Correspondence with Sears


Sent to Sears email address at:

Sir / Madam:

I am a long time Sears customer and for many years was pleased to pay somewhat higher prices for what I perceived to be quality materials and good service.

I no longer share that perception. I will tell you why.

Several years ago I purchased a Sears professional router. It worked well and I refused a special extended warrantee because I believe that this practice suggests a defective or sub-standard tool and that I should be insuring myself against poor quality merchandise. This is a despicable practice of Sears which apparently also applies to other Sears items. I had the same pestering phone calls over the purchase of a dishwasher from Sears some 15 months ago even after had said I did not want to be called about purchasing such protection from an unreliable manufacturer and retailer. I believe my purchase price should ensure good quality and that quality should be supported by the seller.

After rather limited use the power "posilock system" failed. I brought it in for repair and that cost me a lot. However, I assumed that was simply a defective part in that unit. At the end of March 2004 the same problem reoccurred and the speed control and switch stopped working. I brought it in for repair to the Prince Albert Sears outlet which uses Four Seasons as it technicians and asked for an estimate. It took nearly three to four weeks to finally be told that repairs would cost over $200.00. I was upset at my conclusion that the unit was a lemon from the beginning, and paying that kind of money for repair would be throwing good money after bad. I operate a small business making wood items and required the regular use of such a router, and the delay in even getting any word on what was happening was most annoying and prevented me from making a decision about getting a proper replacement.

When I finally received the news about the unit, I asked that it be brought back to the Sears Outlet so I could pick it up and put it on a shelf in my shop as a reminder to never buy another craftsman tool for my work. It took repeated visits to the store over several weeks before the disassembled router was available for me to pick up. Then to my extreme chagrin, there was a note inside to the clerk to not release it until I had paid a fee of over $20.00. I re-explained the situation and the clerk noted that the tag clearly showed that it had not been repaired and that I had asked for an estimate before undertaking repairs. I was at the point where I was considering leaving the store and walking to the Police Station across the street to report a theft from a customer by Sears. Finally the clerk called the manager who considered the situation and told me to take the disassembled router and that she would look after the note requiring payment for work not done.

I also have a Craftsman sliding compound mitre saw for which I needed replacement brushes. I ordered these from Sears Parts Department and was told to expect them in 8 - 10 working days in the mail to my rural postal address. That was about 1 month ago, and once again I try to operate my business with a disabled but vital tool. This morning I called to check on the status of the item that had not arrived and there was no record of the order at the number I called to place the order in the first place. I had indicated payment on my Sears card. The operator was unable to access my account information to determine whether the items had been charged to the account or not and might be in transit or lost in transit.

I had to re-order the parts and am not told I should expect them near the end of June ... which will be at least 6 weeks from the point where I ordered the replacement brushes for the motor.

I know you will never notice that I will not buy another craftsman tool again and you would never wonder why. But if that is the experience I have had I must presume it is also the experience of others, and I would expect them to react in the same manner and find brand names that have a much better record of reliability and service. Today my brand of choice has become Makita. Since the early 1970's Sears Craftsman had been my choice, but NEVER again.

I believe that for the sake of the good service and good products I used to find at Sears, I needed to let you know of this experience. Perhaps no one in the corporation cares that this has been happening. If that is so, it is a real shame because Sears and Sears products used to mean quality to me and to those I knew. Now I can never recommend this brand to anyone.

A disgruntled customer,

Gerald Regnitter
Box 289 Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan, S0J 0N0
(306) 982-3614

Sears reply received June 15, 2004:


Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your concern.

Maintenance agreements are offered to our customers to insure them against costly repairs. We are offering this service as we know the quality of our merchandise is high . The maintenance agreement also entitles the customer to an annual check up on the tool or appliance. This agreement is not valid on items that are for commercial use.

The life expectancy that is determined by the manufacturer which for routers for personal use is 7 years. Your router was 8 years old. It was purchased in 1996.

Customers are required to pay an estimate fee for the technician to investigate what is wrong the item. You can put this estimate fee towards the cost of a replacement.



My response to the above:

Kathy et al.

Your response points out to me exactly why I will avoid Sears products in the future.

For the expected use of a "professional quality" router to be 7 years declares it to be an inferior product. That router had received little use as I most often used another router that I had, and it experienced fatal breakdown early in its use. This was the second requirement for the same major repair. To charge an estimate fee as you indicate cannot be legitimate if that expense was NOT indicated at the time the item was brought in for evaluation. This was not some one else's product. It was your product, and your company's failure to stand behind it is totally unacceptable.

You wrote: "Maintenance agreements are offered to our customers to insure them against costly repairs. We are offering this service as we know the quality of our merchandise is high."

Reflect on what you wrote; your two sentences contradict each other. If the quality of the merchandise is really of high quality it will offer good extended service and the need for additional expenditures to purchase insurance against product defect, if necessary, should be the burden of the retailer.

The products that I make are of high quality, and if a defect shows up, I will replace it , repair it, or refund purchase price without question. That response on my part is my quality assurance to my customers, and it is appreciated. I have not had to repair or replace products on many occasions, but my customers appreciate that I am ready to do so, and they come back to me for repeated purchases and bring me new customers with their recommendations.

You have chosen to do the opposite, and I assure you that the effect will also be the opposite.

Gerald Regnitter at Friendly Forest, Box 289 Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan, S0J 0N0
(306) 982-3614 email: Web:


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