Sears - Rude staff, laying blame on customer NO apologies for gift receipt they LOST, Refused to reissue
Not the first time ordering through the Sears catalogue, but definetely will be the last. Ordered by phone exercise equipment, and asked for gift receipt to be enclosed as it was a gift. Staff reassured me it would be included. Didn't worry about it as didn't have issues in the past with previous purchases.
Arrive at Kingsway store to pick up item yesterday. Waited for catalogue rep to issue cash to an employee for a till, and while she acted as switchboard. Eventually once she finished catching up on gossip, we went through the process of paying for the item. When I asked for teh gift receipt, her reply was "you're out of luck, I can't give one to you unless its attached to your item". I replied, "it shouldn't be a problem and it should be on there as I specifically requested one" Went to the back, item's box was torn, crushed and in generally rough shape.
I figured its exercise equipment.. as a gift, it won't look pretty, but as long as the equipment inside is sound and no missing pieces, I can live with that, though I wasn't particularly happy since it now looked like a returned item instead of a brand new item (did not voice this to the rep). Unfortuantly, no gift receipt was found on or around the box. We were planning to give gift away the next day. We suggested could we return item, and have it resold to us so we may have a gift receipt. Told flatly "No, I can't do that for you because I can't issue you a gift receipt. You can't return it." When we explined situation that item was a gift, rep replied we could call the Catalogue customer service to have them mail us one. Ok, If that was the way store policy was. When I asked for a receipt, the staff rep pointed at the mailing label on the box and said "thats your receipt, you don't get a paper one." Ok... I've always got one in the past, but okay, maybe that's changed too. I politely asked for the phone number, so we could follow through with her solution. Staff rep refused, replied "its the same number you called when you placed the order", and walked into the back of the warehouse. Offput by her behavior, we figured, ok, we'll just look up the number ourselves and get Sears to send us a gift receipt. Pretty simple request... right? WRONG!
Called customer service. Brief apology from switchboard staff when I reported catalogue rep rude, but whatever, purpose of call was to get gift receipt mailed to me, and the world is right again. Put on hold a while after I got transferred (expected that). When I stated to customer service rep that the store rep informed me I could have gift receipt mailed to me, I was told "No we can't do that. The order should have went through as a ship it as a gift, not with your name on it as the customer".
I replied I made it quite clear it was a gift, that I needed a gift receipt, and I was not informed it was a different process (your problem, not mine... its just a gift receipt whats the big deal? I typically don't tell people how to do their jobs when I order things online, why should I have to start now?). In the past, if I told them it was a gift, a gift receipt was issued. Regardless, could they just mail me a gift receipt because I needed to give the gift tomorrow, and I can always give the gift receipt to my friend when it came in. The rep then back tracked and stated "No, we can't do that because our system doesn't allow for it".
Then why was it offered as a solution then by the store staff then? I'm not doing this for kicks, I have better things to do with my time. Her solution was if I wanted a gift receipt, I had to return the item (directly contraditing the store rep - she said I couldn't), reorder it, and have them resend it out. She would also require the name, address etc of the gift receipient. Not a viable solution since the gift was required the next day. A brief silence ensued after I reiterated I was planning to give the gift tomorrow.
I wanted to pick it up and have it wrapped in time for a birthday gift. I didn't want my friend forced to pick up the item on their own time, and save them a trip... thus why the item was in the trunk of my car. I asked the customer service rep if she can just do the paper work on her end and just send me the gift receipt. In the past, it was pretty simple for any store rep to go to a till and print out a gift receipt. I was then told no, the system doesn't allow for it and the rep implied I should have known their catalogue policies - "we dont issue gift receipts for catalogue items". Really? Did that just change for the 5 minutes I was one the phone with the rep? There IS a GIFT option online, I clearly stated it was a GIFT and stated quite clearly I required a gift receipt when I placed the order, reassured by the rep at the time it would be an issue and one would be included... and now I get BLAMED because they lost the gift receipt, and are hiding behind "a policy change" that they don't issue gift receipts period, and I really should have known all of this when I placed the order despite noone informing me till NOW? AND they can't give me one despite the store rep saying I can get one mailed to me? Why the run around? Do I have a sign on me that says please make this process as convoluted as possible and contradict ourselves at every level? Apparently yes.
I mildly replied that they should do a better job of clarifying the policies to customers when they place their orders so things get put into the system properly to begin with - let the customer know when they place the order, especially when the customer clearly states its a gift... this would avoid unpleasant situations like this one now. Her reply was a vague not all staff know the policies, and my only route was to return it, re-order it and have it re-sent and have my friend pick it up.
It was like talking to a defensive brick wall. What part of the store told me I "can't return it and cannot get a gift receipt" do you not understand? What is the point of trying to get a gift receipt if my friend is forced to go out of their way to pick up the item themselves? If the store refuses and says to call you to mail out a gift receipt, and you're telling me no, I have to return everything and wait a few weeks for the time to be shipped back... we're all running around in a nice frustrating little circle. I'm NOT going to play this game. She then proceeded to ask me what I wanted to do, so I told her I'll decide later.
From a simple request (AND I never mentioned the fact the box was heavily damaged), this has turned into a "its your fault for ordering a gift and asking for a gift receipt when we don't give them out". Well excuse me for resonabley assuming that would be communicated to me at the time of purcase, and assuming a simple request would be accomadated since gift receipts were given in the past for phone and online orders, and that if I was reassured a gift receipt would be included and not be a problem, common sense would dictate one would be included, and one would be reissued when it was "lost".
I have spent thousands of dollars in the past at Sears, being happy with the customer service and care whether it be snow blowers, appliances, roofing, repairs or furnishings and out of principle, I cetainly will never again. Neither will my friends and family, many who are building or just moved into new homes and will be making big purchases. We can and will take our business elsewhere where we'll be treated fairly where black is black and white is white... and not as a ping pong ball to be bounce back and froth nilly ***. I put things into quotes because you can and should go back through your recorded phone conversations. Could the customer service agent have salvaged the situation? Yes. Did she? Apart from a scripted I understand how you are frustrated sentance, there was no apology:
-for not informing me no gift certificates can be issued when I placed the order
-for an error on their part since I was told not only when I placed the order, but from the store catalague staff I can get it reissued by calling
In short No. She only ended up eascalating things by trying to blame the customer. Hence this rather long tirade posted online for the world to see. I apologize to readers as this seems like a minor request - it really is JUST a gift receipt. But its the principle. Customer service is not giving customers a run around and then blaming them. That's ludicrious and absolutely ridiculous.
Its sad to see that customer service at the catalogue area go down the tubes. I'm sad to paint all the staff at Sears the same way, because I'm sure its only a few rotten apples in the bunch. Senior staff influence new staff. But you had your chance when I had to experience not one frustrating experience, but two for a simple request - only to be taken for a ride... at your staffs (mis)direction.
Train your staff. Customer service counts believe it or not.
Rot is insidious and it spreads. As does word of mouth.