This is a follow-up to a post I wrote last month regarding the completely un-fun experience I had purchasing, receiving, and then using the dryer I bought from Sears. In accordance with my standard refrain of not wanting to review a product before I’d used it a few times, I gave them quite a walloping over what I felt (and still do feel) was a bad purchase process, a deeply flawed delivery process, and a product that left me wondering if I should just return it and start all over.
My social media contact was very nice throughout everything and went as far as to connect me with a “Care Manager” who would handle my specific case. I have no idea how easily such people are typically reached and whether or not you have to raise some form of unholy stink to get to these people if you’re not in some form of media…but I can say that the person I worked with was communicative, friendly and helpful.
He offered me the option of replacing my dryer, either with another of the same model or with a whole other dryer completely. So, I hit the books…well, er, Internet, to try to see what else they had that might fit the bill. The answer really wasn’t promising; there are precious few reviews of dryers, and the ones we found made it fairly clear that no dryer really seemed to be a prize. Dryers either didn’t dry well or didn’t make enough noise to let you know they were done or made too much noise when they were working or OMG ALL DRYERS HAVE ISSUES.
Ultimately, I couldn’t find another dryer that seemed to meet our requirements better than the one we had. Which didn’t work too well. So, crap.
In my desperation to see if there was ANY way to salvage the situation, I called for service. I explained what was needed and made it abundantly clear that I was NOT going to pay for the visit, even though I was told up and down by the apologetic and completely unable-to-think-for-himself CSR that I would be on the hook for $90 if they didn’t find anything wrong with the dryer. There’s a point at which no amount of cussing at the phone will solve a problem, so I just let the steam drain out of my ears and informed him through clenched teeth that I would NOT be paying for the visit and they WOULD fix whatever was wrong or I WOULD have them haul away the dryer. I could hear him nodding while he filed his nails. I’m sure he hears this stuff all day.
And then, a few days later, the repairman came out. I’m not sure how to put this, but he was just utterly fantastic. HE was the reason I bought this dryer. Remember, I wanted something that could be serviced, unlike my Samsung that needed parts swum over from Korea on the back of a whale or something, so having a repairman able to come out, diagnose and fix things is EXACTLY what brought me to Sears.
He plugged his computer into the dryer and got the two machines talking to each other. Then he took my dryer apart to check the motor, vents, and such, and then he took a walk outside to check on the vent outflow. His diagnosis: it’s not the dryer, it’s the vent. The vent flap, a small plastic piece that sits on the end of the vent, wasn’t moving, so airflow was restricted and the dryer was shutting off prematurely. Not being a vent flap expert, I took him at his word and sent him on his way. Even though the issue wasn’t with the dryer itself, per se, the tech fixed things in their system so that I wouldn’t pay. Of all the people in this, he was the first one to proactively suggest that perhaps I didn’t need to undergo one more bit of nuisance. Bless that man.
DH, extremely dubious by this point, went to the local Home Depot and purchased a new vent flap. He fitted it onto the pipe and then we ran a few loads.
And this is the moment where the clouds part, the angels begin singing, and somewhere, wherever he was, that wonderful service tech deserved every bit of the 5-star review I gave him: the dryer dried the clothes properly. I ran a few more loads. It still worked. DH was still dubious – nearly incredulous at the idea that a vent flap could’ve caused all this trouble, and yet it did.
So, here’s the final outcome of the story: I don’t rescind one word of my complaints with the Sears.com purchase or delivery processes; they were both awful and the next time I purchase a major appliance I’m doing it IN THE STORE. At least there I know I can coordinate with a human being who can sort things out for me the first time. I feel utterly vindicated in selecting a product that can be serviced by a Sears tech, because those guys know their stuff.
Lastly, because I don’t want to leave any stone unturned and I’d rather not leave someone in the same position that I was in, I’m going to post a review of the dryer. It’s just not right that purchases of $1000 or more have to be made virtually blind. You take it on faith that the manufacturer built exactly what you want and then you suffer the repair bills or the frustration of wasted money when they didn’t.
Is it all better? Well, I have a working dryer, so that’s a huge plus. Do I feel any better about Sears? When it comes to purchasing IN THE STORE from nice people like Marlon or getting my dryer serviced by nice people like the tech who came out a few weeks ago, YES. When it comes to buying online and having it delivered by people who can’t be bothered to set an appointment in a reasonable fashion…well, that’s a whole other story. I’d also like to reiterate my appreciation for both the social media contact and the Care Manager I worked with; both were patient and tried their best to turn my frown upside down. And now that I have a working dryer – which is all I’d wanted in the first place – that’s much easier for me to do.