Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sears "Social Media Escalation" Team Robots

This is OUR blog about OUR experiences (good, bad and ugly) in Puerto Rico. Like anywhere there are good things bad things and stuff that just gets on your nerves. One thing that is pissing me off right now is the Sears "Social Media Support Escalation" comments trying to publicly make their screwed up system appear normal by using our blog to do so. First off there must be little google robots finding references to Sears (and every other store that knows they have bad service) roaming around in cyber space. The first comment seemed reasonable and was maybe an odd surprise that we thought was ok. We were even trying to be reasonable with our comments. Since we have another "Susan at Social Media Support Escalations Team" comment that Sear's wants in the public it is only fair for us to publicly air the problem in its entirety.

Here you go "team!" This may not be interesting for regular blog readers (the story anyway). The washer broke. It is a 5 year old Kenmore HEt2 similar to what we had in Seattle. When we bought it it was a decent price because it was on sale and had further discounts if you opened a Sears card. Here in PR we have Walmart, Sears, Kmart (which is Sears) and mom and pop places. No choices. We know other people here who have had the same washer break. We were warned that it was $125 for a service visit and $260 for motherboard and that it took 2 trips to get it fixed. There is SO much garbage here on the island it just seemed unconscionable to throw out an entire washer. We see lovely people here pushing washers, refrigerators etc off the road on highway 112 all the time. Appliances are strewn about on roadsides everywhere. I physically WENT to Sear's to get information on estimates (couldn't tell me what the most common repair was on them), how the process worked etc. The first irritation is that the salesperson in the store dialed the service number and handed the phone TO ME. That's helpful. The first guy on the phone told me it was $75 for them to come out. I asked him to double check since I know people who had to pay $125. I explained that this is the black hole of Puerto Rico where everything is messed up. The story I got from him was that it would be $75 for the service call which would then be deducted from the cost of the repair if we decided to do it and that it would be done on the spot. I didn't believe him, but wanted to. I wanted to talk to someone else. I then talked to Sherry (I think) who was cheerful and basically told me the same thing and that it was in the computer at $75 and that would be what I would pay if I didn't have it fixed. It would be deducted from the repair cost if I decided to have it repaired.

I figured if it was $260 minus the $75 that would be acceptable. I made the appointment. I waited all day long since the "appointment" is 8 - 5. Jeff actually had to call them at 4:30 to see where the hell they were and then the guy called. I met him further up the road and he followed me to the house. He got out his bag of stuff and set to work. Before he did that though he said the service call was $129. I told him it was in the computer at $75 and that is what I will pay. He was courteous (I do not have a problem with him). He worked on it for 1 1/2 hours before telling me it was the "Superior" board. There are some language problems that we are partly to blame for - we live here and Spanish is the language. Supposedly it is Spanish and English but it is really Spanish. However he figured out the price it was going to be $464 to repair. $129 for the service call, $260 for the board and labor. I am not sure how it added up. Not $464 minus the $75. $464. I paid the $75 and am stuck with a  washer I have to push off a cliff (not really - just venting). Jokes aside, there is no bad appliance pick up. You buy something they don't take away the old one like in the states and I cannot find a dump to take it to. So now I have a new washer and have to look at the old one and get pissed off when I see it. Look - it is perfectly good and probably needs - A REPAIR - a new relay or some other small part on the board. Does it really require tossing the whole thing?
The new one, by the way Sears, was 10% off $399 and has a $99 4 year extended service plan. Nothing electronic in it. After the time is up I am sure a neighborhood guy will come out for $40, not $75 or $125 or $129 and will be able to fix it. It can be found at Home Depot (troll for that go bots) I do not appreciate Sear's or any store trolling around making public comments about my experiences in an effort to "appear" responsive. If you want to "fix" things or unruffle feathers you do that privately and not in this forum. I don't write, and probably most of our blog readers don't read, this blog to read about how you want your customers to contact you for case workers if there is a problem. (That's right, make work for the customer - it is our job). You want to know if there is a problem? The service guy had an option of "repair is more expensive than replacement"  on his lap top among serveral options of why the customer isn't getting the repair done. That is very telling. Read those instead of trolling around my blog. I don't know if it is possible to avoid buying things at Sear's but I will probably be trying to do that. Not because of the expensive washer repair - because of your bizarre "social media escalations" response to it.

ps - the jury is still out on the new one but for now all is well!


Eric said...

Hello, I am Eric and this is my first time commenting.

Your post made me say “WOW.” What an incredible ordeal! The sad thing is there is a pattern forming over the internet in regards to the same subject - Sears and service calls in PR.

When you live in PR you can really see that this is the way it is here and no one outside can understand or relate to it.

Personally, I appreciate your 'rant' because it was not blown out of proportion and gives others an honest perspective about what to expect, especially if the same thing happens to others in the same general area.

More importantly, I hope that you do not have to part with the old washer. This just makes me want to check with my extended family (mostly mechanics and engineers) and see if I can pass on a reference to you in seeing it get fixed fairly.

And on another note (if this is any help to anyone who may read this and doesn’t know) there is a dump that accepts appliances in Aguada near the Cemetery that is across the street and up the hill from the shopping center that has a Church’s Chicken.

Well, thanks for the blog and I hope the issue can be resolved in your favor.

Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...

Thank you Eric for the info on the appliance graveyard (dump). We are going to try to give the machine to a shop who can maybe buy and replace the motherboard, install it and sell it to someone else. I don't like things to be wasted. I solved our problem by telling Sear's no and getting a new machine. Jeff is an engineer but without schematics and part numbers and access to relays, fuses etc it would be time consuming for him to fix it if not impossible. I made no attempt to resolve the unresolvable. Their creepy blog comments appeared and pissed me off!

Fran and Steve said...

I had read about your original HE washer purchase and, wanting to do the environmentally conscious thing, I had been shopping around for our next washer, a front-loading HE model, expensive as they are. Our existing one (Kenmore) came with the house and is top-loading, not electronic, about 7 years old. It works decently, and thanks to your blog, we've decided to keep it as long as possible. And when it can no longer be fixed, damn them all, we'll get another top-loading non-electronic one, probably not from Sears. We had already had a rude awakening with a $259 repair bill (and one-month wait) on our Kenmore dishwasher. Local repair guys can't get Sears parts, and Sears takes a huge markup on them, in our case $58 for an $18 heating element. I know this because Sears had the element shipped to our house and I saw the packing slip price, and then had to pay Sears $58 for the part. In Puerto Rico, with the highest unemployment rate and lowest per-capita income in the USA, Sears' price gouging and near-monopoly is despicable. Their highest grossing USA store is in Puerto Rico, because they offer attractive sales and easy financing and it's hard for other stores/brands to compete. But the "gotcha" comes when you need service, which as you pointed out, often means replacement. -- Fran