I thought a long time before making this post. It’s not that I was hesitant to share our experience with Sears Home Services, it was honestly that I genuinely hate to see the state that Sears has devolved into.
Several years ago, we purchased a Samsung front-load washing machine at Sears. When we purchased the washing machine, we spent an additional $522.00 for an extended protection warranty from Sears Home Services.
We had an issue with the washing machine that started on Sunday, May 6, 2018. That evening my wife started a load of laundry and the cycle stopped with an error code. We called Sears Home Services first thing in the morning on Monday, May 7, 2018. They took our information, looked up our warranty, confirmed we had coverage and scheduled a technician to come out.
The first available day they had for a technician to come out was Tuesday, May 15, 2018.
We have three kids (2 boys in baseball). We resigned ourselves to a laundromat trip and spent about $80 the weekend of May 12-13 doing a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five.
The technician came out on 5/15/18 and determined he need to order a control board and that he would have to come back once we got the part.
The part was ordered and arrived on Thursday, May 17, 2018. Unfortunately, the first available time the technician could come back was on Thursday, May 24,2018.
Y’all pay attention, this is where the fun starts.
May 24, 2018. That day should probably be marked down as the day Sears’ customer service died… or at the very least, went completely crazy.
The technician returned on 5/24/18 and installed the control board. When he tested the washing machine, it ran for a couple of minutes and then the drum CRACKED. He said it was probably damaged by the malfunctioning control board and that he would have to order more parts. He was very nice and understood my frustration since we were now a few weeks into no washer and about $150 at the laundromat. While I watched, he ordered the parts, a damper and a drum, with “escalated” priority. He was unable to tell me when I’d actually get the parts, but explained that the “escalated” shipping meant they would expedite the shipping so we would receive the parts sooner.
I called Sears Home Services back on Friday, 5/25/18 to check on the parts. I called into the 800 # and they saw the order but couldn’t tell me a status, they transferred me to the parts department. The lady in the parts department was nice, but she informed that the parts order was automatically “de-escalated” because Sears Home Services didn’t have the part in stock in our “local geographic area”. The “de-escalation” is automatic because they can’t control shipping costs from the manufacturer or third party vendors if they have to order the parts. At this point I was informed that there was absolutely nothing to do but wait 7-10 days for the part to come in. *Pay attention to the “wait 7-10 days” part - it kind of becomes a theme.
I’m less than thrilled, but hey, what can I do at this point? I waited the 7 days and called back to check on the status on Friday, 6/1/2018.
*Note - we are now almost 1 month since we called Sears Home Services on 5/7/2018.
So, 6/1/2018 - called to check on the part - “nothing we can do, it hasn’t been 10 days”. I asked what day I should call and was told “if you don’t have the part by 6/6/18, then call and let us know”.
6/7/2018 (one day past 6/6/18) I called to check on the part. The part has not shipped and there is no update as to when it might ship. I got transferred to “protection agreement and benefits” department - wasted about 20 minutes - then got transferred to parts department. I believe that the lady in parts was genuinely trying to help me. She put me on hold to check with the manufacturer. 20 minutes on hold - the manufacturer doesn’t have the part and has no ETA for the part. She asks me to hold while she checks third party sources. 45 MORE minutes on hold - no vendor they use has the part and no one has an ETA. She advises me that the part probably isn’t going to come in.
Part of the warranty agreement we bought for $522.00 is that if they can’t repair the washing machine, they will replace it. I asked about getting it replaced since she just told me the part was not going to ship. She informed me that the part has to be in a “backordered” status for 21 days before they will process a replacement. Even though she is telling me the part isn’t going to ship, we have to wait until 6/14/18 before they will “process a claim”, just to make certain they don’t process a claim when the part might still come in.
6/14/2018 - driving to a funeral out of town I called in to check status early in the morning. Nice guy reviews all the notes and agrees “yep, it’s been 21 days” followed by “I will process your claim right now. You should get a call back about your replacement in 24-48 hours”.
Swell, it’s been over a month at this point and several hundred dollars at the laundromat but at last the end is in sight, right???
Not so much. We didn’t hear back from anyone so we called back on Saturday, 6/16/18. Real nice lady tells me “well, it looks like someone started processing your claim, but didn’t complete it” followed by “I’ll complete it right now, but the benefits department isn’t open on weekends so it will be Tuesday or Wednesday (6/19-6/20) before you hear back from them”
We were out of town Monday 6/18 through Thursday 6/21. I had my cell phone (the contact phone # that Sears has) with me and on 24/7 during the time we were gone. Sears didn’t attempt to contact us that week.
