Mr. Bruce Johnson
President & CEO
Sears Corporate Office
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
Dear Mr. Johnson,
I am writing to you with a sense of desperation, as I have been unable to get service for my Refrigerator which has had a service contract from Sears since I purchased it. Both my wife and I have been repeatedly lied to, mislead, and in general, treated with a complete lack of compassion or understanding. I’d like to give you a brief history of what has been going on although I am sure if you access my file in your records by my name, address and telephone number you will see our repeated attempts to try to get the service we paid for.
On Sunday, May 18, 2008 at approximately 2:30 pm my wife heard a loud irregular noise coming from our refrigerator. When she opened the doors she found the lights were out in both refrigerator and freezer and noticed that rather than the gentle hum of the motor there was silence. She immediately brought the matter to my attention. I checked my circuit breaker panel, which has a dedicated line for the refrigerator, and visually noted no change in the switch. My wife called 1-800-4MY-HOME and scheduled an appointment for service for the following day.
On the morning of Monday, May 19, 2008 while I was waiting for the service man to arrive I went to my circuit breaker panel and threw the circuit breaker for the line for my refrigerator. I went upstairs and noticed that the power had returned to the unit, but when I opened the freezer door, I noticed there was a strange odor but was not sure if it was related. I had a doctor’s appointment so I had to leave before the serviceman came, but my wife stayed home and waited to receive service on the appliance. That afternoon the serviceman came, I don’t know his name but his ID is #0881045 his name must be on record concerning this service incident. He asked my wife what had happened and he immediately informed her before inspecting the refrigerator that it was probably a problem with our electrical system and there was nothing he could do. He asked for a vacuum cleaner which my wife provided. He vacuumed the front of the bottom on the refrigerator, which incidentally was already vacuumed and clean, for approximately 30 seconds. He replaced the bottom guard, he opened the freezer door, noticed condensation and informed my wife that first we should consult our owner’s manual to determine what type of noise our refrigerator is supposed to make, and second that we must have left the freezer door open which caused the condensation and said there was nothing more that was needed to be done and left.
Mr. Johnson, both my wife and I have owned refrigerators our entire life; we were born after the era of the ice box, so we are absolutely familiar with the sounds a refrigerator is supposed to make. This was not a noise which is made during the normal operation of a refrigerator. Also, he made no indication as to the odor that emanated from the refrigerator. In my opinion this technician is incompetent and could have prevented the following chain of events. Unfortunately I was not here when the serviceman came as possibly I would have been able to make sure that the serviceman did his job. Rather he took advantage of my wife, who is not familiar with the technical aspects of the operation of a refrigerator.
By the time I returned home it was approximately 5pm and the house reeked of a strange chemical smell. At which time we placed a follow-up call to 1-800-4MY-HOME to reschedule another appointment. Incidentally, by this time there was a large puddle of water on the floor in front of the freezer door and my frozen food was beginning to thaw. When we spoke to the dispatcher they informed us that since the Monday service call had not cleared from the computer they could not schedule a new service call and that we would have to call back the following morning. As to the chemical odor, the service representative told my wife he would make a “health, or safety” report and someone would get back to us shortly in regard to the odor. That night no one had gotten back to us and my wife began to experience difficulty breathing as the result of this chemical odor she needed to take medication for her condition brought about by this gas, and I had to thoroughly vent the house before we went back home. That night I had my wife sleep at her sister’s house and I returned home and opened all the windows and activated my attic fan in an effort to clear the house of the gas.
I picked my wife up first thing Tuesday morning, returned home, and called the service center. They informed me that they would not be able to schedule an appointment until Wednesday, at which time I asked to speak to a supervisor. I was transferred to Vanessa at your corporate offices who kindly said she would look into the matter while I was on hold and informed me that their service vehicles were vandalized so they couldn’t schedule me for that day, but that they would put me on the schedule for Wednesday unless a vehicle became available sooner. They gave us an appointment for Wednesday between 8am-12pm.
