Watchdog: Sears purchase proves exercise in futility

Farmington attorney Scott J. Sandler is not feeling the love for Sears.

And it's no wonder considering what they put him through after the elliptical exercise machine he had purchased a couple of years ago from Sears broke down.

He paid $380 for the machine. Delivery and set-up cost another $125. Then he purchased an extended warranty for another couple hundred dollars.

"Over the past few years, the machine needed some repairs, which were covered by the warranty. About two months ago, the frame snapped completely. The repairman recommended replacing the whole machine," Sandler told CtWatchdog.

"The model we owned was discontinued, which is not surprising given the shoddy construction. Sears informed us that we were allowed a credit of about $380 towards a new machine. My wife and I chose a machine that cost $599 and we were reluctantly prepared to pay the difference. Sears then tells us that the machine we selected could not be ordered because it was on back order. Truth was, that machine was also discontinued in favor of a new model. The new model was now $799."

He went to the Sears store in Buckland Hills and spoke with a helpful manager who agreed to discount the new model. After his credit of $380 he only had to pay an additional $250 for the new machine.

Sandler made an appointment to have the new machine delivered. Sears said it would deliver the machine, assemble it, and remove the broken one.

Then the hassles started.

"When the new machine was delivered, the guys who delivered it refused to assemble it. They told us that they didn't know assembly was included, that they did not have the necessary tools, and that we would have to call Sears to make another appointment. One guy even said, 'They'll probably just send us back out to you.

"I called Sears. Again, Sears confirmed that the delivery included assembly. I demanded that they send someone out that day to assemble the machine."

Sears told him that they contacted the delivery company, which claimed that their workers didn't have the necessary tools to assemble the machine. Sears offered a 10 percent coupon for his next purchase from the company.

"I ended up making three separate calls to Sears and spending nearly two hours on the phone, often on hold and getting disconnected once. In the end, I had to make another appointment for assembly, which was several days after delivery. The delivery company is supposedly sending me a Sears gift card for $50, and Sears is sending me another gift card for $75, which collectively represent a 'refund' of what I paid for delivery. It has been over a week and I've not received either gift card, not that I'm overly excited to make another purchase at Sears. I'd much rather just have the money back."

When the Sears workers showed up they told Sandler that the delivery men have a "habit" of refusing to assemble their deliveries and requiring purchasers to make separate appointments.

"When I told the assembly guys that the delivery guys said they didn't have the proper tools, the assembly guys laughed and told me that the tools are all in the box with the machine, and that the guys who delivered the machine knew that. No special tools are required.

"In short, the delivery workers and the representative of the company lied to me about the tools. They just didn't feel like assembling the machine. I was forced to make another appointment, which means sitting around waiting during a two-hour window for someone to show up.

"Maybe Sears should be more careful about the companies it hires to deliver and assemble its products."

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