- Fonda, NY
Dissatisfaction with water heater installation runaround
I found this site while searching for a way to write to CEO Edward Lampert, since calling customer service is not an option because that it was my problem is about. It seems that Mr. Lampert is well-shielded from customers, and perhaps even from employees from what I’ve read on the Internet while searching.
In any case, as I will describe, I am extremely unhappy at present with the atrocious service I have received in an attempt to have a new water heater installed, as I will detail below. I have had to initiate calls numerous times, and promised resolutions have not happened. I am now three hours into the vacation day I had to take to be home for the installer to put in my water heater, and I still don’t even know if anybody is going to show up. I think Sears water heaters are excellent products, but I don’t know that I would ever buy one again from Sears based on my service experience.
I discovered that my water heater was leaking on 11/9 and called the number on my instructions booklet since it was still under warranty. At first I was told the soonest a technician could come to look at it was nearly two weeks away – I don’t remember the exact date – but the rep agreed that was ridiculous and worked to schedule somebody for 11/13. This was still a long time, but thankfully the leak was slow so twice-daily cleanups with a wet/dry vac were sufficient to keep the water contained and allow us to still have hot water. This initial phone call took 30 minutes.
I don’t think we ever did get a call telling us about what time the technician would show up on 11/13. Fortunately, my wife was able to be home most of the day, and the technician did finally call at 2:04pm to indicate he was on his way. The technicians determined that the water heater was not repairable and would need to be replaced and told my wife somebody would call us that night or on 11/14 with further information.
Having not received any call, on 11/16 I called the number I had been given on 11/9 that was supposedly a direct line to the water heater department. I still had to navigate through the same menu system, talk to a rep, and then get transferred to the water heater department after a brief hold. The rep I spoke with said the replacement for my water heater was not available until 11/20. Why nobody had called to tell me this, I don’t know. She said I could downgrade to a 6-year-warranty model that was available immediately. I did not think I wanted to do this. I got model#, cost, and availability info from her for several different water heaters – at least this rep was very helpful in providing that info – so I could research the options at sears.com to make a decision. Fortunately, my water heater leak was still slow so I had the luxury of time to make a decision. I decided to stay with the original 9-year-warranty replacement for my water heater and wait until 11/20. I called back on 11/16 – and had to go through the menu system and being transferred again and speaking to yet a different rep – to let them know of my decision and make sure the correct water heater purchase/installation was being processed. I was told I would be contacted by the installer once the water heater was in stock. I also asked the rep what the installation cost would be – since this is not covered under the warranty – and was surprised to learn that it would be $299.99 + $10 haul-away charge, more than an 80% increase from the $169.99 installation charge less than 9 years earlier.
I received a call on 11/19 confirming my installation order, the name of the provider that it was assigned to, a statement that she had called their office to advise they have the order, confirming that the water heater was due in at the Cobleskill store on 11/20 for installation on 11/21, and that she was waiting on the provider to confirm the installation, and that I should be hearing from the provider, a number to call if I don’t hear from the provider, but that I should expect to hear from the provider to confirm the installation and provide a timeframe.
I received a call on 11/20 at 1:58pm from the Cobleskill store that the water heater was received. However, they had no information that it was to picked up by an installer. I then called the number I had been provided on 11/19 to verify my understanding that the installer was picking up the water heater and bringing it to my home on 11/21. This call, thankfully, went right through to the correct department without having to navigate a menu system and transfer. Of course, I was speaking with a new rep, so had to provide my phone number, address, and email address – which I had provided before but never received any of the promised emails regarding status of the order. She confirmed that the installer was to pick up the water heater. While I was on hold, this rep called the contractor, and then she came back and told me they had rejected the order. She put me on hold again while she worked on finding a provider to do the installation. While on hold, 10 minutes into this call, I got disconnected. I called back and got a different rep, for whom I had to provide all of the contact info all over again and wait for her to check the status of the order. I explained that I had been told the provider had rejected the order and the previous rep had been working to find a provider when we got disconnected. After more time on hold, I was told that the original provider would call me that evening to let me know what time between 8am and 8pm on 11/21 they would be at my home to install the water heater. This rep provided me with the direct number to the installer.
I had hoped by this time on 11/20 – mid-afternoon – to know what time the installer would be at my home so I could make arrangements for morning or afternoon vacation time. In the absence of such information, I had to proceed to make arrangements with my manager and the customers I serve to take an entire day of vacation on 11/21.
Still not having heard from anybody, I called the provider directly at 8:50 this morning. He said he didn’t think he had the job. He asked me to give him 25 minutes to check his computer. He called back in about 5 minutes to tell me he did not have the job; his company had rejected it because of disagreement over negotiated rates.
I then called the 800# I had been given on 11/19, provided all of my info again – including email address which seemed pointless at this stage – and and explained my anger and frustration with the poor handling of this installation and that I had taken a vacation day, and wasn’t happy I still had to pay $309.99 after all this trouble. I was on hold several times while the rep tried to work things out. I was on hold while she discussed with her manager compensation for my troubles when I got disconnected 21 minutes into the call.
I called again, got a different rep even though I nearly pleaded to be reconnected to the same rep I had been speaking with, spent time on hold again while she worked things out, and was told things had been worked out with the original provider so he would do the job today. She offered her apologies and a $50 gift card for my trouble. This seemed insulting to me, plus I rarely shop at Sears for other than appliances since the store is about 40 minutes away, and after this experience I am even less inclined to make any further purchases from Sears. She offered that I could speak with a manager, which I said I would like to do, and she said the manager would call me.
The hassle I have gone through, and the number of times I have had to initiate calls is ridiculous! Given that the first piece of information collected each time I call is my phone number, why does nobody every call me back when we get disconnected? They certainly have my phone number!
My last call to the rep this morning ended at 9:50am. It’s now 11:50am, and I’ve not heard from anybody, so I guess with half of my vacation day blown on dealing with this water heater installation without any actual results I will start initiating phone calls AGAIN! At this point, Sears should be offering at least free installation of my water heater, if not more to compensate for the vacation time I’ve had to waste.