Sadly, we are joining the ranks of dissatisfied customers who will likely never purchase another major appliance from Sears. While our story of a repeatedly botched delivery isn’t as horrendous as others that fill these pages, it was enough for us.
We purchased a new top-freezer refrigerator (model 68032) from Sears at the Solomon Pond Mall in Marlborough, MA during the Presidents’ Day sale, taking advantage of a good sale price and free delivery. Our explicit instructions were to ensure that the door be reversed, with the hinge on the left. This is noted, for some reason, on our sales receipt as “left vent”. Salesman Bob assured us that this was standard practice and our fridge would arrive as described. We paid $10 to schedule the delivery the following Sunday so that we wouldn’t have to miss work.
Sunday comes, all our food goes into laundry baskets on the rear deck, and the fridge arrives on schedule in sealed factory packing. When the packing is removed, it is clear that the door has not been reversed. The delivery guys profess ignorance and even show me their paperwork, which has no mention of the door reversal. A quick call to salesman Bob and some heated discussion back and forth between Bob and the delivery guys reveals that they cannot or will not swap the door in the field. Bob advises me to accept the delivery anyway, and they will “get a team out there today to take care of it”. I accept- after all, my old fridge is cleaned out and my food is sitting outdoors awaiting a new home.
As you can guess, a follow-up call to home delivery reveals that they can’t send a team of technicians until Wednesday and have no record of Salesman Bob’s request. Wednesday is no good, as I am out of town during the week and can’t have any workers in our house until the following weekend. We move our food into the new fridge to wait out the week, during which we have to stand in our family room to open the refrigerator door. Through Home Delivery, I request a call from the warehouse manager to see if this can be straightened out in advance, and am told he will contact me within 24 hours. He never calls.
Saturday comes, and another delivery team arrives. These are not “technicians from the warehouse”, as evidenced by the fact that they have no idea how to swap the door. After 45 minutes of repeated attempts to jam hinges in new orientations, pounding on the handles to remove them (need to pull out the screws first, guys) and a wide assortment of rusty tools scattered all over my nice granite counters and hardwood floors, they give up. I am told that this door is not reversible without parts they don’t have, a claim that is clearly wrong based on the user’s manual I am holding throughout the process. They finally decide to reverse the door back to its original position and depart. The fridge door is scratched up and dirty, and there is now a “clunk” midway through its range of motion that wasn’t there before.
I go ballistic on my only point of contact, poor salesman Bob, who to his credit arranges to have a replacement fridge with the door on the right side delivered first thing Sunday morning. Home delivery, who had previously offered me a $100 gift card to compensate me for my trouble, recants their $100 and instead offers me $50, as I am now scheduled for an exchange and they “can’t find any record of the $100 offer in their documentation”. Pay attention here- the difference between an inconvenience and the acceptance of a damaged thousand-dollar product, to Sears, is $50.
Sunday dawns, and we and our overnight houseguests get a phone call at 6:45AM (!!) from the delivery team, who is on the way. They announce their arrival with a loud screech, as the Verizon fiber optic cable that connects our phone, internet, alarm system, and cable TV is ripped off our house by the delivery truck. It is now lying on the ground with the loose end held by a puzzled looking delivery guy. A quick call to Verizon confirms that we should not accept their offer to “come back and hook it up later”, as the standard home delivery bag of rusty tools does not contain the specialized tools necessary to reconnect a high-bandwidth fiber optic cable. We are advised that no one from Verizon can come till Tuesday- so 3 days with no internet, phone, cable, or alarm system. On the plus side, the fridge has the door hinge on the correct side and is installed smoothly.
As I type this, I am sitting at home on Tuesday March 4 while the FIOS guys work outside (I'll upload after we are reconnected). Between the 3 delivery attempts, a lot of back-and-forth on the phone, and this FIOS appointment, I am guessing that I am out about 9 hours of time, a $10 weekend delivery up-charge, and $15 worth of lost service from the internet, phone, alarm, and cable for the past 3 days. So that $50 gift card equates to about $3 per hour for my time, effort, and inconvenience.
The kicker is that there are so many easy things Sears could have done to make this right:
The original delivery should have noted that the door needed to be reversed
The warehouse manager should have returned the 2 promised calls that never came
The discount should have been better- $50 is pretty meager
Sadly, we are pretty much done with Sears because of this incident. The benefit of good prices is completely negated by the lousy delivery and bad customer service. The store blames the delivery service, the delivery service blames the store- at the end of the day, Sears' name is on both of them, and the experience reflects badly on Sears in general. We will focus on local merchants who care about their customers, and when our Kenmore stove, dishwasher, and fridge stop working, we’ll be buying replacements somewhere else.
Also, if anyone wants a good deal on a $50 Sears gift card, please PM me.
Monetary Loss: $150.