Friday, 6/22/18 - I called Sears on my lunch break to check on the status of our claim. 15 minutes to get transferred to the “protection agreement and benefits” department. Nice lady, who “understands” my frustration informs me that it doesn’t look like anyone has processed our claim, but that she will do it right now. I asked her to stay on the phone while she puts the claim in and she agrees. She enters the claim and says “oh…….. So I entered the claim and it was rejected” She puts me on hold for about 15 minutes. Comes back and tells me that the claim was rejected because the part status hadn’t been updated in more than 5 days and that she needed to request an update and that would take 3 to 5 BUSINESS days.
I’m not going to lie, I’m about to lose my freakin’ mind at this point. I ask to speak to a supervisor and she tells me “I can’t do that” I insist on speaking to a supervisor. She says “A supervisor can’t do anything, there is no reason for you to speak to one”. I replied that regardless of whether or not a supervisor can do anything I’d really like to speak to one. She hung up on me.
I called back. Guy answered the phone and insisted on me spending 10 minutes explaining the entire ordeal to him. He put me on hold for 10 more minutes and then transferred me to “protection agreements and benefits”. A really, really nice lady answered, took about 10 minutes to review the case. Acknowledged that I had a pretty solid case to be angry and was happy to find a supervisor for me. After about a 25 minute hold, Mary the Supervisor came on the line. She said “I’ve reviewed your case and you are going to have to wait 3-5 days for the part status to update” I explained that I didn’t think that the customer should suffer the consequences of two separate people (call on 6/14/18 and call on 6/16/18) not doing their job and submitting the claim properly or checking the part status at that time. Washing machine has been broken since 5/7/18 and we really need to get it fixed. I’m tired of going to the laundromat.
I guess the next thing that happened was probably Mary trying to help, but it honestly made me about as angry as I’ve been in recent memory. Rather than making an exception for our case or trying to resolve our issue, Mary advised me that to avoid further laundromat expenses, I should go to a Rent-a-Center and rent a washing machine. AFTER my issue is eventually resolved, I can TRY to file a claim to be reimbursed for a PORTION of the rental expense.
I asked to speak to her supervisor. She told me she doesn’t have one. I questioned the veracity of that statement and asked who she would contact if she needed to call in sick. She declined to answer that question. She finally said, “I realize you are angry, but you can’t do anything but wait 3-5 business days” I asked why I should believe that someone would contact us. Not one single time in two months has anyone contacted us, we’ve had to call Sears every time. She informed me that I’d definitely have to call back because their call center was inbound only. She then advised me that she was needed to assist another customer. She was nice enough to give me the direct # to the protection agreements and benefits department, her name and extension and even gave me her work schedule for Friday, 6/29/18, when she wanted me to call back.
Friday, 6/22/2018 I spent at total of 4 hours on the phone with Sears Home Services - only to be told that I needed to wait ANOTHER 3-5 days.
I was pretty pissed off. I actually called Sears Holdings, which is the parent corporation for Sears and Sears home Services. I left a voicemail for the CEO’s “message group” but amazingly never heard back from them. I called back and hit “0” until I finally got an operator and asked for the head of Sears Home Services, but was advised they “can’t” transfer anyone there.
Wednesday - 6/27/2018 - I know, I know, it wasn’t the 6/29/2018 yet, but it had been 3 business days so I called in to check on the part, just in case the status was updated. Nice lady on the phone speaks ZERO English. I believe she was trying, but I literally couldn’t understand anything she was saying. I felt bad, but hung up on her and called back. The next lady did speak English and informs me that the part status is updated and it is backordered. She advises me that the “protection agreement and benefits” department has already processed my claim and that I should hear back from them by Friday. I told her that a supervisor in that department had previously told me that their phones were inbound only. She said, “well the people that have your replacement voucher will call you back. They are definitely not inbound only”.
Friday 6/29/18 - Nothing. Crickets. No call. No email. I know, you’re all probably as shocked as I was. 4:30pm I called them back and the girl tells me that part that wasn’t going to ship had MIRACULOUSLY shipped. I asked her for the tracking number. She put me on hold for about 10 minutes, came back on the line and said “well, it shows shipped, but something is wrong with the tracking number. It’s weird, I can’t track it. I can’t even tell which carrier it was shipped with” I asked to speak to Mary and gave her Mary’s extension. She INSTANTLY replied that “there is no one named Mary in our department”. I verified that I was speaking with protection agreements and benefits. She said that I was. I explained that I had spoken to Mary the Supervisor on 6/22 and she gave me her name and extension to call her back on today 6/29. She hung up on me. All told, this was a 35 minute phone call.
I called back (I know, I’m a glutton for punishment). I believe the lady who answered said her name was Doris or Dorothy. I’m going to call her D. for the purposes of this diatribe. I absolutely give her credit for trying her best to help. She immediately knew who Mary was and contacted Mary. Mary was on the phone but I guess she communicated with D. by an internal IM system. D. verified that the part status showed “shipped” but that the tracking # was definitely messed up. It wasn’t in a format that any known shipping company uses. Both D. and Mary shared my skepticism that the part had actually shipped. Shockingly, the only thing that ANYONE can do is submit a request to the parts department to see what is going on. *Note - nobody offered to call the parts department to check on status - this will matter later. Checking on the part takes 24-48 hours. They are an inbound only call center so I should call back Monday 7/2 or preferably Tuesday 7/3.
