Sears Delivery Customer Service Hell

My current stove is electric, 15 years old and long due for a replacement. I’ve been meaning to upgrade it, to gas or dual fuel, from the second I bought my home, more than a year ago. I finally made the jump: when I got my toilets replaced a few days ago, I had a gas line installed, then, after a bunch of research, went to Sears to buy my new range.

The buying experience was fine: since I’d done most of my research online (Consumer Reports, etc.), I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, and had narrowed it down to two options (a GE Profile and a Kenmore Elite, in stainless steel, of course). I chose Sears because they had both choices in stock at a reasonable price. When I went in, the sales guys were helpful in answering my few remaining questions, and they matched a 10% off coupon I had if I’d bought online, and then offered an additional 10% off for putting it on a Sears card.

The problems started with the first call from Sears delivery services. The call indicated the range they were delivering had “minor scratches and marks”, they would be unlikely to be noticed when the range was installed, but they’d deliver it and let me make the call on keeping it, returning it or getting a discount of some type.

Today, delivery day, I received six calls in a row from the same number (while I was in a meeting); I finally succumbed and answered the call; it was the delivery guy saying he was at my house (90 minutes earlier than the earliest scheduled time; since when do deliveries happen early?) and that the scratches were more than just “minor”. Since I couldn’t make it there any earlier than the original scheduled time, they sat around waiting for me.

When I got home, I took a look at the range while it sat on the trunk. It took all of 15 seconds to know that I wasn’t going to accept delivery. There were dozens of scratch marks on the top rear of the range, another couple of scratches across the face of the (stainless steel) control panel, and another gouge on the bottom kick-plate. Plus, a piece of the side casing was coming loose.

The range was clearly not an acceptable delivery, and the delivery guys seemed to know that was coming. It was so bad, the only way I would have accepted delivery was if I had bought it used at a significant discount. I can’t even begin to understand why a range in this kind of shape was even sold as new and sent out for delivery.

I called Sears Delivery to deal with it. That’s when I entered Customer Service Hell.

First, I tried calling the deliver number on my receipt. I was only allowed to confirm that a delivery was scheduled for today, with no option to speak to a customer service representative. I called four times, trying each option, and eventually managed to navigate to an actual person.

Over the next 30 minutes, I was transferred to five or six different “specialists”, asked the same questions (my “phone”, “address”, “name”) five or six times, each time being told they weren’t the right group to speak with, as they weren’t the “right” specialist. I had delivery specialists, damage specialists and stock availability specialists; the only specialist I didn’t seem to find was “solve my problem” specialists. I eventually had to put a stop to the transfers and demand a supervisor.

I was so frustrated, I was ready to cancel my order. In fact, the only reason I didn’t do so was that I had gotten the discounts I mentioned (an anticipated 20%), and that other places didn’t have the item in stock for immediate delivery.

The supervisor, at least, was somewhat helpful. She took my information, checked the availability of my range, checked the delivery availability, and scheduled that delivery.

When I asked that my delivery charge be waived, she offered to send me a $50 gift card for Sears. I, of course, balked at that: it was less than the delivery charge, and, of course, gift card only helps them, not me: they keep the money either way.

Of course, she “couldn’t” refund the fee to my credit card (she “didn’t have access to that”), but eventually offered to send me a check for the full delivery charge.

I’m still leery of the upcoming delivery. They ship the product from some central warehouse to the delivery warehouse the evening before delivery, so until they inspect it at that delivery warehouse, they don’t know what shape the product will be in. This, of course, disturbs me, since it is highly likely I will have to go through this all over again in a couple of days.

By the end of the series of calls to Sears, I was ready to scream and swear off Sears forever. I’m still waiting to see what happens during the forthcoming delivery, and to find out if they’re willing to do more than waive my delivery fee.

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