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Dec 13, 2009

The quest for fleece pajamas and bad, really bad customer service at Sears

Heading into the winter, I have been trying to find affordable 2-piece fleece pajamas for Daniel. This turned out to be more challenging than I thought: I either found nice but very expensive pajamas (not worth the price given that Daniel will probably outgrow them in 2 months) or cheap ugly ones. I ended up finding a few that seemed to be nice alternatives at Sears, so despite low expectations, I gave them a try.
It turns out that the sizing was a little bit off... not a big deal, I thought: Daniel is hard to dress right now, so it can happen. However, I got the worst customer experience when trying to return them. Here is how it went.

I first realized that there was no return label included in the package, and I couldn't get one automatically online (First FAIL!). So I emailed asking for one.
Me: "I would like to get a return label for my package as the clothes are too big."
Sears response: "Here is the link to our return policy." - Second FAIL.
Me: "I know the policy, I just need the label."
Sears response: "We will get one for you."

I was a little bit surprised that they didn't send me a digital label for me to print at home. But I thought I will give them a couple of days to see if they send it by mail. It wouldn't have been an efficient way to handle returns, I thought, but it was their problem.
After a week, I didn't get anything, so I emailed again.
Me: "I still haven't received my return label."
Sears response: "We recommend you return the package in a store." - WHAT?!? Third FAIL.
Me: "Are you kidding? I don't want to go to a store, I want to send the package back per mail. I need the return label now."
Sears response: "UPS will send you a return package. Please let us know how you will return the package."
Me: "I will leave outside by the porch."
Sears response: "Thank you. It will take 3-5 business days for UPS to send the return label." - Why this long?!?? Forth FAIL

I didn't hear back from Sears after that, but received a voice-mail from UPS to inform me that they would pick up the package on the same day. A couple of issues there:
- At the time, I still hadn't received a tag to tape on the package. Scheduling a pick up is useless if I can't properly prepare the package.
- Informing me of the pick up date on the same day of the pick-up is inefficient. I had already left my house by then anyways.
Fifth FAIL and counting...

I had to email Sears with some more complaints 2 or 3 times... While I got responses from them saying they had contacted UPS again, I never heard from UPS on another pick-up.

After another month of back and forth, I finally took it to the next level and expressed my frustration on Twitter, to @mySears. At least, someone started taking me seriously there. That said, it wasn't after a few more emails (the first couple of emails asked questions that would have been easy to answer had the team read all my previous exchanges - such a waste of time), that I got resolution. At that point, Sears just reimbursed me for the items, without even trying to get me to send them back. I think they realized how bad their return process is, and pretty much gave up.

Conclusion: At least 18 back and forth emails needed and a 2.5-month delay to resolve a return issue. Amazon's (and many other retailers') return process is instantaneous! How sad a big company like Sears is so behind!

Funnily enough, one of the emails I received included a link to a satisfaction survey, which I quickly answered... except that the "submit" button didn't work. Well, Sears, it looks like you have a lot of work ahead of you to improve your customer service. Until then, I will be shopping somewhere else.

2 comments:

  1. Have you tried Carter's for PJ's and other basics? I always get D's bodysuits, PJ's and some of her play clothes there. Nothing fancy, but still good quality. They hold up in the wash well. And when she outgrows them, I don't mind because it's so cheap (they always have coupons).

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  2. Good idea. I will definitely try this time. The Sears story isn't over yet, so I will definitely try something else next time... Thanks.

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