So I had a very bad experience with Sears. Basically I ordered a TV online, was promised it was okay to go and pick it up and 2 hours later I left with my TV in the car and 2-3 hours down the drain. My letter I have sent to Sears sums it up pretty well. Read below if you’d like, but you’ve been warned, it is a tad ranty.
I am writing to you to inform you of the horrendous customer service I have received recently when buying something from Sears.com and attempting to pick it up via a store.
On December 23rd 2009 I ordered a Panasonic 42″ HDTV set through Sears.com (My Sears.com Order# is: xxxxxxxxxx). I took advantage of the promotion you are running with Microsoft’s Bing.com in order to earn an additional 8% cash back on my purchase. Since this item was intended to be a gift, I opted to choose in-store pickup as my delivery option since shipping the item would have taken too long. I took my time and properly setup my Bing account and clicked through to Sears.com to purchase the TV set.
I used the Store Chat feature to confirm that the TV set was in stock at the Woodbridge NJ store location where I intended to pickup the TV, unfortunately the TV was not in stock at my local store. I was assured that 4-5 of the units were in stock and that if I ordered today I would be able to pickup the item within 2 hours of placing my order. I then called up the Woodbridge Sears store to confirm what the online chat representative had told me, just to be safe.
The woman on the phone confirmed that there were some of the units in stock and that once I placed my order I should call back. So I would finally place my Sears.com order around 10 to 11 AM. This is where things started to go wrong. At first I never received an order confirmation email. Whenever I purchase something online the email usually arrives instantly. This did not. This had me worried at first, but I eventually found a way to re-send the confirmation, sending the email into my inbox at 11:12 AM.
Now I ordered this from work, expecting to leave after work to pickup the TV set, being well within the 2 hours I was told (at the longest) it would take for my order to process and be picked up.
Around 1 PM I decided to give the Woodbridge Sears store a call. I gave them my order confirmation number and explained to them that I would be coming later to pickup the TV set. First they had no record of my order at all, after 10 minutes on the phone they were able to locate my order. They mentioned that I can just bring my order confirmation print out into the store. I mentioned I did not receive a “ready for pickup” email, but I was told this was not required. The woman told me a TV set was put aside for me and that it would be ready to be picked up within 15 minutes.
Fast forward to 4:45 PM. I leave work and rush through the traffic to arrive at the Woodbridge store. I arrive and park in the designated pick-up area and call the number, I’m advised to walk in to pickup the TV. I hand the man two print-outs I have. At this point I find out that these are worthless. He looks up my order number and finds no record at all of my order. He swipes my debit card (which I used to pay for the purchase) through the machine and nothing shows up. He advises me to cancel my order and simply re-order it online. Frustrated and confused I walk my way through the crowded store looking for some sort of manager’s office. I eventually find it as a brown unlabeled door.
Inside I speak to another man who brings me back to the same Pick-Up machine, he once again swipes my card through the machine, looks at my confirmation number, and says “It seems like your order has been picked up.” at this point my heart drops, and I begin to worry that somebody has walked away with my new TV set. Shortly after I’m told that nobody has picked up my item, which does little to calm me since the situation seems to be going nowhere. He directs me back to the non-descript managers office to ask someone else. I wait at the window while everyone inside seems busy. When it is my turn I explain my situation and hand them all of the emails I have printed out. I check my phone to see a new email from Sears.com saying that there was some delay in the processing for unknown reasons and that all that was left was to confirm that the item at the physical store was in stock – then they would issue another email which would then allow me to pickup my TV set.
At this point to me it seemed that I was almost out in the clear, since to me it sounded like a simple “Yes we have the item” was needed from the store to let me pickup the TV. Unfortunately this was not the case. The woman behind the glass window punches in my information and tries to help out, but all she can tell me is that Sears.com has to clear my order before they can do anything. After waiting 10 minutes to see if anything can be done she writes down a phone number for me to call – making me deal with the situation myself once again.
With no other choice I call up the Sears.com line again, I end up calling back again due to the confusing menu system. While I waited in the room for 15 minutes a bunch of young adults, probably no more then 20 years old in age, constantly walk in and out of the small office, passing through another door to the room directly attached to the office. Through the wall I hear constant shouting, cursing, and loud arguments. I started to worry and actually get a bit scared. I did not know who these people were and with all the loud cursing and shouting I wouldn’t of been surprised at all if a fight were to break out. If something were to happen I would be just on the other side of the door in the middle of harms-way.
This argument was so disruptive and loud that I could make out what the argument was about. Apparently something about $15,000 to $25,000 had been stolen or lost due to one person apparently showing another person how to use a cash register or some other machine related to money. The sound of handcuffs was apparent and was confirmed by one of the people in the next requesting they be put away since they were making him nervous. Now I am an adult, and I did not happen to have any small children with me. However another woman in the office did, and she looked equally as disgusted as I felt. After a few minutes she promptly left after trying to distract her child from hearing the rude noises.
