I’ve wanted to get this blog going again for awhile, though I didn’t expect that ill-treatment at the hands of Sears would be the trigger to actually sit down and post. Mind you, I have been blogging elsewhere. But this blog has withered on the vine. After my horrid life-experiences of a few years ago, I’ve not felt comfortable regularly blogging on spirituality or even anything too personal.
I’d like to change that, though. For the brief time that I regularly blogged here (way back in 2007), I enjoyed it, and I hope that my experiences over the past few years have given me a bit more wisdom, and maybe even a few things to write that are actually worth reading.
(But for now, I want to complain about Sears)
Last Thursday, I called Sears to ask about having a window air conditioner installed. The customer service rep assured me that Sears could deliver and install an air conditioner on Saturday and that their contractor would call me Friday to schedule the Saturday delivery.
(He also took my credit card number and charged it for the full amount of the unit + the installation fee.)
Friday brought no call from the installer. I contacted Sears and was told that the installer would call between 6 pm and 9 pm (my order taker did not inform me of this). So I waited, but there was no call. I called Sears back, got an apology and the rep told me that she had left a voicemail and an email message for the installer and that he should call me between 7:30am and 9:30am the next day.
Saturday morning. No call.
So I call Sears and the customer service rep tells me she can’t reach my installer. She suggests that he may be driving to the store to pick up the air conditioner and that I should call back at 10:30 am to get his status (Sears stores don’t open until 10 am). At 10:30 I called Sears back. Again.
(Then things started getting weird.)
The customer service rep put me on hold and called the installer. He got back with me and told me that he had “a little bit of bad news”: Apparently my air conditioner was sent to a store that is some distance from both my home and the installer’s office. The installer asked Sears to re-route the unit to a nearby store. Unfortunately, a Sears representative sent the air conditioner to New York instead (I live in Chicago). My customer service rep told me that he was going to get a supervisor on the phone to assist in managing this situation.
(I pointed out to the rep that it was supposed to be over 90 degrees Fahrenheit the next day and for much of the week. He was sympathetic.)
After awhile I was transferred to a supervisor. I explained to the supervisor that there is a Sears down the street from where I live and that I was quite sure there were plenty of air conditioners in that store that the installer could pick up on his way to my place. Unfortunately, the supervisor did not agree with my analysis of the situation, and assured me that they were doing what they could to get me an air conditioner. He said he would call me in 30 minutes.
After an hour, I called Sears back. I spoke to three different people before I was connected to the supervisor for my case.
(He said they would have a status update for me on Monday.)
By this point, I’d had enough. I tweeted a plea to Sears. I quickly received a response, asking me to direct message their Twitter team with my phone number. I receive a call from Kiera who is part of their social media support team. She assured me that Sears had opened a case management file for me and contacted the installation supervisor to find out what was going on with my order. She said that the best they could do would be to call me on Monday with a status update. She also offered me my choice of a $100 Sears gift card or 15% off my order. I chose the gift card.
Monday: No call from Sears. I called Kiera at her direct extension and get her voice mail, telling me that she would return my call by the end of the next day.
(She did eventually call me back, on Tuesday, and left a voice mail asking if I had received my gift card. No mention of my air conditioner.)
After not reaching Kiera, I called regular customer service. They tell me that they will have someone call me.
Someone calls me. They’ll deliver my air conditioner on Wednesday. Installer will call me Tuesday night between 6pm-9pm to arrange an appointment.
(Meanwhile, a writing client, concerned about my well-being in the oppressive heat, brings over one of his own spare window units and installs it for me Monday night. Bless him!)
Tuesday night, 9pm…no call.
I called Sears and got a million apologies and the customer service rep’s assurance that she had left voice mail and email messages for the installer. She said that I would receive a call first thing in the morning.
Wednesday morning, 9:30 am, no call.
Once again I call Sears. Customer service representative calls the installer. She gets back on the line and informs me that the air conditioner is not available and that she is going to contact Kiera on my behalf. I told the rep that while I realize that this situation is not her fault, I want to cancel the order. She tells me that she understands and that I’ll have my money back in seven days.
(I’m not holding my breath. But I can contact my debit card company and request a chargeback if I have to.)
In all, I suspect that I’ve spent about four hours on the phone with Sears trying to resolve this issue. I’ve had to wake up early on two different days to receive a phone call that never came. I blocked two days out of my schedule in anticipation of an installation that never happened.
(I’ve also been trying to figure out why Sears is so willing to lose a sale.)
Upon reflection, I think I now understand Sears’ indifference. Their installers are third-party contractors: They aren’t Sears employees. During one of my early calls to Sears, the rep gave me the direct phone number of the installer and I did a reverse search online. The installer’s office is 50 miles from where I live. I suspect, though I do not know for sure, that the installer doesn’t want to make the trip into the city for a single job and is waiting, along with Sears, for several Chicago-proper orders to accumulate before venturing into the metropolis.
Maybe, maybe not. I just wish that Sears had been honest about their inability to do business with me from the get-go.