I Still Hate Sears

Last summer, I blogged, I Hate Sears after spending months faxing and refaxing receipts and claim forms that somehow “disappeared” at the Young America, Minnesota-based fulfillment center. I’d purchased appliances during a Sears 20% Appliance Rebate program, fully expecting to see my $500+ rebate within a reasonable time period.

Not once did my name and address ever make it into the online database which was meant for customers to check the “progress” or “status” of their rebate check. After I’d given up, a check mysteriously appeared. I naturally ran to the bank, depositing it, only to have my checking account hit with a bank charge of $20 for the Sears Non-Suffficient Funds check (NSF).

Long story short, they did send me a replacement check which cleared, but this truly is the stuff of nightmares that should never occur. Then again, we live in a fallen, sinful world and this is just more proof.

Since last July, my I Hate Sears blog has consistently ranked #1 Most Viewed, receiving hundreds of hits every month. Some readers have taken time to write “Thank You” notes in the blog’s comment section. Most have chosen to write to me privately, stressing fear that going public with their frustrations might jeopardize their impending rebate “approvals”.

“J” wrote to me this weekend, relating details about her rebate situation, which mirrored my own nightmare. Stalling tactics, unreturned phone calls, supervisors being unavailable – the Sears Young America Fulfillment center has it down to a science – a Science of Deception. This goes BEYOND computer/database glitches or human malfunction.

While J’s husband suggested she give up her quest, apologies to J’s husband, I encouraged her to continue. It was clear that “J’s” need to succeed wasn’t money-driven, but instead, Right and Wrong fueled her fire. I’m made of the same fabric and know how difficult it is to step away from a Cause.

A number of interesting details came out during our email exchange this wekeend. For one, “J” discovered Sears Redemption Center contact information changed from Young America, Minnesota to El Paso, TX. Why? The explanation was offered in the next piece of information “J” sent my way:

Don’t Get Ripped Off By A Rebate Deal

“Meanwhile, Massachusetts, in conjunction with 40 other states, is taking on a company that handles rebates. It has sued the nation’s largest rebate fulfillment company, Minnesota-based Young America Corp., demanding that it submit to an audit of the uncashed rebate checks it has kept in recent years – money known in the industry as “slippage” – in exchange for charging its clients lower processing fees. *Who keeps the uncashed checks? According to SEC filings, Young America kept $42.9 million in uncashed rebates between 1995 and 2002.

Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill believes the company has held onto $129 million worth of uncashed checks.

Cahill believes this practice has provided incentive for Young America to cheat consumers. This money should be turned over to the states’ abandoned property divisions so that consumers can claim it, he says.

‘There is an appearance of deception here,’ Cahill said. ‘We want to shine some sunlight on this practice. It sends a message to other firms. They are holding onto other people’s money that doesn’t belong to them.”

For those facing the rebate battle with Sears, CALL YOUR STATE’S ATTORNEY GENERAL. FILE A COMPLAINT.

  1. Why poor me?

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    Not a rebate problem. I usually buy the floor models when I go into these big stores, I don’t have much money. In the past two years I have been recently stung. Sears seems to be reaching the low of selling defective appliances.

    The Gas range I purchased two years ago, hisses. I am afraid to use it sometimes.
    I paid over $600 of this Kenmore stove. Hissing at first and now to go along with hissing the oven is shutting off in the middle of baking and roasting. I came back to find the entire stove shut down and this on each occasion that I use the oven. I am not getting what I paid for.

    Sears was once a giant in the service and appliance line. I am very disappointed in the service I found the last time I shopped there.

    I want my money back for the stove I purchased. I can go buy something more reliable for my money somewhere else.

    Please help me to get some satisfaction from this terrible situation.

    Thank You
    — C Mae    Mar 7, 05:49 PM    #
  2. Dear C. Mae,
    If you haven’t placed a call to Sears asking for service on your stove, I hope you do so immediately. I would imagine a refund would depend on your warranty and whether or not you’ve had Sears technicians out to your home to evaluate the problem. It sounds frightening and I worry for your well-being. By the way, Sears has an online Product Repair website located at: http://www.sears.com/sr/service_order/so_productinfo.jsp

    You can also phone:
    Appliance, Lawn & Garden and
    Electronics repair 1-800-4-MY-HOME

    Best to you,
    Sharon    Mar 10, 11:08 AM    #
  3. Hi Sharon did a little research on Young America

    Just to update your blog about unclaimed checks Young America has responded to the State of Iowa lawsuit.

    As posted on February 9th, the State of Iowa filed a lawsuit against Young America claiming that they are not refunding money to consumers who fill out rebate forms. Young America is now responding to that complaint.

    Young America’s Vice President for Shareholder Relations, Roger Anderson , says a company called Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) has been trying to find companies that are withholding rebates. He says ACS has represented about 45 states that have sought to audit Young America’s records. Anderson says his company has filed a lawsuit in federal court to try and stop the action of the states, saying they’re not a holder of unclaimed property.