Both my wife and I waited for the serviceman, At approximately 1PM Mr. Lenox, I.D. #13540 arrived at my home, he appeared to be very knowledgeable and professional, and immediately recognized the odor as refrigerant. Mr. Lenox pulled out and inspected the rear of the refrigerator and then opened the freezer, removed the cover to the evaporator and found two holes in the side of the evaporator that apparently blew out which started the release of gas on Sunday. He also verified that all our frozen food was ruined but was unsure as to whether we were covered for the loss on our service agreement. Mr. Lenox informed us that the compressor, the evaporator, the coils and some other part needed to be replaced. He said that it has been his experience that a job as extensive as this has never worked successfully. He called his manager to explain the situation advising him of his lack of confidence in replacing the parts but his manager insisted that he first replace the parts and if that doesn’t work then Sears would replace the refrigerator for the customer. Naturally, when Mr. Lenox informed me of this I was unhappy with his manager’s decision because at this point it has been four days since we have been without a working refrigerator, we lost all our perishable items and at best the parts will come by the 22nd of May at which time I call for an appointment which wouldn’t be until at best the 23rd. Having no control over the situation, I patiently agreed. He informed me that the parts will be sent to my home, at which time I should call for a third service appointment.
On Thursday, May 22, 2008 I called the service department to inquire as to when the parts would be delivered as I have been taking my family to restaurants for 5 days now and it’s beginning to get costly. The dispatcher I spoke to was very helpful and informed me that the parts were to be delivered that day, the 22nd and she would go ahead and schedule the service call for Friday, May 23rd so that I would not have to go through the holiday weekend without a refrigerator I would like to commend that person but she hung up before I was able to get her name or I.D. #. I was informed that the serviceman would be here between 8am and 5pm. The parts did arrive later that day, Thursday the 23rd of May, as the service dispatcher promised.
On the morning of Friday, May 23, 2008 I called to find out approximately what time the service technician would be coming as my wife had a doctor’s appointment and I had an emergency dental appointment, and wanted to make sure that one of us would be here for the serviceman’s arrival. I was told that he would be here sometime between 12pm and 5pm. My wife and I left at 9:30 for our respective medical appointments, and I put my home phone on call forwarding to my cell phone so as not to miss any phone calls from Sears.
While I was in the dentist chair, a call was forwarded to my cell phone from the technician, inquiring about the number of boxes that were delivered. I informed him that three boxes were delivered, he told me that there should have been four boxes as four parts were ordered, and it wouldn’t make any sense for him to come if all the parts were not available. But he did say that he would check with his dispatcher to see if all the parts were delivered. When I got home from the dentist I called the dispatcher and informed him what the driver said to me, and he verified that all the parts were delivered and advised me that he would notify the serviceman. I asked him “can he guarantee that I will get my repair today?” ? He told me he would try, at which time I asked to speak to a manager. He forwarded me to your corporate office, customer care department, where I spoke to Mike, I.D. #54272. I explained the entire story to Mike, he looked up our records and told me he understood my frustration, put me on hold, spoke to the dispatcher then got back to me and assured me that the service technician would be there to try to repair my refrigerator, if the repairs were unsuccessful Sears would authorize a replacement refrigerator. He even gave me his extension at 1-800-609-5650, extension 18473 and told me to contact him personally if there were any additional problems as Sears had dropped the ball 1st on Monday with an incompetent service representative, 2nd Monday night by not having someone call back concerning the safety issue which was posed by the leaking refrigerant that was reported, and 3rd that Sears allowed my family to be without refrigeration for 6 days now.
At 2:30pm I started to get a little nervous because the service technician who came on Wednesday informed me that this was a 5 hour job and it was starting to get late in the day. I called the service department and they assured me that the serviceman was on his way to my location. I asked to speak to a manager, they forwarded me to the corporate office again, and I spoke to Ann, ID #631138. I asked her to connect me with Mike at extension #18473, she told me she could not transfer me but had me repeat my entire story again. Then she asked me if she could put me on hold, called the dispatcher and assured me that I would get my service call today.
At 3pm I called the corporate office and spoke to Ben, ID #69375 and he assured me that the serviceman was en route after checking with the dispatcher. I asked him if I could speak to his supervisor and he informed me that the manager was away from his desk but would get back to me before 5pm.