After trying to block out the unsteady noises from the other side of the wall I finally get through to a representative on the phone. At first they can’t seem to find my order information, but then they are finally able to look it up. They tell me that my debit card has been charged, so there is no issue with that. I am then told that the fraud department has cleared it, so there is no issue with that either. I mention to them that I am at the Sears store waiting to pickup my item. The woman on the phone mentions that my order is missing a Sales Tag number, and that when this arrives my order will be ready for pickup. She transfers me to someone else who confirms that my order is processing and that they do not know why it is taking so long. They give me an estimate that the order may not finish processing for 1-2 days. This is 24 times longer then the 2 hours I was originally promised. If this was the case I would have never bothered to visit the store in the first place.
I thank the telephone representative for their help and proceed back to the glass teller window to speak to the woman who has been trying to help me. I explain that they mentioned I needed a Sales Tag number and that nobody knows why my order is being processed still. We then look at my email to discover there is a Sales Tag number on it. She tells me that it may be 1-2 days before it may clear, so I should probably just come back. I ask her nicely if she can call up Sears.com and try to fix the situation, since she would know much more then I do about Sears orders. She agrees to help. After another 15 minutes or so she tells me that there was nothing she can do. The order is still processing and it may be as little as 2 hours – or as late as 2-3 days.
At this point I am beyond frustrated. I expected a simple in-and-out pickup. The “Ready in 5” slogan promised that my order would be ready in a timely fashion, or at least in under an hour. At this point I was at the Sears store in Woodbridge for over 2 hours. I have missed my dinner at home, and I did not accomplish anything except more pain and frustration.
I am then told that the only thing that I can do now is either cancel the order and re-order the item online, or exchange the transaction for the TV in the store, losing my $56 earned in cash back. I feared that if I were to order the item online (even if I did it on my mobile phone) I would have to wait another 2 hours to 3 days for it to even clear or process. Plus, I purchased the TV on my debit card, and I would surely not have enough funds to cover two HDTV sets, especially since it would take Sears a matter of days to remove the previous charge on my card. I did not want to be hit with an overdraw fee because of this. I spoke with the woman for a few minutes about my options and reluctantly went with the exchange offer. I was promised that my debit card would not be touched at all, and that I could take the TV set home that night.
So after a receipt is printed out I return to the delivery pickup area. The man who I first met with more then two hours ago looks at me and actually says “You’re still here?” – he was just as surprised as I was. Now there was a long line of people waiting to pickup their items, if this mess was dealt with 2 hours ago I would have been the only person in line. Finally I pass the man my receipt and eventually I lead him to my car where I open the trunk. The seats are laid down flat to allow the TV set to lay across the back. The two men lift the TV set in my car – but not before knocking a printer out of my trunk, causing it to smash against the pavement violently – causing plastic to shatter. Thankfully for me, the printer was non-working and was on it’s way to be disposed of anyway, however this clumsy loading of the TV into my car did not sit well with me at all and only added to my disappointment with Sears. I was only happy when my trunk was closed with the TV safe inside.
The next morning, Christmas Eve, I wake up to an e-mail from Sears – a duplicate of one I have gotten before, saying my order was processing. Fearing the worst, I signed into my online banking account and noticed that I had two holds for the price of the TV. I now thought that Sears charged me twice for the TV, and knowing that my Debit card did not have enough funds for two I called up Sears.com again. First I spoke to Nick, then another person, then another, then another. Each of them failed to direct me to the correct department. The call would be disconnected or the wrong department was reached, sending me in a loop. This happened almost half a dozen times, by the end I was once again frustrated by Sears. The only good which came out of this was that the extra charge was just a hold and that it would go away shortly. It still scared me waking up on Christmas Eve to see an email from Sears, I feared that they were going to charge me again for my order. But at this point nothing would have surprised me.
So after all of this I have spent over 2 hours of time in what was supposed to take under 5 minutes. I was treated to a disturbing shouting match where I did not feel safe. My TV was clumsily moved into my car, and I was cheated out of about $56 of cash-back credit. My experience with Sears and Sears.com was nothing short of disastrous and I can honestly say that I can not see myself purchasing anything from that store again, now knowing exactly what can happen with an order. This is not an isolated incident and I am not alone with my struggle as I have read eerily similar stories from angry and upset customers all over the internet.
I am deeply dissatisfied, frustrated, and upset with my experience with Sears. Not only did I waste my time from work and home, but I lost over $50 of promised credit and was forced into experiencing a frightening, disrespectful and disturbing shouting match by Sears employees while I waited for service. I expect to at the very least receive the amount of credit I was originally supposed to gain from the cash back offer. At the very least.
I sincerely hope that these problems can be avoided by others in the future and that no person is subjected to the lengthy, frustrating, and tiresome process which I had to endure.
So that’s what I sent out to them today. Let’s hope that they do something here and it better not be a Sears gift card, because I don’t want to walk into that store ever again.