February 28, 2009

Dear Sears

February 28, 2009

Sears National Customer Relations
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179

Dear Sears:

One mistake has wasted countless hours of my time—and yours, too.

On January 26, my husband and I ordered a new stove at your Sears store in Lancaster Mall, Salem, Oregon. Our oven had stopped working the day before, and because of food allergies, we have to cook almost everything we eat from scratch; eating out is not an option for long. We had the stove delivered that Saturday, the 31st.

The delivery guys took off the back panel of the stove, hooked up the “pigtail”, plugged the stove in, waited while I stripped off the packing materials and turned on the oven, and left. I left the oven on to burn off the factory debris, as directed in the user’s manual. About a half an hour after the delivery people left, I heard a loud “click” from the kitchen and went to investigate. All the lights on the stove were off. I looked at our breaker box, and the range breaker was tripped. I tried resetting it to no avail.

So I called the delivery people (who had called to make sure we were there; I used Caller ID to get them). The person I reached said, “I can’t send my guys out again until Monday.” Since I am a teacher and cannot take extra time off work, I asked if this breaker-tripping was normal, and he said, “No.” So we called an electrician.

The electrician came, took off the back panel of the stove and saw immediately that a wire had welded itself to that back panel (the scorch mark is still there, on the inside). He peeled it off the panel, looked to make sure the contact part was okay, and stuck it back where it belonged. He then reset the breaker, at which point we realized the outlet for the range was damaged. He went and found a new plug, installed it, and plugged in the range. The top still functioned, but somehow during the “dead short” as he called it, the oven stopped working. It took two service calls and several fruitless phone calls to get that repair completed, as well as paying someone to be in our house during the four-hour repair windows so we didn’t have to miss work.

As he was working, the electrician mentioned that the stove, as it was installed, was a “death trap,” since the entire back of the stove was, in fact, live with electricity. Imagine how I felt upon hearing this, especially since I have two small children and one cat. “Product liability” does not really cover the emotion.

I am now writing, however, to get the electrician’s bill resolved. I have repeated the EXACT SAME STORY to various people and departments at Sears over the course of the last month. At first, I was told that it was the delivery people’s fault, and that I would hear from them. After a long delay, I did, and they decided it was actually NOT their responsibility after all (see their letter, attached.)

So far I paid the money for the stove and the electrician’s bill, used up approximately 15 hours of my life that I will never get back—and, in fact, since I am a teacher, will lose in sleep as I attempt to get caught up on grading, gone without a working oven for over a week that was YOUR store’s fault (I do not blame you for the week we waited for delivery—just repairs, since we were told not to let anyone exchange the stove in case we needed proof for this very claim I am writing about). In exchange, I have netted one stove and oven that actually works, several more gray hairs, and one $25 gift card to soften the pain (it’s not working, actually).

Here is what I need you to do. Read the attached electrician’s report and bill. Send us a check for the total amount of the bill, $399.55 (I wouldn’t mind if you sent it overnight, but it’s your corporate image, not mine.) And seriously consider finding some way to compensate us for our time, on the off chance that we might consider patronizing your store again: make me an offer.

Attached you will find the bill and the report, as well as the delivery company’s note denying responsibility. If you’d like to read my letter online, you may see it at:

I will be happy to post your reply there as soon as I receive it.


Ginger Ogle


Rachel said...

Oh my GOD Sears is TERRIBLE!! We've had some miserable experiences there lately, too. Not quite the potentially lethal scale as yours (unless you count homicidal urges), but frustrating all the same. So much time I can never get back has been wasted there. Once at the photo studio, once at the opticians. I hope they reimburse you properly. I know I don't plan to even step foot in there again.

Ty Davison said...

Your post is a public service. Hope Sears steps up. (Not that, you know, I'd be holding my breath.)

EM Lewis said...

Go get 'em!!! Sorry for the terrible experience, though.