I would like to warn everyone about Sears Delivery. Please avoid them like the plague. I wish I had read these reviews before choosing Sears because in the end I had to cancel my order. We ordered new kitchen appliances from Sears - Refrigerator, Microwave, Dishwasher and Gas range. You would think with such a large order they would try to keep my business - but NO.
Sears was supposed to deliver our items on September 9. We got a call a week before at 5 am on a Saturday from Sears, telling us our fridge is unavailable for delivery on the 9th. Because fridge is probably the most important appliance for us, I decided to change the model which was available. They agreed to deliver the Fridge on September 12 and send the remaining appliances as scheduled (Sept 9). On the date of delivery they called to tell us that they were running late (and since my building has time specifications), Sears said they would not be able to deliver until very late.
While this may not sound like Sears' fault, we told them about the building time specifications at the time of placing the order. Needless to say, none of the appliances arrived on the 9th. They rescheduled delivery for the 12th. Again, the following day (Sept 10), Sears calls at 7 am to inform us that the second fridge ordered was unavailable. By then, from experience we knew that the Sears call center was full of incompetent people, who are not only powerless but also clueless.
We went to the store to place an order for a third fridge that was available. We requested that in the interest of time they deliver all 4 of our appliances on Wednesday September 14. Again, we repeated the building time specifications (delivery allowed between 10 am and 4pm). Sears called the night before the delivery to tell us that they had given us a time window between 7 am and 9 am, which is outside the building time window.
Obviously, there is no way for us to request change of time window because the call center is full of useless people. The appliances arrived the next morning at 8:40 when the building would not allow delivery. I called Sears and was told that someone would call me in the course of the day to tell me when they would deliver the appliances (the same day). No one called. I had to call Sears from my office and spent 3 hours trying to find someone to help. Needless to say, no one could help me connect with someone who has decision making power. They wanted to reschedule delivery for almost a week later.
Finally understanding my frustrations, one delivery manager told me she had spoken to the warehouse and scheduled my delivery for the next day (Sept 15) and that Sears would call me between 6pm-9pm the same day to confirm the time window. I repeated the building time specifications about 25 times. As expected, no confirmation call between 6-9. When I called Sears for the Nth time, another clueless call center person told me, that while he saw that Sears had promised me delivery the next day, they were unable to fulfill their promise.
After spending 4 hours on the phone with Sears, I hung up at 9:30 pm, finally canceling the order. We went to one of Sears' competitors around 10 pm who delivered the appliances the next day. Dealing with Sears has caused extreme emotional distress (because they just don't understand the simplest things, even after you explain it to them 20 times), monetary loss and cost me time. Additionally wasted my aunt's time who came to help us with Sears delivery. So, please heed my warning - it will save you time, money and mental anxiety.
I have spent so much time on this, it's not funny! I tried to place the order via website on Tuesday. I tried again to place the order on Weds. I tried again to place the order on Thursday the web and no luck. I then spent over an hour on the phone via live chat with agent **, who advised me that I needed to make changes to my computer, which I did and still no luck.
Thursday evening I called the 800 numbers, spoke to an agent (I think his name was **) who could not help me. He tried to place the order for me and could not. He also suggested I try to order from the Kmart website. He also told me he would send in a request to the IT dept and let them know of my problem and that I would get a call or email. I did not get either. I tried again and could not. I then called to the Kmart 800 number and was told there was a problem with the website, he had no idea when it would be fixed to try again.
On Friday, I tried again and again and again. Still no luck. On Friday night, I called Kmart to order. I spent over an hour on the phone with that agent. He tried to place the order AGAIN and could not. I asked him why I could not place the order over the phone. He said I could not, that I was blocked and that he would also sent a request to the IT department for resolution.
I asked the agent how long DOES IT TAKE to resolve a problem like this. He told me it could take up to 72 hours. He assured me that my order was IN THE SYSTEM and that when the issue was resolved I could either try to place my order or call in. The order was there, I would just have to give my credit info when I called.
I tried again on SUNDAY, yesterday, no luck, no emails and I called again. I spoke Agent ** and I asked to speak with a supervisor. I spoke to ** agent # ** who told me that "THERE WAS NO ONE IN THE IT DEPARTMENT ON THE WEEKENDS TO FIX THIS PROBLEM." What??? Then she suggested I place the order with her again! I told ** that if this issue was not resolved by Monday morning, I was going to contact Sears corporate office.
I don't just have one Item I was trying to order, it was 20!!! Oh and yes, I was also told online I was not permitted to order more that 10 ITEMS AT A TIME! So there you have it and know why I am so frustrated and I will be getting in touch with the corporate office to let them know just how bad service from the website is. I would suggest fixing this problem before they get in touch with you.
My name is Susan and I am part of the Social Media Escalations team at Sears and I am very concerned about what I have read here. We would like to help. We are a single point of contact for escalated concerns which means we step into a situation and handle it start to finish with one Case Manager. My immediate concern is the time and effort you expended to place an order with Sears.com and still no order was apparently shown by Sears.com. I am also concerned that you have not received a phone call or any communication from Sears.com at all. We value your business and want to help you resolve this issue. We are part of the Corporate office and will help you get this sorted out. At your convenience, please contact our office at email@example.com so you don't have to continue to be impacted by this. Please send us an email. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the items were purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email please provide the screen name (eleanorkopen6) for reference to your issue and we do look forward to talking to you soon.
Social Media Moderator
Sears Social Media Support
PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY -- Do Not Use SEARS Home Improvement Co. for any installations that are crucial to your home or comfort. They do not have emergency weekend telephone numbers and use local independent contractors. That being said I will tell my story: I Just bought a house and was in the process of updating a lot of thing's including installing a central air system...house had none, but had a forced hot air furnace with duct work in place. I interviewed 3 Contractor companies for installing a Central Air system to my forced hot air furnace. Sears was the most competitive so I signed with them.