I’m pretty out of patience at this point so I go ahead and call Monday. Lady tells me that it hasn’t been 48 hours yet and I needed to call back tomorrow. About 30 minutes later I get a call on my cell phone - it is a recording from a San Antonio area code Sears # that I need to call to schedule the service appointment. The recording gives the standard 800# to call so i called it. Guy answers, pulls up the account and says “do you have the part?” I tell him that we do not and explain the whole “part shows shipped, but tracking doesn’t work” issue. He puts me on hold. All of a sudden, with no warning, I’m back at the protection agreements and benefits department. Heather answers and is amazing. She looks at the case and says “why don’t I just conference the parts department into our call” Wait. They can do that? Wouldn’t that have been helpful last week…. Oh nevermind. That would be great Heather, please do that. So Heather conferences in parts explains the situation to them. The parts lady puts us on hold for about 5 minutes and then comes back on to say “I can’t get any better information than you see. BUT this order was placed by a technician, those orders are different. Let me transfer you to repair services.” So she puts us on hold for about 5 more minutes. Lady from repair services comes on, gets the case pulled up and says “I show all the parts got delivered on 5/27” Yes, she claimed it came over a month ago. I tell her that while we did get the damper, the drum never came in. She says “oh, wait… yeah… that didn’t get delivered…. Well.. maybe it did….. Please hold” I assured Heather that we didn’t have a drum as that is a really big part and I’m pretty sure I’d know if we had it. I even texted my teenage son at home to make sure it hadn’t come today. Repair service lady comes back on phone and says “we’re gonna have to send a request to the parts department to check the status of the part. That takes 24-48 hours” WAIT!! THAT IS WHO TRANSFERRED US TO YOU BECAUSE THEY CAN’T TELL ANYTHING ABOUT THIS ORDER… She advised us that she couldn’t do anything else. That was her ONLY course of action. At that point she tried to disconnect from the conference call and managed to hang up on everybody. I’ve been on the phone with Sears Home Services for an hour and a half at this point and just got hung up on AGAIN.
I called back, hoping against hope that Heather would answer. Alas, she did not. Lady who answered was reasonably nice. I didn’t catch her name. At this point, I asked for Mary the Supervisor again. Lady tried to contact her, Mary was on the phone but messaged her while she talked to me. They were NOT interested in getting on a conference call with any other department. They reviewed the “newly added notes” from the lady in the repair services department and decided that since it looked like the part had shipped back on 5/27/18 but never arrived the best thing to do WAS TO REORDER THE FREAKING PART AND WAIT 7-10 DAYS TO SEE IF IT WOULD COME IN THEN.
Seriously, that was the “solution” they offered me. Apparently, because the status of the part in their service pro system says “shipped” even though they can’t track it or even verify whether or not it had been shipped.
I actually asked what would happen if the part didn’t come in after 10 days. Are they restarting the “has to be backordered for 21 days” clock again? She told me she didn’t know, her department doesn’t deal with that. I asked who did and told her that I’d really like to talk to them to know what I should expect going forward (Yes. I actually know what I should really expect going forward, but at this point I’m going to keep pushing the issue out of principal). She replied that “that is handled by an internal group that doesn’t deal directly with customers”. What. The. Actual. Freaking. Hell??????????? If your department doesn’t do it and doesn’t know the answer and their department doesn’t talk to customers, exactly how am I supposed to know what they decide?
I can honestly say that I’ve never been gotten worse customer service from any entity than I have received from Sears Home Services. The entire 2-month-long debacle has been a farce. At no point ever, has a single person made any effort to look at the issue and solve the actual problem for the customer. Everyone is constrained by their “policy” and “following the process”. The IRS is much, much less painful to deal with.
I can’t really believe that an organization as large as Sears doesn’t have a process or contingency or department or even a person to step in when something has gone terribly wrong, but even though I’ve asked explicitly for that department or person or process several times, every single Sears representative has denied that anything like that exists. If that is true, then all the rumors about them going out of business are well deserved.
I really don’t expect Sears to do anything to fix or replace my washing machine at this point, but hopefully, this experience reaches anyone considering purchasing any services from Sears and they realize that they shouldn’t.
That’s where the story ends. I’m on my way to buy a washing machine from Lowes, Home Depot or Best Buy, we’ll see who has the best deal going this week.
Product or Service Mentioned: Sears Home Services Washing Machine Repair.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $1100.
Preferred solution: Full refund.