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February 03, 2011

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Take to the whole, man! Way to fight back against the man. i'm on-board. I was in my local K-mart recently and saw that i won't be missing much. It was a mess!!

I recently got screwed by Sears customer service appliance repair too. Right before Thanksgiving, the oven on my 13 month old Kenmore range stopped working (range top still worked fine). I ordered a repair "online"--for which I was warned I would be charge $70 just to schedule the repair. But I thought "ok" especially since the repair guy could come before Thanksgiving when I was supposed to be cooking!

The repair guy did show up as scheduled. (yay)

Despite stinking badly of whiskey & smoke (honestly, I had to open all the windows in house to air it out after he left), he diagnosed the problem: the guys doing remodeling elsewhere in my house had temporarily shut off one of the 110 Volt lines leading to the 220 V plug on the range. So the range had electricity enough for small things like the display and cooktop, but not for running the big oven. I later talked to the remodelers and they said "oops" and hooked it up and then the range worked fine.

Which was bad enough, but I figured at least I was out only the $70 I had to pay to get the repair guy to come to my house.

But!!! Sears charged me a total of $180 for this "repair"!

When I complained, I was told that $180 is the cost for a repair visit in which **nothing was wrong with the appliance.**

However, the repair guy said that if he had in fact discovered something wrong with the range, and if I declined to get it repaired, I would have only been out only $70. (!?!?!!??!)

This makes no sense and seems like unnecessary customer abuse. Also I feel burned since the Sears website where I scheduled the repair from implied it would only be $70.

Jerks.

Unfortunately in my small town, Sears is the only large seller of appliances. We do have a small Home Depot and a small Lowes but their selection is really limited. I like to see my appliances "in person" before purchasing....looks like I'll have to drive several hours to the nearest large city in the future (sigh).

Our Kenmore Dryer went out last year. I called Sears and they spent more time trying to sell me an extended warranty for $150 or we could pay $100 for a repair visit and for parts which would probably be more.

I called a local repair man and he charged me $50 for the visit and $20 to repair the sensor that had gone out. There are many repair places that will service a Kenmore allowing you to stick it to Sears!

Customer service = a dying art.

Haha. This made my day! I totally agree with this. Last time I was in Sears, I asked for some help and all I got was a shrug and "i dunno..." Where has customer service and the theory that the "customer is always right" gone?! Ugh, I could rant some more but I won't. The best way to fight this is to not shop there, problem solved.

Before X'mas, I placed one order at Sears.com and after few hrs., realized that product is not worth to buy, so immediately called Sears Customer Service and asked them to cancel order so my Credit Card would be freed from whatever amount they hold, but they said, their system is down and requested me to call after few hrs., I called them at least 4 times and every time I had same answer, but at same time, their system was 'up' to take my new order, also their CS rep are so rude. I post my experience at Sears 'so called' community, but I found next day they deleted my post. So long story short - DO NOT buy from SEARS

Home Depot and Lowes clearly know that Sears has dropped the ball on customer service and they are using it to their advantage.

Sears has such a lock on the market with appliances, lawn/garden and tools and it is just slipping away.

We have a vacuum cleaner that the floor piece keeps shutting off, we took it into Sears for repair, and a week later they tell us nothing is wrong but they did straighten some prongs. They said it must be the electricity in our apartment that triggers the automatic shut off in the vacuum...we told them that no one else in the building has this problem, plus the vacuum doesn't turn off only the floor piece...if it was the electricity it would be the whole vacuum not one component not working.

Not even a week later we start having the problem again...called in and they say they will put it at the front of the line but it will take a week or two for it be fixed (not a good prospect for my husband since he's a neat freak)...umm...how about replace the part for us since it's obviously a malfunction....ugh!!

So let me see if I understand this- you admittedly buy your things from wherever they are the cheapest (even to save $5), and then you expect good customer service on top of it?

Pop --

No, the washer I purchased wasn't the cheapest, it was the "best value" -- a combination of price and how good the product is (as rated by CR.) This is the philosophy I use whenever making a "major" purchase.

Now if a Kenmore washer was at Sears for $300 and somewhere else (which they aren't) for $295, why wouldn't/shouldn't I buy it at $295 -- unless I thought there was some reason not to?

