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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sears and Nordic Track/ Process over People

It all started when my wife Rita bought me a Nordic Track tread mill at Sears in Castleton Square. That was Valentine's Day, 2002. Great product. It worked until we decided not to renew the service contract. That's when the frustration began. Two weeks ago (September 30), the tread mill expired.

After several calls to the Sears store, it was determined that we'd have to call Nordic Track. Frustrastion began to build when Sears' computer generated phone system gave us one choice-- the "Fitness Department" and it took several calls with lengthy waits to get anyone to pick up. Bad system to start. It got worse.

When we finally got a human, we were given a toll free number for Nordic Track, who is supposed to service the equipment. I hoped to get the original tread mill repaired. I was told by a less-than-empathetic Nordic Track person that it would cost $155 for a service call (since I was no longer under warranty); THAT THE SERVICE REP. WOULD GIVE ME A NUMBER AND I'D HAVE TO CALL IN THE PARTS ORDER MYSELF; and that it would be another $55 to come back and install whatever. I understood.

My wife and I decided to go back to Sears and get another tread mill, which we did on Saturday and Sunday, October 3 and 4. Sears agreed to deliver and install the tread mill on Thursday, October 8.

I found out on the 8th that Sears contracted yet a third company to deliver and install new Nordic Track equipment. When the delivery team arrived at the very end of the two hour window, they installed the tread mill but it was defective. Either that or the installers didn't know how to do it. The main guy called Sears, put me on the phone with them, then bolted, saying he was late for the next delivery. You guessed it. After he'd left, the Sears Service Rep. informed me I'd have to go through Nordic Track, left me a number and left me hanging.

We tried calling Sears to talk to our salesman but, again, no one in "Fitness" answered several calls. Checkmate! Rita, sensing my utter frustration, took over. Abandoning the effort to reach "Fitness", she asked for the Business Office . No answer. So she called back and asked for the Store Manager (it was 8:00 P.M.). She got a recording but left him a fairly caustic message.

Finally, today (October 14) the people that Sears contracts showed up with a new machine (not the same crew as before) and the tread mill is installed, one week after it was supposed to have been.

Rita's message to the Store Manager said, in part, "We have almost $1100 on our Sears charge with a faulty piece of equipment in our home. We've dealt with Sears, Nordic Track and whatever company you contract. We can't talk to anyone at Sears. I don't usually get angry. Stuff happens. But boy, am I irritated!"

Have you had it up to here with this type of service? If so, let me know about it by replying to this blog. It's time We the Customers fight back!


  1. A toll free vanity number will increase response rates—ads with vanity numbers can generate as much as a 600% increase in responses. Vanity numbers are just simply easier to recall—in fact, studies show they are 14 times easier to remember. Thats what I did and I went with, they did all the work for me. That hardly ever happens so i took advantage of it.

  2. Testing the posts :)

  3. Your story frosts my cookies, as customer service stories usually will. Companies are now comfortable allowing accountants to dictate business practices with a battle-ready P&L disclosure, outsourcing labor as much to the lowest bidder, and dismiss the value of a satisfied customer. The third-party blame game has become a staple in the consumer's diet.

    I must agree with your closing statement - it's time We the Customers fight back!

  4. Danny:
    Take it all back! I bought a treadmill from Pro-Form (I think that is the name) over 10 years ago and have NEVER had a problem. I just had a guy come over and do preventative maintenance for the first time in 10 years. He said it looks good and adjusted the belt and that was it.
    Now this is opposite of your story, but it shows how different companies operate.
    Jake D.


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