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January 07, 2008


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Love your blog and I have a lot less morals when it comes to consumerism, but here is what I would do:

Take the $499.99 machine, DO NOT TAKE IT OUT OF THE CAR, wait a few days then bring it to a different sears and argue with a manager (who may or may not know how to read) that all you want is store credit, because the person who you bought the machine for is now a parapalegic (or similar sad story).

If you find someone who doesn't care, you'll be golden with $500 of sears credit.

I agree with Evan.... Ask for the store manager if the first couple HS dropouts don't work out.

Evan's idea might work :) Otherwise, I'd buy the $1000 machine (as long as you are absolutely certain that you'll get enough use out of it). I bought my vacuum cleaner because it was a Consumer Reports best buy and I've never regretted it.
I'm definitely a believer in paying more for quality.

Evan --

That idea cracks me up!

And yet I find it appealing...


option 3 is obvious if you aren't using or only use it occasionally. If you are using it heavily, I would side on getting a better elliptical that will last. Buy the new one using a plat MC/visa or amex to get extended manufacturer warranty.

Keep arguing with Sears so that the credit can be spent on anything. Tell them you have a website that gets X thousand readers every month and you certainly don't mind explaining to those thousands of people how bad Sears is.

If you make it clear to Sears that they either get a $500 liability on their books that never falls off (for the credit they believe you'll never use) or they get a satisfied customer that will give them repeat business and sing their praises to thousands of people, they'll see the light. It's not like they're swimming in cash and can afford to potentially lose millions of dollars in revenue.

If you're really going to use it frequently, which you seem to do, I would buy the better piece of equipment. I assume the NordicTrack at Sears is cheaper (due to the credit) and comparable in quality to what you might spend a lot more for elsewhere? I think this accomplishes your 2 goals here: 1) getting rid of the credit hassle w/Sears and 2) getting a good piece of equipment.

You will be also saving $499 on your nordic track.

So it sound like you will be buying an eliptical anyway. If you got a credit to use on anything you could splurge and get something you don't "need" but would like. You will probably spend $900 on a good elliptical trainer anyway, so you might as well save money and hurt your net worth less. (Spend less than you make ;) )

What I meant to say above was spend the credit on the Nordic Track and end up with a Nordic Track for less.. Now it isn't really for less since that credit represents money you already spent but if you manage to get the credit to spend on whatever you want you have spent:

$499 on the original (cash already gone, already out of your net worth)
$999 on the Nordic Track someplace else (cash spend today now out of your net worth).
$499 worth of Sears "stuff" if you get the credit. Now if there are things you need and have already budgeted for than it's a wash (or if you use it for Christmas presents for 2007, etc.)

But if you don't need anything from sears and haven't budgeted anything than you will have less of a dent ($400) and you can avoid the frustration and BP damage of a prolonged fight with a merchant (though you "lose" in a sense).

Now if you have items you can buy from sears and would rather get your machine from someplace else and have the ability to shop around and go for a better merchant than all bets are off, don't give up and keep asking up the chain and someone will give you the grease.

I would go with Steve's idea first - I'm sure you're sick of dealing with them, but someone has to be able to help. If that doesn't work, I'd go with Evan's idea. Lastly, I'd buy the better piece of equipment. Good luck - can't wait to hear what happens.

Steve --

That's a pretty good idea. I actually did use it one time when a company was trying to rip me off. I said, "Ok, you can do this to me because of your 'policy', but I'll be writing about it on my blog that gets 2,000 visitors a day." (It's more than twice that now.) I was transferred over to a "customer specialist" who quickly refunded my money. ;-)

If Sears has already replaced the machine once, made several repairs on it, and it still isn't working as it should, then I would insist that Sears allow me to use the refund anyway I choose. I would't speak to whoever answers in the Customer Service Dept., I would ask for their supervisor and if the supervisor says nothing can be done, then ask for their supervisor and keep going until you get the answer you want...a refund of their junky elliptical machine. I would even go so far as to send a letter to Nordic Track and let them know the types of services and customer service you are receiving for a Sears brand and let them know you wonder what kind of service you would get with a Nordic Track machine. If Nordic Track is going to use Sears as a dealer, then they should know what goes on with their dealer.

Jennifer --

FYI -- the elliptical I can buy is a Nordic Track. My current model is not a Nordic Track.

Send the story to

If Steve's idea doesn't work, buy the Nordik Trak from Sears.

IMHO, in the long run you'll be happy to have the high rated equipment at the sale price and feel good about the exercise.

Other options inject the potential you'll incur the same service problems, just at a different store.

You're in the store return sweetspot with the holidays having just passed. Buy a $499 elliptical, then go to a different Sears and return it. Tell them that it was a gift, and that you don't want it for whatever reason. Odds are they'll give you a flat-out store credit.

Demand a full refund.

Call and write to:
Edward S Lampert (Chairman), Aylwin B Lewis (President & CEO)
3333 Beverly Rd., Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
(847) 286-2500

I'd definitely mention the blog with #,### visitors. Good luck.

I only mentioned contacting Nordic Track about Sears' service, because of Sears gives you this kind of service with their product, what kind of service would they give you with another brand?

Jennifer has a good point about Sears service. A friend of mine purchased an extended warranty for an appliance through Sears and they've been out 8 times to "fix" her refrigerator. It's still not fixed and what it's cost her in taking time off from work would have bought her a new refrigerator.

I would put the credit towards the Nordic Track if it comes down to that. However, I would make a big fuss to as high as a manager as possible, to allow the credit to be general store credit instead.

I worked in retail, and believe me, if you make a big enough stink, managers will do anything. One woman even brought in a used pair of jeans and wanted to return them but we wouldn't do it because they were a brand we didn't even carry. At the end of the day, the manager caved and took them back and she got store credit.

Obviously you are in the right to want store credit, so it should be easier to make a good argument to get it. But, don't give up without talking to a manager (the higher the better).

I was a service tech for Nordictrack for over 10 years. Sears is Nordictrack's bread and butter. Just keep compalaining to Nordictrack and remind them you bought it at Sears and you will get what you want. BTW, those machines are absolutely horrible! Thay are poorly designed and made in China.

Man don't put all the blame on Sears although I agree their salespeople are certainly not knowledgeable. We have a Nordic Track treadmill purchased at Sears. It after 5 years of hard work started sounding so loud you could hardly stand to use it. We called the N.T. number and was told the motor was going out--ordered a new motor for over $200, received it, installed it and it would not calibrate and would not turn the belt.Called NT back, oh you have a "board " going out! Ordered the board for $150.A couple days later a package with another motor arrived. Called NT again, " You can send the motor back if you want, you haven't been charged for it, we thought the 1st one was bad. Your "board" is on the way. Today the board arrived,we installed it, motor would not run. Took off the 1st NEW motor, installed the 2nd New motor, now cannot control the speed of the thing. Now WHO is worse Sears or Nordic Trac service helpers???? We will not buy from Sears again and wonder about Nordic Trac. Customer Service is a lost art. Husband is still working on the blankety, blank thing. Rita

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