Copy of my letter sent to Bruce Johnson @ Sears:
I am writing this letter to formally, in writing, indicate my severe disappointment with my recent experience with Sears Customer Service Department regarding the repair of my Sears Kenmore Washer.
In March 2007, I needed to purchase a washer and dryer. After spending much time in reviewing brands and appliance stores, I chose to purchase a Sears Kenmore at your Los Altos, Long Beach store. I purchased the “upper end” Kenmore appliance which I was told was the best washer and dryer on the market. My experience in purchasing my appliances at Sears was very pleasant as was the salesclerk and the gentleman who came to my home to delivery and set up my appliances.
Just one and a half years later, the hot water would not come out in my washer. I couldn’t believe that in such a short time my washer would malfunction. I promptly called Sears and scheduled an appointment for a repairman to come to my home to determine the problem. I chose to use Sears for my repair needs thinking you would provide the best customer service and would be able to easily repair my Sears Kenmore washer. I was wrong. This has been one of my worst experiences of incompetence and deceit with a service repair company.
On October 23, 2008 a Sears repairman came to my home and after taking apart my washing machine, he said that the timer was broken. I expressed my dismay that the washer wasn’t even two years old and already it had a broken part. I was told that the parts are made of plastic and the quality is not as good as it used to be. (Note my prior Maytag washer and dryer lasted over 15 years.) I was given the option of ordering a new or refurbished part and after speaking with the repairman he recommended the refurbished part saying a new part isn’t necessarily any better and costs significantly more. The repairman also recommended my buying a Sears service warranty guarantee since it was his belief that my Kenmore would most likely have more problems in the future. I was upset to hear that my washer would fail again and reluctantly accepted the repairman’s suggestion. I paid for the service call, refurbished part and extended warranty for $252.28 with my Visa credit card. My washer was put back together and I was told that it would keep working (as it had before he came out) but the washer would continue to have only warm or cold water wash capability. I was told the earliest anyone could come out to put in the timer was November 1st.
The next morning, October 24th I went to use my washer and it would not work at all. I immediately called your customer service department to ask that someone come out immediately to fix my washer so that it would (with only warm or cold water temperatures) work until the timer was installed. I have a family of four and do not have the time or money to go to the laundry mat to wash my clothes. Besides it was your repairman who broke my machine so now it would not work at all. My experience summarized:
First off, calling your customer service department line is not an easy task. You go through a phone button excursion of sorts just trying to reach a live voice to speak with. There is no direct line to call, just a myriad of options and buttons to press on the telephone. During my calls I got disconnected 3 times while being put on hold by a customer service representative to verify information about my call.
I “spoke” with Bill, Suzie, Anna? (an unrecognizable name), and Armando asking that a repairman come out to my house to at least get my washer to work as it did before your repairman broke it. Each of these customer service people assured me that someone would call me back quickly to schedule a follow up appointment that day (October 24) to get my washer working. NEVER did I receive a call back and I had to keep calling. At about 5 pm that day I called again and spoke to Brenda. Brenda said that looking through her records it appeared that no one had input my request in the computer for service. She said that since it was 5pm I should call first thing Saturday morning and that certainly Sears, “for their best customer”, could arrange for a repairman to fix my machine that day. She assured me that my problem would be taken care of immediately on Saturday morning.
Friday night I had to go to the laundry mat to frantically get some items washed as I was having company on Saturday. It cost me $6.00 just to get my items washed.
On Saturday morning, October 25th I spoke to Kim and while on hold again was disconnected. Then after being on hold for over 10 minutes I spoke with Anna who indicated that there was nothing that could be done on Saturday and that I would have to wait until October 30th before anyone could come out to my house. I shared with both Kim and Anna my severe frustration of being told on Friday by a multitude of customer service representatives that I would receive a call back and never did. I also told them that my washer was broken by the Sears repairman, and I could not do any laundry at all. I needed someone immediately to fix my machine and told them that I was promised by Brenda that this would happen, if I called first thing on Saturday morning. I then asked to speak with a supervisor and now after waiting 20 minutes spoke to Andrea. She was not very sympathetic and said the best she could do was to get someone to my house “maybe” by October 30th. After continuing to repeat my story and beg Andrea to send someone out I was told there was nothing she could do but once again, someone would call me back to schedule a follow up appointment.
Now frantic and mid morning I called an independent service company “A 1 Speedy Appliance” and they came out promptly. After taking apart my washing machine the independent service man said that the Sears repairman had disconnected by reconnect lid switch and that was why I could not use my washer. He confirmed that I needed a new timer and said to buy a refurnished timer was a waste of money. He also said that the Kenmore washer is known for falling apart after just a short time period. I had to pay $65.00 service charge just for A 1 Speedy Appliance to reconnect my washer that Sears broke. No surprise, I received NO follow up call on Saturday from anyone at Sears Customer Service.
On October 26th I spoke to Dennis to cancel my November 1st appointment to install the timer since I decided to proceed with A 1 Speedy Appliance, given the shoddy service and lies I experienced with Sears. I also asked Dennis to credit my Visa credit card account the $252.28 since I was canceling my repair and given the fact that the Sears repairman broke my washer, I told him I should not have to pay the Sears service call of October 23rd. Dennis said he couldn’t help me and transferred me to a Sears specialist. I then spoke to Roland who said I could not get a credit to my account UNTIL I received the timer which was coming by UPS. Once I received the timer I would have to call Sears again to get instructions on how to return the part and then I could get a credit card refund. I again asked Roland to cancel my appointment scheduled for 11/1 as I was having A 1 Speedy Appliance install a new timer.
The Sears refurbished timer came by UPS on Wednesday October 29th and on November 1st was picked up by another Sears repairman who ironically had come to fix my washer. The Sears repairman NEVER received the call from your customer service department to cancel the follow up service appointment.
I received my VISA card statement in the mail and have noticed that Sears has a charge of $252.28. Clearly while Sears received my timer part, no one bothered to credit my account.
I realize this letter is very long. In summary I have spoken to over 9 people who represent Sears and got nowhere but severe frustration and complete disappointment with Sears customer service. No one ever called me back. On October 24th I lost an entire day of work waiting at home for a promised call back from Sears that never came; plus the time I had to spend that entire day and next talking with your customer service representatives. After this experience I will never buy another appliance from Sears. I will never use Sears for any appliance repairs and will make sure that my family and friends are aware of the horrible service I have received. I am also forwarding a copy of this letter to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and to my Visa card company. Looking at the BBB website, my experience with Sears hit the major points they discuss with reasons to file a complaint.
• selling practices you think are deceptive or otherwise improper
• a guarantee or warranty that was not honored
• unsatisfactory service after your purchase
• credit or billing problems
• the company's failure to perform as it agreed to, either orally or in writing
I am asking for the following:
(1) Refund/credit my VISA the entire amount of my Sears bill of $252.28. This includes the initial Sears service call that resulted in my having a completely broken washer. Attached is a copy of my statement.
(2) A payment from Sears in the amount of $65.00 which was the amount I had to pay to A-1 Speedy Appliance Company for their first service charge to reconnect the lid switch, which your Sears repairman disconnected which rendered my washer completely unusable. Quite frankly, Sears should also pay me the $6.00 for the laundry services I was forced to use while waiting for Sears to contact me.
I am gravely disappointed with my experience at Sears and sincerely hope you can revamp your customer service department. I would appreciate an immediate credit or check of $323.28 for the above costs to either my VISA account or via check sent directly to me. Mr. Johnson, thank you for your prompt time and attention in fixing this problem immediately.