Monday, November 17, 2008

Sears Refrigerator Saga

So I recently bought a new refrigerator. It was delivered two weeks ago this past Saturday. It's really pretty, all shiny and new, much bigger than the old one, make crushed ice! Good times.

Not so fast. It only took me about two days to figure out that the fridge part was not cooling very well (they told me to give it 24 hours to reach maximum cooling once it was all plugged in and such.) The freezer, on the other hand, made the ice cream harder than bricks. So by Sunday night when I was still pulling room temperature beer out of the fridge, I knew something was wrong. I brought home my thermometer (from my classroom - bought it when the a/c wasn't working...) and I stuck it in the fridge. I left it in overnight and, well, after a couple of days moving the thermometer around and monitoring things, bottom line is that the fridge was not cooling below 45 at best, 50 most of the time. That is not okay. It is supposed to be 37.

I called service. After a recording, push this, punch that, speak Indian to this, I finally got a human who knew a few English words. I got a service appointment for this past Saturday (TWO weeks to the day after original delivery.)

Service guy shows up. He's nice, friendly, works on the thing for an hour. He checks the temperature, he says a vent is out of line. He aligns the vent. He checks it again. Then he replaces the thermostat. Checks it again. No go. He finally empties the freezer and takes out the back inside panel and decides that the problem all along has been a wire that was keeping the fan from turning. He moves the wire, puts it all back together, tells me it's fine and leaves.

I wait another 24 hours. I figure since he had the doors all open for just over an hour I need to give it time to cool back down. By Sunday I was back on the phone with service. Explained the deal, they can't come until WEDNESDAY of this week. *Sigh*. Okay.

Today I get home (today is MONDAY) and Sears is oh so sorry that I missed our service appointment and would I please call and schedule another one. WHAT!?

I call the recording again. Punch this, hit that, speak Indian, get a person who knows four words in English ("I can't do that".) No, no, Mrs. Austin, your appointment was today. I don't know what they told you. So sorry. We be there Thursday.

NO NO NO! I asked for a supervisor. She puts me on hold for two forevers with some godawful static covered piano concerto assailing my ears until she finally comes back on the line to tell me a supervisor will call me back. Oh sure. I'm going to hold my breath, okay?

Obviously the supervisor never calls me back. I called again after 2.5 hours. Punch this, hit that, get a woman that speaks ten words in English. She puts me on hold forever and finally a female supervisor comes on. I told her my story, (I was nice!) and she told me they can't come until Thursday. I told her then in that case they can pick this piece of garbage up and bring me a new one. "Oh no we can't do that. You have to have a minimum of four service calls before we can do that." Excuse me?

So at this point, Steve is all, "Come on, we're going to Sears!" Off we go. Now, the lady that sold me the fridge was so nice when I bought it. I liked her a lot. And she was there this evening when I got there. Actually, as we were walking in, we passed an official looking lady with an ID around her neck and she's like, "Hi, how are y'all tonight?" as we passed I said sort of under my breath, "Not happy!" Darn if she didn't hear me and she stops, turns around and is all, "What's wrong!?" I told her my deal. She was very sympathetic and nice. I told her I was going to talk to the lady that sold it to me because she had been nice I thought she could help me. She said, "Ok but if she doesn't let me know, and I will!"

So we find my lady, tell her the deal and she PROMISES to check it out. She gets printouts, gets on the phone, gets a manager (the same lady I met coming in), makes some calls, and by god, she's gonna fix it. New fridge coming Wednesday (as of now.) She said, "Look, you have a 90 day return policy if you aren't happy with the product - it says so on the back of your ticket." I'm not naming her here because I don't want to get her in trouble. But she promised me she will take care of it.

In this day and age when the economy SUCKS and stores and companies are folding right and left, struggling to stay alive, it blows my mind that Sears can be so cavalier about customer service. The folks in the store KNOW how competitive it is, but he folks in India at the call-center could care less. By the time I got to the store I was ready for them to pick the thing up and I'd get one from Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, anywhere.

If my girl comes through, I'm buying her a Christmas present and writing a letter to everyone from the CEO down to her immediate supervisor. Sears needs to know that they lose customers by poor service and poor response, but keep customers by caring about them as my girl seems to. Her attitude was all, "Oh no, we're going to fix this!"

Stay tuned for this space on Wednesday to see how it washes out!


Mary Frances Archer said...

Sears is a huge conglomerate that doesn't care about you or any other customer. I know. I worked at Countrywide in complaints - no one cares.


I'm bitter.

Anyway - good luck! get some ice chests in the meantime. SAVE THE BEER!


Anonymous said...

good luck w/ the fridge!

a big pet peeve of ours is when we spend a lot of money and then the sales person offers to sell us a service agreement. service should be part of the purchase price. we've never bought a service agreement and so far we've never had to have one.

when we got a new washer and dryer a few years ago, we looked all over des moines...menards, sears, etc. we decided to buy locally at the appliance store in mt. ayr. the purchase price came w/ a 5 year warrantee, delivery and set up, taking the old appliances, and all the things (vents, hoses, etc) needed for the setup. the price difference wasn't that much higher than the prices in des moines. des moines stores offered free delivery for a 45 mile (or something???) radius. that left us out of the free delivery offer so we'd had to go back w/ a pickup and haul the w/d home.

a service repairman from the same appliance store in mt. ayr repaired our fridge when it died a year ago. a new fan and a good cleaning put it back as good as new! and it cost under $100 for parts and labor!

you can't beat good old hometown service!!!