I spent all week trying to order a water heater from Sears. I started on Tuesday and by Friday afternoon cancelled my order in exasperation. Sequence of events: Tuesday evening, sent email to the "we'll call you back in 20 minutes" site. They were closed, so I assumed that meant someone would call Wed morning.
By Wed eve, no one had called so I called them. They had sent me an email that went to my spam, but no one had ever called. So I ordered a water heater by phone, waiting on the line for them to check inventory so it could be delivered and installed at my tenant's home by Wed morning. They would "call her by 9" to set it up.
Wednesday, no one called my tenant so she called them. They told her, "sorry, it's not in stock, but we'll get on and install it by NEXT Thursday." (Nice of them to let me know that Tuesday when I ordered it.) So I spent at least an hour on hold Wed afternoon, getting cut off, calling back, on hold… talking to several people. Finally, they agreed to do the right thing and upgraded to a different stock number that was (supposedly) in stock, so it could be installed by Friday morning. They'd call her by 9 to set it up. (sound familiar?)
Friday morning, they didn't show up, so my tenant called them and they said "sorry, it's not in stock, but we can get you one by next Thursday." Unbelievable. So she called me, and I had got to spend the next hour plus on the phone with about 6 different people from Sears. Several times they would tell me to call some other number because "we don't handle this part of the process."
At one point, they transferred me to the local installer (without telling me that is who they were transferring me to). So the installer and I were suddenly on the line together saying "hello; hello; who are you? well who are you, I was talking to Sears..." If I weren't so mad, it would have been funny given how inept they were. They could not possibly have handled my situation more poorly.
At one point that had the audacity to tell me "well we talked to your tenant and she said next Thursday was fine." (My tenant has 5 small children who couldn't shower without hot water and was calling me asking me to pay for a hotel room until the problem was solved.)
After telling me I could go to my local store and try to find one in stock and then drop it off at the house so the installer go install it (really???), or just wait until next Thursday, that was all they could do. But several times they offered me a $50 gift card (as if that solved my problem). I finally couldn't take it any more and cancelled the order. What do you bet it will still be on my next credit card statement?
Don't waste your time and raise your blood pressure dealing with Sears!!! They are irritating, inept and horrible to deal with. If I tried to write a script for the worst possible imaginable customer service, I could not have dreamt this up. Still steaming...
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Our 7 year old Sears water heater cracked 2 days ago. We were forced to shut off the water to the house because the intake valve was also shot (which Sears had installed when they installed the water heater) and it continued to leak unless we shut off the main valve to the house. We immediately called Sears to have someone come to repair or replace it. No one responded and after several calls the next day, a repair person finally came at 4 pm the next day. After paying him $89.00 said the water heater was cracked and needed to be replaced.
We immediately called Sears to schedule the replacement. They said they were busy and to call back the next morning. We called several times that morning and were told that a repair person would contact us to schedule the replacement by 2pm. At 2 pm we called and were told that it would take 24-48 hours more to schedule the replacement.
To add insult to all this I had outpatient surgery yesterday and am recovering from pneumonia. When we called Sears again to say this was unacceptable, they said we could go to the store and pick up the water heater ourselves and find out own plumber to install it. This said after we had already paid them almost 400.00 to cover the installation.
So now 48 hours later we have been without water. Sears has been paid for the installation of a new water heater to replace their defective one but we have no installation scheduled. We have bought appliances from Sears for over 30 years but will never buy another one from them.
On October 24, 2011 I purchased, using Sears's 1-800 number posted on its webpage, a water heater and installation. I foolishly purchased, in addition, an extended service contract, for 3 years. Afterwards, I had several conversations with Sears about getting a copy of this service contract. I was told it would be coming as a matter of course. Later, I was transferred; I had my my line go dead; I was told to rely on what I was told over the phone; I was told that I had to give my credit card number. I was told that "it" "had to be entered." I was then placed on indefinite hold until I hung up.
I called yet again later and found someone who had no trouble locating the contract. I told this person that I was fed up and wanted to cancel it. She agreed. On about November 18, I received a check which agreed with the amount I had been quoted over the phone for the contract, although nothing came with the check indicating this was what it was for, or who to contact for information other than "A/P Audit Department", without address or telephone number.