Next step, they sent in a local contractor (not a Sears Employee) to assess the job. He said that it wouldn't work and I would be unhappy with the results because the cold air wouldn't be blown up to the bedrooms (Custom Split Level Home with 4 floors instead of the usual 3).
Sears sent the sales people back in. He tested my system and said that I had a 2 speed blower on the furnace and that it should work. I demanded that the local contractor come back to assure me as to what the salesman said was true. Contractor tested the 2 speed blower in my system and said that IT STILL WOULDN'T WORK.
I said what about a booster motor that could be put on the 2 vents that were the problem (one vent already had one that didn't work-thus the recommendation on my part). He said that would work so we scheduled the job to start. Installation took the better part of a day. I added a dehumidifier which was installed and they also installed a separate Condensation Evaporator unit.
In comes the electrician to run wiring to the unit and the compressor from the fuse box. All is well and working well on Thursday in time for my company from South Carolina to visit during the Memorial Day weekend. Thursday night sleeping was terrible...it was hot. I checked the unit and it wasn't working and THE breaker in the fuse box was tripped. I called Sears on Friday morning and they sent the installation contractor back on Friday morning. He checked out the system and said that everything was working well-off he goes.
Friday late morning, My wife and I and the guests went visiting (left the AIR on) and came back about 6:30 pm the house was a sauna because we closed all of the windows. Tried every number I was given for Sears Home Improvement, left messages everywhere but could not get to speak with one person. Even tried all numbers again on Saturday... nothing. My wife was so frustrated she left NASTY messages on all the phone number Sears gave us... nothing. We were stuck with a central air system that didn't work on the hottest weekend this year. Even with all the windows open it still was 85 degrees in the house.
Memorial Weekend was ruined due to the heat because Sears has no emergency weekend telephone numbers. Adding Insult to Injury: Contractor came on Tuesday afternoon (after the Holiday Weekend was over) and replaced the Condensation Evaporator unit which he thought was the problem. Unit worked fine for about 2 hours and then no cold air again.
My wife went down to do laundry and found the basement floor full of water (Lot of damage to miscellaneous items stored because we were still moving in and the inside of the house was being painted). It seems that the Condensation Evaporator unit was leaking water all over the basement, after the clean up and throwing out of the damaged stuff my wife put a pail underneath the CE unit.
Contractor is back (scratching his head) everything checks out. Long story longer, Electrician was supposed to run a hardwired line to the CE unit but instead plugged it into one of the receptacles in the basement. This receptacle worked when you turned on the basement light but didn't work when it was turned off...How stupid is that NOT TO CHECK EVERYTHING. This whole process was a comedy of errors and omissions.
FACT STILL REMAINS, SEARS HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANY IS NOT GOOD AND IF YOU NEED THEM OVER A WEEKEND FORGET IT....DON'T GIVE THEM THE JOB. 6/29/2011 Update: Sears Social Media Customer Care Rep offered me a $100 Sears gift card to make me happy... what a joke.
WEST MIFFLIN, PENNSYLVANIA -- 3 weeks ago, my husband and I decided it was time to purchase a new refrigerator. After doing a lot of looking and research, we decided to go to Sears to get one. Now, we don't buy appliances on credit, we make sure we have the cash first, as we don't see the point in paying more for an item than its worth.
Since we had a savings check come in, we decided to use part of it to buy a new fridge, since ours was on it's last legs. So, we deposited the check on a Thursday, went to Sears on Saturday. (My husband works construction, and it was one of few Saturdays' he had off.) We found a refrigerator that met our specs for size, style, and brand. We put in on layaway, intending to pay off the layaway on the next Tuesday, which we did.
The problem was that once I paid off the layaway, the delivery date couldn't be changed to anything earlier than the middle of January. See, when you put an appliance on layaway at Sears, the delivery date is automatically set for when the last scheduled payment is due/made, and apparently, that delivery date is set in stone. It also doesn't help that Sears customer service is not in this country… I spoke to several women who had horrible English, and repeatedly told me that the date was set there was nothing they could/would do.
I called the local Sears here, and got a hell of a run-around from the people working there, too. This was the Wednesday before Black Friday. It was very frustrating, to say the least. Finally, on Black Friday, after calling the service center again, explaining that I had paid off the appliance and wanted it delivered earlier than the date on the receipt, I was still being told by the nice Indonesian woman that tough, that's the way it is deal with it. After getting a bit angry, she offered me 10 percent off the price I paid for the fridge, but did nothing to change the delivery date, and then she offered me a 50 dollar gift card for my aggravation. I told her no, I wanted my fridge.
So I called the Sears where I made the purchase, got through to a lovely young woman named **, explained the situation, and added that if I didn't hear from someone within the hour, I was bringing the receipt back and demanding every cent I had paid for the fridge and the 3 yr. warranty. Not something they want on Black Friday of all days. Within 30 minutes, I got a call back saying that my fridge would be delivered the next Monday, which it was, surprisingly.
My complaint, as such, is that Sears seriously needs to revamp their program. It's great that you offer layaway on appliances, however people can and do pay those layaways off early sometimes. Why set the date for delivery when the layaway is made, why not wait until it's paid off? Would that really be so hard? I know, logistics and all that good crap, right? Wrong. Bring your damned customer service back to this country, and give them the ability to actually do something for the customer. Those idiots in Indonesia don't do anything but take your money and make you look bad, all the while laughing at you behind your back.
