My husband and I purchased a furnace in January of 2006 from Sears. We got several estimates but being newly married with a seven month old baby, we were in a financial bind and believed that the no payments/no interest for one year would serve us best. The salesmen were quite personable, even showing interest in our baby, etc. We decided to go with Sears.
All went well until this past Saturday (Oct. 14). The furnace just stopped working. It has only recently started to get cold in our region but it gets chilly enough in the baby’s room that we needed to run the furnace in the evenings for the past couple of weeks. We discovered the problem at 10 p.m. on Saturday and figured that we would call first thing in the morning, we’d just deal with it until then. I bundled up my daughter and made sure she was as comfortable as possible. We called Sears customer service first thing in the morning. After trying two numbers, my husband was given a number for our region to call and set up service. He was told that Sears does not have 24/7 repair service. We would have to wait until Monday. Fine. We waited and waited. What we didn’t know is that Sears did place an order for service with the independent contractor who installed our furnace and that they give them 24-48 hours to respond to s service call. I called Sears on Monday morning, was transferred no less than five times to people who were unable to tell me we was going on with our service request. When I explained that we have a 16 month old baby in the house and this was not a good situation for her to be in, only one person said that they thought that was really terrible and they would do what they could to remedy the situation but Sears doesn’t empower any of its employees so this guy just transferred me to another department that I had already spoken to. The last woman I spoke was actually annoyed with me that I was calling and said “I’ve already explained all of this to your husband.” She explained that the original installer had to come out and do the service call. After one year, you can call Sears Customer Service (not on your life!). I asked her why no on there cared about the situation with my daughter and she couldn’t offer an answer. I told her that right now, the weather isn’t terribly cold but what are we to do in February and it is 20 degrees outside? She said that Sears does not offer same day service. I found out that you are permitted within the first year of purchase to call someone on your own for repair but you have to pay upfront and then Sears would reimburse the consumer. We also found out that Sears will pay up to $50 for one night at a hotel room. That’s big of them. My husband and I live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to pay someone out of pocket to come out and look at our BRAND NEW FURNACE. We also cannot afford a hotel room. Fortunately, we have family members that are allowing us to stay with them at night. We have three pets that are remaining in the house so we have to go there three times each day to take care of them, pick up clothing, foods, etc. to prepare for the following day of being displaced. The situation has caused a lot of stress and problems for us and in particular our daughter. The furnace, by the way, is still not working as of today. The independent contractor came out yesterday (Oct. 17), blamed the furnace not working on roofing materials in the chimney. The furnace worked for one hour and then quit. My husband called him at 4 p.m. last night when he got home from work. Parts have to be ordered which will not be in for 24-48 hours. At this rate, we may not have heat in our house until possibly sometime on Friday. This is unacceptable! I’m not necessarily upset with the independent contractor although I have to say he did not respond to me like I instructed in my voicemail but my husband much later in the afternoon. Also, he could have come out that evening to do what he could considering we have a small child in the house. Sears could care less about the situation. They also told us that there is a national complaint line. This isn’t true. It is just a glorified customer service department that has no authority to handle complaints. All they did was put me through to the HVAC Repair Department.
All of my appliances have been purchased through Sears. I can honestly say that I will NEVER set foot in another Sears store for the rest of my life. I will never purchase anything from them ever again. The term “customer service” is a misnomer as far as Sears is concerned. The “customer service department” is unprofessional, unreliable and unresponsive to consumer’s needs.