Sears is an interesting company. They delivered a brand new dryer on Friday, complete with rusted gouges on the body. Most companies would send undamaged merchandise, or offer to repair the damage. Sears, bold pioneers that they are, have chosen instead to offer to send me a bottle of touch-up paint and their thanks for choosing Sears. I am not sure that the business strategy of instilling ill-will in their customers is such a wise one, but to each their own.
Were this the first problem with Sears, I might be willing to chalk it up to a lousy customer service person. However, as this is just the latest in a string of problems with Sears, and the washer and dryer they were to have delivered on March 1, I have to consider that Sears is not a company that I would trust purchasing anything from again. Ever. I purchased a Kenmore stackable washer and dryer, and stacking kit, on February 10, 2012. Because my gas supply is propane (LPG), I had to purchase the LPG conversion kit as well, and agreed to a $119.99 dryer installation fee so that the installer could convert the dryer from natural gas to LPG. To be sure, I confirmed at the time of order that the installer would indeed be converting the dryer from natural gas to LPG.
I should have realized as soon as I received my receipt that there was going to be a problem: The dryer, with its installation on top of the washer, was scheduled for delivery and installation on February 13, and the washer, stacking kit and LPG conversion kit were scheduled for delivery on February 14. How they planned on installing the conversion kit before it arrived, or planned on stacking the dryer on top of the not-yet-arrived washer was beyond me. This was shortly after I placed my order, and after checking with my contractor and discovering that we should probably wait a few weeks before having the washer and dryer delivered, I called Sears back to reschedule the delivery for a time that was more convenient for the contractor, March 1. I also suggested that since the dryer was to be converted to LPG and stacked on top of the washer, perhaps the dryer could be delivered AFTER the washer. This, Sears informed me, would be fine.
Both Sears delivery service and Sears installation service called me on February 29. The washer and accessories were scheduled to be delivered around noon the following day, the dryer to be delivered and installed a little before then. I mentioned to the installer that the washer would not be delivered until after the dryer and he decided that he would wait for the washer to be delivered first. I also reminded him that the dryer needed to be converted to LPG. This was the first he had heard of this, and was beyond what he normally does for installation. Because of this, he said he needed to call Sears and would call me back shortly. The washer and accessories were delivered March 1. The dryer was not. Neither was the call back from the installer.
I called the handy Sears installation number a day or two later, and after a little over an hour talking with various people and receiving many apologies, I was told that the dryer would be delivered, most likely on Monday, March 5, and yes, they knew I needed it converted to LPG. The installer would take care of that. Rather than have me continue to hold, I was told at that time I would be called back shortly for an estimated delivery time. Like the call back from the installer, the installation service people failed to actually call me back. The installer himself did call me, however, on Monday evening to let me know he would be delivering and installing the dryer the next morning, March 6.
March 6 passed, without a delivery or installation person in site. March 7 passed, without a delivery or installation person in site. March 8 passed, without a delivery or installation person in site. While no delivery or installation person was in site, he at least made it to the phone on March 8: The engine in his truck had apparently blown, and he could not make the delivery on March 6. He would, however, be delivering my dryer in the morning, March 9. Yay!
The dryer was delivered, March 9. At this point, the installer stated that he does not perform LPG conversions, and because the dryer cannot be hooked up, he could not install it. He filled out the paperwork and noted that because the dryer was not converted, he could not install it. I signed it so we could get a refund started on the installation fee. All of which begs the question: Why was I not originally told that the Sears installation person could not perform the installation of the conversion kit? Had Sears mentioned something in the several calls previously where it was discussed, I would have not purchased the $119.99 dryer installation and would not have been annoyed by their inability to perform the installation service that I had paid for. I would have instead contacted my propane supplier, Sequoia Gas, and paid to have them perform the conversion, which is a service they offer.
This entire experience has left me with a rather disinclined to recommend Sears to anyone I know who might be making an appliance purchase, as at present I have a dryer that is not installed, cannot be used until I pay another company to perform the conversion that Sears was supposed to take care of, cost me $119.99 over list price, and wondering whether it would be better to contact the Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Reports. I have contacted Sears, both about the conversion and installation issue and the rust issue. For the rust, they are shipping out some appliance touch-up paint so that I can hide the rust for a while. For the installation and conversion, they are supposed to get back to me in the next few days to discuss what happened and hopefully refund the installation fee. If it is refunded, I will accept that I have a rusty dryer and cannot trust Sears to stand behind their products. If it is not, I will send a letter to my credit card company to dispute the charges and contact both the Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Report. If, by some miracle, Sears realizes that perhaps customers would rather receive undamaged merchandise when they buy something new and either send someone out to fix the rust and scratch issue or replace the dryer as well as refund my installation fee, I will consider shopping at Sears again and updating this to reflect the suddenly improved customer service. I won’t hold my breath for this last option, however.