Sears steps up and strikes out

Remember Phil?  In the post “When the deal goes awry” I republished a comment he had made about his attempt to take advantage of Southwest Rapid Reward’s brief 15X Sears promotion.  Phil had ordered 3 DSLR cameras, but his shipment contained only one.  I won’t recount the entire story here (please read the original post for that info), but some interesting stuff has popped up since then, so I thought I’d share.  Read on to see what happened when Sears itself chimed in:

First, Phil gave an update:

Bugger. They refunded the cameras. So this one has not worked out for me. I may get real lucky and have the points stick but I seriously doubt it. So I am now going to be left about 20k short of the companion pass. I will see how the cards fall and take stock once the points that did book crossover.

[see comment 16 for the full text]

Then, surprisingly, Mike D from Sears added a comment:

Good morning Phil,

I came across this post today and wanted to contact you. My name is Mike and I am a member of the Sears Social Media Support team. I am sorry to see that you did not receive all three of the cameras that you ordered. It is always irritating when an order is not fulfilled correctly, much less when the order is based on a time-sensitive promotion such as in this instance. While I am happy to see that you have contacted our Online Solutions group, if you would allow me the opportunity, I would like to connect you with a dedicated case manager to discuss your experience and reach a mutually acceptable resolution in this matter. At your convenience, please contact our office via email at smsupport@searshc.com so you don’t have to be upset by this any longer. In the email, please provide a contact number and the phone number the cameras were purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. In addition, please include your Screen name (Phil) in the email for reference to your issue. Again, we’re sorry for any trouble we have caused and we hope to talk to you soon.

Thank you,

Mike D.
Social Media Moderator
Sears Social Media Support

This sounded promising right?  Well, Phil gave us another update:

I wanted to provide a final update here. As you can see Sears Social Media tried to put out the fire here by responding on the board and I took them up on their offer of help. I genuinely thought they would be helpful. However after a couple of emails, couple of calls, they just called to say there is nothing they can do. I am often very cynical of commercial social media as they are just there to try spin bad situations, but sometimes they can be great, but in this case, thanks Mike D for frankly pretty much nothing.

And if you recall the issue is they cancelled the order because they said they were out of stock. I had spoken to customer service who told me that they would try to locate stock but if they could not, only then would they cancel the stock. So I decided to call my local Sears, which is 2 miles from my home, and were showing online they had two in stock. Customer service had given me some mumbo-jumbo that stock levels online are not necessarily accurate. Anyway I call the store and got through to a very helpful lady who said her computer was showing there were two in stock in store. I asked her if she could verify and she literally walked into the store-room and found them and said “yep they are here”. I gave this information to the social media response people in the hope that they would be able to take that and use it to fulfill the order. STILL THEY FAILED! These guys are absolutely freaking useless. The customer was able to do with a five minute call what multiple customer service and social media clowns collectively failed to do on multiple locations, and that is fine the stock they needed to fulfill the order – and that is within 2 miles of his darn home!!! Lord knows how many more there are if I expanded nationwide.

So one big lesson from all this, if you really need to actually buy something other than for points, NEVER use Sears. They SUCK.

Mike D, are you reading this?  Care to respond?

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. This is why Sears and KMart stores are closing left and right. My local mall just lost Sears and over the past few years we have lost several KMarts. The current management has taken two great brands and made them a joke. Even when the stores were open I wouldn’t shop there because of poor service and long lines. Not long lines because they were busy. Long lines because only one register was staffed. So I guess I should have said long line. I give this company another 15 years tops before they fold completely.

  2. I have had similar results with Sears online customer service. They are completely disconnected from physical stores and only use them as an address to ship site to store items to. In one case, they couldn’t even figure out how to refund a purchase that was cancelled, so I went 3 months fighting before they just cut me a check.

  3. I agree completely. Sears is a total piece of sh!t garbage company. I can’t even rehash my experience getting a washer dryer from them, but it was very similar… they were out of stock, but said 4 days to deliver on the website, etc. etc. Was double dipping, so ended up with 1100 in sears gift cards. Whatever. Customer service was terrible, took 8 hours of time on the phone, social media customer service was terrible. Just pathetic.

  4. This will be a case study in management text books in 20 years! It’s sad that in today’s age of connectivity and globalization they have such horrible internal systems. I’ve had the opposite experience with Hilton, they helped me book a room in DC with an expired rate b/c of a post on Twitter.

  5. @Quig69 – you give them 15 years? Wow I would not take that bet 🙂

    @Kadence – I think that is quite true, they would make a good management school study

    I don’t say all this because I am pissed they screwed with me on this one. Hey I will live with that. And they are not the only firm with terrible customer service. But having worked in the hedge fund industry I have seen how these folks operate, and Eddie Lampart (CEO and owner) is a great example of an overly-egotistical Goldman Sachs graduate who thinks he knows how to run a retail business because he did well at GS back in the glory days. Walk into any Sears nationwide and you will see it is a depressing shambles that needs a major overhaul. It’s like being in Walmart, sans good pricing.

  6. Sears does suck. I promised never to do business with them again after they pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh’s show. So on top of being politically motivated, they’ve proven to be completely unreliable in customer service.

    RIP Sears aka K-mart.

  7. I agree and understand the frustration. To be fair, most of the retails outlets would have similar issues. Nobody is perfect. I have had LEAST amounts of problems with Home Depot in my experience.
    But I think Mike D f’ed up here. They wasted Phil’s time, let alone the opportunity cost. Based on this episode, i will tread carefully in dealing with Sears. I don’t particularly like them. I also don’t like several other retail shops (od, omax, bestbuy, frys… comeon! they are all horrible)

  8. We were a Sears drop ship vendor and I can tell you for a fact their online and store inventory is completely separate. We never had to update inventory once it was uploaded. We just canceled orders if we were out of stock on something. So the online site could show 300 units while we were completely out of stock. Their vendor support is absolutely terrible so we had to drop them. The funny thing is they moved a lot faster to terminate our account than to resolve our issues and keeping our products on their site. We are talking 2 years vs. 2 weeks literally. We get store closure notices all the time. It will only be a matter of time before they are out of business if they don’t drastically change the way they do business.

  9. There is no way he’ll come here to respond at this point.
    A whole flaming would torch him, myself included.

    If I can find, and potentially buy it, then fulfill the order!

  10. I’ve had good results dealing with their outlet stores since you see the inventory. I’ve picked things up and had others delivered, including a large refrigerator which arrived on time without incident. I have saved about 50% of the retail price. Our local Sears is a pleasant place to shop. I’m a complainer when things go wrong but at least my experiences have been fine. The experience Phil had was very frustrating and I feel for him. The social media thing just frosts it.

  11. In their defense, sometimes merchandise is out of stock, and all you are owed is refund if they decide they can’t fulfill your order. Not really their problem that you really were after the 15x points, but it certainly stings.

  12. @Phil Thanks to your experience with this, and mine, I’m short SHLD and long WMT. Oh, and long Sears giftcards, but not by choice. 😉

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