No, Sears, That’s Okay, We Didn’t Really Need A Working Refrigerator

Kristina’s Sears misadventure began with an icemaker. She lives with her aunt, and the icemaker/water spout on the refrigerator started leaking. The aunt decided to replace the appliance, so they headed to Sears. There they found a lovely Samsung fridge marked down on clearance. Why was it on clearance? Oh, you see, another customer had ordered it, then changed their mind. But it was still a new appliance purchase from Sears’ point of view, and would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. It was when the fridge was DOA that everything began to go horribly wrong.

A week later, the delivery team showed up with the new Samsung. “First off,” Kristina wrote in her blog post about this fiasco, “there is a spot about an inch around where it’s been scuffed and the enamel has come off. This wasn’t visible at the store, and it wasn’t noted in the sales rep’s paperwork. Luckily, it was on the right side, against the wall, so not REALLY a big deal. Whatever.”

The installers didn’t bring a compression valve, so the water line couldn’t be hooked up to the fridge. They could live without an icemaker for a little while longer. The bigger problem was that the refrigerator didn’t get, strictly speaking, cold.

They plug it in, push it back into the little nook, and assure us that it’ll be to temp in a couple of hours. They go even further, and tell us to go ahead and put our food in it because “that will make it cool down faster.” We questioned that, but the guy swore that’s what his boss always tells them to say, and “he’s been doing this for over 13 years, so he knows what he’s talking about.”

And then they leave. They didn’t even bother to level it. In the meantime, our old (still working) fridge was hauled away.

Four hours later, and the temperature in the new fridge hadn’t dropped a single degree… both freezer and refrigerator were registering at 80 degrees. I try to adjust the temp, and it doesn’t work. We figure out that it’s still in demo mode, so I look up how to switch it in the manual. Try it, and no dice.

I call customer service, and end up talking to two different people, one of which walks me through the same steps, and then has me unplug it, wait, and plug it back in to see if it would reset itself. Still nothing, so they transfer me to a 3rd person, who tells me they will contact the delivery guys to come back out SAME DAY.

Instead, around 6pm, we get an automated phone call from the delivery company, saying they’d be here between 11am-1pm today.

So I call customer service again, and end up talking to another person who can’t get hold of anyone at the store, and can’t help me. At this point, my aunt is frustrated and upset, and I’m pissed. So I drive out to the store (20 minute drive, each way) to talk to the store manager.

They gave me a loaner fridge, dorm size, and helped me schedule for a technician to come out on Tuesday to try to repair the fridge. She also gives me a number to call, to try and get reimbursement for the food we’ve lost, because it sat out for 6+ hours with no refrigeration. That number ended up going to the Sears Delivery hotline… where the REAL fun begins.

Yes, quite fun. A series of misdirected calls brought Kristina to the “Escalations” line. Well, that sounds promising. A competent-sounding representative told her that the best option would be a replacement fridge. Yay! Here’s the catch, though: the clearance Samsung they bought cost $899. Sears wouldn’t replace a clearance fridge with a full-price one, and the price difference was $500. Their choices were to pay the $500, or have the defective fridge picked up and wait for a refund check to show up.

She posted a Paragraph of Rage on Sears’ Facebook page. The social media representative on duty promised her a response that day. She didn’t get one. The next day, she received three separate e-mails from three separate case managers in the Sears executive offices who proceeded to not help her when she contacted them back. That was helpful.

Sure, that happened over the weekend, but it doesn’t sound like Sears is about to cover the $500 price difference or suddenly have effective customer service anytime soon. For her part, Kristina has given up:

In the meantime, we’ve already ordered a new refrigerator from a local retailer, so the only “compensation” Sears can really offer is to expedite the delivery of our refund check (overnight would be good), and maybe throw in some money for the food. I’m not gonna hold my breath.

Having worked in customer service and retail, I find much fault with Sears customer service practices. Believe it or not, I actually hate to cause a fuss, but I feel it’s my duty to spread the word about how absolutely miserable this experience has been so maybe others can avoid the same troubles by going elsewhere.

The Sears Refrigerator Fiasco [Molly in Training]

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