At 3:30pm I called corporate office and spoke to Jessica, ID #49597 and asked her to transfer me to Mike at extension 18473 and she told me that she was unable to transfer calls. I asked her if I could speak to a manager and she told me that there was no manager available and that she was the highest level of contact I could speak to and that their supervisors are only there for quality control. Again, I explained my entire story which she verified by the notes on our account. She asked if she could put me on hold, she spoke to the dispatcher, got back to me and told me that the service technician was on the way.
At 4:30 the service technician telephoned and said that he was stuck in traffic but was on his way and that he would be here within 45 minutes to an hour.
At 4:45 we received a phone call from the dispatcher saying that we would not be receiving service today as this is a two-man job and the helper was not available to assist the service technician. She told me that she would have to reschedule our appointment and my wife told her that it would have to be first thing tomorrow morning. She then replied that since it was a holiday weekend no service could be made until Tuesday.
At this point my wife and I were beside ourselves with a sense of frustration and powerlessness. We have been dealing with incompetence, lies, and treated with a total lack of professional courtesy. I placed another call to the corporate office and spoke to Dannia #11514. I explained the entire situation yet again which, as you can imagine, I was tired of explaining when they have it all written out in front of them in their computer records. I must say that Dannia had very poor professional telephone ethics; she informed me that she couldn’t transfer me to Mike at extension 18473, that her supervisor, Carlos, was out of the building and would get back to us Saturday morning. At this point for my own health and wellbeing I had to stop pursuing trying to get satisfaction as I was getting nowhere.
At 3:19pm today, while in the process of composing this letter, I received a telephone call from Pat, ID #76307 (who initially refused to give me her I.D. but then checked with her manager and was ordered to do so) and asked me if she could reschedule my appointment for Wednesday, May 28th!!! I asked her if she was aware that they cancelled my service appointment on Friday and told her that I wanted someone here first thing on Tuesday morning. She told me that no one was available at that time. I asked her to please connect me with her manager and she informed me that she could not transfer me and that she would have her manager call me back. A few minutes later at 3:28pm Charles Smith at the call center (who claims to have no ID number) telephoned and said (as if he was doing us a favor) that he was setting up an appointment at their earliest convenience for Wednesday, May 28, 2008.
Mr. Johnson I have no idea what is going to happen next but I think you would agree with me that we’ve passed the point of reasonable customer service. It is now Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 5pm. It is obvious I will not have any refrigeration until possibly Wednesday which will make a total of 11 days without refrigeration. I have had to feed my family at restaurants for each of these days. I have had to spend an evening in the emergency room. I have had to throw away $350 worth of food. I had to cancel a family barbeque that we had planned for Memorial Day weekend. I have absolutely no confidence that when the service technician does replace these parts that my refrigerator will operate properly for any reasonable length of time, if it operates at all, as your service technician informed me that he has never seen a refrigerator work after this type of repair.
Mr. Johnson I am sure if you review my purchase history you will see that my wife and I have been loyal customers for many years, both in our purchases and our service contracts. I have also influenced many people to shop at Sears as I have always been pleased with your company and have never run into this level of incompetence and disregard for the customer’s satisfaction. I am writing to you as a last ditch effort to avert the continuing injustice that has resulted as policies that you may be unaware of. Also please be advised that I am forwarding a copy of this to the Better Business Bureau of New York and to consumer advocates at WNYC Channel 5 Fox “Call for Action” and WABC Channel 7 News, “Help Me Howard”, as I am just one poor consumer without any leverage caught under the Sears corporate rock.
I have tried to name as many contacts as I could so that these people can be instructed on how to handle this type of situation should it occur in the future as I am sure you wouldn’t ever want your family to go through a situation like this.
I hope to hear from you in the very near future. I have gone through the expense of sending this letter via FedEx so it will arrive in a timely manner. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Lawrence J. Sypowicz
cc : Better Business Bureau
Complaint filed 5/25 on line
WNYW-TV/FOX 5 New York, NY
205 East 67th St.
New York, NY 10021
ABC Channel 7 News
77 West 66th St.
New York, N.Y. 10023-6298