On December 6, more than a month after my initial inquiries, and almost three weeks after I received my refund, I received a document in the mail labeled "Master Protection Agreement". The name on the agreement is "Van Van Jan". This name does not have the faintest resemblance to my own or to the name on the credit card I used. It has a possible, very conjectural relationship to the name of a former owner of the house where the heater was installed, who died fifteen years ago. I know this is the agreement I purchased because the expiration date matches.
The agreement consists of 31 numbered paragraphs over fourteen inches of dense text in type that is two millimeters in height, for letters like "k" or "f", and one millimeter for letters like "a" or "o". Although the language is heavy in nifty legal terms like "hereinafter" it is not at all clear to what extent this contract guarantees anything beyond whatever warranty otherwise comes with the water heater. If I purchase a "Kenmore 9" water heater, my impression from conversation with Sears is that this heater is supposed to last 9 years.
If the installation is defective then that should be remediable without recourse to additional service contract purchases. Likewise if there is a defect in the heater, including a cosmetic defect, it should not be required to purchase additional coverage to have it replaced or fixed. What you may get is the opportunity to make your case without as much argument, but that's speculative. It is unclear to me whether Sears ever intended to provide a copy of the agreement I purchased so that I could see its terms. Sears wouldn't be the only business to sell such a contract in a way that makes it is easy to forget what you are entitled to when the time comes.
The larger point is that these contracts are a deal for the company that sells them, and it is very easy to get talked into that extra but unclear bit of security at the time of purchase, when you are already committed to spending a good chunk of money and the idea of avoidable problems is planted in your mind according to the market-tested script of the person you're talking to. Consumer Reports recommends against purchasing such contracts in most cases. Even disregarding the trouble with Sears's bureaucracy, I agree.
We bought a foreclosed home with a broken water heater - no hot water in the house at all. We shopped around before deciding to buy at Sears because their price was lowest. The Sears call center is not in my state (CA) - they are in the mid west and apparently don't know California or Sacramento regulations. They only asked what type of water heater (gas or electric) and how many gallons (40). They ordered a tall water heater and charged my Sears credit card.
A couple of days later the local installer called asked for the model number off of the current broken water heater. He said the one Sears ordered would not fit and that we needed to order a "medium" water heater. I called Sears back and they said they'd cancel the first order and place a 2nd order for the "medium". They said the water heater we need is not in stock and we'd have to wait several days for it to arrive in Sacramento, then the installer could probably get it the NEXT day and install it. The installer called me again and set up a date for installation. I took the day off of work and waited. No one came to install.
The installation people told me the order had been cancelled. They thought maybe I had cancelled it. I called Sears, and was told BOTH orders were cancelled - the first AND the 2nd. They said they'd research the issue and someone would be calling me. Instead of calling me, a supervisor from the call center called my daughter, who was at a 2nd phone number we'd left them.
He told her it was the call center's fault, they had accidentally cancelled both orders when they cancelled the first one. All he could say was that he's "sorry" and they could re-order it, in which case it would take another WEEK to arrive in Sacramento. We'd originally ordered the 1st one 7 days before! That would have made it 14+ days without hot water. And I had stayed home from work yesterday for this delivery.
The supervisor told my daughter that if we wanted to re-order that I could call him back (since I am the one paying for it) at the main number, leaving his name. I called back and asked for him specifically. I was put on hold twice while the other call center person tried to get him, and he "couldn't" speak to me because he was "doing invoices". I told her I really wanted to speak to HIM (because I wanted this order not to get screwed up again.) She took my phone number and said he'd call me back. He never did.
Obviously their call center has some big problems. Their staff cancelled my order for no reason! How can that happen? This is a serious issue when families are living with no hot water, and when working people take a day vacation from work for nothing! In addition, if the call center had asked me for the right information in the first place (like the model number and/or size of the current water heater) and matched it up they would have gotten the right water heater. I ended up going to a local warehouse-type store and buying a water heater from them and arranging installation. They had the right water heater in stock. I paid over $200 MORE for the purchase but I trust them.
