As we’ve often discussed on this site, Sears doesn’t seem to want to sell merchandise to customers anymore. They’re apparently more interested in selling the real estate that their stores sit on. We know many talented and dedicated Sears employees, but the big picture remains grim. Want concrete proof that will make you sad? You could visit your local store, or just look at these pictures. [More]
sears needs personal space
Once upon a time, a man won an award for being the “Worst CEO of the Year” without actually being the CEO of anything. Who is this man? Well, he’s the next CEO of Sears. Constant readers of Consumerist will be familiar with Mr. Eddie Lampert, the chairman of Sears Holdings and mastermind of the Kmart/Sears merger. Eddie is a big thinker. He famously published a 15-page manifesto in 2009 which covered everything from the economic meltdown to civil liberties, and contained a suggested reading list that included free-market Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek.
We have a hypothesis here at Consumerist. The Sears Holdings Corporation is no longer a retailer, but is only an anti-capitalist prank on a global scale. How else can you explain a company that has a global retail presence, yet seems determined not to sell anything? The latest chapter in this saga comes from Kelly, who wanted to buy a small kitchen appliance that turns frozen fruit into delicious sorbets. Sears, perhaps with a hangover and in desperate need of some personal space after spending the holidays with its more crass cousin Kmart, keeps hanging up on Kelly every time she calls to see whether the item is in stock. She’s taking the hint now. [More]
J. found our tipline and wrote in, but clearly has not been a regular reader of Consumerist. We make this assumption because he bought a refrigerator from Sears, and assumed for some reason that things would go well. They did not. After the delivery team took off without calling because they were irrationally afraid of his driveway, they returned and dropped off the wrong color refrigerator with a massive crack in the door. Now they won’t answer his pleas for an exchange.
Citibank now administers the Sears Card, but in order to keep their branding consistent, Citi is sure to keep the experience of dealing with Sears Card just as confusing and customer-unfriendly as dealing directly with Sears. That’s what Cat discovered while trying to contact their customer service, anyway. While the number on the card promises “24-hour customer service,” in the evening, there’s actually no way to get through.
For generations of Americans, Sears has simply been where you go when it’s time to outfit your new home. (At one point, you could even order your house itself out of the Sears, Roebuck catalog.) They, and their Kenmore appliances, were trustworthy, reliable, and quintessentially American. Now? Is Sears any of those things?
Waiting for the second repair on her two-year-old fridge, Joyce was surprised to learn that her Kenmore is just an LG with a badge slapped on it. Oh, and no one knows when the new compressor is coming, or whether it’s actually been ordered at all.
Sears is trying to coax actual customers into its stores with great sales, but don’t be fooled. They’re still Sears. Donald ordered some tools for in-store pickup in order to save on shipping, but the store didn’t actually have the items they promised. Not “didn’t have them waiting for him,” but “didn’t have them at all.” While he waited for forty-five minutes, he couldn’t help but feel insulted when he saw a sign touting in-store pickup as “fast, in stock, and helpful.” Zero for three, really.
This probably isn’t news to you, Sears, but you’ve lost another customer for good. This time, it’s reader Jeff, who had a nice experience buying a mattress at his local Sears store, but a terrible experience trying to get the mattress delivered to his house. People do not enjoy taking a vacation day from work and then not having the delivery person show up. Four times.
Kristi’s garage door opener is from Sears’ venerable Craftsman brand. When the chain assembly broke, logically she contacted Sears to come fix it for her. The repair-scheduling website was slick and easy to use, perhaps lulling her into a false sense that she was in for a professional and logical commercial transaction. Then, it was time for the garage door repair person to actually show up.
This week, the temperature in many parts of the country has been cranked up to “broil.” We all know what that means: air conditioner breakdowns on a massive scale. Veronica’s sick, elderly parents purchased their central A/C from Sears four years ago. When she called up Sears, they told her that they could send someone to look at it at the end of the week. That wasn’t acceptable to Veronica: it was 103 damn degrees out there.
Perhaps it was unwise of Robert to order a dishwasher from Sears and expect to eventually receive a dishwasher. But his local Sears managed to do even worse than that. After they delayed his order six times, he had enough and canceled it. So, naturally, they went right ahead and charged his Sears credit card for the much-delayed, never-delivered dishwasher.
By Sears standards, maybe Benjamin was lucky. More than two months ago, he bought two washers and two dryers from his local store to go inside a coset. When they didn’t fit in the appointed space, he sent them back under the rational assumption that Sears would credit him back for the purchase. This was an incorrect assumption.
Nicholas in California has shopped at Sears for his entire life. His parents shopped at Sears. His grandparents shopped at Sears. Now, after a recent experience, he says he won’t ever shop there again. What kind of experience would drive a customer to say that? He copied Consumerist–and his entire e-mail contacts list–on his letter to Sears. Spoiler alert: it involves incompetent customer service.
In-Store pickup for online orders from Sears is such a promising concept. You order something, pick it up a short time later at your local Sears store, bring it home, and enjoy your new and properly functioning appliance, tool, or gadget. Seasoned Sears shoppers and faithful Consumerist readers know that things often don’t work that way. Today’s exhibit: David, and his fight to get Sears to sell him a functioning toaster oven.
Jim’s boiler from Sears broke, and he’s been without heat or hot water since. It’s not the middle of winter, but he lives in New England, where it still gets
friggin’ wicked cold at night. How long ago did the boiler break down? It’s been more than a week.
In 2009, Ian’s family had their kitchen remodeled to become super-awesome. One of the additions was a pricey, but fast and energy-efficient, Kenmore induction range. While the new cabinets and granite countertops are still going strong, the family has been without a stove for six weeks now, severely hampering their ability to make their own meals at home. Sears and the repair company that tried to fix the stove keep blaming each other for the failure, but it’s Ian’s family that ends up paying to eat out every night. Update: Sears has delivered a new, functioning stove.
At the beginning of March, Ian sent this message to the Sears executive customer service team:
Oh, Sears. Why don’t you understand that the point of commerce is to sell merchandise to your customers? Chad tells Consumerist ordered a set of appliances for his new home from Sears, with a delivery time 8 days in the future. Three hours before his delivery window, Sears called to let Chad know–oh, yeah, the stove that he ordered was discontinued.