree and find out that the range hood has never even been picked up from the dock. So it’s sitting there, and I can’t get them to deliver or install it!!!

    It’s driving me nuts, but I don’t have a bunch of hours to invest in consumer action or faxing campaigns. I just want to call ONCE and have it taken care of. So far, I’ve made eight (!) calls that have taken close to an hour each.

  21. Keter says:

    Oh brother. Ordered 12/29…right after Christmas, and probably in the height of people taking time off and having temps in the shipping and CS areas. And she’s complaining about it not shipping a day earlier than promised? I’m not in the least put off by this story…at least not by Sears. They did the right thing by offering her $ off the shipping for the minor inconvenience; this is NOT a bashable offense.

    I don’t “love” Sears, but I do know the following things:

    1. When I absolutely can’t find a normal staple kind of item anywhere else, I can go to Sears and almost always find it for a reasonable price.

    2. Their online parts search ROCKS. Three or four clicks, and I can find parts for my appliances even if I don’t know what the part is called or its number. The parts price is OK, shipping is high and a little slow, but I get what I expect and it’s packed properly.

    3. I have gotten more truly spectacular bargains from Sears than from any retailer other than Ross Dress for Less, and those bargains extend into appliances and housewares. These things might not be the most fashionable or the newest technology, but they work, can be user-maintained, and do what is expected of them. I still have a gas grill I bought at Sears in 1980…I have rebuilt it four or five times, and it still looks and performs as new. I have a rental return Kenmore washer and dryer that is at least seven years old, and both perform as new. I just replaced a Kenmore refrigerator that was over 25 years old and required only two minor repairs in that time. I bought two heat pumps on clearance (cheapest anywhere) that have performed flawlessly and save me about $100 in electricity every month…they paid for themselves in the first year.

    Overall, I find the value of Sears products to be much better than average, I haven’t had any significant problem with customer service (OK, they aren’t the sharpest tacks in the box, but who really cares…they aren’t out to screw with you), and Sears has earned my business in-store and online for the foreseeable future.

  22. KimberleyM says:

    Actually Keter-
    I was complaining about the lack of customer service, wait times, being told different things by different people, and so on, as stated repeatedly. The secondary complaint is about it not arriving by the date it was expected. It was supposed to arrive on 1/3, not ship on 1/3.

  23. themediatrix says:

    Keter – How about calling Sears for me then and getting them to install my range hood then. You seem to have much better luck with them than the rest of us do.

  24. Leah says:

    @KimberleyM: but you also called before the thing was even scheduled to arrive. And are you sure the delivery date was the 3rd? Perhaps the shipping date was the third (the email they later sent did point out, as well, that shipping takes 7-9 days, which leads me to believe the ship date was Jan 3rd).

    I agree that you got rude service, and that part completely sucks. But I’m also confused as to why you called customer service so quickly after ordering your vacuum, especially since Jan 3rd was really only 2 business days (M and W being the business days — T off for the holiday) after you even placed your oder.

  25. Xerloq says:

    I don’t understand why people insist on getting apologies. An apology is worthless – it means nothing. What you hope for is that the companies are sorry and CHANGE the problem, otherwise they just go on apologizing and apologizing.

    You got your $12. Take it. You want more? Get a refund and go buy a vacuum somewhere else. Don’t waste your time trying to obtain that which has no value.

  26. doireallyneedausername says:


  27. cybercjh says:

    People still shop at Sears?! News to me.

  28. magus_melchior says:

    @KimberleyM: It could be that they’ve taken the route Circuit City’s taken. I’d file a chargeback and never, ever do business with them again. I hear BB&B is marking down their stuff due to poor holiday sales.

  29. KimberleyM says:

    Leah- I’d paid for delivery on the 3rd and called originally to check on the tracking number, because it was showing as not yet shipped, despite confirmation emails stating that it was due to arrive on the 3rd. It was only after they refunded the shipping that the delivery was suddenly 7-9 days.