Here is the entire story in a letter I sent to Sears: I would like to detail a series of errors on Sears's part which resulted in my going without hot water for seven days over the Christmas holidays and missing three days of work more than I should have missed. I have provided you with a summary, then a longer version of this incident with more detailed information, and some questions at the end.
Summary: The morning of Wednesday, Dec. 22nd, I called Sears and spoke to the water heater department. I explained that my water heater was broken and that I needed a new one. I was asked by the Sears sales representative only what type of fuel it used and how many gallons capacity it had, received some suggestions as to replacement models, placed my order and was told it would be installed the same day. When the plumber arrived to install it, it turned out to be too wide to fit in the available space.
Apparently, it is not all that unusual for town homes such as mine to have limited space for a water heater, but I was not aware that they came in different widths. I feel that the Sears water heater sales representative should have asked me about space requirements, but she did not; therefore I feel that this failure to deliver a suitable water heater on the day promised was the fault of Sears.
I canceled that order and that evening of Wednesday, Dec. 22nd I called to order a second water heater which I had looked up and made sure it would fit the space. I was told it would be delivered the following day. The following day, Thursday, Dec 23rd, I never received a call from the plumber to install the water heater, so I called Sears and was told that both my orders had been canceled.
I asked why my second order had been canceled when I only canceled the first order, and was told that there was no record of any request from me to cancel the second order and that Sears had canceled it by mistake. I was also told that it was too late in the day to deliver a water heater that day, but if I re-ordered I could get one the following day, which was Friday, Dec. 24th—Christmas Eve. I asked if he was sure that Christmas Eve delivery was available and he assured me that it was. This is the second day that Sears failed to deliver as promised.
On the morning of Friday, December 24th, I called to ask why I had not heard from the plumber to schedule a delivery time, and was told that Christmas Eve delivery was not available in my state. I was assured that my order would be delivered Monday, December 27th. This was the third day that Sears failed to deliver as promised.
On the morning of Monday, December 27th, I called to find out why no one had contacted me to schedule delivery and installation, and was told that the plumber who was supposed to deliver and install the water heater did not have that model in stock and that they would not be able to deliver it until Tuesday, December 28th. This was the fourth day Sears failed to deliver as promised. I had used up three and a half vacation days and was without hot water from December 22 to December 28 when I should have only had to use one-half of a vacation day and been without hot water only for part of the day of December 22.
Since it is Sears's policy to provide their customers with a $50 gift card when a water heater is not delivered as promised, and this happened to me four times, I believe that the least I am entitled to is four $50 gift cards. I could ask for compensation for the three extra vacation days I had to take; and the fact that we were without hot water for seven days over the Christmas holidays. However, I am not asking to be compensated for those things, only four the four incidents on which Sears failed to deliver as promised. I feel that I am being more than reasonable in asking this.
The more detailed version: On the morning of Wednesday, December 22, I called Sears and asked about buying a water heater. I was transferred to the water heater department. I explained that my water heater had broken and I needed a replacement. I was asked by the sales representative how many gallons and what fuel source my current water heater used. I was not asked what size the water heater was, and I didn't think to supply that information because I did not know that water heaters come in various widths. I placed an order for a water heater with the same capacity and fuel type.
Around 4:00 PM that same day, water heater arrived, but it was the wrong size and would not fit into the space where my old one was. The delivery person called Sears and spoke to someone, then offered to deliver another one next day, said it was exactly the same, but mentioned that it had a 6-year warranty instead of the 12-year I wanted, so I canceled.
At around 6:00 or 7:00 PM, I called back, asked to order another water heater as I found a model that fit my needs and was the right size. I was transferred to the water heater department where I ordered the new one and was told "someone will call tonight to schedule delivery tomorrow." I waited at home and kept my phone free, but no one called. I was never given an order number for the second order.
At around 8:30 on the morning of Thursday, December 23, I still had not been called by the deliverer, so I called Sears again to check my second order, and was transferred to the water heater department where I was told that both orders had been canceled. I explained that I only canceled the first order, not the second one.
The sales representative transferred me to a "water heater hotline" and the representative I spoke to in that department looked into it and said that the second order was canceled by mistake and she would have someone reinstate the order and call me back to confirm it. I asked how long it would take to hear back from them and she said one to two hours. I asked if this could be expedited because I was hoping to get this done early today as I have some things at work I need to take care of. She said she would do what she could.
