Sears delivered a broken refrigerator to Christina Izzi — three times. Then it promises her a refund. Why is she still waiting?
I bought a refrigerator from Sears in Frederick, Md., earlier this year. Sears delivered a broken refrigerator. I returned the refrigerator for another, but it was also damaged. The third refrigerator didn’t work at all.
Finally, I requested a refund. In all the paperwork, Sears says the refund will be sent to the credit card used. I never received a refund. Sears says they mailed a check, but I haven’t received a check. I am very, very upset. Can you help? — Christina Izzi, Brunswick, Md.
I can’t believe Sears delivered a broken refrigerator. The company should have sent you a working refrigerator the first time.
Why didn’t it? The company was at a low point when it delivered your refrigerators. There were questions about whether it would survive. Even now, as I write this, the company continues to struggle.(We deal with refrigerator problems all the time on my consumer advocacy site. Here’s another recent one.)
Your case is a reminder to make sure you’re buying from a healthy company. If for some reason the company goes out of business, you run the risk of losing your money and leaving you with a broken refrigerator — or none at all.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen to you. Sears survived, despite a few difficult months. You had a promise in writing that the company would refund the $600 you’d spent on the refrigerator. Now it was just a matter of reminding the company that it had a promise to keep.
It looks as if you spent a lot of time on the phone. You might have made quicker progress by writing to the company. I would have started with a polite email through its website. If that doesn’t work, you can escalate to one of the Sears customer service executives listed on my consumer advocacy site.
Yes, Sears delivered a broken refrigerator, but here’s how to fix it
I checked your paperwork. No on is disputing that Sears delivered a broken refrigerator three times. Sears should have refunded your purchase directly to your credit card. It’s unclear why it wanted to send you a check, although that might have had something to do with its bankruptcy filing. Still, a refund should have been forthcoming.
By the way, you didn’t technically buy your refrigerator with a credit card. Sears says you used a debit card, which doesn’t offer the same protections as a credit card.
If Sears had continued to stall, and if you’d used a credit card, you might have been able to dispute the charge and receive a full refund. Many bank dispute resolution departments would have seen that refund promise from Sears as a debit memo and quickly issued a refund to your card.
I contacted Sears on your behalf. Apparently, the “purchaser” address did not match the mailing address on your invoice. So when you canceled your sale, Sears sent the refund check to the wrong address. Fortunately, the check wasn’t cashed, so Sears issued a new refund check to you.