Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sears: A+ Customer Service

Sear's customer service rules...they get an A+ in my book.
I totally forgot about a post that I wanted to put up 2 months ago about Sears and their great customer service until FMF posted about his good experience with Sears customer service. Thanks for the reminder FMF.

Mrs. RS and I moved into our new house last summer (June 2005) and quickly realized that our driveway was not going to be fun in the winter. When they built our house, the driveway would have been too steep to go straight from the road down to my basement garage, so they had to make it curve up from the garage, across my front lawn, adn then out to the street. I was furious about this at first, but I have since learned to like it as it make my house look unique compared to all the other houses in the neighborhood. My neighbor to the right also has the same driveway, just opposite. Both of us knew that we would not be shoveling these beasts, so we had a plan to go to Sears and get snow blowers during one of their sales. I ended up going to purchase mine in early November when it was on sale plus I got another 10% off for using my Sears card. I had never used a snow blower in my life and thought that I would need the largest one that they sold there for some reason. I figured that a friend of mine had a 9HP blower and I didn't think that his driveway was as steep, so I must need the 13HP monster blower. In the end, I was charged just under $1300 when all was said and done. My neighbor went a week later to get his during the same sale and came home with an 8HP snow blower for about $800.

We got the first snow at the end of November and we were ready to use our new toys...problem is they apparently don't work too well in 1 inch of snow. We ended up having to shovel the first snow of the year. Second snow came a week later and we got three inches...SCORE. We both get out there and use the blowers, but his was much easier to use. The Beast, as I like to refer to it, was so heavy and immobile that I had trouble turning it on my driveway. So much for the more expensive snow blower being better. The next time that it snowed we got about 18 inches, but I was in the Bahamas so my neighbor was kind enough to snow blow for us before we got back. However, he went one pass up my driveway and the blower stopped moving all together. It was dead. We couldn't find anything wrong with how we were using it (out of gas, oil, switch turned off) so we tried to take it apart to see if any of the belts were broken. Everything looked fine to our completely untrained eyes.

Here is where Sears gets involved. I called them up the next week to have it fixed, thinking that someone could come out and look at it. I was informed that since I didn't purchase the extended warranty that I would have to transport the blower to the service center that is 45 minutes away where they would then send it out to be serviced someplace else. This wasn't a good option for me because I own a Civic, not a Ford F150. So the woman on the phone said that I could also purchase the extended warranty for $100 and then I could schedule an appointment for someone to come out to my house and fix it. Let's just think about that for a second...even though she knew that it was already broken, they must make enough of a profit on the extended warranty to justify still letting me get it. So of course, I chose to do that. I got all my info in the mail a few days later, but she asked me to wait a week or so before making a claim so that it didn't raise too many red flags. I waited my week and called for an appointment, but I couldn't be home from work when they needed to come so it would have to be done in 2 weeks. During that time, I spoke with my parents and some co-workers and they all thought that I was crazy for not just returning it. They had a good point, why would I want to own a snow blower that had broken the second time it was used. So I knew that I had to return the Beast to Sears. I was dreading this because, as a general rule of thumb, I HATE dealing with customer service. I also had to solve the transportation problem. I knew that my neighbor was getting a truck in a few weeks, so I decided to wait until then.

After he got his truck, got the bedliner sprayed on, got a cap put on (so about a month later), we brought the snow blower back to Sears. I was all ready to do battle with them, but when we went in to tell them the situation, they simply said "Pull the truck out front and we will send someone out to help unload it for you." He asked what was wrong with it, credited my Sears card, sent someone to help unload it all in a 15 minute span and I was out of there with all my money back. I even got back the extended warranty money that I spent. I was amazed at how nice they were and how easy it was to return, even though it was almost 3 months later at this point. They did a great job and have an extremely satisfied customer here (although it obviously would have been easier if nothing ever happened to the snow blower, but I don't blame them for that). Now my neighbor and I are just sharing one snow blower, it is much easier that way.


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