Sears – The company everyone loves to hate

Every time you read about horrible customer service experiences, Sears is bound to pop up. They’re a major retail company, so that’s to be expected. The part that gets me is when people misinterpret the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” slogan. Yes, Sears wants happy customers, every retail chain does. But some amount of reasonability is expected. Case in point, I recently read a post over at Free Money Finance, which quotes a comment left on one of his posts about Sears.

I have a Free Sprit treadmill that is only 1 yr old which was bought from Sears. The treadmill has not been used much and yet the controller has gone twice and now the walking belt is worn out. It’s a $3000 treadmill and I have had to put in at least $800 so far. On the Sears receipt is states satisfaction guaranteed, well I’m not satisfied and they are not standing behind their product. I will not shop at Sears again. I am very disappointed in the product as well as customer service.

Let’s take that apart for a moment and really read into it. We have a customer who bought an expensive treadmill, and things Sears is screwing him because they won’t fix it for free. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong.

The warranty for nearly all exercise equipment sold at Sears is for 90 days. After that point, the customer is responsible for any and all repairs, at their cost. Unless, of course, the customer had the foresight to purchase an extended warranty to cover the product. Or, an even smarter consumer would likely have purchased the treadmill using a credit card that offered extended warranty coverage. If a customer fails to be a ‘smart consumer’, as this particular person has apparently done, then, as my dad used to tell me, ‘tough cookies’.

Let’s take a look at this a different way. Since I like to compare everything to cars, I’ll go with that this time. Let’s say I buy a Ford vehicle. The manufacturer’s warranty on a new Ford is 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Let’s say I own this particular Ford for 12 years, and only put 60,000 miles on it. Just like the treadmill in the above example, the Ford ‘has not been used much’. And also like the treadmill, I’ve owned the Ford for a length of time equal to four times the manufacturer’s warranty.

Still with me? Ok. Now let’s say my Ford suffers some sort of meltdown, say it throws a rod. The engine is kaput. I then proceed to swear off buying another Ford product, ever, because Ford wouldn’t fix my out-of-warranty car on their dime. The nerve!

Sears is a retail store that honors the manufacturer’s warranty on their products – something many retail stores no longer do. Once that period is up, they are no longer liable, and should not be held so. Customers need to take a more realistic view on things, and not expect the world from retail stores. In the customer above’s case, perhaps Sears is better off without him, as he would likely have cost them money in the long run with his unrealistic demands.


If memory serves correctly, all fitness equipment sold at Sears comes with a 90 day warranty.. after that time you’re on your own, unless you A: bought an extended warranty, or b: bought the equipment with an extended-warranty credit card.
Deciding not to shop at Sears due to equipment that failed after 4x the length of it’s warranty is a little extreme, no? That would be like me purchasing a Ford, owning it for 12 years ( mfr warranty is 3 years ), having a mechanical failure, and swearing off Ford for the rest of my life. Just doesn’t make sense, now does it?

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