    Anderson says his company has been checked by Minnesota and Oklahoma and Young America was found to be doing business properly and that they were not a holder of unclaimed property. If they don’t hold the money then who does? Anderson says they’re simply a third-party fulfillment service provider that mails rebate checks for companies. This looks like it could be more than one company that isn’t being trustworthy when it comes to rebates.

    Anderson would not divulge any information regarding some of the companies that hire Young America and could possibly be withholding rebates. His comment was, “We don’t take any position regarding our clients and we don’t offer them legal advice.” He says Young America’s position is that they aren’t holding any unclaimed property, and he says they leave it up to their clients to determine if the clients are withholding rebates. He says, “Many of those clients may already be remitting to the states for unclaimed property.”

    Iowa’s Treasurer says there are over $400-thousand in unclaimed nationwide rebates due to Iowans.

    It could be that Young America is innocent; if so, who does have this money that consumers have claimed and not received? That is what we consumers want to know. Perhaps the lawsuit Iowa has filed will bring this to light, then we can receive our rebate.

    In the meantime, if there is the possibility that a state owes you money, you can do a search with www.CashUnclaimed.com. The search will uncover money due to you and how to claim it.

    This entry was posted on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 1:59 pm and is filed under Unclaimed Funds. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    As far as rebates go always be persistent on updating your rebate.
    I believe for you own protection against big companies and keep copies. By the way Attorny General is a waste of time with Sears National Customer relations is who your local store answers to.

    Happy hunting!!
    — Shawn    Mar 11, 09:43 PM    #
  4. I work at Sears and this does appear to be a rare problem. I just hope you werent an (DELETED) to the poor (DELETED) in the store, its not his/her fault. You can get the same (DELETED) anywhere not just there, so calm down
    — Shmitt    Apr 23, 10:54 PM    #
  5. Schmitt….

    I had to DELETE adjectives in your message that were inappropriate language. I’m sure there are many fine people who work at Sears that might not be pleased about your representation. Try purchasing a thesaurus, and learning to articulate your position without profanity. I’d be more than happy to discuss your opinion in a civilized, decent manner.

    — Sharon    Apr 28, 01:10 PM    #
  6. Hi Sharon, lol, to correct the die hard sears employee who posted before me, I worked at sears for 5 years in fact I was a appliance assistant mangager… and this happens all the time!! At our sears we found ourselfs taking the amount of the rebate off of their appliance when the customer would have this problem, a simple price adjustment is a lot easier, we lose money at our store, but at least our customers come back. I left sears (Thank God!) But I wanted to let you know, don’t feel too special, it hapens ALOT!

    — Bubbles    Sep 12, 11:50 PM    #
  7. i hate sears too i worked there for a long time and was so much happier when i left. they just want your money and they can care less about you

    — jackie    Sep 13, 12:13 AM    #
  8. Sears doesn’t just suck for rebates. I bought a new refrigerator/freezer from them in July 07 and (foolishly) bought the extended warranty. Less than 6 mo. later, the freezer died (on 12/29/07.) My blood pressure can’t handle going in to the all the details, but let’s cut to the chase: they’re coming to look at it NEXT FRIDAY, JANUARY 11. I cannot get to a person with the ability to think for themselves and all but two of the 8 customer service people I have spoken to have been downright rude to me. Read the fine print – the master warranty or whatever I paid extra for covers renting an appliance ONLY IF THEY DON’T FIX IT ON THE PROMISED DATE, which in my case is more than 2 weeks after the breakdown. Not helpful at all. I’ve filed a complaint with the BBB. I will never shop at Sears again. Yesterday when I finally got off the phone with them I was so frustrated and angry that I was shaking and burst into tears at my desk at work! GAWD!!!

    — Michelle    Jan 5, 04:34 PM    #
  9. While I have not had a rebate issue with Sears, I have had some really poorly constructed/designed appliances.

    Currently, I have an upright freezer which has a shelf that simply doesn’t fit. Its rails are too short to fit between the sockets in the sides of the freezer.

    Several years ago, I had a front-loading washer that died after only 3 years of use.
    When we called service, the guy told us it was the main bearings, and that it would cost $800 to repair – that is higher than the cost of the machine!

    Unfortunately, we ended up buying another Sears machine, this time a top-loading. I urged my parents not to buy another Sears, but my dad was teased by the $100 rebate (the cost of the service call) if we bought Sears again.
    As far as I know, he did receive the $100 rebate from Sears.

    I am disgusted with Sears products and service.
    In this economy, I do not believe the company will survive.
    I really wish that they would be the next company to file bankruptcy!
    I can do very without Sears!

    Frank    Jan 23, 03:09 PM    #
  10. at my sears store busness has been going down hill the last 10 years no people at all shop at sears like they used to looks like to me if they want to stay in busness they would get the message, guss they will have to be hit in the head with a 2×4 to wakeup

    — bill    May 14, 12:09 AM    #
  Textile help