Three hours later at 11:30 AM on Thursday, December 23, I called back into the queue to find out why no one had called me to confirm my order, and spoke to ** in the water heater department. He said he would check into what had happened, and put me on hold. Then he came back on the phone, verified my phone number and said he'd call me back within 15 minutes. By this time it was 11:45.
** called me back right about noon as promised, but I wasn't able to talk to him about it right then. He called again about a half hour later, at which time I confirmed with him everything about my order. He said that he would try to get the heater delivered today, but that since it was after the noon cutoff time, it may not be here until the next day, Friday December 24th.
I asked whether or not delivery & installation was actually available on Christmas Eve, and he said, “Yes. The technicians are working tomorrow, so I know the installers will be working tomorrow.” I was once again very disappointed that the water heater I was promised that day would not be arriving. Tony said that I would get a call later that day (Thursday, Dec 23rd) from the plumber to schedule delivery for the following day.
At about 4:15 PM, I still had not received a call from the installation company to schedule a delivery time for the following day. I decided to call and check. I reached ** in the Water Heater department and explained the previous difficulties. ** was shocked that this error had happened and said that she told me that she would take care of me herself to ensure that it was handled correctly. I felt that ** was extremely focused on providing me with the best possible experience and getting everything straightened out. I feel lucky that I reached her, and I think that Sears is lucky to have someone like her working with customers.
** did some checking and found out that the third order was “not attached to a heater at the store.” She also did some additional checking and found out that installation and delivery is not available in my area again until Monday, December 27th and told me that I could not wait that long for hot water, and that I should purchase the water heater from a local store and have someone local come and install it tomorrow.
I said that I would like to proceed with the order for installation and delivery on Monday, and that IF I could find a local plumber who was willing to install a water heater on Christmas Eve, I would cancel the Sears order; but otherwise I would like it to remain open so that I would be sure to get a water heater on Monday. ** then put me through to a local store to make sure they had one in stock. I checked, they had several of the model I want in stock, but they required me to come in to the store to place the order. Frankly, with no hot water for two days, I don't really feel like going out in public.
Besides, I didn't really feel like going through the hassle of calling a bunch of local plumbers to find one who could pick up and install the water heater on Christmas Eve. I wanted to make sure that my order was still in effect for Monday, so I called back and got **. She was also helpful, she made sure the order was placed and let me know that I should get a call to schedule for delivery by Monday morning.
Well, 9:00 Monday morning December 27th came and I had not received a call, so I called Sears to check on it. I called 800-326-8738 ext. 56916 and spoke to **. ** was very helpful and called the plumber who was supposed to install my water heater. They informed her that they did not have that model in stock so would not be able to install it that day, but that they could get it and would come out to install it the following day, Tuesday Dec. 28th between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
I expressed frustration to ** and explained that this was the fourth time in a row I had been promised delivery and Sears had failed to make good on that promise. She said that she would send me a $50 gift card “because that's what we do when we promise delivery on a certain date and don't meet that promise.” Well, that's an admirable customer service policy, but I wonder why I never heard about it until the fourth time Sears failed to meet their promise.
The original sales representative should have asked me for the make and model of my current water heater and then asked if a wider one would be OK. I would have checked and realized that there was barely enough space for the existing one and said that I would need one no wider than it. I was later told by a plumber that it's not uncommon for townhouses like mine to have cramped spaces for water heaters. Why wouldn't a Sears water heater sales representative ask about this as a matter of routine? My second order should NEVER have been canceled by Sears. This was in my opinion the worst error in terms of how it affected me.
When I called in at 8:30 on December 23, I was told that my order would be reinstated and I would be called back within one to two hours. Why did no one call me back? When I finally reached another water heater representative over three hours later, why was my order still on "canceled" status? I had asked this to be expedited on account of Sears's mistake in canceling the second order, but nothing was being done about it. Why? Why would someone ensure me on December 23rd that installation & delivery was available on the following day (Christmas Eve) when it wasn't?