  30. izwombat says:

    i’m having similar issues with as we speak (that’s why i came to search the site for some possible support/emails/phone numbers). I ordered a cooktop and oven early yesterday morning online – totalling over $2000. At time of purchase i was told i would receive a call or email within 24hrs verifying a delivery date.

    it’s not 30hrs later and i have not even received an email verifying i placed an order or “thank for for your business” “fuck you very much” anything!! so i call — he tells me he sees the order and will send me an email (so i got the email now that i asked for it – he said it was in my spam – but i checked – i’m known as super searcher – nada in spam fileters) — then i call delivery, they tell me i need to talk to installation, xfer to installation – they tell me they do not even see the order and to call when they’re not busy – because they’ve been calling them all day and lines are busy.

    worse phone system setup – simply rings horrible busy tone and tells you to call back later. no apologies, not anything.

    so – i still have no idea if/when my $2,000 worth of merchandise will be delivered.

    WTF do i do now?!?!?!

  31. izwombat says:

    sorry i reread posting

    it should read NOW 30hrs later instead of NOT 30hrs later… i’m furious and shaking while i type. i debated for quite i while on if i should order online or from sears at all and this is EXACTLY why i debated it.

    i hate sears – horrible HORRIBLE service

  32. izwombat says:

    FYI, i sent a copy of same complaint email to all of the following email addresses and amazingly – within 30min i received a delivery date: – ecommerce VP (found his name on linkedIn by doing a search on and just took a shot at what email would be considering a listing a saw for Lewis’ email) (again, just a shot in dark)

    now i can not guarantee any of the email addresses, as it could just be coincidence that i received delivery date within 30min of emailing all of them.

  33. izwombat says:

    sorry again – hitting submit too fast, the emails for william crowley i sent to are:

  34. izwombat says:

    well, one of those emails must work because i just received ANOTHER confirmation email. i’ll update again when/if i have issues after the deliveries (hopefully they make it without any additional problems).

  35. tm52400 says:

    Funny I found a complaint about a vacuum cleaner at sears. I just exchanged a Roomba last night at Sears that I bought a warranty for 4 months ago. Now they tell me I can not transfer the remainder of my warranty to the new Roomba and I can not purchase a warranty for the new one. What kind of crap is that? Of course, I argued with the lady in the store and she got snippy with me. But why the hell can’t I buy another warranty for a computerized vacuum cleaner that I know is gonna break down probably in 4 months. If I would have known this when I bought the 1st one I would have not bought it for $300 since I have a brand new Kirby that I paid $1100 for. I know I did not need the Roomba, but I thought it would be easier than vacuuming myself. Sears sucks!!!!!!!!

  36. Articulady says:

    I had an experience with Sears a few years ago for a KitchenAid mixer my husband bought for my birthday. He ordered it in the store 6 weeks in advance, and had not arrived by my birthday. We went to the store to discuss this with the staff. No one knew anything, but we were promised they’d find out and let us know as soon as possible.

    We stayed on it – calling, going into the store etc for several months. Results? A mixer shipped to our house, wrong color. Returned that explaining what had been happening, received refund under protest, saying that we were still willing to wait for the right mixer to arrive, please keep this money to pay for the mixer we ordered.

    Back to the store again the next month to find out the status – a manager gave us another refund and said that the mixer, when finally shipped, would be complimentary. Ok, but we’ve already been refunded for the mixer which was the wrong color. The manager could not find any record of us having been refunded once already and insisted on crediting our account with the cost of the mixer and shipping, obviously thinking we had no idea what we were talking about.

    2 months later and still no mixer. It’s almost funny at this point. Back to the store, talked with manager in her office. While we were listening to her stuttering and mumbling at her computer to find out just where the mixer was, I noticed a KitchenAid mixer box on the floor of her office, the right color, with my name on it, literally. I gasped, and asked if it was possible there were 2 people with the same name, waiting for the same mixer from her store? She looked at the box on the floor as though it were a ghost.

    I got my mixer and ANOTHER refund that day.

    Ok, so Sears has some issues with organization, but I certainly found them to be polite and apologetic for their shortcomings. I live in a very small town where we don’t have many options for appliance shopping. My new stove and dishwasher were delivered on time and as promised last September.

    It could be worse. Sprint could be our appliance supplier.