Sears - East Merritt Island, FL / dishonest and greedy company
Sears, Roebuck and Company
Merritt Square Mall
777 East Merritt Island, FL 32952
On the evening of May 29, 2007 I purchased a Bunn coffee maker for $104 at the Sears located at Merritt Square Mall in Merritt Island, Florida. The specific coffee maker I purchased was sight unseen as the model that I purchased was not open and on display, whereas a similar item was. The fact of the matter was that I didn't want the model which was on display, I wanted a model that wasn't opened and on display. While checking out I was offered and explained in explicit and great detail the extended warranty that I could purchase; which I declined. I was also invited to apply for a Sears credit card; which I also declined. Not once was the mention of a restocking free ever mentioned to me PRIOR to or DURING the transaction. NOT ONCE!
After getting the product home and opening the box, I was shocked at the very poor quality of the product. I have been a loyal Bunn customer for a number of years and have always been pleased with their manufacturing quality. It had been several years though since I last purchased a Bunn coffee maker, but apparently in that time they've changed their quality standards. I decided that the quality was not worth the expense and that I would therefore return it for refund.
6/8/07, I returned to the Sears in which I made the original purchase to return the coffee maker. I was assisted by an associated named Nicholas. Nicholas informed me that there would be a restocking fee. I informed Nicholas that I was not aware of that, and asked him what the amount would be. Relating to my refund transaction which Nicholas was processing, he printed from his computer a paper which said the amount would be $6.00. Nicholas had trouble completing the refund transaction and subsequently paged for the Manager on Duty. After waiting for over ten minutes, the Manager on Duty arrived (I did not have the opportunity to get his name as tag on his lanyard had flipped around backwards). Nicholas handed the Manager on Duty my receipt as well as the paper he had just printed. The Manager on Duty looked at both, which I presumed he actually read. The Manager on Duty walked Nicholas through the refund process. The refund was processed and my receipt given to me. Upon looking at the receipt I saw that the restocking fee had gone from $6.00 to $15.67. That's a 161% increase!
I spoke with the Manager on Duty and explained my dissatisfaction; first with the restocking fee in general and having never been told that such policy exists, and second with the more then doubling of the $6.00 fee in which I was quoted by Nicholas. The Manager on Duty informed me of Sears policy, and then showed me the back of the receipt where the policy was written. Also worthy of noting, unlike what you see at Circuit City, Best Buy, Target, and countless other retailers; NOWHERE in the store did I see any sign or mention of a restocking fee.
I told the Manager on Duty that I would like to speak to the manager or someone higher on the food chain then himself. I was led to the store office and to Claudia Lamascolo ( <mailto:clamasc AT searshc.com> clamasc AT searshc.com and [protected]), Store General Manager. I explained to Ms. Lamascolo my dissatisfaction and my position on the matter. The only thing Ms. Lamascolo chose to do was hide behind the policy printed on the back of the receipt. In no uncertain terms (and yes, I did say a single vulgar word a single time) I related to Ms. Lamascolo that I wanted a refund of the full $15.67 or at the very minimum to be charged only the $6.00 that Nicholas quoted as the restocking fee. Again Ms. Lamascolo refused, choosing again to hide behind and cite the back of the receipt. I then asked Ms. Lamascolo, 'so the only way I know and the only notice I have of the return policy is by what's printed on the back of the receipt, correct?' She replied, 'yes, it's on the back of the receipt.' I then asked for the telephone number for Sears Corporate.
While leaving the store I stopped at a checkout counter for something else and also to ask a few general questions. First I asked, 'do you know which items are and which items aren't subject to a restocking fee? The reply was 'yes.' Next I asked, 'when selling merchandise that is subject to a restocking fee, do you inform the customer of the policy PRIOR to the sale?' The reply was 'no, not all the time but sometimes I do.' I then asked, 'is it the store policy or Sears policy to tell the customer at the time of sale about a restocking fee?' The answer was, 'I'm not aware of any policy like that.' And finally, 'do you have a sign or notice here at the register or something that I'm able to see and read BEFORE I buy something and get a receipt that discloses the return policy and restocking fee?' To this the answer was, 'I'm not aware of any signs that tell of a restocking fee.'
Upon returning home I called the number [protected]) provided to me by Ms. Lamascolo. I spoke with a representative who identified herself as Ebony. Ebony was essentially useless, providing only the canned lip-service responses that you'd expect. However, Ebony did relate to me that the Store Manager does have the authority to waive a restocking fee and that waiving the restocking fee is at the discretion of the Store Manager. I told Ebony what I thought of the shady sneaky practices of Sears. About all Ebony could do was reiterate her previous lip-service. I then asked to speak with her supervisor. She informed me that there are no supervisors there that could help. I guess I'm to presume that Ebony, the entry level $6.00/hour Customer Service Rep is running the Sears show. I asked then for the telephone number to Sears Corporate, as in if I wanted to speak to the CEO or the COO, what is the number to call. She gave me the number of [protected]), which I intend to call on Monday.
Sears is REALLY good at telling you all about the extended warranty that you can purchase when you're standing at the register. Sears is really good at trying to get you to apply for one of their Sears credit card when you're standing at the register. But when it comes to telling you they intend to swindle from you if and when you return certain items, they conveniently find it unnecessary to tell you of that. How am I supposed to know the return policy if the policy isn't offered to me until AFTER the sale when my receipt is provided?
My position is simple. If my purchase is subject to a restocking fee, then fine, but shouldn't I be afforded some opportunity to become aware of that policy in some form or fashion BEFORE I make the purchase so that at least the purchase is made by informed decision? If I'm not entitled to know the return policy until AFTER the sale when I'm presented my receipt, how is it that Sears is entitled to perform such swindling? My position has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the $15.67. It does however have everything to do with being an honest and honorable merchant. It does however have everything to do with being a Store Manager who can do what is honest and honorable, ESPECIALLY when it's within their discretionary authority to do so.
My point Ms. Lamascolo, don't I have a right to know the policy PRIOR to the sale? My point Ms. Lamascolo, doesn't Sears have a moral and a legal obligation to inform their customers of such a policy PRIOR to the sale instead of after the sale is completed and the receipt provided?
It's been fifteen years since I've shopped at Sears. It will be the rest of my life before I ever shop there again as I will not patronize such a dishonest and greedy company. And for the rest of my life, when the opportunity arises, it will be my personal objective to honestly relate my experiences and discredit Sears. Ms. Lamascolo, as and agent of Sears, had the opportunity to do the right thing. She had the opportunity to show Sears and herself in a favorable way. She opted to be an unprofessional coward and dishonest corporate puppet.
Regards, from a 100% dissatisfied customer
T. C. Fell
206 Jackson Avenue
Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920
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