Q: Last December, I ordered a water filter for my Kenmore refrigerator. The order was placed through Sears.com for $46.74 and charged to my Sears credit card.
Subsequently, I decided to cancel the order. I called the McKinley Mall Sears location, since this is where I told Sears.com that I would pick up the order. I was told that I would have to cancel through Sears.com. I then called Sears.com, and was told that the store listed for pickup would have to contact the online store to let them know that I really didn't pick up the item in question.
When I called the McKinley Mall store, I was told that they had no record of my purchase and that they couldn't help me. I called Sears.com and was told that they couldn't help me, either, unless I could prove that I never picked up the item. I asked how I could prove this, and was told that I would have to go back to the store for proof.
I placed a dispute for this purchase through Sears' credit. I received a reply that if I couldn't prove that I didn't pick up this item, that I had no choice but to pay for it.
I won't belabor the point, but I made additional calls to Sears.com, as well as calls and visits to the local store, all to no avail.
It's six months later and I am still getting billed for the filter. I have tried every way I can think of to rectify this problem and even wrote a letter June 24 to Sears' corporate offices in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
I'm caught in this endless loop.
-- William J. Sommers, East Aurora.
A: Resolving this was pretty clear-cut once we inquired with Sears' corporate office and they began tracking your initial order through Sears.com.
On July 19, we contacted Shirley Bicknell, Sears' field support manager who trouble-shoots consumer problems. After summarizing your problem to her, she indicated that some of what you say you were told didn't make sense.
Bicknell also noted that normally smaller items, such as a refrigerator water filter, are typically shipped directly to the customer's home. "That could have been confusing, too," she said, although you had requested it be shipped to the store.
Nonetheless, Bicknell began looking into the matter and called us back a day later to say that Sears was still trying to track down your initial order and had begun to search for it through Sears.com, but that she expected to know more on Monday, July 23.
That day, Bicknell told us Sears had successfully tracked down your order. Some of the confusion, she said, apparently stemmed from the fact that their records showed you had canceled the order with the store, but Sears.com still showed the order being active because you had originally placed it online.
Sears was more than willing to clear the matter up. On July 23, the company initiated your $46.74 credit and called you that same day to apologize for the mix-up.
"Sears.com called me and the [representative] said the problem was ridiculous and said they'd take care of it right away," Sommers said. "They said I should see a credit within two to three business days. He apologized profusely."