- Ellicott City, MD
I walked into the kitchen to find a puddle of water under my 14 month old Kenmore Elite refrigerator. At first I thought someone had overfilled a glass from the water dispenser and hadn’t bothered to clean up after themselves. As it turned out the puddle was from the melting ice in the icemaker. I pulled open the freezer door and saw that everything was thawing and the temperature on the thermometer I keep in the freezer was over 35 degrees.
I called 800 4 my home and was told I should buy the “Special” one year service plan for $279.00 to cover what could be a very expensive repair on my 14 month old appliance. In order to finally get to making an appointment I agreed to buy the coverage. Only after talking to the repair rep did I learn that I was only buying $500.00 of coverage, anything over that would be my responsibility. I’ll get back to the service policy later.
On Tuesday the 27th at 4:00 (the repair was scheduled between 8 am and 5 pm so I took a vacation day to wait for the repair guy), the repair guy showed up and told me the pcb board and the grill assembly needed to be replaced ( I don’t know about the board, but the grill assembly had been replaced 6 months previously when the ice maker threw and error code). The board was $241.63, the grille 56.68 and the labor was $205.00, a total of $503.31. That was when I found out about the $500 max for a repair. I owed the repairman $3.31.
I paid the $3.31 and he ordered the parts telling me that someone would be out Friday to install them. Friday came ( I took the second vacation day to wait for the repairman) and the parts had not yet arrived so I called the parts depot, was assured the parts would be delivered that day), got the tracking numbers for UPS and verified with them that the parts were out for delivery and would be at my house shortly. I then called the 800 4 my home to determine the repair guy’s expected time of arrival. I was told that no appoint was scheduled for Friday that the appointment was scheduled for Sept 6th 10 days after the initial visit.
The phone rep listened to my story and told me to call back as soon as the parts arrived and she would reroute one of the technicians so the day wouldn’t be a total waste. I thanked her and waited. When the parts arrived I called back and was told that the next appointment available would be Sept 6th and while they were glad to have me as a valued customer, there was nothing they could do.
After 4 hours on the phone, being hung up on 5 times, hanging up several times myself after being on hold foir 30 minutes I finally got to a supervisor who listened to my story and said that he would call the dispatch department and see what he could do. I was skeptical because more than one of the phone reps I talked to during the 4 hours said that there was nobody in the dispatch department that they had all gone home for the weekend.
When the supervisor came back on the phone he said that he had talked to someone in dispatch and they would try to get someone out Saturday morning. As a backup he scheduled me for Tuesday Sept 3rd (Monday was a holiday). Again, I sat around Saturday morning waiting like a fool for someone I really knew wouldn’t show up, which was exactly what happened, no repair guy, no call, no nothing. By noon I gave up and went out to buy more dry ice to try to sav e some of the frozen food. Another ½ day wasted.
Tuesday I took a third vacation day (try explaining to your boss that you need the day before and the day after a holiday off to wait for an appliance repairman), as promised, the repair guy showed up and he showed up before 9:30 in the morning! He installed the parts said to go ahead and reload the refrigerator, all was well. I did that and went in to salvage a half day of work.
Imagine my surprise when I came home that evening and discovered the temperature in my freezer was 65 degrees! I emptied the contents of the refrigerator and freezer into the trash and called 800 4 my home. The pleasant voice on the line thanked me for being a valued customer. She listened to my problem, apologized and without a hint of a snicker in her voice told me they would have a repair person out to my house between 8am and 5pm on Sept. 10th.
I slowly pealed myself off the ceiling and explained that that was not acceptable. I would have to go shopping every day because I couldn’t keep food cold. I told her in a voice slightly over a shriek that I needed someone out first thing in the morning. She told me that was impossible that there was no one left in the dispatch department (I want those guys jobs, great hours). I hung up and called the corporate customer service number.
Luckily by now I was breathing somewhat normally and explained my situation again. The woman on the line apologized and said she understood why I was upset. She asked me to hold while she contacted someone in the dispatch group (the ones that were no longer there), she came back and told me she had talked to one of the supervisors and they would reroute a service rep and get them to my place on Wednesday, Sept 4th. So I stayed home a 4th day.
