Protection Agreement and Poor Customer Service
Protection Agreement "Customer Solutions" - Complaint
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Using our protection agreement we contacted Sears and surprisingly was able to get a technician out within a couple of days on 7/30 . . .we have a ten year old Kenmore/manufactured by Frigidaire front loading washer. The technician ordered the parts and was scheduled to come back the following Thurs.
Wed night (voicemail left on a number that we had requested to be changed twice) Sears left an automated message just saying that the appointment needed to be rescheduled but with no explanation as to why. About two hours later and several long holds I found it was because the part was back ordered. After a couple more hours and several other poor customer service performances as I was transferred to several wrong departments I was finally connected with "Technical parts" as opposed to parts and various other departments. In any case, upon my prompting (about an hour hold time) they contacted Frigidaire to find out that the part was on indefinite back order. I was told to call back in a few days.
About this time it was finally shared with me that I could get a rental unit or could be reimbursed for Laundromat. However by this time it was mid August, again as I now see in other reviews why this is not shared up front is beyond me. I have an immunocompromised infant and the laundromat is not an option and if I had known that a rental was an option at the beginning of this process I might have done it; however since we don't have a garage our washer would have to sit in our living room for the month.
Throughout the process I was promised several times I would receive call backs and updates but a manager in the "technical parts department" I believe, explained they are far behind but she once again promised an update on Aug 16th but I didn't receive that update either - although I didn't expect to and I knew that the status would not change - it's a 10 year old part, back ordered by the manufacturer that they looked for 10 days - if you don't find by then - you aren't going to find it but the process is the process and we were resigned to it . . . however I was hoping Sears might redeem itself. Throughout the process I never once have received a call back or an update although I was promised one several times.
What I have learned from this process is that the Sears Protection Agreement is not worth the money and Sears customer service is not up to my standards.
We waited the 21 days that they "look" for a back ordered part and assumed that they would start the replacement process. As expected, they had not started the process and I needed to prompt the process, Sears certainly was not going to initiate the process. I waited on hold another 30 minutes to confirm that they have not found the 10 year old back ordered part. They have started a request to have the case reviewed for replacement - that takes another 3 days after waiting 21.
Given my son's medical condition (documented clinical studies that laundromats are not a good idea for immunocompromised infants I requested that the review be expedited as we had met all the required timelines of the process; however the case can not be reviewed/expedited because the case has just been submitted (would not have happened if I had not called and insisted on the case moving forward and request a replacement after the requisite 21 days for searching for a part without success).
So I will call back tomorrow and request that the case review be expedited since after 21 days they have not been able to find the part and given our medical situation. Finally, I did come across a good customer service agent in the administration benefits department who explained this expediting process to me although she was careful to underscore that she could not promise that it would be expedited so I have little expectation that it will and Sears will wait out the additional 3 days to authorize a replacement. From there I understand it takes another several days to get a review to determine the "amount" of your replacement and for the credit to be available for use at Sears.
So I will call tomorrow as soon as soon as they open to request the case be expedited so hopefully we can actually get our washer replaced before the end of the month. Trying keeping a house/laundry clean which is imperative given my child's situation without a washer . . .
So what have I learned:
- If you have purchased a Sears protection agreement you need to proactively call them every step of the way to make sure that the case is moving along as it should - otherwise nothing will happen
- Best to talk to Benefits Administration as they are the only ones who appear to generally know what goes on (option 4)
- There appears to be communication gaps between customer service, parts, technical parts, benefits administration - so get case numbers as well as names and ID numbers and phone numbers of where you have ended up
- If you have delays in getting your appliance repaired ask about rental ASAP as they certainly won't tell you and they won't make it easy for you
- If a part is back ordered, you need to be on top of moving the case along as they will continue to drag it out. They will definitely push to the contract allowed dates 21 days, I believe it is, for the part to be ordered/on way and an additional 7 days to be delivered to you before considering a replacement case. But I am certain if I had not called today a replacement case would not have been initiated so no the timelines and make your requests
- Don't expect anyone to update you regardless of who you talk to and who promises what
- Make sure to get names and ID#s of everyone you talk to
But most of all, Sears should revisit it's protocols, it's customer service and should consider the damage such customer service has on the overall brand. We are entitled to a replacement washer given this saga and we will have to purchase at Sears but I am fairly certain that is the last thing I will purchase at Sears and if I could get a credit somewhere else I certainly would.
Now I understand that we are entitled to a credit equivalent to the present day value of a comparable washer - high efficiency, front load washer which I assume should be substantial but we shall see how that process unfolds - I understand that once a case is approved for replacement it could take another few days to have the case reviewed for the amount of the credit.
As to the customer service, at one point along the process I was put on hold for an entire hour, the agent never came back to check on me, never suggested another option, never did anything. I called on a second phone line and while that agent could not get an answer she promised a call back from the "parts department" of course I am still waiting for that call back but at least she tried. I have since learned that the technical parts department is way behind on their call backs - hence - you will need to be proactive to keep things moving along as I am sure a month could easily turn into two months if you wait for Sears.
Given the time spent on this replacement process and the hassle of managing without a washer for a month, it would have been less expensive to just go get a new washer (certainly not at Sears).