Why did no one call me first thing Monday morning and tell me that the water heater I was expecting that day was not in stock and would not be delivered until the following day? I could still have gotten to work at a reasonable time on Monday, and there is a shower at work so I would have been able to get in nearly a full day of work. Instead, I had to call Sears to ask why no one had called me. Why was I not informed about the $50 gift card policy until the fourth time Sears failed to deliver as promised, and why was I only offered one gift card when this happened four different times?
(This is also stated above): Since it is Sears's policy to provide their customers with a $50 gift card when a water heater is not delivered as promised, and this happened to me four times, I believe that the least I am entitled to is four $50 gift cards. I could ask for compensation for the three extra vacation days I had to take; and the fact that we were without hot water for seven days over the Christmas holidays.
However, I am not asking to be compensated for those things, only four the four incidents on which Sears failed to deliver as promised. I feel that I am being reasonable in asking this. Sears sent me one $50 gift card and promised to send two more, which I have not received yet. I do not consider $150 adequate compensation, but it's better than nothing.
BERGAN COUNTY NJ -- You can read down through the trial of this, but to summarize. The installer lied about what additional connections needed to be done. After the inspection by the town, the valve that was already there was satisfactory. From my experience do not trust Sears installers. Get recommendations from people you know who can give you a reference. Below is the two month process of getting a water heater installed and local permits.
On 11/2/09 I purchased a replacement water heater at a NJ Sears store. I was charged and accepted install fee of 295.00. I know this was high but I wanted a one stop shop. I was also told that I would need a permit which was $40.00. The install was scheduled for 11/4 between 8 and 12. I received a call from the installer at 12:15 saying he would be late. He got to my house at 2:15.
He informed me that in this town they now need to have the water heater be separately grounded, not just to the pipes, and the gas valve would have to be changed. It would be an additional 125.00 for this. I told him no thanks I will take care of it. The install went without a single problem and he was gone by 3:15. One hour install.
On 11/12/09, I called my town to schedule an inspection. They told me that they didn't have any record of a permit. They told me that the installer that does things around this part of NJ rarely gets a permit for Sears customer installs. The installer is William Sherman Plumbing. I called the store and worked my way through the prompts and a few people to someone who actually helped. I told this person that I purchased from Sears because I didn't want to have to deal with what I was having to deal with. SILLY ME.
The Customer service representative called the store, then called the installation company. Guess what, they just got the paperwork TODAY and they were faxing over to my town all the required information for the permit. Sounds fishy to me. Going forward I would suggest you find out when a permit will be created and how much time after an inspection will be done. I should have asked the installer for the permit when he arrived. Also, if you are using Sears customer service, don't take any S-it from them about contacting the installer. YOU contracted with Sears not the installer.
Also, if you can, I have found that you should drain the water heater prior to the installer coming. It makes things move quickly. Just turn off the water to the water heater, connect a hose to the lower hose outlet, run the hose outside (Below grade), open all the water facets (hot) in the house, and open the pressure release valve on the side of the old water heater. Best of luck. In many cases Sears is the only player in town.
Updated 12/29/09 - I have updated this to better understand the company that is supposed to do the permit requests. As of 12/29/09 I have not been called for an inspection. I called the my town permit department today 12/29/09 to see when they will be doing the inspection. They informed me that they received the permit request back in mid November 2009 BUT has not been paid for. It seems that the installer didn't lie to me, they just didn't tell me everything.
I called Sears again. Informed them of everything above and they got the install company on the phone again. The person there informed Sears and I that the person who disburses payment to the towns was on vacation this week and she would check on where the payment is. The Sears rep was a little upset also because they had paid the installer for the permit already. The installer company game me their name and number and to call back in 2 weeks. I guess we will all see then. From this perspective I would not recommend Sears to perform all the functions that they promise unless you want to make many calls for followup. That was not what I wanted or expected.
Updated on 1/13/10 - Last week I finally got the permit in the mail and to call for an inspection. I set up the inspection for 1/13/10. The inspector came on time looked at the water heater and told me that I had the incorrect gas valve on it. I showed him the valve that I replaced and he said that would do just fine. He told me to change the valve, call for reinspection and everything will be OK. So, the installer either doesn't know what he is talking about, what the valve needed to be replaced, or he is taught to lie to customers to get the additional revenue.
