There comes a time in all of our lives that we have to make large purchases. Let’s face it, that is just how our lives work right now. Our modern lives demand dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. When we find ourselves looking to buy a new appliance, we shop around. We read the reviews, we analyze the reports, and we watch the sales. Here is my story about why you shouldn’t go with the lowest price, but shop based on the type of service that you will receive after the purchase is made.
Shortly after I was married, my wife wanted a new washer and dryer set. We were using one that I picked up free when an acquaintance upgraded, so I figured it was time to have something nice. After a few weeks of research we settled on a nice Kenmore Elite set from Sears. Not only would we be saving money on this high efficiency set, but we would not need to buy another set for many years. Or so we thought.
4.5 years into the life of our brand new washer and dryer set, the washer got a mysterious error and simply quit functioning. I Googled the problem and went to talk to someone at Sears about the issue. Unfortunately my local store was of no help, but they directed me to the Sears Parts website. I discovered the part alone was over $200. This did not set well with me, so I took to Twitter and Facebook.
After a quick complaint about the lack of service, the company was actually quick to get back to me. I sent them my contact information and within 24 hours I had a customer service rep on the phone. I explained the problem and they agreed to send a service tech, and they would reimburse me the $80 cost. I made the appointment and the tech came out a couple days later.
The Service Call
With the tech at my house, I explained the problem and the error code I had received. He then opened up his computer and Googled the problem coming to the same conclusion I did: the central control unit had gone out. Their cost to fix the problem (which would have taken about 30 minutes of actual work) $450. I declined the service.
I called the customer service rep back and explained the dilemma. She offered to take $100 off the part and I could do the work myself. A few days later the part came in the mail. I anxiously disconnected the old “broken” part and installed the new one. I plugged the washing machine back in and it did the exact same thing as before. The technician’s diagnosis was incorrect. That is when the “fun” began.
I called the customer service rep and got her voicemail, which stated to leave a message and I would hear back within 24 hours. I left a message and waited. A couple days later I called again and nothing. I sent an email and didn’t hear back. I called again after a few days and still heard nothing. Once again I resorted to social media posting about my dilemma. I kept receiving the same response, “I’m sorry about your continued frustration, we will forward your comments to your case manager.” I soon learned what they meant was, “We will promptly disregard your comment.”
Customer Service Fail
After multiple emails and messages I finally heard back via email from my case manager. She told me that due to the fact that I declined the service they would not reimburse me for another technician call, but they could get the price down to $40. I responded explaining that since the technician did not do the job correctly the first time he should come back and do it properly. I never heard back.
About a month later, and several posts to the Sears Facebook page, I gave them an ultimatum. I explained the situation once again. I asked them kindly to return my phone calls, and if nothing was to come of it I would write this article (not only this, but as many as I can find websites to host a similar one). Since you are reading this, you can safely assume I never got a response. Sears chose that it was more important to them to ignore their customer, and let the whole world know that they have terrible customer service, than to be cordial about the situation.
Now this article is not just to rant about how hard it is to deal with Sears’ customer service. Now that is one of the points, but the point is that this corporation has grown too large for its own good. They have stores across the country, employ thousands of people, and have been in business longer than most companies around. Yet I don’t see them lasting much longer. Their customer service has slipped as far as the quality of their products, and it shows. The alternative is becoming much more appealing.
Instead of giving money to Sears, find a local store that sells appliances. By utilizing someone that actually values your business you will get the service you deserve. In fact, when this fiasco with Sears started, I was told a story from one of my friends. Their parents had the same situation with Sears, and their next purchase they bought local. That new appliance ran into issues and rather than get the run-around, they simply went to the store. The employees then got in touch with the manufacturer and demanded them to fix the problem. Within days they had a new appliance in their home. The ease, the lack of frustration and the comfort is well worth spending an extra $50
Have you had similar issues with a large corporation? How did you resolve them?
Author Bio: Scott Sery is a contributing writer at OneSmartDollar.com. When he’s not writing, he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. To learn more about Scott check out his website at ScottSery.com