Open Letter To Sears

February 8, 2003

Alan J Lacy
Chairman, Sears Roebuck & Co.
3333 Beverly Road E4-115AB
Hoffman Estates, Illinois, 60179


Dear Mr. Lacy,

I am not a happy camper and after years of one disappointment after another with Sears I have decided to write to the Chairman of the Board before I release a formal complaint to my representatives and all my friends on the Internet.

Mr. Lacy, I am a civil woman and a professional, with a strong faith in GOD! I chose to write to you because of your Christmas card. That was either a clever PR move, or, a genuine Christmas thought! I pray it is the thought of the birth of the Christ!

Only you have the answer to that burning question! I have seen you give interviews and have listened closely to what you have said.

But Mr. Alan Lacy, Sears, is not the sears of my mother! My family and I have had horrific experiences! Some of which could have led to serious injury or death, because of the ineptness, or the lack of consideration from some of those who work for your company.

Since I have been put into a position of taking time out of my busy schedule in having to write this letter to you personally, I will chronicle the last several years, as each and every one has been negative.

In 1997 or 1998 I purchased $300 in Craftsman tools for my husband as a Christmas gift. In 2000 we purchased a water heater, washing machine, gas dryer, and in mid 2000 we purchased a refrigerator, all with "maintenance Agreements". We also purchased two-way radios, two 2.5 gighz phones sets, a hepa air cleaner, and a tent. In 2001 we purchased two-way radios, telescope, screen-house tent, another tent, and microwave. And in 2002 we purchased prescription glasses.

Note;all items mentioned above have either been repaired, replaced, returned, or exchanged, several times over, due to breakage, leaking, tearing, missing pieces, falling apart, or not working properly. As for the $250.00 glasses? After Sears put in new screws several times, they finally ordered a new lens because the original lens was cut too small which caused the lens to keep falling out of the frames constantly. If you were to review our past purchases, repairs, returns, and exchanges you would see that what we are saying here is FACT.

First things first. We were sent from Sears a coupon book for free delivery on any purchases of washers, dryers, etc., as a Preferred Customer? After we purchased the early large items, we were told at the Santa Fe, NM. Store that Sears did not offer free delivery to our area, even though we were led to believe from the info sent to us by Sears, that Sears did indeed offer free delivery to itís "Preferred Customers". Sears had encouraged us to take advantage of this offer of free delivery! What a scam!

We lived with that and moved on. So now we had to make the long ride into Santa Fe to pick up this merchandise. We received a call on one of the items and were told it was in, so, we made that long drive; only to find out that it was not in! We spoke with the then store manager to air our grievance, we thought that maybe someone would get the hint. This is not the Sears of my mother!

While we were there, so as to not have made a trip for nothing, we decided to buy some shoes for my husband. He wears a ten and a half. After looking at several styles, with no size in stock for my husband, we asked the person waiting on us if we could order a pair that we liked; as in the past, other Searsí stores had done just that.

After being treated rudely & abruptly we were finally told that Sears would make a call to another store and if the item was available we could order these shoes. It was! We did! And then we were told that we would receive a call when the item came in. We never did receive that call! This is not the Sears of my mother!

This New Mexico Sears store in Santa Fe has to be one of the worse run stores I have ever shopped in. More times then not, when we have tried to get shoes for my husband, size ten & a half, not a size that is unusual, we have run into, "They Donít Have His Size in Stock". This is not the Sears of my mother!

Back to the more serious part of this situation: The large items we ordered and were waiting for! When we finally were told we could pick up the washer and dryer we were in for more surprises of the more serious type. My husband and I are literate and savvy Individuals and we have learned from experience to pay close attention to details. When the Sears person brought out our items, which we waited nearly an hour for; We asked where our dryer was, he said the gas dryer was not in yet, but we could take the washer and someone from Sears would call us when the gas dryer came in.

The gas dryer came in the following week, Another long, fifteen-dollar trip to Sears! Now remember, this is a gas dryer! As it turned out, the wrong exhaust element was brought out with our dryer even though a red warning was highly visible on the box. It referenced the danger of using the wrong exhaust tubing with this gas dryer. We were even given an argument until we got our point across that the red warning on the box stated how dangerous it was to install the wrong exhaust type. Had we not paid attention to this little detail we may not be writing this letter today, and you Sears, may have had a lawsuit on your hands. This is not the Sears of my mother!

When we finally brought our washer home we were faced with one problem after another. Starting from the early days, every dozen or so washes, it did not spin all of the water out. The unit would always jerk excessively (still does) from the beginning the splashguard kept falling off. I believe we had three replacements with the splashguard alone, last time the serviceman tried to glue it on, after that, the serviceman said it was not necessary, so now we have none, except the residue of glue, where the splashguard once was suppose to be.

We have replaced splashguards, timers, valves, and switches! To stop the excessive jerking and to get the washer to spin all of the water out the serviceman last week, put in a wash-drum with liquid balancer (even though it was replaced recently, which only took 4 months!), and another new valve. Well, The washer starting jerking from the moment it was turned on, while the serviceman was testing.

To date: We are yet having one problem after another with this washer. Today, 2003, we attempted to wash some clothes, this was the first time since the new wash-drum and valve was installed. The washer, this time, would not empty out any of the water; it just kept cycling it. This left us with a full load of dripping wet clothes. Not the first time either! But it will be the last!

Here we are three years later and still going crazy with the time and the money it has cost us! Remember that the constant jerking may be causing other problems, and when she does not spin out that means more electric must be used to finally get some results! Of course we do not have to worry about that now, since the washer does not work at all! But, we are still paying for the privilege. This is not the Sears of my mother!