I avoid Sears like the plague.
Their service SUCKS, and like you said, they do not really care.
And kmart is a joke. The stores are outdated and the prices are high.

I stopped buy from Sears 20 years ago. I can get the same crap for cheaper else where.

I stopped buy at Kmart since they terminated a bunch of friend years ago. Plus the stores are really bad.

I am surprized that they are even still in existence.

My first comment here -- bought my washer/dryer/refrigerator in Sear 2 years ago. Had mostly same scheduling issues with Sears. Will NOT buy Sears again!

Luckily when we purchased our washer this past fall, we decided not to buy from Sears. Instead, we went with a locally owned mom & pop store and purchased a Speed Queen. No computer boards, metal gears, made in America, longer warranty, etc. Couldn't be happier with our purchase

I'm on board - no Kmart or Sears ever again! Woot for using your power!

I have a crappy companies list on my site so I can add in my experiences when things like this happen. I also have a favorite companies list for the few great experiences I've had. Maybe you could do something similar?

We had such a lousy experience with Sears the last time. We bought a brand new lawn mower and after using it 2 times it broke. They accused us of trying to mow the lawn when it was wet. I've never heard of such crap! Sears use to be a really good company. It may just be this area.

Crystal --

I guess I need to update this, huh?

http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2007/05/companies_i_pro.html

It's been a long time...

I had a similar experience. I live in a very hot part of California (at least in August). My air conditioner stopped working. I scheduled an appt with Sears. The earliest appt. was 4 days out. Same as you, they failed to make it during the 4 hour window. Eventually, I am told I had to reschedule. I forget if I called them or they called me. I assumed since they messed up, I would be put at the front of the line and get an appointment for the next day. I was told the earliest appt was an additional 5 days out. 4 days of extreme heat was enough. I randomly picked an appliance repair place from the phone book. It certainly couldn't be worse than Sears. They were available to come the next day and the charge was very reasonable, and they fixed it the first time (unlike some of my previous experiences with Sears). After this last experience with Sears, I swore to never use Sears repair again. I am a happier man because of it.

Sears Holdings stock price is up 5.5% today on FMFs post. Every time I visit a Sears the store is empty.

Tyler --

Ha! Maybe I should charge companies to post bad things about them. :-)

Sorry you're having a such a bad experience with Sears. Have you trying reaching customer service through Twitter? That recently worked for me for another company.

That said, hubby and I had a similar problem with our washer. It turns out a sock was clogging one of the lines and not allowing the water to drain. We took apart the washer ourselves and removed the sock.

I think the FMF complaint portfolio might out perform the general market!

savvy --

I thought about that. But how many different Sears customer service people do I need to contact to get results (online, their website, store manager, etc. -- the list is almost endless)? Why can't the person who should have handled it handle it?

This is why I fix things myself.

FWIW, Lowes and True Value and Costco are unable to handle warranty claims. No service department equals no disgruntled customer hassles. So you end up dealing with a third party vendor authorized by the manufacturer to perform repairs. Sears does not manufacture Kenmore or Craftsman brand items, all that stuff is made by other brands. So don't be surprized if the authorized repair facility for your broken Samsung or Whirlpool or MTD item is Sears.

FMF, are you still going to have Sears repair come out on Friday? If I were you I'd have called an independent repair shop by now to see if they can handle Kenmore. Kenmore is unique to SEars but I'd be surprised if independent repair businesses couldn't handle it.

I hate them now on your behalf! That is one of the best things about blogs- you can get your thoughts heard.

I have not shopped in Finishline for over a year and a half because of the poor customer service, a rude manager, and because their district manager never called me back. I will never shop at Finishline again and I would hope everyone would support me in not shopping at Finishline.

jim --

We tried that. See the first bullet above...

I recently took my car to Sears for tire rotation and oil change. They were much cheaper than and I was happy with the work they did. when I looked around the ship, most of the guys working there were in their teen or 20's. I would never hire them to do anything advanced on my car, like change brakes, because they didn't look as if they had ever done it before.
I agree the US economy has become a service based industry. If you don't get good good service, you can go somewhere else and there will be 5 other options to choose from.

