Playing it Cool with Sears Repair Service Stupidity

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the refrigerator is an artery. A rascally main artery. When such artery is clogged, the heart malfunctions. Let’s just say, my fridge is currently clogging up the heart.

During a recent heat wave, our three year-old refrigerator decided to take a sudden vacation. Perishable items be damned! Committed carnivores take a hike! We had too much frozen organic ground beef anyway.

Fortunately, Husband had invested in an extended warranty on repairs for the recalcitrant refrigerator. The Sears salesman had said,

“All you do is pick up the phone and call a technician. He’ll come to your home and fix the problem at no charge. Not that you’ll need to, of course.”

Husband called the Sears Repair Center. The first twenty-five minutes were spent explaining by Husband. We’d moved in the past two years and all hell broke loose at the Repair Center when they heard. Confusion, cries of frustration and a complete lack of direction ensued. Husband was transferred from person to person. They tried to switch our address. They really did. And finally, in the end, they were successful, but during their overzealous rejoicing, they cut Husband off. Husband then steadfastly refused to call them back and handed the phone to me.

With full knowledge that a calm, collected, cool mind accomplishes far more than an angry, embittered, vindictive one, I called Sears again. I decided to use the victimized-by-the-uncooperative refrigerator approach, which was the truth.

I spoke to Nexis, (his real name or so he said), a helpful fellow, who continuously apologized and attempted to walk me through do-it-yourself repairs. I know, we’d paid for a live technician, not an over the telephone, across the continent and the Pacific Ocean, then across another continent, pseudo repair person, but I felt it was worth a shot, if it cured my problem promptly.

It did not.

I then requested an appointment for a technician to come to our home. Nexis transferred me to Jay who stated,

“The soonest possible time will be in two weeks.”

This would be the part where I unleashed a slew of expletives, both the widely known kind along with a few rarely heard, particularly grueling on most human ears variety, just to give my speech added emphasis. But I did not. Instead, I inquired,

“How can Sears possibly expect me to go without a fridge for two weeks? I have a family to feed, pizzas to freeze, not to mention the frozen, custom-made dog food my mother-in-law generously hand makes for my canines.”

“I understand and I’m truly sorry,” Jay said. “Sears will give you up to $250 reimbursement towards spoiled items.”

“And who’s going to pay for all the restaurants we’ll have to frequent?”

Jay apologized yet again and transferred me to Carma who transferred me to Leo.

I asked why Sears didn’t hire more workers if demand was so great.

“Sears has plenty, but they are all so busy. It’s that time of year…”

And herein lies the utter stupidity, incompetence and greed of Sears. Do they honestly believe their customers are such idiots as to be blind to the fact that all that mattered was the $? More repair people would mean more pay-out by Sears.

I asked Leo where he was located.

“In the Sears Repair Center.”

“Where exactly is this Center?”

“We are not allowed to give out that information.”

Was I talking to the CIA? Or the Pentagon? Or the Kremlin? I spoke to four different people. All with the same accent. Yet another way for Sears to cut costs and deprive domestic workers of jobs. Sears fell headlong into the monumentally stupid category.

I’m one of the fortunate Sears’ customers; our fridge started working once I hung up the phone. I used Nexis’ tech tip – unplugging the fridge for a few minutes, then re-plugging – and it worked.

I hope you’ll notice, dear readers, that I wanted to get angry several times. I really did. But I realized that I would not maintain the proper presence of mind to best manage my problem, and I’d not nearly have as much fun. I tried the unplugging trick twice with Nexis; it didn’t work either time. Perhaps my anger would have prevented me from trying it again and having my issue ultimately resolved.

The person we fight with when angered is ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies. Your mind can be your best friend or your worst foe. It’s up to you.

Just think.


15 Responses to “Playing it Cool with Sears Repair Service Stupidity”

  1. Elaine says:

    Well my hat off to you on this one. I do think I might have lost my cool. We’ve dealt with Sears as well and ran into similar problems. Now we stick to one LOCAL service company for heating/AC/appliances and it’s worked out well. Good luck with your fridge! Only 3 years old seems pretty soon to start having problems.

  2. Suzie says:

    I am glad you did not lose your temper, because it wouldn’t make any difference. I had problem with my Sears purchased refrigerator also. You are sort of lucky!! I did not buy their warranty. So after 3 years I paid a local repair service man $700.00 to repair mine. See what I mean by being lucky?

  3. Sergio says:

    I promised myself I shall never buy any thing from Sears
    ever again.

  4. Ferd says:

    I remember reading about King Solomon, supposedly the wisest person who ever lived, and whose advice is handed down in the Book of Proverbs. He talks a lot about anger. One of the proverbs I remember is the generic, “Don’t do business with angry people.” By that he suggests to simply avoid angry people in any sort of relationship. Anger doesn’t do anyone any good. You are good to suggest anger avoidance and control in our own selves. Though I have to simplify it for myself so I can remember. Ferd style: Anger sucks!