I bought a hot water heater on Sunday from Sears. The price seemed right and so did the installation price. So, I took off Monday because according to Sears someone would call me to schedule an appointment to come out and install it. I waited and waited, then finally decided to call Sears' 800 number to see what was up. After being passed from one representative to another, they finally said they would call the installer and have them call me within the hour. OK. Two hours passed and no call. So, I called them back. They repeated that they would call the installer and see what was up.
An hour later, the installer called, it was a local plumbing company. So, they came out and installed the unit. But, the pilot light wouldn't stay lit. So, he said that it looked like a valve was faulty, so he would need to schedule another time to come out. I said, fine. So, I called Sears and again got passed from person to person until I reached one person who said that yes, the plumbing company would handle it.
So, I called the plumbing company and arranged for them to fix it on Tuesday morning. Tuesday morning, as I was waiting for them, the plumbing company called and said that it wasn't their job and that Sears would have to send out a technician. So, I called Sears back and again got passed from person to person (and hung up on a few times while on hold) and finally they set up an appointment for Wednesday for a Sears technician to come out.
Waited all day on Wednesday and then got fed up waiting and called the 800 number again. Again got passed from person to person (and hung up on a few more times while on hold for good measure) and finally got someone to call the technician to see when they would show up. Technician finally called me back at 2 in the afternoon and then came out. He opened the panel and saw immediately what the problem was. A wire that went to the pilot was broken. It was something that was very obvious. There's no way an installer would not notice that he could not attach that wire. Either it was broken and he ignored it, or he broke it.
No other way to look at it. So, the technician said that the part was not in stock and that he would have to order it. It should arrive at my house Thursday afternoon. I told him that there was no way that I could take off another day of work on this because my boss was already mad at me for taking today off. He said that it wouldn't be a problem for him to come by after hours to put this part on the unit and for me to call the 800 number as soon as I got home.
So, I was frustrated and called Sears and explained that the installer should have seen that this unit was defective and that I would like my $300 back that I paid for them to install this thing. They said that they would not because they assume that it had been properly installed and that it is a problem with the unit. They said that the district manager of installation would call me Thursday to discuss this. Today is Thursday and I haven't heard from him.
Surprise, surprise. So, while at work, I called the 800 number to confirm what the technician told me. I got passed from person to person and finally got sent to a person in special handling. I explained the problem and she told me that it was not a problem for the technician to come out after I got off work. She gave me the local number for the technician. So, I got home at 4:30 and the part was here. I called the local number and it rang and rang for five minutes with no voice mail.
So, I called the 800 number again and then got passed from person to person (and hung up on while on hold a few more times) and then finally got someone on the phone who said that the technician would not be available until next Wednesday. I told him that that was unacceptable and that this technician said he would come out today. The customer service guy said that that was impossible and that the technicians were off work by five. I explained to him about the local number and how no one answered the phone and could I speak to a manager.
He refused to let me talk to a manager repeatedly. So, I went up to the store in person and cornered the store manager and explained my story to him. He got on the 800 number and got passed from person to person as well (though he didn't get hung up on) and then lied to the operator and said that there is a gas leak at the house and that someone needed to come by on Friday morning.
So, now they are supposed to come by on Friday morning to fix this thing. I am at my wit's end. I am going to file a formal complaint against Sears with the attorney general's office of my state once this problem is finally resolved. I've never been treated so poorly by a company. No wonder Sears is in financial trouble! I'll never do business with them again after this mess.
TROY, MICHIGAN -- My water heater broke down and I made the mistake of calling the Sears water heater hotline. They promised me "same day installation". Which was what I was hoping for. Oh yeah, I was naive and actually believed them. Short version? I called on Tuesday morning, and got my water heater installed, finally, on Friday afternoon. And that's after numerous calls, after being insulted and humiliated twice by their service department. No I'll never buy anything "hard" from Sears again, this is indeed a very "hard" lesson.
Now the details... If you are going to use those guys don't make the same mistake that I made, be sure to ask ALL the questions, and don't cooperate with them when they ask you to wait for a call from them. When I first placed the order, everything was rosy and smooth. Yes we got 4 units that suit you. You can expect a call from the installation guys in 3 hours. 5 hours. No call.
