New London County Consumer Taken Through Financial Nightmare By Sears

July 12, 2013
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Sally is an old-fashioned woman, the kind that pays off her credit card bills each month and is not interested in financing purchases. She has a good idea on when she has to purchase new appliances and budgets for them.

But when she went to the Sears store in Waterford’s Crystal Mall in April 2012 to purchase a new washing machine the manager of the appliance section told her of a special promotion.

Sol Ortiz Miller, the appliance manager, told Sally that if she financed the washing machine on her Sears-Citi credit card there would be no interest for one year and she would not have to make any payments for 12 months.

Sally of New London County, said she wasn’t interested.

“I told her I never do this,” Sally recounted to CtWatchdog.

However, Miller kept pressing, telling her it would be foolish to pass up such an offer.

“Why would you want to do that?,” Sally said Miller told her that “Everyone takes her up on her offer.”

“She made me feel so stupid,” Sally said and she gave in.

Next Miller talked Sally into purchasing a five year warranty/service contract for $340.

Sallie said Miller told her the new washers are all digital and she needed a service contract to protect her. However, she said she would only be charged $60 a year.

That was the origin of a financial nightmare for Sally, who asked that she only be identified by her first name.

A few weeks later she got her first bill from Citi requiring her to pay a minimum $25 on her purchase.

She drove to the Sears store with her checkbook with the intention of paying off her entire bill.

Miller, she said, told her it was simply a mistake and she would correct it. Miller urged her not to pay off the balance.

Next month Sally received her second bill, this time with a $35 penalty and a demand that she pay the entire $340 for the service contract because she did not make her minimum payment. She cancelled her service contract.

Miller again told her not to worry, it was some kind of a mistake and gave her a $35 credit.

This went on for month after month until Sally’s penalty and interest payments added up to over $400.

By this time, Sally said, Miller was avoiding her and was hiding in her office when Sally tried to see her.

Sally finally reached Miller’s boss, Marc Hebert, the store manager.

He agreed to giving Sally a $217 credit, representing half the interest and penalties she was charged.

But to get that credit Sally had to sign an agreement promising not to discuss this issue again with any Sears employee.

Sally then paid off the $870, which included the purchase of the washing machine, half the interest and penalty.

Two weeks later she received a notice from her bank saying her line of credit was being cut in half because “There has been a negative change in the quality of your credit performance.”

“That really hurt me,” Sally said, explaining she had worked hard all her life to have excellent credit.

She then contacted CtWatchdog to see if anything could be done to force Sears to repair her credit.

I contacted Sears and its spokesman Larry Costello.

Costello’s only response to Sally’s allegations was that “there was a breakdown in communications on the part of our store associate with the customer.”

However, a couple of days later, she received a letter from April E. Tatum, a member of Sears Presidential Communications team, telling her that Sears regretted the “misunderstanding” and was taking steps to remove the negative reports from Sallie’s credit reports.

“I will never set foot in Sears again,” Sally said.

I don’t blame her.

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6 Responses to New London County Consumer Taken Through Financial Nightmare By Sears

  1. just sayin on July 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Sears has gone way down hill. There is no accountability and nobody to effectively solve the problems they start. I had a $1800 stove break down after 6 months. Their parts and service people could not work together to get it fixed. Parts would send the wrong part, service would say “wrong part, we can fix it.” Sears “OneSource” customer complaint resolution people would only let the back and forth continue for 4 months. I finally resolved the issue by telling the service tech that OnceSource and the parts area say it was HIS fault that my stove hasnt worked in 4 months and that he needs to get his act together and do his job correctly. I must have hit the right buttons, because I get a new stove the next day. I knew it wasnt the tech’s fault, but telling him his company threw him under the bus was the only way to get things resolved. I haven’t bought anything from sears in 5 years because they are terrible.

  2. Glenn on July 14, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I bought my father a radial arm saw in 1964, when I was 14 years old, by cutting lawns to pay for it. Since then I have spent thousands of dollars at sears, buying several garden tractors, thousands in tools, televisions, and other items over the years.

    I tried to buy a leaf blower last week at sears, and they told me my sears credit card was canceled for lack of use, because I haven’t used it in almost a year. I had other credit cards, but I walked out, just on principle.

    They are going downhill, and I won’t be back! They lost a good customer, who by the way, was ready to buy a new lawn tractor from them.
    Glenn

  3. Bob on July 15, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Sears is the biggest scamer out there. A couple of years ago I needed to have my roof re-shingled. So I went out to get some quotes.The quotes all ranged between $8000 and $9000, except for Sears. Sears gave me a quote of $19000. They told me I had a lot of leaks etc. I didn’t have any leaks according to the other roofers and I wasn’t having any problems with leaks.I could tell they were trying to take me when I saw one guy making faces at his partner as if signaling to go on to the next part of their plan. My next door neighbor told me her daughter had Sears put a new front door on her house and before the job was even done had placed a lien on her home.

  4. Max on July 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I vowed never to shop at Sears again after their people scuffed up my floors when delivering an oven a few years back. I agree with the commenter above, there is absolutely no accountability, and each department you try to deal with sends you to another department instead of just handling it themselves. Maybe if Sears decided to actually care about its customers, it wouldn’t lose so many of us to other stores month after month.

    Sears is pathetic!

    Sears needs to start to take responsibility for its mistakes, and should start by reaching out to this lady and refund her for everything!

  5. Robert on July 16, 2013 at 1:11 am

    We also had an issue with CitiBank, when we purchased a couch. The deal was no interest for 12 months. BUT, if there was a balance remaining after 12 months, Citi would charge exhorbitant interest as if from day one, on the entire original principal. We paid monthly anyway, via an intermediary online payment company, who took our payment and mailed a check to Citi (Citi did not allow on-line payments). Citi acquiesced to these payments.

    This transaction took an average three days each month, reflected in our statements. But on the very last payment, where we deliberately paid a week in advance to ensure ourselves as to no interest, Citi “delayed” the receipt so that it would arrive three days after the interest deadline.

    The resultant charge was almost equal to the couch’s value of $600. It took six months of writing to corporate offices in six states and their attorneys general to resolve this. Unfair business practice, UCC etc.

    Citi gets away with a lot, including tax bailouts…I remember they used over $6 million in taxpayer bailout money to fund Mets Stadium, totally unnecessary. We now call it “Citi-Taxpayer Field.”

  6. Peter.M Zaniewski on July 16, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Sears/Kmart is just a holding company now and no one cares, if you want great appliances, go to PC Richard or your local appliance guy.

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