PEMBROKE PINES, FLORIDA -- I bought an LG Refrigerator on Jan 27 2009. It went bad on Thursday Sept 17th, I called CS on Friday Sept 18th and they told the next available repair appointment was on Monday Sept 21st. The technician went to my house and said the mother board was not working, he ordered it and the part arrived on Tue Sept 22nd. A different technician went to my house on Wed Sept 23rd to install the part and after he did that he realized the compressor was not working either.
He said he was going to order it. The part was supposed to arrive on Thursday Sept 24th, but it did not. I called on Friday to get information and a representative in CS gave the wrong tracking number. I called again requested the tracking number and again it was a wrong number. This time I was still talking to the person and I explained to her how frustrated I was and she said the best she could do was schedule an appointment for MONDAY the 28th!!!
She transferred me to the Tech Support Dept where William was kind enough to check when the part was supposed to arrive (it is supposed to arrive today) and he said the next available appointment was MONDAY THE 28TH!!! I said I could not afford to be there on MONDAY. First because I cannot lose another day at work. Second because it is JUST UNBELIEVABLE that I went to Sears because of the GREAT SERVICE and all I am getting is 10 days with no food, 3 days lost at my job - no pay- and a dead end to my problem.
He transferred me to the Escalation Dept, where Rhoda took the call and she said she could not do anything. Saturday was completely booked and there was nobody else on top of her... "This is the higher you can get". I felt she did not try to anything to help me. After, offering me a $50 gift card (which I accepted, even when I am not walking into a Sears Store EVER AGAIN) I explained to her that I did not want to get money out of Sears...
All I wanted was my fridge to work and I did not care if they have to pay overtime to some Technician to go there on Saturday but I was sure there was something else that could be done. She finally transferred me to Carlos (according to her Carlos is her Manager Partner or so). He could not do anything for me either and even told me that if I could not be there on Monday the 28th then they could go on SATURDAY OCTOBER THE 3RD!!! I asked him if that was a joke. I asked him if there was a private service that I could use and Sears could reimburse me. He said there was not such a thing and if I did have somebody else to take a look at it my warranty will be voided.
I talked to 4 different people. Nobody could give an alternative. I still do not have a fridge and I was threaten with losing my warranty and I all wanted was my fridge to work. I was really upset to a point I apologized to every person I talked to because I understood it was not their fault, but it was Sears fault and they have to do something to fix it. The answers I got were: this is the higher you can get, you have to grateful because Sears is giving you a service and "good luck" with your equipment if somebody else repairs it.
This is the WORST customer service experience I have ever had. Nobody could help me, nobody could explain to me why I did not get the part on time, nobody could give me a solution. I understand Sears won't care about losing a customer, but I will do whatever I have in my power to avoid people to buy ANYTHING there... It is not fair to customers, there is no excuse and "things happens" like Carlos told me IS JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO SOMEBODY THAT HAS BEEN WITHOUT A FRIDGE FOR MORE THAN A WEEK!
KAMLOOPS BRITISH COLUMBIA CANADA -- Sears Customer Service. In the past 40 years we have purchased large item appliances from Simpson Sears/Sears, and because of their warranty and customer service we are still buying from Sears. We have lived throughout Canada also in the United States.
We knew that wherever we went in either country that Sears's service was available and thus the reason for our last purchases which included a gas range, hood fan, microwave, dishwasher, combination refrigerator/freezer, garburator, and built in vacuum. Total costs of these appliances were over $10,000.00. We also purchased a kitchen table and 6 chairs, as well as all our window blinds (Blinds alone cost $6000.00). A move from Alberta to a retirement home in British Columbia was the reason for the last purchase. We built a new home and installed all new Sears bought appliances.
We bought our appliances in Alberta before the move and then Sears kept them in storage until our house was far enough along that we could install them. The one year warranty that comes with the appliances did not start until January 29, 2009 when the appliances were delivered.
The complaint we have with Sears is with their Service Department. Our side by side refrigerator/freezer stopped making ice and the freezer was not keeping the food frozen. We did what we have done in the past when one of our Sears appliances broke down, we called their service department. Since we live in a small village on the Shuswap we were advised that they could only send out a serviceman on Thursdays. On the next Thursday a service man from Giddens Appliance repair in Kamloops arrived and proceeded to check out the Refrigerator/Freezer.
He confirmed that the unit was not working properly and advised us that he would have to take off a panel on the inside. Once the panel was off he observed that only a few coils had frost on them and he said that was part of the problem. He then said he needed to check something at the back and pulled out the Fridge and took off another panel. After another inspection he stated that there were no leaks in the coils or anywhere. He then said that he needed to make a phone call and then turned the fridge off and gathered up his tools and went out to his van. We assumed he was checking with his office and we were surprised when he drove off.
Two days later we had still not been contacted by either the Repair service or Sears. We then called Sears and were advised that the serviceman had not put any report of his findings in the file, they suggested we call Giddens to find out what was happening. We did this and were advised that the serviceman who came to our house was not there as he had taken a day off. I asked if they could call him to find out what course of action he would be taking. They told me that they would not contact him while he was on a day off. The call I made to the Service repair was in the morning of the 27th of June.
Later that day I called Sears Service again and was advised that an entry had been made in their file stating that the refrigerator/freezer had a leak and had to be removed from the house and taken to Kamloops for servicing. Kamloops is approximately 55 kilometers from our Village.
The entry in the file contradicts with the statement that the serviceman made in that he said that there were no leaks, yet suddenly there is an entry in the file stating there is a leak. (Could this be because it became known that we had an extended service warranty?) We may never know.
We advised Sears that we wanted a new one because the refrigerator/freezer was only 4 months old and that we had paid in excess of $2800.00 for it. The Sears Representative became rude and advised us that if we would not agree to have the unit removed and repaired that we can go without a refrigerator. This was from a Sears Customer Service Representative.