    Okay, you are like Katherine Hepburn and now like King Solomon. Keli, you are complex. Or you HAVE a complex. I’m not quite sure!
    ; )

  5. Agnes Mildew says:

    My goodness! I could feel my own hackles rising at that palava! I only have to be put on hold for three minutes to a call centre and my accent becomes more and more crystal cut, which is always a bad sign for the person who finally gets me in the queue. What a nightmare.
    For your information, I do not possess a fridge: I possess my very own Natural History Museum…

  6. damon says:

    I wonder if the repairmens training course actually has a video of how to unplug a fridge, make some technical bullshit conversation with the customer, then plug it back in.

    If their service dept is so busy, maybe they should re-examine their crappy product line. Ya think?

  7. Jenny says:

    What a great post, a great reminder, and so timely! I have to remind myself all the time that if I get mad and lose my cool, I just look like a bigger idiot than the stupers I’m trying to get some sense out of. It’s soooo hard sometimes and reminders are good. Thanks, Keli.

  8. Onedia says:

    Service is never what it should be. Technology has also allowed customer support lines to throw up gatekeepers to thwart our efforts to talk to humans. Then when we succeed in speaking to a human they seem to be unable to provide any creative problem solving and rely on an If-then list of actions they wish us to take that will avoid them actually fulfilling our requests.

    I was recently told by Wireless Company X that I could not have a family share plan with numbers in two different states. They simply had no way of doing that. However, when my determined son-by-marriage located a friend of a friend at Company X’s store in son-by-marriages city he was in fact a creative thinker who managed to do exactly what we had been told was not possible.

    If it were not for the better living that chemistry now provides me I would be screaming at most customer service people after about 45 seconds of conversation.

    I applaud your perseverance and determination.


  9. Keli says:

    Thank you! 3 years is too soon, but I have to admit, it’s very well used. I’m just grateful, it started working again. Next time, I’m going Local.
    It’s true. I do consider myself lucky for having the extended warranty. Sorry to hear of your hefty repair costs!
    I understand!
    I agree. Anger makes you stupid.
    Wow! What a combo! I’d rather be complex, than have a complex, thank you very much!

  10. Keli says:

    I used to have a 45 second rule, before I slammed down the phone. But fortunately for all within reach of me, I’ve mellowed and become more patient.
    You don’t have a fridge? I must hear more about your Museum…
    I hear they spend months just learning the proper plugging and unplugging method. Amazing, isn’t it?
    Very true. I still need my own reminders. There are days I fall off the wagon, then run panting trying to get back on. It’s not pretty.
    Agreed. I so dislike talking to machines with no brains (altho sometimes these machines know more than their human counterparts). It’s all about reaching an intelligence service provider on the other end. Sometimes, it pays to hang up and keep trying till you reach one that actually carries a working head on his/her shoulders.

  11. Lisa Edwards says:

    Sears is not interested in customer satisfaction, nor do they honor their “No Lemon Program. I bout a Kenmore Model #253.52334200, and a five year extended service contract. The refrigerator caught on fire and Sears offers nothing but a 10% discount on a new Sears refrigerator. Who has money to buy a new Sears refreigerator after spending $3000 for a Kenmore that lasted five years because it was a Lemon.!

  12. Lisa Edwards says:

    I will not buy from Sears again.

  13. Keli says:

    After even more interaction with Sears Repair Service, I must agree with you. They are totally uninterested. In fact, after they came to tune-up my fridge, it was never in proper working order again!

  14. Kelly George says:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Kelly Brooks
    Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 5:23 PM
    Subject: I am in need of assistance

    I need help!  I have been a loyal Sears consumer my entire life.  If you cant trust Sears who can you trust?
    My dishwasher and stove both broke in early September.  We called Sears to help.  A technician id #$0849976 came out to our house on 9/11/08.  He said he could not repair the stove (KENMORE 79095651001) because you no longer supported the product (It’s only 6 years old).  Then charged us $40.13 for those words. (invoice attached)
    As for the dishwasher (GE pdw9200j03ww which we purchased for $249) he said he could repair it.  He was going to order a part and come back to install it.  Part #WD34x110831 touch pad.
    My credit card was charged $340.16 for the part and an additional $165.00 for labor.  While I was not happy about the costs (once I saw what they were) I decided it was more important to have the dishwasher than to argue about the costs.  After all he already ordered the part. (invoice attached)
    Approximately 1 week later a box arrived from Sears (containing the part) and we called service back to let them know it was time to come install it.  We were scheduled for 9/18/08 between 8a-12pm.  No one came.  We called again and again with the same result.  No one returned to install the part. 
    As we approach December with the box still sealed sitting in my foyer, I called customer service 1-800-4-my-home for help.  The customer service representative suggested I send the part back to Sears and they would give me a refund to my credit card.  So I did.  It costs $10.22 for shipping with delivery confirmation (usps delivery confirmation attached)
    Needless to say, that didn’t work out.  No credit, in fact..  Now customer service claims the part was installed!  What kind of scam is this?  I am out a dishwasher, over $500 and Sears says only the sub-contractor Hudson Valley can help.  Call them they say 973-989-7428.  So I do.  Over and over again without anyone answering my calls or calling me back.
    So back to Sears I go.  I reach Robert (no last name he refused to give it to me) said his id was 80188 and he sends me straight back to the unit.  Same phone number same result.

  15. sears parts says:

    great post !!
    I read a few of your other entires.where can i subscribe to your blog?
    Thank you for sharing.

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