Help! My Kenmore oven is missing in action

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Tara Karran’s oven is missing in action and Sears has pocketed her money. Is there any way to save this kitchen appliance?

Question: I purchased four large appliances at Sears several weeks ago. Only three came.

After several back-and-forth conversations with Sears delivery, the customer service department and the store directly, the missing piece was set to be delivered two weeks ago. It never arrived.

I called customer service and was told the order was canceled by the warehouse. I went back to the store and spoke with the manager, who told me that a refund was going to be issued and I had to repurchase the missing item, which I did. To date, I have yet to receive my refund.

The missing item is a Kenmore Elite Range, and the refund is $909. Please help! — Tara Karran, South Ozone Park, NY

Answer: Sears should have delivered all four appliances promptly, as promised. If it didn’t, it should have refunded the money as quickly as it withdrew it from your account, which is to say, within seconds.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. But before I explain, let’s talk about your delivery. Sometimes, an item you order isn’t in stock, and that’s especially true during the busy holiday shopping season, which is when this happened.

Ideally, Sears would have a system in place that could verify if something you order is available in its warehouse. If such a system exists, it didn’t work as it should for you.

I also find it strange that Sears would cancel your order and then ask you to place it again, which basically forced you to pay $909 twice. You were floating Sears an interest-free loan for $909 while it figured out how to send you a refund.
If this ever happens again, try reaching out to one of these Sears executive contacts.

And that brings us to the the status of your money. I checked with Sears, and it says refunds take five to seven days to receive — significantly longer than it takes for the company to remove the funds from your credit card account. According to its records, it had mailed you a check the day before you contacted me.

So, good news — the check is in the mail (or so they say). And bad news — you’ll have to wait a little longer for your money. But you will get a refund. And if you don’t? You have my number.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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  • Randy Culpepper

    One thing I’ve learned from this site is that online orders from Sears/Kmart are to be avoided if at all possible.

  • Stuart Murray

    I had an issue with a large instore purchase from Sears a couple years back, on a bagger for our riding lawnmower. The cashier messed up the initial transaction, ended up ringing it up again, and my credit card was hit twice. They assured me the charge would drop off, it never did, and they ended up sending me a check for the difference. Be cautious with Sears.

  • jim6555

    Based on the foot traffic that I have observed at their stores in shopping malls in my area, it’s very possible that Sears won’t be around mess to up customer’s orders next Christmas season. They seem to be lacking a good reason to stay in business.

  • llandyw

    People seem to think the retailers are the ones who take their time to make refunds. Typically it’s the bank that takes a few days to do so.

    An example of this is Amazon. They do refunds two different ways. First of course is to the method of payment. This involves the transaction system that includes the bank that issued the card, and the company who services it. So, from Amazon, it could take 5 to 7 days although typically it’s shorter.

    Second choice is to an Amazon gift card. This method provides the customer with the refund within an hour. Of course, that refund can only be used on products purchased through Amazon. For the case cited here, that wouldn’t have been an issue since the appliance was purchased (twice) from the same place.

    Either way, it’s not entirely the retailers fault for the delay in receiving a refund to a credit card.

  • Barthel

    I had an online order from Sears go missing. I called one customer service number I found online. The Indian who answered gave me another number to call. The Indian who answered this call could not find the order and essentially said she could not help me. I then sent an email to Sears customer service slamming them for outsourcing their customer service to Indians who can neither speak nor understand English. Sears replied with an apology and sent the order again.

  • stephen_nyc

    The use of the word ‘refund’ in this story leads me to think they actually debited her checking account and did not charge any credit card.
    Be that as it may, you are correct that it can still a few days to get a credit card refund.