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Mowing season is almost over for the year and Ray Pech of Barkhamsted has been unable to properly mulch his lawn. In fact, it's the second season he has had this issue.
Pech is not lazy, it's because Sears sold him a lawn mower that did a poor job of mulching.
A loyal Craftsman customer, Pech purchased a 22-inch Craftsman rear propelled mower in July 2012. It came with a "universal blade" for bagging the grass as well as for mulching.
But Pech said his experience had been that the all-in-one blades were not that good at mulching.
And his experience with this universal blade reinforced his opinion.
"The grass came out in clumps instead of finely cut grass," he said.
"The ability to mulch is important to me from an environmental perspective, and I asked the salesman if there was a pure mulching blade for this mower. He assured me there was, and a day or two later, I purchased that as well," Pech said.
"Then the craziness began.''
He was unable to install the blade in his mower because the mounting bolts were larger than the holes in the mower.
He went back to Sears Hometown Store in Barkhamsted to return the blade, where salesmen insisted that the mulching blade he purchased would fit in the mower's mounting holes.
Pech said the salesmen declined to attempt to install the blade in an identical mower, but they loaned him tools to try it himself.
He showed them that the blade did not fit on the floor model.
The salesmen then suggested that Pech go to the Newington Sears store where there is a parts distribution center.
Pech called the center, where staff insisted they had the right blade. Pech drove to Newington, picked up the blade, drove it home. It did not fit either.
He drove back to Newington where he was told to call Sears Parts Direct, where they "guaranteed" they had the right blade for his mower.
"So I ordered it. It came; it did not fit either. I called Parts Direct again and I spoke to someone named Tamika. She told me how to go about returning the blade for a refund, which I did. I also asked Tamika what I should do now. For the first time, this employee suggested that there was no mulching blade for my mower. She told me that they would have to 'research' the issue," Pech said.
The "research" did not result in good news for Pech. He was told that there was no mulching blade made for his model.
To make things right, Sears offered him a $150 gift card, representing half the cost of the mower.
It was at that point that he contacted CtWatchdog asking for help, saying the offer he was given was unfair.
"I do not feel this is acceptable. I have spent over $300 on the mower, driven almost 200 miles based on their suggestions, and spent countless hours trying to get this resolved, and will still end up with a mower I never would have bought had I been told that there was no mulching blade for it. I feel I am entitled to a mower that does what I want it to do, or, if they don't have one, then a full cash refund, including compensation for the mileage I spent chasing down blades that did not exist."
I contacted Sears to get the company's side of the story.
Sears did not respond to me but officials responded to Pech.
When he returned from a week's vacation last month he found a package with two mulching blades made by Husqvarna that fit his mower.
Pech was also contacted by Yolonda Nash, from Sears Executive Customer Services, who offered him a $100 gift card.
Nash, Pech said, had no explanation on why it took more than a year to find mulching blades that fit his mower.
But, Pech said, Nash did concede that without CtWatchdog's involvement the problem might never had been resolved.