“Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer dedicated to providing its customers with quality merchandise & exceptional service, coast to coast.” Sears Canada Mission Statement
Three years ago our venerable Kenmore dryer finally met it’s maker. It was 25 years old. We had purchased it, along with a Kenmore washer, second-hand, in Toronto, just after getting married. They became international travellers, those appliances, as they were moved to Kitchener, then to Washington State, and then back to Ottawa. We often boasted of how reliable they were, and when the dryer finally died, we replaced them with Sears products again; this time the top of the line Kenmore front loading washer / dryer combination. At over $2,000, the new appliances were pricey, but our last experience with Sears had been outstanding. Moreover, with 5 children to wash for, it’s important to know you can rely on your appliances. Laundry piles up fast at the Saunders home!
It’s four months since our extended warranty expired. Yesterday, the washer started pouring water all over the floor. This morning we learned that the seal on the door of the washer had torn, and that it would be $160 for the part, plus labour, to replace it.
Janice called the Sears Center in Belleville and spoke with a woman named Tara. Janice’s point of view was that the washer was nearly new, and therefore the rubber seal must have been defective to begin with. Tara explained the “reality” of business today. Sears used to treat their customers well, she told Janice, but they don’t anymore. Sears used to fix products for customers in order to generate goodwill, she said, but goodwill isn’t profitable. “If we did that”, Tara said, “I’d be out of a job”. If you bought something at the Brick, or at Leon’s, Tara told Janice, and it was out of warranty, they’d say “tough luck”. According to Tara, that’s now Sears policy as well. Tara related an experience she had buying a television at Future Shop, and how she had been disatisfied with their warranty service, and said that Sears now had the same policies.
I don’t know what Leon’s, or the Brick do for warranty service, but I’ve always had a great experience at Future Shop. To me, it seems the height of stupidity to be slagging your competition on the complaints line, and justifying your bad behaviour as “the norm”. It makes a mockery of the Sears Canada mission of providing “quality merchandise and exceptional service”, doesn’t it?
Anyway, Janice explained to Tara that she hadn’t bought the products at Leon’s, or the Brick, or Corbeil because she wanted Sears products. We paid a premium for those appliances at Sears, rather than walking next door to Corbeil Discount Appliances (who sell the same products under the Whirlpool name for less money), because we believed that Sears stood behind the products they sold. Moreover, Sears Canada executives apparently also believe this. In their latest annual shareholders report, they write:
Sears sells more major appliances than any other retailer in Canada. Although we sell all well-known national brands, Sears private brand, Kenmore, is the best selling brand in the country. We service all major appliances coast to coast to provide continued confidence and peace of mind to our customers before, during and after the sale.
It seems, at least according to Tara, that they’ve lost their way. Tara suggested that Janice write a letter to Lisa Miracle at Sears Canada in Toronto. Apparently Ms. Miracle can intervene. There is no email address online for Ms. Miracle. Tara says to write to the head office at 222 Jarvis Street. I guess we’ll do that.
In the meantime, while we wait for the Miracle, the laundry continues to pile up.