I called back, and I was told that my order was routed to the wrong store, 30 miles from my house, so they have to transfer the unit to my local store, so the installation guy could then pick it up. I just had to bear with another day of no hot water. I bit my tongue and accepted the fate. Next morning, of course, again, nobody called me, and I had to call back. No, the voice on the other side of the line told me. It was not there yet. They needed to check what's going on. I should wait for them to call back me in the afternoon. Yes, you guessed it, nobody called.
I had to call back. Got another person, who told me that actually, the unit didn't need to be transferred, they got the unit I asked for at my local store all this time, all they need to do was to change my order to the local store. I asked why the long wait? Why didn't they do it yesterday, when they realized something was wrong?
Because they need my authorization to do it, and they didn't get it from me, I was told.
I was mad as hell when that guy actually had the nerve to suggest that it was MY fault, that the 2 day delay was caused by me not answering their request for rewriting the order. I called them 3 times! They never called me! And now they were telling me it was MY fault? OK now it was Thursday, I had gone 3 days without hot water. The installation guy finally came to my house, asked for $330 extra to "bring everything up to code". I wrote them a check. It didn't go through the Sears system. I called my bank, and it was not a bounced check. I had $10,000 in my account, but the bank never saw my check coming to them.
The installation guy just rudely went out of my door after that. No we'll come back tomorrow when you can pay me. Allow you 5 minutes to go to the bank to grab the cash? No I cannot give you 5 minutes. We have a tight schedule. I called Sears later, trying to figure out what went wrong with my check. The guy was impatient. He said I have a long "record". I got an idea that he considered it a sin. For being a difficult customer. I don't know if anyone could be smiling when he goes 3 days without a show, waiting for a water heater that was paid in full. Certainly not me.
Friday, a heavy snow day, it was cold, and the kids were begging for a shower. I finally gave in. OK, my kids are more important than my pride. I got the cash, just in case the Sears system messed up again. The installation guy called me, and telling me they can do it in the afternoon. I settled down, but not Sears. I got a call from Sears, this time, but not to help me settle any matters, instead he told me that I was required to GO TO THE LOCAL STORE IN PERSON TO PAY BY CASH, before they can allow the water heater to be installed.
I was totally confused. I asked them why? The installation guy didn't object taking cash from me in my house, why should I go out in this stormy weather to my local store to pay up front? No because your check bounced you have to go to store to pay upfront to get your water heater. The guy told me again. I tried to explain to him that there must be a misunderstanding, and the guy repeated to me that I have to go to store. They he hanged up on me.
I called the installation subcontractor, trying to to figure out what was that all about. They were just as baffled as I was. I called Sears back again, asking where was my "local store" anyway? Remember I called the Sears water heater hotline. It's a national network. I never went to any store! They told me where the store was.
I called my local store to see if they required me to pay before releasing my water heater. No the manager told me, if I actually went to the store, they wouldn't even know what to do with me, because my installation contract was not with them, they couldn't take money from me for the job, I don't own them anything and they sure as hell never required me to do that.
By this time, the installation guys were already at my door. I paid them in cash and they started doing the job, at the same time I was still being bounced around in the Sears system, listening to some guy using a stern voice, telling me that I do need to go to the store to pay before they can give me my water heater, while the water heater they were talking about was already in my basement being installed.
Yes, I hanged up on them. Sears really is a BIG, HUGE company, their left hand doesn't know what their right hand is doing, and they tend to blame you, the customer, for it. Last remark, I love my local Sears store, it's the "national" part of Sears that I would avoid at all cost from now on.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- I can't believe that it has taken 4 months since I first brought to Sears' attention that my water heater of less than 1 year old was leaking water. Thank God, it's housed in its own 5x5 compartment outside. I got the run-around from Osh (where I purchased it) and Searseach blaming the other. Finally got Sears to take a look at it and indeed, it was defective. Then the fun began. Sears sent one of the companies that they use (Fast Water Heater), who wanted to charge me $1,700 to "bring my less than one year water heater up to code, plus $84 for "delivery."