We agreed to have the fridge removed for service and on July 9th they came and removed it and said that Sears had provided a “loaner fridge” for us to use while our unit was being serviced. Upon inspection of the “loaner fridge” which was still in the van, we decided that it wasn't good enough to be a beer fridge and we would not put any food in it in the condition it was in. The delivery personnel said they felt the same way, so we refused the “loaner fridge.”
We called Sears Customer Service on the 14th of July for an update on when the Refrigerator/Freezer would be fixed and delivered. They advised they would check with the service company and get back to us. We received a phone call message on our answering machine stating that the service technician was on holidays and would not be back for a week and then he would start work on the Refrigerator/freezer.
We will be filing this complaint with B. C. Business Practices and Customer Protection. Buying from Sears is not an option we would be venturing into in the future. Where is Sears loyalty to their long term customers, when needed???
MASSACHUSETTS -- I'm a former Sears Service Technician from New England and I just want to let everybody know what working for Sears is like. Keep in mind that I had almost no experience in appliance repair but was hired immediately for scoring high on a basic electricity test.
We wake up every morning with a computer from 1994 that is always malfunctioning with 13 calls on our route. 9 of these calls are 8-12, 4 are 1-5(typically). Not to mention the fact that some of our days consist of 150 miles of driving. We don't get paid until we arrive at our first call, hence why we can't (by law) call you and usually end up meeting you at the front door in your underwear.
Upon punching into our computers, we get flooded with messages from our so called "Routing Department" who ask us to call 6 of our 9 morning customers who called in, to let them know when we'll be there. Keep in mind these "Routers" have access to a tech's full route as it appears on our computer and are already on the phone with the customers!
We then attempt to fix your appliances with our 1 month OTJ training and common sense. When and IF! I STRESS THE IF! We do find the part it needs, we go out to our van of ** that we never use "only to find you need a part that we don't have."
Keep in mind that each tech is assigned to a specific industry such as "REFRIGERATION" or "LAUNDRY" and each carry different inventory. Wouldn't you think that we would have the right part with that huge van and only specializing in one area? OF COURSE NOT! After explaining to the customer that the part is model specific (as instructed by management to avoid the look of incompetence), we jump in our van in embarrassment and move on to the next call.
Having a problem? Run into something you can't bypass and therefore can't complete your calls? After calling all the tech managers (6) twice each with no reply, the frustration keeps building. Finally you drive by their office while calling and find them shopping on Lands' End for clothes while hitting ignore on the phone. There is absolutely no support whatsoever in the company! Most techs don't make it a week without quitting.
You're penalized for not selling enough service agreements. You're always being questioned on your whereabouts. There is NO TRAINING on the new machines that come out and if you let a customer know you aren't familiar with the product you get crucified, "don't ever let the customer know you don't know what you're doing" as my manager once said. The vans they provide are dangerous to ride in and to take your van to SEARS Auto is like gambling with your life. Better make sure those lug nuts are on...
All in all, SEARS sucks. Don't shop there, work there, or get any type of service done by them or A&E Factory Service (SEARS IN DISGUISE) as my manager would say. The labor rates for their service are ridiculously high and uncalled for seeing as though their employees are basically learning on your machine. Not to mention you can find almost anything at SEARS for cheaper elsewhere.
My recommendation is to say no to the service agreement, wait for a failure, and call a family owned and operated repair shop who really needs the money and appreciates your business. Most can be at your house the same day and get this, THEY HAVE THE PART! Thank you for your time and I hoped this helped.
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. CANADA -- We have used Sears Canada for several appliance purchases and blinds/drapery in the past. After our experiences in 2008 - NEVER AGAIN. This year our dishwasher needed replacement and we bought a Bosch dishwasher online (around April 2008). After over 2 months waiting, it was installed. No problem - except that it did not work. The latch mechanism was defective. We had a technician come to the house to fix it (that means a day of work missed waiting for him). He said that part would need to be ordered but he had never seen this model before and was mystified by the problem.
As no one called us after a few days, we called the service department and they told us that it would be two months for the part. So we elected to replace the dishwasher. My husband went into Sears in North Vancouver, B.C. and selected another dishwasher - a Bosch on sale, a different model (SHE4AMO) and hopefully with a different latch mechanism. That dishwasher was installed in August 2008. It also did not close and the latch mechanism was defective, AGAIN. We called Sears and the next day a technician ordered a new latch mechanism. He finally had it available and came last week (early September 2008).
He said he had 'almost no experience' with Bosch dishwashers, asked for the user manual and said he had never seen this latch mechanism. He replaced it and left, after having difficulty starting the machine on the wash cycle because he did not understand how it operated. The dishwasher never finished its cycle as the latch was still defective. He came back the same day and suggested that we ask for a new dishwasher. So we go into Sears AGAIN and this time ordered a different Bosch which was almost $1000 more. We have to wait till mid October 2008 for installation.
We do not get a refund for the defective machine until it is picked up in two months, but have to pay for the new one right away. NOT ONE person said SORRY. Not one person seemed contrite or sympathetic (although the salesman perked up a bit when he realized that he would be selling a more expensive model). The service was generally gruff and dismissive and very unhelpful. But it does not end there. I ordered some expensive Roman blinds from Sears in February 2008. Thousands of dollars was spent. When the three were installed one did not fit and had to be remade. This was all several months in the making.
I also had a single Hunter Douglas blind that was damaged in a leak and I asked the saleswoman to take it and try and cut it down as the new window was shorter in length. I signed a blank contract (my stupid mistake) for blinds and seat cover as the saleswomen had explained costs and said she would be faxing me the contract on completion (which she did). I did not discuss price of the blind cutdown as this was not settled. I had bought this same blind from Sears a few years ago and was expecting a figure of about $200-$300 if it needed replacement.
