Earlier this year, I called the Sears in Lynchburg, VA to ask some questions for a friend of mine about getting a new heat pump. They were unable to figure out what department handled the heat pump installs. This was a very peculiar situation, as wasn’t this something that they sold regularly? After speaking with many departments and not getting the right one, I asked for a manager. Since she didn’t know the answer either she put me on hold and never returned. When I called back and asked for her manager, the same lady picked up the line. She didn’t know the answer and was unable to admit it so she just kept putting me on hold. Later I found out that her manager was on vacation. Based on this experience, I’m not surprised that Sears in Lynchburg will be closing in a couple months.
Since my friend was still determined to at least obtain a quote from Sears, I called one of their locations in Roanoke, VA. It took a few department transfers until someone finally knew that there was an 800 number that had to be called about their heat pumps. The stores have nothing to do with the sales and installs. I called the 800 number and setup the appointment for them to come to her place to do an estimate.
When the Sears call center people called a few days later it wasn’t a simple reminder of the appointment, we had to go back through everything covered in the first call. The Sears associate said that this wasn’t optional, that they’d keep calling otherwise, and the entire call took 30 mins. Sears made it very clear that their time was far more important than mine.
When the Sears representative arrived, he brought a trainee with him who had his own vehicle. My friend really felt like they should have informed her in advance that the trainee would be coming as well.
It was shocking to learn that these guys weren’t Sears employees. Sears actually contracts out the heat pump sales. The sales guy said that he had traveled there from Richmond, which was about 2 hours away. It would have been his company that would have actually installed the heat pump and probably serviced it as well if my friend had bought from them. Their cost for a heat pump and the installation was almost double the cost of other local heating and air businesses. Why buy from a place hours away when there are cheaper places locally?
My friend’s current system, the part on the inside, started rattling after the two guys opened it up to look at it then closed it back, but it wasn’t rattling before this. If all of that wasn’t enough of a turn-off, the brand of heat pump that Sears uses is not a well-known brand. It isn’t possible to buy from Sears the top brands such as: York, Trane, or Lennox. The entire experience was completely ridiculous. My friend went with a local company for her new heat pump.