I Might Get My Craftsman String Trimmer Back Before It Snows

Patrick didn’t say where in the country he lives, but in most of the United States, people don’t need string trimmers year-round. Their grass and weeds grow from maybe late spring to maybe early fall. He bought a new Craftsman string trimmer from Sears back in April, just in time for the plants to start growing. He had a problem with it about a month ago, so he brought it in to the store so Sears could make good on that two-year warranty it came with. That’s when he learned that thanks to the glacial speed of repairs, he’ll be lucky if he sees his string trimmer again before the end of the summer.

I purchased a Craftsman Trimmer almost exactly 90 days ago. It has a two year warranty on it. I called their warranty number and was told to bring it into the local store for repair or replacement. I brought it to the store Monday July 16, 2012.

I was then informed by one of their employees they only pick up repair items once a week and I had just missed the guy so my trimmer would wait a whole week before going out for repair. Then I was told once it was gone expect 3+ weeks for the repair to be complete. Then he add that I will receive a phone call when the repair is done but not to come to the store, that call just means the repair is done. It still has to be sent back to the local store for pick-up. So I asked this guy if he was telling me I won’t get my less than three month old trimmer back before the end of summer and all he had to say was “I know, Sears just has a weird system.”

I posted this story on Sears Facebook page and got a pretty quick response. I was told a case manager would call me ASAP. Monday evening one called and left me a message saying to call him back but if he didn’t hear from me in 24 hours he would call back. I called back IMMEDIATELY and nobody answered at the extension he left. Now it is Thursday, four days later. I have called eight times, nobody answers. I have left multiple messages, nobody calls back. And the person that called Monday not only never called back within 24 hours, but didn’t in 48 or 72 hours either.

Why, yes, regular commenters, it was Patrick’s own fault for shopping at Sears. He should know better than to go to the retailer that has been Americans’ trusted source for tools, appliances, household goods, clothing, and even houses for more than a century?

We hear from many readers, especially our older readers, (around here, “older” means “has clear memories of life without cell phones”) who turn to Sears for their appliance purchases because that’s just where they have always gone. Don’t repeat Patrick’s mistake. Don’t learn your lesson the hard way by letting your lawn grow tall and unruly around the edges.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Tegan says:

    Thanks for calling me old Laura :(

  2. Delicious Spam is delicious says:

    Sometimes their warranties come with a loaner. They won’t tell you about it but you can ask. saves wear and tear on your own trimmer.

  3. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    Oooh…I have a Sears story to share too!

    My vacuum died this weekend, and after Consumer Reports and shopping online I chose a highly rated Kenmore that happened to be 30% off and find a coupon code for another $15 off.

    Their website shows 8 in stock, so I place my order online for in-store pickup. 30 minutes later I get an email that the order has been cancelled, that they are out of stock. I print the email, go to the store and grab one off the shelf and ask them to honor the $15 discount. I was told that they couldn’t, that if I wanted the discount I needed to order online.

    I asked to speak to the store manager, who appeared about 15 minutes later. He apologized profusely and honored the coupon. He explained that Sears’ online system had been randomly cancelling orders for about a week for no good reason.

    I truly feel bad for (most) employees at Sears…most of them seem to have horror stories worse than those of the customers.

  4. cspschofield says:

    I thought I’d get at least into my 60’s before I started gassing on about brands and products long gone, but Woolworth’s went tits-up as long ago as 1997. A lot of my favorite grocery products are long gone. Sears is de-volving into goo.


    • polishhillbilly says:

      It’s sad, but quality has gone by the wayside and been replaced with quantity.
      This is true with most if not all products.

    • JediZombie says:

      I see what you did there, nice Super Mario Bros. (Movie) reference.

  5. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    Next up: Sears returns the trimmer in its original broken condition, then returns it in a new broken condition, then somehow loses it for a bit, then insists on replacing it with a lesser model because the original model is no longer in stock.

  6. eirrom says:

    I have read many, many horror stories about Sears and now I can see why they are failing. I know this has nothing to do with this story but I just wanted to share my experience with Sears and why I won’t be back.

