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On 7 April 2011 I visited the Bolingbrook, IL Sears Store (200 North Weber, Store #5702) to purchase a rototiller that Sears had on sale. When I went to pay the cashier requested my phone number. I explained to her that I do not give out my phone number and that it is personal information. She stated that I could not purchase the product without giving her a phone number. Because I consider my phone number to be a private matter I did not find this to be an acceptable response. I asked for the on-duty store manager (Rick) who basically insisted the same thing.

Thinking that this was just a matter of the cashier needing something to fill in a blank on her cash register I told her to use any number. She would not. I then gave her a number to use, which she would not accept. Rick, the store manager agreed with her that she could not accept the number I had provided. Overhearing what was transpiring, another employee came over. She told the cashier to "just put in any number, that this was done all the time" and that there were many people who did not like to provide private information like their phone number.

Finally, they accepted the number I provided to them. I thought we were

over the hurdle, only to then have Rick insist that I was now no longer

eligible to obtain a standard warranty for the rototiller I was

purchasing. Basically, no phone number, no warranty. I explained that

I would be happy to register my warranty online or by mail, but he

insisted that was not an option.

I must say that the way I was treated at Sears was terrible. I

know that I am not the only person who values their privacy and personal

information. I also know that Sears' system, and that of many other

companies much larger than Sears, can easily be hacked into,

compromising customer databases. In fact, just recently I received a

notice from Capital One that their marketing vendor, Epsilon, had their

system compromised, releasing my name and private email address and that

of millions of customers. In the last month Sony's site was breached twice, releasing 24.6 million subscribers' info and credit card data. So, everyone should have legitimate fears that any private information they provide to Sears or others can over time become compromised by these ever occurring breaches.

Even forgetting the private nature of such information, one could only

extend Sears' stated store policy to imply that anyone who does not have a

phone number, such as someone who recently moved or are in the process

of changing phones cannot purchase their products and obtain a warranty. And I say products, because although I was purchasing a rototiller, I suspect if I had been purchasing a new refrigerator, dishwasher or their Utility Mate portable trailer, (each of which could be an indication of someone moving who may not have an active phone number ) I would have been subjected to the same treatment. And, to make matters worse, the rototiller was a gift for a relative, so registering a warranty with me would not have even been correct!

In this day of economic downturn one would think that a company like

Sears would be happy to make a sale like this. Obviously, I

must be mistaken. However, in his February 2011 letter to its

Shareholders, Sears Holdings Chairmen Mr. Lampert noted that "2010 was

another challenging year for Sears Holdings. Our financial results

remain at unacceptable levels, and we are working to drive better

performance in both the short and long term". Perhaps if Mr. Lampert

knew what was happening at the customer level he would realize where a

gaping hole lies.

I have contacted Sears Customer Service numerous times, looking for feedback on their ill advised Privacy Policy, and to figure out how I can get my warranty. So far, I have received 3 canned responses from them that indicate that they didn't even bother reading the actual complaint.

I will continue trying to get an acceptablre replay from Sears, both on the warranty and on their poor policies. But in the mean time I guess we should all assume that with Sears, NO PHONE NUMBER, NO WARRANTY!

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I had a similar experience at the Sears in the West Knoxville, TN mall tonight (12/10/2011). All I had were two pairs of pants that I was going to pay for with a debit card, and the cashier refused to finish the transaction without me giving my personal phone number. Thankfully, I hadn't swiped my card yet so I just left without the pants, because there are plenty of other places to shop that don't require me to give out my personal information.


Crikey. Many places ask for a phone number when you purchase something, including fast food delivery places.

If you lose your receipt, and don't provide a valid phone number, you're basically screwed. Plus, a phone number is not linked to your credit card (hard to believe!) so stop banging on about Sony getting hacked and credit card details being obtained - it's not the same situation.

Personally, I'm glad I didn't have to deal with you. It's people like you that make my job that much more difficult when it doesn't need to be.


I can see it now, in 18 months DAK will be on here *** because he couldn't find his receipt and couldn't get any warranty service.


Comparing the sensativity of credit card data to your phone number is a stretch to say the least. DAK is the kind of person that throws a little fit over something as rediculous as this, they get offered a gift card or future discount from the retailer, and then other consumers pay for it later with higher prices.

Honestly, I bet I can get a lot of personal data on DAK just from the post placed on this website. And what I can't get, even a halfway good hacker can.

Here is the general idea/formula.

ISP + IPA + the assumption that DAK lives in IL = at the very least the location where DAK posted this complaint.

Ironic right? Privacy rights advocate DAK gives out own information online.