Many months later (I think it was July when the third mis-measured Roman blind was being installed), I mentioned to the installer that I still had not received my blind. He said he would look into it. In late July sometime the installer called us and arrived with the original damaged blind and a new blind that was too short. He installed the new blind and apologized profusely that it did not fit and would need reordering. Then in August I received a bill on my Sears Card for $524.70 for an installed sale. I called the Sears Card customer service and they told me that they are a separate company to Sears and I would need to go in to Sears to ask about the bill.
They could not tell me what it was for. The lady on the phone was angry and rude and it made me feel very annoyed. I called Sears and they told me that I had signed a contract for the blind agreeing to pay $524.70. I told them that I had not received an installed blind that fit correctly and that I had never agreed to this price. The lady told me that she had a signed contract and that I had agreed to the purchase. The woman who I saw in February 2008 had moved to Victoria, BC. The very next day an installer phoned us to arrange for installation but we were going away on holiday for two weeks and could not arrange to meet him. It is now mid September.
I have no blind and I have interest charges of over 20 dollars on my Sears Card and I have nobody willing to listen to my concerns. I did not agree to pay over $500 for a single blind yet I have no choice but to pay off my Sears Card because the interest rate is 28%. I will NEVER EVER shop at Sears again. I know mistakes happen, but NOBODY wanted to help me sort this out. Nobody wanted to listen to me. Nobody has acknowledged that the contract I signed could not possibly be valid, as it was dated in February 2008 and I STILL do not have a blind. This is truly an incompetent business dealing where every department has passed the buck.
I left a voice mail message for the sales lady who initially saw me in February 2008 mid week but she has not returned my call. I don't know what else to do except to pay the Sears Card, accept this astronomically expensive blind and hope an installer eventually calls us back to get it into my house. NB. Dates are approximate as it has been such a long time since this all started (February 2008).
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I am a former Sears/A&E Tech Manager and I understand everyone's pain dealing with repairs with Sears and A&E Factory Service, which many of you know, are in fact one and the same company. And that's why you receive the same service, or lack of service, whether you purchased your product at Sears or some other appliance dealer.
Many of us have trusted Sears and their products for many years. One thing we must remember about Sears is that "SEARS MAKES NOTHING". Sears sources their products from other manufacturers and places the Kenmore or Craftsman brand name on them. Consumers trusted the products they purchased from Sears, mainly because in years past, the products were quality products and although Sears didn't manufacturer them, Sears stood behind the product, the service, and most of all, were dedicated to "Customer Satisfaction".
But companies in order to make shareholder's money have cut costs on product components. Parts are manufactured overseas and that increases availability time and cost. Now, I have nothing against overseas manufacturing, many quality goods are manufactured overseas and it certainly enables the US consumer to live the American Dream, but we are not seeing the quality and longevity of products that we are accustomed to having in the past. Let's face it, I don't expect my DVD player to last as long as my refrigerator, but I do expect my refrigerator to last many years, or at least longer than my DVD player.
During my experience as a tech manager, I have seen many brand new $1,500 - $1,800 refrigerators stop cooling within a week after being delivered at the customer's home. Most of the time it's the "Compressor", the heart of the cooling system, which has stopped working. Now the consumer can complain to the retail store until they are blue in the face, but Sears will not replace the unit, they will send out a technician, who most likely will not have this particular compressor in his truck stock.
The technician will have to order the compressor and come back in about 7-8 days to evacuate the sealed Freon system, braze in a new compressor, test for leaks and replace with new Freon. No Sears or any other retail store wants this refrigerator back, why?? Because they can't resell it as new.
In part, the lack of quality on major appliances is due to the consumer. Consumers want stylish appliances with 20 wash cycles or an in-door water and ice dispenser that enable us to have either ice cubes or crushed ice, water or juice, a clock and a cute illuminated night light. Very convenient, but we want all this convenience for a very affordable price. Manufacturers don't want your refrigerator to last 20 years, as it did years ago. Sears just monopolizes on poor manufacturing. By the way, that electronic control board is about $500.00, + Labor. And if you're fortunate, you'll be within the warranty period or have paid for a Sears Protection Agreement.
As I said, I am a former Sears/A&E Tech Manager; I have heard many customers complain about the products and the service. So, possibly I can enlighten the consumer on the Sears/A&E In-Home Product Repair business. Let's start from the beginning.
Mrs. Consumer has a problem with her appliance and calls 1-800-4-MY-HOME. This call is connected to a Call Center in Round Rock, Texas, where you will be greeted by a representative. If you are a first time caller, the Rep will need to create a new account for you. If you are a repeat caller, your account will be on their computer system. Your account will have the usual customer name, address, telephone number(s) and a list of all your appliances with purchase dates, model/serial numbers and whether you have a Protection Agreement on that appliance.
You cannot ask any technical questions to the Rep, because they only make appointments. You cannot be transferred to anyone for Technical Assistance. Your only option is to set up a service call on a mutually agreed date, either an AM or PM appointment. The Rep does one other very important part of their job description; they will "push the sale of a Protection Agreement (PA)".
Protection Agreements are the life blood of Sears. Protection Agreement pricing structures vary greatly from product to product. They are historically and statistically priced by the cost and frequency of component failures. One important fact to remember when being solicited to purchase a Protection Agreement; once you purchase it, you are locked into Sears/A&E as your repair company.
And once your locked in, you, as the consumer are locked in to missed appointments, late running technicians, waiting at least a 7-10 days for a part and the ultimate frustration, after waiting a week or so for the part, either the part arrives broken or once the part is installed, the appliance still does not work and another part needs to be ordered. And YES!! This happens daily in the life of a Sears/A&E technician.
