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Sears / appliance repair overcharge

1 United States

Sears...what can one say? They seem to have good prices on their appliances and their service technicians promise nothing but the best, but what do you get? If you aren't careful, you get ripped off!

We called Sears for an estimate to repair the dishwasher purchased from them two years ago. We scheduled an appointment for Wednesday, which is the only day they come to our area. The repairman came and gave an estimate of $287 to repair the machine but informed us that the part had to be ordered. According to him, our options were: a. Choose to have the repair made. We call Sears to schedule it and the service charge for his visit that day will be deducted from the estimated price, or b. Choose to replace the dishwasher. We use the receipt and envelope he provides for $65 off a new one purchased from Sears. He said I had 2 weeks to make the decision, so I paid the $69.22 service charge.

Our research indicated that the repair option was best as the $65 could only be applied to an appliance costing much more. I scheduled the repair the next day and asked if the repairman would bring the part as it was not a part they carry in the truck. Customer service assured me he would.

The next Wednesday, two repairmen arrived...neither of whom was the person who had been here initially. They were unaware that we had already been given an estimate. They confirmed it on their computer and informed me that they did not have the part as it had not been ordered and I would have to pay for it to be shipped directly to my home. Another appointment would be scheduled for installation the next week. I inquired about the guarantee to deduct the $69.22 from the cost. They agreed this was correct but it was to be applied to the labor cost. My receipt shows that the balance owed when they returned to install the part would be $71.12. I paid $140.81 for the part.

The part arrived in the mail within a few days, but the man who came to install it was not one of the previous three. He installed the part and attempted to use his laptop computer to print the receipt, but claimed his computer had no reception in the house so he went outside to his truck to charge my Discover card and print the receipt. I followed him and signed the receipt outside.

After he left, I discovered I had paid $149.33. He had not deducted the $69.22 from the charge. I called the phone number on the receipt but was told that I had been charged correctly and nothing could be done. I asked to speak to someone else and was transferred from one person to another often being put on hold for up to 20 minutes at a time. Finally I was told that a message was left for the billing department and they would call me back.

I waited six days for that call and none came, so I called again and got the same run around. I am unsure how many calls I made because for some reason I kept getting mysteriously disconnected. I had to go back over the same questions with whomever answered each call. Eventually I was transferred to someone who seemed very understanding. She agreed that I was correct and promised a credit would be applied to my Discover card and a customer service person would call within 24 hours to tell me when the credit would appear.

After two weeks, there has been no call and no credit. I called again and asked to speak to the last person who spoke to me. The standard answer was given that they have no way of knowing who it was, despite the fact that the one "understanding" person claimed to be able to trace back all the calls I had made. (Maybe I was transferred to the "patronizing department.") I asked once again to speak to A & E Services (the people who actually do the repairs) but was told that I was already speaking to them. I asked again to be transferred to a supervisor. Instead I was put on hold for over 20 minutes. When a new voice answered, I had to go through the whole list again of my phone number, name and address and problem. This person put me on hold and eventually came back to tell me that she "tried to contact the billing department but they weren't answering their phone, so (she) left a message for them to call me." I am not holding my breath.

I looked on line for a place to direct my complaint and found that there were innumerable complaints similar to mine. One person told that he received his $69 back after filing a complaint with his state attorney general. I am following his lead.

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