You called a couple repair businesses. Wouldn't hurt to try some more. Worst case you waste another phone call or two. I put "kenmore repair" and the name of my city into google and find several companies that say they do kenmore.

Wait a minute, wait, wait, wait-wait-wait-wait-wait-wait-WAIT ...

Someone shops at Sears? Holy tamales. Did I just wake up in 1981?

(pinches self)

Wow. It's 2011. And someone still shops at Sears. Who knew?

I really do learn all kinds of interesting things on your blog, FMF.

Bad_Brad --

You know I'm an old guy, right? ;-)

Nice rant. Hopefully they find this post.

Nice post and I'm sure that great amount of people will be supporting this post.

I feel your pain, and have been infuriated with a few customer service problems before at different businesses. Those people were so rude to me. I never did business with them again.

FMF, you shouldn't have done business with them again after they gave you overwhelming evidence of how they failed to meet your basic expectations. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, right? Well, maybe one can go further and give them a 3 strikes and they're out mandate, but they've had how many strikes, all things counted from your prior posts? 15? I saw lots of comments you made about all the repairs, phone calls not answered, etc.

It's not worth all that time and frustration trying to deal with businesses such as this so they make it right. Just vote with your wallet and don't spend there.

It's unfortunate to see such a former big brand name, a once iconic store in our country, become so decayed and inept based on what you're describing.

I have an interesting view because I worked at Sears in customer service while in high school many years ago (I'm old too). Back then, I remember customers being treated VERY well and being allowed to return things without too many questions. It was good service back then. Obviously that's not the case anymore, which is unfortunate. Shop elsewhere.

I too hate Sears and won't shop there anymore, ever. Back in 2007 I bought a plasma TV from them. I fought battles on two fronts...first, a rude-as-hell manager who wouldn't pricematch to Fry's Electronics (even though their policy EXPLICITLY stated they would price match to any non-club competitor within a certain radius). When he finally called his higher-ups and they told him he had to price match, he actually *threw* the price-match order on the desk of the other associate who was with me and stomped off without another word to me. I wasn't rude or belligerant in any way, I was just insistent that they honor their own price match policy.

Second, the TV I wanted wasn't in stock, so they had to order it. Fine. EIGHT WEEKS, dozens of phone calls, and no TV later, they had charged my credit card and taken my money, but couldn't produce a TV. No one could tell me why it hadn't arrived, or why they had taken my money without providing me a product. "It should be here soon" was the only response I got, week after week. They "couldn't cancel" my order because it was past the "processing" phase.

Finally I threatened to report the whole situation to the police and file charges for theft unless they gave me a TV or gave me my money back. They finally gave in and gave me a slightly better TV they had in stock.

Sears, that's why I hate you.

I feel for you as well. We have had customer service issues with stores where we refuse to do business with them.

But Sears isn't one of those stores.

My washer and dryer are 15 year old Kenmores. No issues. Of couse when a repair needs to be made we use a local appliance repairman not associated with any particular store.

And Craftsman tools are the best. Selection and warranty are tops. I have never had an isue with any of their tools.

Appliances and tools are what I have purchased there with zero issues in over 15 years. But that is just my experience.

Sears has been good to us for the following reasons:

-Kenmore refrigerator is still going strong after 16 years and zero repairs.
-Kenmore dryer is still going strong after 17 years and one heating element replacement.
-Kenmore washer died after 16 years. It required a $350 repair so we bought a new one. I thought 16 years was good considering heavy use with 3 kids.
-Craftsmen tools which have lasted 17 years building various projects and repairing numerous cars. All of the tools are still in excellent condition.
-A craftsmen weed eater that lasted 11 years before it died. This is great for something which takes a lot of abuse.
-Your stores employ knowledgable staff who are always eager to help and your customer service has always been fair to me.
-Your installation teams are always friendly and very conscientous to not damage the product or the house.

Sear, this is why I love you and this is why I give you my return business.

I'm in. Down with Sears!

Am I the only one who has had good luck with them? I'm serious, they've been rock solid dependable for my family.

The only complaint I have is that Kenmore does not make "French Door" style refrigerators in the USA. Their French Door frig is actually a LG with the Kenmore name plate. Only Whirlpool and Maytag make them in the good ol'USA. We still bought the frig at Sears which wasn't a Kenmore but the Whirlpool since I try to by American. The old Kenmore is now my beer frig in the garage :) .