Getting back to your service appointment date. Your service date is directly connected to "CAPACITY". Capacity relates to the number of Technicians (that work on your appliance) and the geographic area in which you live. Capacity is fed into a computer by the Regional Routing Center. Daily capacity is built by the number of technicians scheduled to work in any given day by location and industry. Capacity is built like airline companies sell seats--they overbook!!
Sears has the ability and does overbook technicians, why?? Because they know there is always the possibility that on the day of the scheduled appointment, either the customer has forgotten about the appointment and went out, or the customer has cancelled because of any number of reasons. But a customer, who has waited a week for a scheduled appointment for a refrigerator that is not cooling, will not forget about the appointment. Also, there is a process in place, which automatically telephones the customer the night before the scheduled appointment to remind them of the service call.
The District Management also has the authority to force overtime capacity into the technician's schedule, which they have done. Everyone in the Sears Product Repair business is rated on PRODUCTIVITY. From the District Service General Manager, the District Technical Manager, the Technical Managers and the Technicians. Productivity within Sears/A&E is rated on the number of jobs (Service Calls) per day. When a customer is "not home" or "cancels" their scheduled appointment, that reduces the number of service calls the technician has on his route that day. Sears will do everything in their power to insure a technician does not complete his route early.
There are many reasons why a Technician is late for their scheduled AM or PM appointment. I have already touched on the practice of overbooking. When a technician has a full route and there are no cancellations or not at homes, most likely, the technician will run late on his/her AM appointments, which has a domino effect on their remaining route. Worst case scenario, the technician may not complete his/her route that day and service calls will need to be rescheduled.
Another reason why technicians run late is because frankly, the appliance refuses to cooperate and it takes longer than normal to complete the diagnosis and/or repair. One of the biggest complaints technicians have is that there is not enough time allotted for the repairs. Each repair is allotted a certain amount of time which equates to the number of parts to be replaced. I have seen the auto-routing software schedule 5 AM appointments for a technician, with considerable drive time to each customer.
Additionally, Tech Managers have been known to add emergency service calls to technicians' daily routes. Emergency service calls are added because of irate customers, who may have been rescheduled the day before, or a multi-attempt repair that has stopped working, once again. When you call the 1-800-4-MY-HOME number to inquire the whereabouts of your scheduled technician, just ask to be transferred to the local district's Customer Service Reps. The 800 number is a national call center, they don't have access to the technician's route. Ask the 800 number Service Rep to transfer you to the local district's customer service Reps.
It's the local Customer Service representative that will be able to find where your technician is and when he should be at your home. It's the local district customer service representative that will be able to get all the answers you need about your schedule, appliance replacements, parts status, and the Tech Manager responsible for your service and repair.
Another big frustration by customers are Reschedules. Reschedules at Sears are a way of life. Customers take off from work, wait all day for the technician to arrive and they never show. Why?? Well, overbooking can play a role in reschedules, adding an emergency service call to a technician's route can also contribute to a reschedule. Some common reasons are sickness and truck breakdowns. When a technician calls out sick in the morning, there may be 10-12 service calls on their route that day. Now, given the fact that technicians' routes are overbooked by design, doesn't provide an avenue to redistribute 10-12 service calls to other technicians.
Also, technicians do get sick during the day and elect to go home prior to completing their route. And of course truck breakdowns, they're mechanical and are subject to breakdowns. This also contributes to reschedules. The last reschedule problem I want to touch on are two man, helper calls. Many service calls require a HELPER to assist in moving appliances or completing the repair.
I have seen the Sears automated scheduling system schedule the primary technician as his first call of the day and schedule the helper as his 3rd or 4th call of the day. This frustrates the technicians and at times both the primary and helper never get together and the service call is rescheduled. It is the responsibility of the primary technician to contact the Regional Routing Center to find out who his helper is, then he must call the helper to see when they will be available to meet. Helper calls can be ugly to both technicians and customers.
Now, customers may or may not get a telephone call notifying them their scheduled appointment, the one they have been waiting for all day, will need to be rescheduled. Technicians will not make that dreaded phone call to the customer and frankly, it's not their responsibility. The responsibility to notify the customer that the technician is running late or their service call must be rescheduled, falls on the "Router" at the Regional Routing Center. And frankly these Routers get beat up by angry customers, who Sears once again disappointed.
Each Regional Routing Center has a Router, this person is assigned a group of technicians and monitors their route throughout the day. Technicians can contact their Router when they need to notify them of potential problems with their route, if they get sick and are going home or when their truck breaks down. The Router also contacts the Tech Manager with technician issues and problems. Technicians will also contact their Tech Manager directly throughout the day with problems and issues.
Another problem that frustrates customers are product replacements. As I stated earlier, even a brand new appliance in the customer's home will not be replaced, if it can be repaired. Sears and A&E are in the "Repair" business, not the replacement business.
I have spoken to angry customers who have a Protection Agreement on their appliance who will argue to have the appliance replaced, because the price of the repair is more than the replacement cost. Customers must remember, Sears is in this business to make money. Technicians are paid by the hour and installed parts cost about half of what a customer is charged for the parts.
An In-Warranty replacement of a product is charged back to the manufacturer, a product replacement under a Protection Agreement is charged back to the District. Each District maintains a monthly product replacement budget, but will do everything in their power to repair the product and not replace the product. For this reason I have seen customers wait many weeks for a part that was on back-order to arrive, rather than replace the product. The only sure way to obtain a product replacement is, if it needs a part which is "NLA"--No Longer Available.
It is the responsibility of the Tech Manager to forward all replacements for approval. Replacement approvals are generally reviewed by the District's Operations Manager. The operations manager has responsibility for the district's budget as it relates to product replacements, technician's tools, supplies, safety equipment, etc. Once the operations manager approves the replacement, the retail store is sent a replacement authorization, generally by e-mail and the customer is notified to come to the store.
