The weekend before last, we went to the local-ish Sears to buy a washer, dryer, and refrigerator for the new house. We bought our appliances at a Sears in Eugene for the lake house; we got what we wanted, they were delivered as arranged, everything went amoothly. We both noticed that the salesman smelled of beer, but otherwise everything seemed to be going OK, except that he confusingly explained that he could only arrange delivery on a Thursday, but that we could later call in and postpone the delivery to any day we preferred. (We are closing on Friday, Feb 22, so he set it to the day before, figuring it would be easier to postpone the delivery than move it up. Of course, that also meant I had to call to postpone the delivery, since we cannot take delivery the day before we have the housekeys.

But when I did call in a week later, the local store couldn’t change the delivery date and referred me to the Delivery Center, who couldn’t find the order at all!! I did a bunch more checking around, including having two calls to the Delivery Center dropped. In the process, I found at that their website also sucks – it took me three browsers to even be able to log in to their system. Apparently when I set it up, I logged in through my Google account, and it said I needed to log in the same way – but when I tried with Chrome and Firefox, a popup window showed up, then disappeared, and nothing else happened. I was finally able to log in via Safari, but there were no orders showing. After a few more calles, Andrew, a salesman at the Washington Mall store, was able to figure out that the order had been lost, even though we’d been charged for it – apparently it never got “bridged” from the local system to the central one. He had to completely cancel the order and put in a new one.

So that all took most of an hour on the phone. AT least Andrew was helpful and and competent. There was only one small problem: when we set up our Sears Reward account, we were still living in the Netherlands, so we’d used the in-laws’ phone number. They have an account too, so there were two accounts at the same number; he accidentally put this purchase on their account, so the emailed receipt got sent to them and I guess they’ll get the rewards points (something like $150 worth). Oh, well, those aren’t major problems. Also, apparently there’s a new sale on, so the new purchase was $300 less than the old one – at least I got paid for my time!

Then I spent more time trying to give feedback. The main feedback phone line was closed at 6PM, so I tried to use their website. First issue is, you can only enter one salescheck (transaction) number at a time – but I had four related to this issue: two from the original purchase (why, I don’t know), one from the cancelation, and one from the new order. So I had to go through the whole system twice, ones with the main original number and once with the new order. Then this morning I got an email back. It has a signature, so was pretending not to be a form letter, but it eseentially said “Thank you for shopping at Sears. We’re sorry you had a back experience. For any issue relating to delivery, you can always call our Delivery Center at…” so presumably whoever wrote that didn’t bother enough of my comment to realize that the Delivery Center wasn’t able to help.

This morning, I called the feedback numbers. First I called the number for Sears.com, which has no ability to transfer you to a human if you press ’0′ – I had to pretend I was inquiring about an order to get through to someone. I described my three problems with the website, occurring on top of the last order (that it didn’t work with Chrome or Firefox, that there’s noway to put in multiple sales-check numbers and the ignorant response to my compaplint. The person listened careful, said she was going to transfer me to the technical team … and then the call got dropped. So I called back, and the second person said there was no technical team, just an offline IT group! She took my complaints down, but I have no confidence about them ever getting anywhere.

Finally I called the main CS number to give feedback about the in-store experiment. Luckily, there I was able to speak to another competent person who not only documented my complaint, and checked all the orders to make sure everything is now OK, but set everything up to match with our new address and phone number, so it will be easier to look stuff up in future. I made sure to get him to send a commendation letter to Andrew’s manager, and I asked about putting in a commendation for his own help. The call is recorded, so that’s taken care of.

I think next time I buy appliances I will be going somewhere else, though!
ETA: Just to make it worse, I had responded to the incorrect email and they just emailed back, “I have looked into our delivery system and found that your items are to be delivered on the 22nd of February”. NO – that’s the day of our closing!!