Around 2:00 in the afternoon I happened to look out the window and saw a repair truck drive by( I now knew what they looked like white vans with green graphics), I figured I was in luck he was in the neighborhood and should be their soon ( I believed this because I was told by 800 4 My Home that there was only one repair tech in my area which was why I would have to wait). well at 4:00 I called 800 4 My Home to check up on my appointment. I was told the tech would be at my house at 4:30 and that she would contact the tech and have him call me to confirm.
At 5:00 he called and said the he was running late and would be at my home at 5:30, possibly later. I told him I would wait. At 6:00 he called back to tell me he had been in an accident and would not be coming. At that point I totally lost it.
He said he would contact dispatch and reset the appointment (that’s the dispatch that leaves at 5:00). I received a call and was cheerfully told that the soonest they could get someone out would be September 13th. At this point I briefly considered tying a chain around the pile of stainless steel in my kitchen, hooking it to my jeep and dragging it to Hoffman Estates in person to see if maybe they could fix it. Needless to say I hung up without taking the September 13th appointment.
I waited a moment or two then calmly dialed 800 4 my home was greeted by a friendly gentleman who thanked me for being a valued customer and what could he do for me. I briefly explained about the accident and need for a repairman asap. He cheerfully told me he’d be happy to help and would I like to set up an appointment for September 13th.
Well, it must have been something in the sound of my voice when I told him that I wanted to speak to a supervisor NOW because with only 60 seconds of hold time I was speaking to a supervisor. To their credit the person that answered the phone had actually spoken to the supervisor and told them of my plight, the first time anyone had actually talked to anyone else!
As it sits right now, there should be a tech at my house before 9am Thursday morning. What’s probably going to happen is that someone will come in, assess the situation and proclaim that parts need to be ordered and another appointment between the hours of 8am and 5pm will have to be scheduled so the parts can be installed. Never mind that the techs and the parts both come of the Glen Burnie distribution center.
So, you may ask, “Why is this man upset?” Well there are a number of reasons.
1). Every time I call I’m asked for my phone number, to verify my name and address along with the zip code, and to verify my email address. I understand the need for security, someone could be trying to set up a bogus repair appointment, but why in heavens name do I have to give it to everyone I’m transferred to. During one call I gave my phone number, name and address along with the zip code and verified my email address 5 times as I was transferred around.
2). Remember the PCB board that cost me $241.63 of my $500 coverage? Well out of curiosity as to why I had to wait 3 days for the parts to be delivered (I expected the tech to show up with the parts necessary to repair my appliance) I discovered that the parts were indeed in stock at the distribution center. I verified this via an on-line-chat with a sales rep (I have a printout of the conversation). Furthermore the part I was being charged $241.63 could be had for $191.00. After a further chat, the sales person offered the board at $110.00 and he would throw in the shipping. So now my “covered for up to $500” for a mere $275.00 service policy coverage is costing Sears about $25.00. Thanks a bunch.
3). The tech who came out to install the parts left without ever checking to see if the unit was even cooling.
4). There apparently is no avenue for escalation of a problem. I would have expected 4 my home to be falling all over themselves to correct the problem once they heard the original repair didn’t work. I shouldn’t have to be the one insisting that the problem be corrected in a timely manner. Almost no one I spoke to in the many hours of phone conversations I had seemed to think that being without a refrigerator for a couple of weeks would be a problem.
5). It seems that no repair can be done in one visit. The first is a diagnosis of the problem, then parts are ordered, finally a return visit is scheduled to install the parts. If a return visit is required I would expect the tech to schedule for first visit the next day and to have the parts with him when he returns.
6). All appointments are scheduled for between 8am and 5pm. We now live in a connected world. I can access an app on my phone which tells me where, between here and Los Angeles my plane is at any moment. I can track the movement of snow plows in the winter and busses when I take public transportation. Sears has no idea where their techs are during any given day. I really don’t believe that if dispatch had put you at the end of the day the tech is suddenly going to get to you before noon. Buy some scheduling and tracking software. Your techs already carry smart phones, I’ll be you know where they are every moment of the day. Show some appreciation for the fact that people have jobs that they’re expected to show up to every day. Taking 4 or 5 days off to get an appliance repaired should not be the norm.
I let you know how it works out.
Michael J D***
****, MD 2****