It was 1996 the year after we moved into our current house and I bought a riding mower from Sears. Every time I would call for either in home servie (which they said they offered) or problem, I got different answers each time. It was really frustrating not knowing if they were going to show up or not or what rules they wanted to follow (will go into unlocked garage to repair out of the rain with my permission or not, a member of the household having to present or not, etc.).

The "straw" was them not showing up to repair my mower just prior to my going on vacation. I screamed at them that unmowed grass was like a glaring sign reading "I'm not home!" Remarkably, they promised they would send someone to cut my year. And you know what happened.......I returned from vacation and no cut grass.

I wrote a letter to the CEO in Chicago and sent it certified. Never, ever got a response. I haven't set foot in a Sears store since and will never buy anything from them ever.

I agree that customer service is a dying art. I say that without having a bad experience at Sears although I don't shop there that often. Typically just to buy a refrigerator which I have purchased two in the past 10 years. Not because they broke down but because we purchased one when we bought a house that we sold the house with the fridge, that was in CA. Then when we moved to Oregon the house we rented did not have a fridge so we purchased another one from Sears, which we have since sold since we moved and didn't need it anymore. Both times we had good experiences. However I do not and will not shop at Sears or K-Mart for other items as their in store customer service sucks on par with another large national retailer. I have noticed the past several years Home Depot make a turn and become a lot more customer friendly and their associates actually ask if you need help finding something without you having to ask them. Now that is nice and that is why I keep going back to Home Depot and other stores that provide a good experience for their customers.

Supplement to my initial post.............

To be fair, in 1995 with the new house we bought from Sears a fridge, cooktop, double over, dishwasher and garbaage disposal. I did so in order to take advantage of my uncle's contractor dscount with them. And all have performed very well with no problems at all.

In 1986, we got a Kenmore washer and dryer from my parents as wedding presents. We have had the dryer repaired one time (by a wonderful independent appliance repair company). Shame their service sucks.

Don't forget: No Land's End. Sears owns them too.

I've bought a couple of big ticket items from Sears in the past because of sales and, while the products were good, the customer service was horrendous! I refuse to even go in the store or look at their sales online anymore.

Even just trying to buy clothes there is a drag with the bad customer service with employees (even managers!) that won't help you or even acknowledge your existence, or if you manage to get their attention, they go to find something and never come back. I've been to different Sears locations in different states and had the same bad experience at every one, no matter what I was shopping for. Luckily, I live in a larger town now with more options. I will never shop there again.

Hey FMF

Were you looking a CR when you bought this?

Now you know why I don't trust CR.

So I guess those chain e-mails that encourage readers to continue to shop at Sears because they still support members of the military by holding their jobs for them while they are deployed are just a load of bunk? You know, a little viral PR going on maybe?

I actually have had decent (but not excellent or even very good) service from Sears in all my experiences w/them and all of my Kenmore tools and appliances are durable and trouble-free (so far, it's been about 8 years w/washer and dryer and 10 w/a dishwasher...knock on wood).

I agree. Sears repair service is a rip-off, overcharges, and never shows up in time. I've called them 3 times in 5 yrs and it always turns into an ordeal....I won't make the same mistake again.

@Holly

Sears not only holds jobs for deployed reservist (the law requires that) They continue pay the difference between the Sears salary and the military salary and maintain the employee's benefits as well.

Ugh. I feel your pain. After having a horrible experience with Sears Service, I REFUSE to buy another appliance there ever again. We bought a room air conditioner there that quit working a couple of weeks after we bought it. The service people came and got it from our house... then called a week later to schedule a time to pick it up! Then they worked on it for another 4 weeks (During the hottest part of the summer, mind you!) Then they said it was done, but they couldn't bring it to our house because of their schedule... and proceeded to drive down our alley moments later. The manager of the store ended up bringing the air conditioner herself.

And get this... we got a receipt from Sears saying "If this repair had not been under warranty, it would have cost you $837." And that was for a $200 room air conditioner!

I wrote a long, detailed complaint letter to Sears and they gave me a $50 Sears gift card. Not really enough for me to feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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