Another complaint customers have are that the technician wasn't familiar or knowledgeable with the product they were supposed to diagnose and repair. I have already touched on the fact that some technicians cross train in another industry and do not possess the same product knowledge or experience as the technician who works on these products exclusively.
Years ago, manufacturers had technical representatives who would visit regional training centers and train technicians on new products. Manufacturers have stopped this practice of providing field training. Sears now has employed the practice of providing Computer Based Training (CBT'S) disks. Technicians don't like the CBT's as it doesn't provide the same level of training by hands-on instructor training. Also, the time a Tech Manager can allot to training is minimal, at best.
Tech Managers generally have "Ready Meetings" with their techs. Ready Meetings are designed to give the Tech Manager the opportunity to get his/her technicians together to disseminate information, procedures, handouts, or update their SST's. Many Ready meetings can only be scheduled for 1 hour, because remember, everything revolves around "Productivity" and a technician cannot be productive if he's attending a meeting. Many Ready Meetings are held for mandatory procedural education by Sears.
Procedural education has absolutely nothing to do with product troubleshooting and repair. I can safely say many of the technicians get their training while under fire at the customer's home. Many new appliances technicians are sent to repair, they have never even seen before. I have been told by technicians they were embarrassed in front of customers, because they didn't even know how to open up an appliance. At the very best, possibly the technician was given a training CD, but he was never given the adequate time to view it. HAVC technicians at Sears are specialized. They had to go through formal training and have a certification in Freon handling.
Again, Sears does try to hire experienced technicians, but experienced HVAC Techs are very hard to find. Sears will hire an HVAC tech right out of Technical School. Some technical schools are very good, some just teach enough to pass the certification test. Many HVAC technicians do not possess the troubleshooting skills to adequately diagnose and repair a problem the first time or the second or third time. That's why there are so many repeat service calls for the same problem. And this is not just HAVC, this practice runs all industries. Sears will send a new technician out on the road with an experienced tech for maybe, 2-4 weeks of training.
This training focuses mainly on how to operate as a Sears tech on a daily basis, learning how troubleshoot and repair are weak at best. The tech must learn how to operate his SST (Sears Smart Toolbox), this is the metal laptop that each technician uses to order parts, reschedule follow-up service calls and oh yes, to determine your service bill if this was a collect service call. The SST also has product diagrams which show the technician a schematic of product components, which the tech uses constantly.
The technician also has another alternative HELP Hotline, "STACK". STACK (Sears Technical Assistance Center). Also located in Round Rock, Texas is a technical call center, providing additional technical assistance. They have diagrams and microfiche diagrams to assist technicians in the field. But STACK is only as good as the technician is able to clearly communicate the problem. I have myself spoken to STACK and some of the complaints were that the technician wasn't able to clearly articulate the problem.
Parts, let's talk a little about parts. I have been told by technicians and angry customers that when they called the 1-800-4-My-Home, they were told by the call center agent that the technician would have the part on their truck. In fact, there are many parts, hundreds of parts on each service vehicle. But the vehicle cannot carry every part for every model and manufacturer, it's just impossible.
Now there are two possibilities the customer was told the technician would bring the part, either the agent was new and shouldn't have committed that the technician would have the part on the truck or the customer was angry and demanded the technician bring the part with him and the agent agreed, just to end the call. Yes I have heard about both scenarios.
You may wonder why the technician schedules his return service call 10 days out in the future. This is done because of the US Postal Service. Sears knows it takes at least this long to process the order and ship it out. Yes, the part will most likely arrive days prior to your scheduled service date, but to be sure the part does arrive, Sears uses a 10-day lead time, to insure the part arrives. Sears does not want to cancel a scheduled service call because the part did not arrive. (It's a PRODUCTIVITY ISSUE).
And yes, parts can be Emergency ordered, but technicians generally need to obtain permission from their tech manager before emergency ordering a part, why?? Because it is very expensive to emergency ship replacement parts. So who suffers?? The consumer suffers.
Why does it take so long to get someone out to look at my appliance? Well, if it's your refrigerator that's not cooling during your home areas' hottest months; good luck getting a service technician to diagnose your problem. These are the peak periods for "No Cooling" and the technicians are normally swamped with calls. I have seen some customers wait for two weeks for a service call. And on the day of the service call, the tech called out sick and the customer had to be rescheduled.
The period of time, when you call for service and when you can obtain a service date is known by Sears as "State of Service". State of service can be all over the calendar. If you call for service and you are not happy with your appointment, call the retail store and complain. The retail stores have a relationship with the District Service & Repair managers. Often the relationship is strained due to poor service, unhappy and often angry customers. But the retail stores' Brand Central or Operations managers can place some pressure on the district to satisfy the customer.
I think you can now understand, why at times, technicians have such a hard time diagnosing and fixing your appliance the first time and why it takes so long to receive replacement parts. Sears sends inexperienced technicians out in the field and they leave the local Customer Service departments and Tech Managers to do "Damage Control", when they don't or can't fix the product. Believe me, there are way too many "Better Business Bureau" and "Attorney General" complaints reaching Hoffman Estates, than funneling down the respective District Offices.
Let's talk about Technician Productivity a little. Technician Productivity is rated on the number of "COMPLETES PER DAY", not "CALLS HANDLED". There is a distinct difference between the two categories. Completes per day simply means the technician diagnosed and fixed the problem on the same day of the appointment. Calls handled means the technician diagnosed the problem and a part needed to be ordered and a future follow up date needed to be scheduled.
