Sears Will Do Just About Anything To Not Fix My Cracked Boiler

Image courtesy of (The Caldor Rainbow)

For almost two weeks, Consumerist reader Jim has simply been trying to get Sears out to repair his cracked boiler. Instead, he’s been given three separate appointments just to verify the existence of the crack, none of which have resulted in anything being done to actually fix the problem.

Taking his cues from this previous tale of Sears-related woe, Jim put together a detailed timeline of his 11 days (and counting) lost in the Sears maintenance maze:

11/9: Call Sears to tell them that boiler is cracked. First person I spoke with emailed the service department and said that someone would call me. After 2 hours with no call, I called again and this time I waited on hold while the care agent set up an appointment for someone to come out and verify that the boiler was cracked.

11/10: Service technician came out to verify that the boiler was cracked.

11/12: I receive a call that Sears is in on the way with a technician to verify that the boiler is cracked. They come and say that there is no record of the person who came on 11/10. I receive a call later in the day to schedule an appointment to verify that the boiler is cracked for 11/16. I call and ask why they need a third person to come out to verify, and the care agent puts me on hold and after checking says that it is necessary. He says that there is still no record of the 11/9 visit.

11/16: I wait for three hours for the person to arrive. During that three hours, my wife calls me to say that Sears called her and someone named “N” is on our case and said that someone that day would be calling to schedule the repairs. I call N’s direct line to follow-up, leave a message, and don’t get a response. When no one shows up after the three hours are up, I call Sears to find out what the story is. They tell me that the inspection was cancelled. I ask them why they didn’t notify us. They say, “It says in the notes that someone called your wife and cancelled the appointment.” I then called N and left a very angry message… N calls back apologetically saying he wasn’t told to call to cancel the appointment, and he has no idea how the note got in there. He also says that the technician who came on 11/12 hasn’t yet filed the appropriate paper work, but their office is closed for the weekend, and he will follow-up on Monday.

11/19: I call on Monday to follow-up with the technician. She says that she has filed the paperwork, and she’s waiting on the distribution center to give the okay. I then call Norman and leave a message. I never hear from Norman again. I call the Sears general line and get bounced around to several different people one of whom says, “Someone will get back to you today to schedule the replacement.” I call back later in the day and bounce around again. Finally, a customer care rep gives me the number for the local Hartford office that will coordinate the installation. I call there and leave a message.

11/20: I call Sears’ main number again and talk to five different people, none of whom can help me. The last person I speak with says, “You are talking to the wrong department, call 1800 222 5030, which is the original number I called. I call back to speak with a 6th person who finally gets a manager who says that N isn’t around today. I tell her my full story, and she calls the Sears office in Hartford, and verifies that no parts have been ordered, and there is no plan to order any parts. She says that the person in Hartford needs to figure out if the parts are available at the distributorship and she will call me back in 1 or 2 hours.

We’re going to reach out to a contact at Sears in the hopes of expediting Jim’s problem. Even if that’s successful, this is the kind of story that an unsatisfied customer shares with every friend who is considering making a big purchase at Sears.

And though Sears could blame incidents like this on an inept or overworked contractor, the fact remains that these are people hired by Sears. This distinction — too often made by companies in response to complaints like Jim’s — is irrelevant to the customer. When the customer calls Sears, the person who shows up at the door — or all three people who show up at the door — are representatives of Sears, regardless of what it says on their paycheck.

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