(After three years and much aggravation, lost time and wasted money, we have been given a machine that at the moment, appears to be working fine. Once burned!)

When we bought our refrigerator home we had one problem after another. First the shelf in the freezer busted and fell without warning as I opened the freezer door. Some items on the shelf fell my foot raising a welt on that sensitive foot bone. It took forever to get the parts. Then the fridge had more problems, it would either get too cold (freeze everything) or the next week it would not get below 48 degrees. This is not the Sears of my mother!

As for the water heater, while not a big problem (we have not complained about this issue), but it will be mentioned here. It is inconsistent. On the "b" setting level it should be constant hot. Instead, sometimes it is barely warm, and at other times, it nearly burns you, go figure!

Now, for the tools I bought my husband for Christmas six years ago. He has had to exchange one ratchet tool after another. They keep breaking inside! Now please donít patronize me by saying, "well, we offer a lifetime guarantee" I have heard that one! When you live 15 dollars worth of gas away and must take time from your busy schedule, while being challenged by a physical disability, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (near death experience), it is not reasonable! This has happened far to many times. Sears should be ashamed of themselves; this is not the Sears of my mother!

This roller-coaster ride with Sears has been very detrimental to my family! My husband suffered serious injuries several years ago, which put me in a position of putting my career on a back burner. In all that time we never defaulted on any of our obligations to our creditors. My husband has spent the last few years working to put his life back on track and the last thing he needed was the challenges he has been put through with this Sears fiasco.

Mr. Lacy, from where folks like myself sit, the challenges have become so abusive that they are insurmountable to those of us on a limited income. Hard working Americans are being treated like fodder. We canít afford health insurance because we are constantly feeding the corporate greed and that leaves nothing in the kitty for far too many of us.

We bought the extended service agreements, which are not honored by Sears properly! What a scam that is! Ralph Nader was always right about this issue! It gouges the consumer! Why should we be the ones to guarantee your merchandise? The only service we have seen that gets real attention is when these warrantees are up. You charge outrageous interest (21.40%) to buy your stores products.

The Fleecing of America! Or as I chose to call it, "Americas shame"!

Mr. Lacy There have been other customers that have aired their dissatisfaction with Sears as we found ourselves waiting and waiting and waiting, over and over again, to pick up our merchandise! They were going through similar challenges and were angry enough to say they were going to tear up their card! In all that time Mr. Lacy, I never saw one of those in charge, take charge, with a professional approach towards the Sears customersí needs! In fact, we had to get testy with one of the managers as he did not want to listen, only talk, and that talk was designed to patronize us!

One gentleman, after waiting a long time, was very angry after having made several trips to Sears to pick up a promised item, which he said had been returned for problems. After another long wait he was finally told his item had not come in, or, on another occasion, as he told it, they could not find the item he had been waiting 6 weeks for.

Sears has become a dirty word for many of us and I now truly dread having to go to Sears for anything. Last week we had to go to your store because my husband needs his glasses to drive and as you have read in this letter, they were falling apart! This has been an ongoing problem since he purchased these expensive glasses, and as he drove into Santa Fe that day they fell apart while he was driving. They fell apart as the eyeglass girl was looking at them. She put the lenses in a new frame to only have them fall out of the new frame.

I am quite disgusted with what corporate America is doing to the fabric of this nation and I donít intend to take it sitting down any longer. Enough is enough thank you! If the average, hard working individual ran their affairs the way corporate America runs theirs, they would be locked up and the key thrown away! Our Nation is in jeopardy! Mr. Lacy, the ball is in now officially in your court, where it belongs! Letís hope that you, Mr. Lacy, can rise to the occasion!

As I write this letter my family is dealing with one crisis after another, made worse by years of aggravation and disappointment by the folly of Corporate America. My husband broke his back, Americaís shame, is breaking his spirit!

For many of us out here, The Sears experience has become the consumers "Enron"!

Many decent Americans are hanging on by a thread Mr. Lacy! This family, can no longer even claim the thread!


Barbara Williams

Cc; file

PS; We feel it important to express our thanks to these folks with whom we recently had the opportunity to talk to about our problem! These folks were professional and compassionate in the way they approached the situation; Pam Fulkerson, Jim La Sears, and Betty Marcus with Sears National Customer Service, and, Jerry Jo with Sears Regional Customer Service.

Previously, we had been led to believe by the warrantee folks, that we had no recourse other than people who held the service agreement! Who, more often then not, did not get back to us until after numerous calls were made to get their attention! We had become so completely disgusted due to the long and needless hardship we were going through, that, as you can see, we finally, after three years, found we had another outlet with which to air our grievances.

I must admit Mr. Lacy; your Christmas card opened a door that I waited to utilize, hoping that at least this issue would finally be resolved. But as you can see by this letter, Sears has serious problems in need of massive doses of help!


1-5-04;  Nothing to date has been honorably, nor reasonably addressed.  Our new washer almost immediately showed serious flaws. (video taped problems) When we tried to get some satisfaction we were basically told we could spend more money (this washer cost $1,000.00) in order to get a washer that worked.

If this does not make sense to you, as it does not to my family, then you and I realize that the only sense that Corporate America seems to make is that which empties our pocketbooks.  The actions of Corporate America boggles our senses with confusion, deceit, and would rob us of our own dignity and replace it with complete irrational rubbish in an attempt to brainwash us into believing we are getting something for our money.

Corporate America, most of you have proven yourselves to be vile, un-American and you have waged war on your own countrymen. You not only drain this nation, you do not even pay reasonable, if at all, taxes. Some of us will find a way to no longer pay you your "blood money". We have had enough, our friends and families have had enough, and our nation has had enough!

Barbara Williams