Industry is a term used by Sears to designate the type of work performed by a technician. Sears services multiple industries; IE "Laundry" for Washers and Dryers, "HVAC" for gas and oil boilers and furnaces, Central Air & Window air conditioners, Dehumidifiers, Water Softeners, Reverse Osmosis water filtering systems, Hot Water Heaters, Home Electronics" for tabletop and wall mounted TV's, "Lawn & Garden" garden tractors, snow throwers, power washers etc., and "Refrigeration" for Refrigerators and Freezers, and "Cooking" for stoves, ranges, microwaves, dishwashers.
It is worthy to note, many Sears Technicians cross industries, as many industries are seasonal. A Technician could face a layoff if he didn't expand his skills and cross train in another industry. This is one reason why some technicians aren't as comfortable diagnosing and repairing appliances because they don't repair these appliances on a regular basis.
Sears brags about being certified as an ISO 9001 company. For a manufacturing company, being ISO certified means constantly reviewing the manufacturing process, to cut down on waste and defects. Manufacturing companies strive for ZERO defects. And, if a manufacturing company consistently uses quality materials and processes, that they themselves set forth as the standard, hypothetically, a quality product will be manufactured the same way; day and day and week after week.
But Sears does not have ISO standards for troubleshooting and diagnosing problems, technicians don't have ISO standards for fixing the appliance, right, the first time. Sears does have an ISO Standard which states: the Technician will be in his/her service vehicle and punch in on their SST at 7:25 AM each and every day they are scheduled to work.
Sears does have a standard that states the technician leaves from his driveway at 7:25 AM and drives to his first call of the day, period!! The standard goes on to say that the technician cannot stop on the way to his first call to get a cup of coffee, he can't stop for gas. The technician is not even allowed to call his first call of the day to be sure the customer is home. Plenty of technicians have arrived at their first call to find an empty house. The same standard applies to the technician's last call of the day. The technician can only drive from his last call back to his/her driveway, no stops, not even for gas.
Sears Tech Managers are just as overworked as the Technicians they manage. The Sears Tech Manager who manages his team is part "Manager" and a big part "Detective" and "Enforcer". Sears mandates compliancy from its Technicians and the Tech Manager is the instrument of Enforcement. Sears places more rules and regulations on its technicians than our current day military. Under the umbrella of being "ISO Compliant", Sears mandates their technicians to follow many, many, rules. And frankly, the technician does not have a "Rule Book" to refer to. All the rules must be set in his/her memory.
Tech managers spend too many hours trying to smooth over angry customers and trying to catch technicians doing something they shouldn't be doing. Many Technicians strive to get away with doing less. If a Tech wants to reach his Tech Manager and can't reach them, he will contact another tech manager to forward a message. But if a technician doesn't want to be contacted, he will not answer his cell phone. Then the tech manager has no alternative, but to call him at the customer's home telephone number.
Some Techs will do anything and everything to get out of work and they know how to do it while in the field. Especially at the end of the day, when you need to add an extra call to their route. They will not do it. One last note, there are many knowledgeable and friendly Sears Technicians and many that are not. Think twice about your past experiences with Sears before you purchase another Sears Protection Agreement. I hope I have been able to bring to you some consumer education about the Sears/A&E repair business. And provide you some insight into making an educated decision with your purchasing power.
CALIFORNIA -- Sears is about to lose our repair business, our extended warranty business, and our purchase of appliances, because of the shockingly bad customer service that has cost us so much time and frustration. I have made six telephone calls and my husband has made two just to get an appointment to get our under-warranty washer fixed.
I first called to schedule a non-covered dishwasher to be fixed in the same time block as the washer. I was told that this could not be done because one was under warranty and the other was not. The dishwasher repair was scheduled and I was transferred to someone to schedule the washing machine.
The representative who answered insisted that the washer was NOT under warranty. I suspected that he was talking about a machine I gave away more than two years ago, not the one that my husband bought under the customer number he had before we were married, the model and serial number - and he still insisted it was not under warranty. He also refused to make the appointment for the same time block as the dishwasher.
Next, my husband called about the warranty on the washer; he had paid for the extended agreement and had just confirmed it on his end. He was told to have me cancel the appointments, and reschedule both, to avoid future billing problems because of the warranty. I did this.
But the next guy ALSO insisted that the washer was not under warranty. I gave him the customer number, the washer model and serial number, and our home phone number, but he evidently didn't even bother to look them up. He just kept insisting that we were not under warranty. I rescheduled. Once again, my husband was told that we ARE under warranty on the washer, and he was told to cancel the existing appointments and reschedule or we would have billing problems.
I finally got through to a woman representative who finally agreed to look at the customer number, phone number (we have more than one), and washer model and serial numbers and determined that yes, we ARE under warranty. She confirmed that the original appointments were for the washer I gave away more than two years ago - exactly what I had tried so hard to explain to the two previous representatives. She made an appointment for both the washer (under warranty) and rescheduled the dishwasher repair, so that they would be in the same time block. (Why couldn't the first representative done that?)
The representative then agreed to transfer me to a supervisor so that I could complain about how the other two appointment attempts had been handled; the phone rang and rang and was never answered, and there was no voicemail.
Today, the dishwasher guy showed up. The washer repair guy never did. When I called, I was told that the service had never been ordered. I tried to make a complaint to the supervisor. I was put on hold for more than five minutes, and was then told that the supervisor was in a meeting. I asked for an address to write a written complaint. The representative refused and gave me an 800 number to call for the address. It was the wrong number; it was for business accounts.
They transferred me to a second number, which responded that they were also the wrong number. The second wrong number declined to give me the correct number, claiming that they didn't know it because it was on auto-dial. It was a dead number. I called back. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that I would be called back. That never happened.
The washer is still not fixed. I think it likely that a court would find that Sears has failed to fulfill the extended warranty contract because it has failed to schedule service - in fact, has made such service essentially impossible. It is striking that it will seem so much easier to explain this to a judge than to a Sears representative.