A Call to Shop Local – or – Why I Don’t Like Sears

by Scott Sery on February 4, 2014

Shop localShortly after I was married in September of 2008, my wife asked if we could get a new washer and dryer set.  And rightly so, the ones we were using weren’t even bought used, they were given to me.  The set worked, but barely.  Of course I wanted to do my research first, so I got the latest Consumer Reports and started looking into what we should buy.  In the meantime, we saved up our money so we would not have to worry about the purchase.

After about a month we settled on a Kenmore Elite model.  It was given a Consumer Reports Recommended Buy, it was a middle of the line, and it wouldn’t break the bank.  At one of Sears’ many 20% off sales we made the purchase.  Our reasoning was by purchasing a quality set we would not have to worry about these appliances for many years.

Four and a half years later, we found ourselves worrying about those appliances.  Before our son came along we did 2 or 3 loads of laundry every other week (of course that’s changed now), not nearly enough to put stress on the machine.  Yet when going to do a routine load, an error code showed up.  After some research on Google I went in to talk to someone at Sears.  They looked up the part that I needed and showed me that it was over $200.  I said thanks but no thanks, and I went home and called the Sears hotline.  After quite the process I found out that the total cost of the repair would run me somewhere around $400 (this was after they tried to sell me some sort of extended warranty).  At this point I had already spent more time on the machine than I wanted, so again I said thanks, but no thanks.

I took to Twitter and Facebook, thinking if nothing else I could steer a few people away from buying the Kenmore brand.  Within a few hours, Sears contacted me and I spoke with a customer service rep.  That rep arranged for a technician to come and look at the machine and they would reimburse me for the diagnostic charge.  They also agreed to knock $100 off the price.  I was pretty happy at this point.  The service tech came out and asked what happened.  He looked at the machine to get the model number off it and then Googled the answer.  He told me what I already knew, and I waived the repair opting not to pay them $450.  I then ordered the part (which literally snapped in place).

After the part arrived, I installed it, and nothing happened.  The diagnosis was wrong.  I called the customer service tech back and left her a message.  A day later I tried again.  A day later, yet again.  I emailed several times and finally got a response.  That response said that since I waived the service, I would be responsible to pay for a new diagnosis.  I argued that the diagnosis was done incorrectly the first time, so why do I need to pay to have him come back and finish the job properly?  I never received a response.  Many other communications through Twitter, Facebook, email, or phone went either unreturned or met with “Sorry for your frustration, we will forward your message to your case manager.”  I finally told them I would write this article since they have no desire to help me.

Now this is not just a warning not to shop at Sears (but seriously, don’t shop at Sears if you want a quality product and good customer service).  Instead, this is a callout to shop locally.  Sears is a huge corporation.  They have a huge hierarchy of management and administration.  Profits never stay in the community; instead they are filtered back to headquarters.  Rather than help someone that doesn’t live anywhere near you get rich, I suggest helping someone who could be your neighbor make an honest living.  You see, the same situation came up with a friend a few years ago.  They had gone to a local store that sold appliances.  Their Kitchenaid washer died on them, so they went back to where they purchased it.  After getting the run-around by the manufacturer for quite a while the local dealer finally stepped in and said enough is enough.  Using their negotiation, the friend was able to get a brand new washer from the company.  That is how customer service works.  By strong arming the company to back up their product, the local appliance retailer won a customer for life.

The saying goes, “Buyer Beware.”  Unfortunately I did my research, and I looked into all sorts of washers and dryers.  Due to this fiasco, Sears not only lost a customer (I used to like Kenmore brand), but they have also generated a lot of bad press for themselves.  Due to my postings on their Facebook, I know of at least two friends that have taken their business elsewhere.  This lack of customer service and complete digression from quality over the years is precisely why Sears is slowly failing.  I never want to see any business go under, it may be time for this company to re-evaluate where their priorities are or else that is precisely what is going to happen.

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • Oh, sorry to hear about that, it was so frustrating! There was an instance that my father bought a refrigerator 10 years ago, but after how many months we noticed that it has a leaking, so we immediately called the company but it took 2 weeks for us to be fully entertained. They have lots of lame excuses and I really hate that being an irresponsible to their customers!

  • I have had the same experience with large corporations (IKEA cough cough) and it is so incredibly frustrating!

    • I think the bigger you get the less you care about the customer and just care about the bottom line.

  • In the Northeast, there is a large, privately held and family-owned appliance company called PC Richard & Son. This company actually advertised how they refused to be open on Thanksgiving Day for the benefit of their employees. Their prices are actually competitive with national chains and I have since decided to buy any appliance I need with them.

  • You’ll have to let us if and how Sears responds to this!

    • Hopefully help them change for the better. The customers are the most important part of their business model.

    • Scott Sery

      A similar article is published on debtroundup.com, I posted a link on Sears’ Facebook and it lasted about 3 hours before they deleted it. Other than that, no feedback from them.

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