So there I was this Monday having breakfast with my folks at a local restaurant when my Mom told me that the new stove she had bought from Sears was not the one she thought it was when it was delivered and installed. What she was expecting was a stove with a convection oven and what she received was a standard stove. It turns out that she told the salesperson that she was looking to buy a convection oven and when they looked at different options somehow she chose a model that was cheaper (turns out cheaper because it was without the convection oven). Somehow my Mom lead the salesperson to believe that price was the bigger issue and he wasn’t clear that what she was getting didn’t have what she was looking for in the first place.
When the new stove was installed my Mom couldn’t find the convection controls and so she called the store and found out she now owned something she didn’t want and that to get the stove she wanted would cost more for the difference in price and a restocking fee of $140. That just didn’t seem right to me but I knew that Sears would be within their rights to insist that it work that way. After all, it is the customers ultimate responsibility to know what they are buying isn’t it? To me though it seems, if you own a business that it is your job is to make sure your customers are completely satisfied and not to penalize them when they aren’t.
So I visited the store and explained that my parents didn’t want to rock the boat and would live with the stove they now had if need be. I asked her though: “considering they really thought what they were buying was a convection oven, couldn’t they just return the oven and pay the difference in price, and not the restocking fee?” To make a long story short Sears said, “Yes!”
My Mom will get the stove she wanted for the extra money and not be charged a $140 restocking fee. What does Sears get? They get my parents return business, my business and my willingness to tell people about a great customer experience with their company. This is one of those situations where the company didn’t really do anything wrong so it wasn’t obligated, morally or otherwise, to keep the customer happy. Sears saw the bigger picture though and invested in their customer. That investment will pay dividends down the road and companies of all sizes can learn a lesson from this experience. I’m pretty sure my Mother will be certain of what she is buying the next time she shops at Sears, but the point is there will certainly be a next time.
Thanks for doing the right thing Sears!