    I went to buy a cheap wedding band for me on Saturday w/ my fiance. We head over to the jewelry case to look at the bands. We find one I like but there is no one at the jewelry counter. We wait and wait (not too long, about 10 minutes but it was weird no one was there to help). I end up going over to a checkout asking for someone to be paged to help us. Someone finally shows up and I tell the woman I want to buy the ring I had been looking at. I like the ring and see that it is 50% off. We had been pricing the rings and have seen many rings that looks like this one (the ring is nothing special, basic Tungsten band). I figured it would be around $35 + tax based on the pricing I have seen, based on the 50% off. Again, this is a mass produced ring sold by jewerly stores everywhere. She takes the ring out of the case and shows me the tag. It is $279. I look at my fiance and we just are stunned. Again, this ring is nothing special. It’s sold eveywhere for around $70. What Sears did was discount the ring 50% of MSRP, so the ring would be $140 + tax. 50% seemed like a good deal for me until I find out how much jacked up the price only to then offer the “50% off”. I say no to the ring, walked down to JC Penneys and bought the ring for $70 + tax.

    Sears had me and lost me in about 30 minutes. As other have said, it is always nice to park down by a Sears store at the mall. You can always find a parking spot close to the door.

  7. az123 says:

    What I am wondering is if that is really an unreasonable time frame for getting something fixed for a ship in repair, has Sears really degraded over the years on this type of repair or has the internet and other instant gratification expectations really made people expect thing to move at a pace that they really just don’t. I know a lot of technology things (printers, computer components, Xbox digital cameras etc…) they just ship you an already refurbished one and take yours back to be rebuilt, so repairs seem faster but they really are not repairing anything.

    Yes I do see some sillyness in telling someone you will call and requesting a call back but ignoring them, that is poor customer service all around. However, I did just send a watch I had in for warranty repair and it took about 3 weeks for it to get returned, I also last year had so send in a piece of luggage for repair, which again took around 3-4 weeks to get returned…. I guess having actually sent things in for actual repair the time does not seem that bad to me.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      I’m in agreement. I can understand the frustration in only having something for 3 months before it breaks, but the repair timeline doesn’t seem out of line. If the repair center is collecting items from a wide variety of locations, having a dedicated pickup/drop-off day each week also makes good sense.

  8. dicobalt says:

    I have a whole system for keeping my electric string trimmer working. It mostly consists of lots of WD40 and the art of winding a perfect spool.

  9. SirWired says:

    A 2-3 week backup is pretty standard for in-season outdoor-equipment repair. And picking up once a week also seems pretty reasonable.

    If you take it direct to the repair center, you can bypass that whole pickup/drop-off delay.

    • cosby says:

      That is what I was thinking. A lot of real repairs take time. It sucks when you want to use it but stuff happens.

    • scoosdad says:

      I once tried to bring my snow blower into the shop in June, thinking they’d be able to take care of it quickly and I’d get a chronic problem with it taken care of early. Wrong. They told me to come back in November, after the lawn mower and leaf blower repair season was over. They were too busy to even look at a snow blower in the middle of summer.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        That was good thinking on your part, and it’s unfortunate it didn’t work out. Back when I was a chimney sweep, we’d often recommend that regular customers schedule routine maintenance/cleaning for summer or early fall rather than calling when it started getting cold. Otherwise, you’re calling when everyone else is thinking of it.

  10. 180CS says:

    Hey, I got a good laugh out of it. A lot of us, myself included, do have a tendency to blame the OPs for shopping at some of our obviously disliked stores.

    But that got me thinking….I originally started reading the consumerist so many years ago because I found a link on google to a story from here detailing another consumer having similar problems as myself.

    That said, the OP should have known better! :)
    No, seriously though, maybe he hasn’t been around to see all the problems about sears that get posted. And in all fairness, at least he isn’t saying he buys his electronics at best buy. (And on that note, please oh please Brian do not tell us you do…)

    • 180CS says:

      This was supposed to post below Tegans comment in refrence to Laura calling us old and humorously saying that it *was* Brians fault, like so many of us do with brands like this.

  11. luxosaucer13 says:

    This story is not all that surprising; Sears can’t even do retail right, let alone repairs. The big problem is that Sears Holdings is running their Sears stores just like K-Mart stores.

    A traditional Sears customer expects SERVICE, otherwise they’d just go to K-Mart or Wal-Mart.

  12. ReaperRob says:

    Wow, Grass and weeds here grow from late February to Late November. We pretty much do need our trimmers year round.

  13. carterpeartford says:

    any outdoor power equipment, or any power tool in general with the Craftsman name on it made in the last 20 years is disposable Chinese made garbage. honest mistake. you should buy outdoor power equipment from a store that sells only outdoor power equipment.