To Laura at SearsCare Escalation Team;

So, why is that Sears needs an “escalation team”? Oh, wait, I know, it is because your Customer Service groups knows nothing about Customer Service. Am I cynical? You bet. I swapped about a dozen emails with your Customer Service group (2 with Dylan C, 2 with Jacob G, 2 with Monica W, 2 with Elizabeth A, and others) before resorting to posting this online. Most of the responses I received are nothing but a canned cut and paste response. You have them trained well. They are all using the same response templates with the same non-responses. I don’t think most of them even bothered to read about the problem. I wonder if there is really a Customer Service group or if it isn’t just one big Microsoft Outlook server with an auto responder.

I repeatedly asked the Customer Service group to get a supervisor involved, since this issue was not going to go away so easily. They ignored that. The last response was “…we must stand behind the store’s decisions in this matter as this is policy”. Go figure, here is a Customer Service group reinforcing the “No Phone Number, No Warranty” policy. The only person that had any Customer Service savvy was the General Store Manager. I spoke with him the day after the event, as a courtesy to let him know what was going on in his store. As a business owner, I explained that I would want to know if something like this happened to my clients. We had a nice conversation and he agreed that the policy made no sense. But it was obvious that he and his employees were all following some ill advised policy from corporate Sears.

So, unfortunately, we can now do the laundry in public. It is unfortunate that Sears can’t come up with a better way to track warranties, especially when 99% of the rest of the world has figured out how to do it. While I am sure that some people have no problem providing private information to save them from having to retain a receipt, that is their option.

The only good that will come of this is to let the public become better aware of such silly policies, and to let them know that they have the option “just say no” when someone requests private information. It also lets the public be able to make informed decisions on who they care to do business with. After this, I have chosen to not do business with Sears.

Finally, while some may think this is a frivolous matter, and just provide their private information, I sadly remind them that over 100 million people just had their private information stolen from the Sony PlayStation Network. Even Sony admits that they “…could not rule out that some 12.3 million credit-card numbers had been stolen during the hacking.” So, placing my private information in Sears’s hands… thanks but no thanks.

Sears Response


I’m sorry for the delay in responding to your post as I just came across this situation with your tiller purchase. I apologize for all the inconvenience you experienced when you were asked to provide a phone number at the time of purchase. Sears honors the manufacturers’ warranties on items sold in our store and we track the purchase date and warranty information by our customers’ phone numbers so that we can better assist our customers if there is a problem with the item. If a phone number is not provided at the time of purchase we would still be able to honor the warranty as long as our customer was able to provide proof of purchase. Receipts can be lost or misplaced over time and because Sears does not want to place an undue burden on our valued customers are the reasons we ask for a phone number at the time of purchase on any serviceable item. This is not an excuse for the customer service you received, just an explanation. We would very much like to speak with you regarding your experience.

My name is Laura with the Sears Cares Escalations team and we are a single point of contact for escalated concerns. At your convenience, please contact my office via email at smsupport@searshc.com so you don’t have to continue to be frustrated by this. From your post I understand you are wary of providing your phone number; however if you would like assistance in this matter we would need a contact phone number or email in order to contact you directly. Also, in your email, please provide the screen name (DAK) you used to post on this site, for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

Thank you,

Laura D.

Social Media Moderator

Sears Social Media Support


If this is the only way Sears can track a warranty then shame on them. I am perfectly capable of retaining my receipt, in the event I need warranty work. That is pretty good proof of purchase, as far as I am concerned. And why would I want Sears to contact me when the warranty is up? So they can sell me something???

Also, I attempted to give out a false "reference" number, which they wouldn't accept for the first 20 minutes of the "event".

Finally, for something like a rototiller Sears woult not be "coming out" to make warranty repair.

Sorry, the explanations provided by the Commentor hold no water.


The reason that Sears needs your phone number is so Sears can look your info up for any item that you purchase should you have a problem with it and need any work done to it. If Sears does not have a correct phone number then Sears cannot look any products up to set up service on them.

All warranty's are tracked through your phone number. when you provide a number at your purchase Sears needs that specific number to have service done to that item. The record that is created for it has your proof of purchase and your proof of warranty. That is also how Sears will contact you when your warranty is up to offer you a new one on your product.

There for you have to decide which is a better option for you... Give your phone number which your credit card info is not stored with so your credit card info is still protected and have valid warranty's on your items and have them fixed if they need to be...

or give out a false number which you more than likely won't remember and when you need service Sears won't be able to find any type of warranty for you there for you will need to provide your receipt and proof of the warranty for it to be fixed which at that time they will need a valid number to be able to contact you at for the repair. And keep in mind the only info that is available from you giving out your number is your name, address ( if a tech needs to come to your house Sears needs the correct address) and a list of all your purchases and warranty's.

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