An Overview

What we had

What we wanted

Choosing Sears

The sales session

Contractual documents

Where things went wrong

Project as Sears declared it satisfactorily completed

The attempts at resolution

Outside contractor finishes the project

The finished project

Links to Sears

Contact me

Feedback from Others

Sears Response

The Sears Response to the YouTube Video and This Website

I was somewhat amused when shortly after the YouTube video and this website were made publicly available, I received an email from Rachel Cheek. SHIP Legal Case manager. My file had been forwarded to her department for resolution.

I had thought that Sears had a public relations/marketing problem. They seemed to think it was a legal problem. But, that was in line with my experience with them. As a result, they had nothing new to suggest, only to re-assert that they were legally covered.

The following is a not so brief summary of the phone conversation.

Sears Contact
July 2, 2009
10:00 a.m.


Rachel Cheek
SHIP Legal Case Manager

Tera Mullen
Regulatory Complaint Specialist
Sears Home Services/SHIP

My Notes:

The phone conversation was rather short. It started with a question about what Sears could do for me. My response was that it was their call, I have not asked for anything.

I was asked if the kitchen was now complete. I said yes, but not by Sears.

When asked what it was about the project that I was unhappy with, I responded that I had wanted Sears to "Honor our written agreements". Ms. Cheek said that she had reviewed the documents and believed that they had.

Ms. Cheek said they would make a note of our conversation and put it into the file, and close the file.

I informed them that my "Option B" only started with the YouTube video and the website. The response from the very few who have seen them so far has been very supportive.

I told them that there is much more to come. "Option B" is kind of like a freight train idling in the station. It is only beginning to move. It will slowly build momentum. It will be interesting to watch it develop.

So you won't have to go back through the website, let me give a brief summary here:

1. Sears did not complete the project. (The contract called for completion within 17 days.)

2. Sears violated the cash payment agreement, by charging the full cost of the project to my American Express card, even though that was to be done "UPON SATISFACTORY COMPLETION OF THE CONTRACTED IMPROVEMENTS". (Their caps, not mine.) I was not informed that they considered the project complete and the charge was being made.

3. Even at that point I tried to work with them, but found it impossible. I notified Sears that since they considered the project complete and had been paid in full, I would hire a contractor to finish the project. "Option B" was born.

4. There were other issues that would have been overlooked had Sears honored our written agreement. Peruse the website if you are interested in the sequence of what occurred.

For the record, both Ms. Cheek and Ms. Mullen were courteous and professional. However, they offered nothing specific to "see this matter fully resolved", and my only request was that Sears "honor our written agreements". As a result, this page and another one, Feedback from Others, is being added.

It Gets curiouser and curiouser

In a letter dated July 07, 2009 (I received it on July 14, 2009, around 3:00 p.m.), Tera Mullen informed me that "My records show that you paid $453.60 for apppliance hookups. A credit for $453.60 (to my credit card) has been processed. This has nothing to do with reality. Her "facts" are wrong. My cost was considerably more than that.

The non-installation of appliances is really not the issue. It is the whole project gone wrong that concerns me. If this happens to me, there must be many others in the same situation who are unable to make their voices heard.

I immediately sent an email to Ms. Mullen asking her to cancel the credit.

Then I received this email

Mr. Hartshorn,

I am following SHIP procedure and are obligated to process it. However, it is certainly your option to deny the credit. Please note the credit does not have any thing to do with your website. If there are any additional items you are due a credit on, please let me know.

Tera Mullen
Regulatory Complaint Specialist
Sears Home Services/SHIP
1024 Florida Central Prkwy
Longwood, FL. 32750
P: 800-222-5030 ext. 5616/407-551-5616
F: 407-551-7337
email: Tera.Mullen@searshomepro

My Reply

Ms. Mullen,

The number $453.60 is unclear to me. Your records cannot possibly be based on reality. You cannot know what I paid to the new contractor.

In an email on May 04, 2009 6:09 PM. Marlon Aguilar wrote:

Retail cost of the the improvements is $900; Sears would be responsible for $525 and you would pay $375.

Sears paid nothing

My actual cost exceeded the SHIP estimate.

Your facts are wrong.

James M. Hartshorn

Then what happened?

I checked my credit card account and found that the credit had indeed been processed. I contacted American Express and they are reversing the transaction. This was a learning process for them. The person I talked to said she had never before had anyone dispute a credit.

What Next?

Stay tuned for further developments in this ongoing saga. There is more interesting stuff yet to come.