I hit the ceiling, and when I came down, both were gone: the water heater and the guy who delivered it. He wouldn't leave it until I paid the $84. I felt that Sears should pay it. So, he took it back. I was so tired fighting with Sears and many of their incompetent and rude employees who work at Sears' Water Heater Hotline. They are pompous and bureaucratic.
At first, they "had to send another Sears rep. out to my home to check and see whether the w. heater was defective." How stupid. The information is in the computer, take a look folks!!! But, I was told that because it had "been so long since this started" that I had to go back through the process. Finally stayed on the phone with Sears for 2 hours and 27 minutes on May 7, 2008, trying to get them to re-authorize the water heater for delivery.
I was told that I would receive a call back from a supervisor today, no luck. Called the 800 number and found out that "the girls were told to take care of this, but they didn't." These were obviously the three employees who provided inaccurate information and were incompetent--the ones I talked to this morning. In essence, they will make me wait because I went to corporate regarding their incompetence and bureaucratic process--no critical thinkers at all. It's really sad to have such people on the front line.
I will call as many times as necessary tomorrow to get the water heater that I've paid for. I will NEVER purchase a Sears product again. Oh, last week, I also canceled my 20-year credit card relationship with them. I wouldn't recommend anyone to use Sears' products, or products they "supposedly" sell, or should I say: take money from customers and not stand behind their warranty.
P.S. They also tried to tell me that they didn't have to replace the water heater--if they could fix it. I said, my warranty states that "if it's leaking, it will be replaced." That was another battle that lasted for about 2.5 weeks. I'm sooooo done with Sears. I did talk to three nice people today who did their very best to assist me: **. Thanks guys for your assistance. Sorry, but you should fire everyone who "handled" this matter for not being able to resolve this issue before it escalated to the point that it did. Thanks for reading this long review. I needed to get it out, and I appreciate your patience. Please excuse any typos. I typed this as fast as I could.
SALINAS, CALIFORNIA -- We'd paid for the Water Heater extended warranty for about 7 years. After calling the Sears technicians out sev times in late 07, the WH died. We had just renewed the warranty in late Nov 07. Sears said they'd have to charge us $78 more for parts. OK, we paid. Fri afternoon before Christmas guests arrive, the Sears contract plumber came out and essentially said that if we wanted hot water, we would pay an additional $540. We paid... we needed to take showers & wash dishes. Afterward, we discovered our recirculation system no longer works well. We now have to waste a lot of water trying to get hot water to come.
We complained, spending sev days on the phone. Essentially Sears employees said what their contractors do is not their problem. The Sears technician who can condemned the WH in Dec came out and said there was no need to move the WH the 9 or so inches that the original plumber indicated was part of the reason for the $540 charge. Part of the charge was $170 for a “difficult installation”, which really meant, he had to walk down some brick steps and along the front of the house and install the WH in a nicely open area with decent headroom.
Further the Sears technician said that the contract plumber had now piped the WH such that any leak or problem would require them to cut pipe (potentially more expensive repairs in the future). Finally in response to my calls or perhaps to the technician filing a report, another plumber from the original contractor came out 14 Jan 08.
He agreed that there were some mistakes and made some changes. He said "the additional $540 charge was to bring the system to code and said he'd show us the code as he always carried it". We followed him to his truck and then he decided he didn't have the code book. He promised to mail the appropriate pages. We've never rec'd that information.
In getting shunted around Sears, we also discovered that Sears policy isn't exactly what we were promised. The manufacturers warranty would run CONCURRENTLY with the 2 year warranty we had just paid Sears for. Since the WH was sick, I had asked the Sears Warranty agent specifically... if what we paid for the warranty and the WH broke... would the extended warranty be added on to the manufacturers warranty or how it was handled? He swore to me it would be added on, not run concurrently. Sears supervisors in that section now say essentially... too bad. He was wrong. You lose.
So far, we've been able to get no real help from Sears administrative staff. Several employees were sympathetic. A couple gave me bad information and wasted even more of my time. Here's the bottom line. Most financial folks say that extended warranties are generally not worthwhile, but what they rarely say is that they deliver you into the hands of contractors who may or may not deal with you fairly. You lose control. You may lose what you've paid for the warranty... and more.