I placed an order online with Sears.com, put some tools on layaway. I thought the payments were to be made every month, but they were to be made every two weeks. I got a notice that I needed to make a payment, so I made a double payment. It showed my account as being caught up and fine, I received an e-mail saying my account was fine, I had two payments left, one due in two weeks, the final payment in a month.
Thirty minutes later I got a message saying my layaway was cancelled and I should contact the local store for a refund of the first payment and the double payment, less a $5 fee. I went to the store and they told me I wouldn't get that kind of e-mail because the local store would not issue the credit. I used a store computer, had them print out the e-mail. They got a manager, he explained it was handled at the national level, but the funds came from the local store's account, and I could get a check for the amount I had paid in less $5 within 10 days. I asked why they couldn't just credit it back through PayPal, since I paid through PayPal, they said they could not do that.
I asked for store credit. He said the check was already being processed, they could not issue store credit.
On the tenth day, I got a check for just under $7, less than 10% of what it should have been. I contacted the national level, they told me to call the local store. I called the local store, they told me I needed to talk to the officde that issued the check and, despite me telling them I already had, they put me back through to the national level in mid-sentence. National level re-connected me to the department manager, who told me the store manager was not in. He said he would write a "hot ticket" and promised to call me back within 48 hours. Four days later, I had heard nothing, so I called him. He never apologized for not calling me back, said he didn't know why I got that small check, and said I should call the national level.
I told him I had, I was tired of playing monkey in the middle, and wanted someone to have the stones to step up and say "This is not how you should be treated, we don't do business this way at Sears, and I'll make the call for you." He said he could not do that, I needed to talk to them. Then he quoted some crazy amount, saying I should only get my second payment back, not my first payment. I got mad. He kept telling me the local store could do nothing with payments made through "PenPal" (he couldn't even say "PayPal") and I was the one who chose to pay that way. So it was my fault I used a payment method they advertise, basically. Shame on me for using PayPal. How dare I. Because I did that, he couldn't help me.
He told me he would have the manager call me when the manager got back from lunch. Two hours later, nothing.
If you pay online for an order, you put yourself in a position to deal with the national, website level, but if you want to pick it up locally because you want to use layaway or you want to save on shipping, you put yourself in a position to deal with your local store. So what happens, apparently, is both can feel free to say "I can't help you - call the other level" and leave you stuck in the middle.
Where is one single person who will stick up for you? I couldn't find any. I started with a customer service representative online, worked my way to duty and department managers at the store, and all I get is people telling me "We can't help you, you need to go back and make the other side help you." I get promises that are not kept, and no apology for not keeping them. When i promise to call someone, if I forget, or can't, or I am late doing it, I apologize profusely because my customers matter. But customers do not matter to Sears.
Shame on the management at Sears! Maybe if they remembered it was hard-working Americans spending the money they worked for, and that each and every penny we spend matters, they would be better off financially.
If you are determined to do business with Sears, I encourage you not to use layaway, and don't pick up the item at the local store, as you'll fall into a canyon they created, they know exists, but, in my experience, all you'll get is a bunch of people telling you to get yourself out, each acting as though they are angry you chose to do business the way you did. And the fact that they are so willing to leave me in that canyon is a commentary on Sears attitude towards their customers. Don't expect excellent customer service from a company that will so quickly leave you stuck in a pit they dug.
As a side note, even one of the customer service clerks I spoke to said she had the same problem, and she said, basically, "It happened to me, and I work here, and I couldn't get help. So good luck."
They don't even take care of their own - think they'll take care of you? I wouldn't count on it.
Product or Service Mentioned: Sears Shipping Service.