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Old 08-02-2009, 12:43 PM   #1
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RANT - Long - Sears Auto Dept $%^&*

Excuse my French!
I just got back form Sears and I'm still POed.
Backstory: Hal The Van is my first large vehicle. It needed two new rear tires. I asked a friend at work who drives a full sized truck advice on tires. He recommended Sears where he gets his. I'd heard some negatives about Sears but thought I'd give them a try. Consumer Reports recommends General Grabbers HTS LT tires for full sized 4x2 vans. I called Sears this past week and they said they don't have them in stock but would order me a pair.

I called Friday and they said they just came in. I had to go out of town yesterday so I went over there this (Sunday) at 10:30. They told me it would be about an hour. Walked around the mostly closed mall and when I came back they were almost done.
They went ahead to ring me out and the charge was too high. I asked to see an itemized list. There was an extra "Road Service" charge for each tire that I hadn't asked for. Had him remove the charge. That put my radar up.

Walk to the outside of the garage in time to hear the service guy who was doing the work tell the salesman that he filled up the tires to the recommended level of 75 lds psi "and they look kinda tight". The salesman backed the van out of the garage and left the motor running and told me "Here you go."
I stopped him and told him to look at the new back tires. Though marked as "General Grabber HTS" the letters "LT" were nowhere to be seen. He assured me that they were and walked away.

Leaving the van where it was I got down close to the tire to read all the very fine print. Not only was "LT" not on the tire but what could be seen was "MAX 44 PSI". I called the salesman back out and showed him what it said on the tire. He asked me what I planned to haul in the van. I asked him why? He said as long as I don't load the van up too much these would be OK at that pressure. I stared at him in utter disbelief.

I explained to him that not only were these not the tires I ordered but the van wasn't going anywhere with those tire on it. We went inside and started the "Those are the tires you ordered" - "No, they aren't" schtick. "If I didn't order these tires how would I know they even carried LT tires" . 'Because they are on the Sears web page." He gave up after three rounds, even before I could get to "75 PSI in a 44 MAX tire!!!".

Then began the "Gee, what am I going to do with these two tires now." I'll admit I was tempted to tell him but I didn't. I told him to remount the old tires and order the correct tires and went outside to cool off. Less than 1/2 hour later they had the van outside. I went in again and the two other salesman said the other guy had gone to lunch and they didn't know anything about it. I had them call it up on the computer. It looks like he ordered the correct tires and added the difference (LT are abut $30 more) to the original bill.

Got home after 2:00pm and feel like I've wasted half the day. Tempted to call Am Ex and tell them to dispute the charges and call Sears and cancel the whole damn thing.

One more thought. I wonder what have happened if I hadn't heard the service guy and had just drove off.
High speed blow out or really fast tire wear?

Thanks for the rant. I feel just a little better now. "Serenity now!"
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Old 08-02-2009, 02:45 PM   #2
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Re: RANT - Long - Sears Auto Dept $%^&*

That's pretty rough but not surprising. I think you have to know exactly what you need before you go in. Having the paperwork helps.

I got marginal treatment at Discount tire when I ordered 5 new Michelins. I ordered them online and got a discount (total of about $1200). They had no record of this when I showed up even though I had the order number.

I explained that these were heavy vans and prone to safety issues if a tire blows or a wheel is lost. I asked that the lug nuts removed, reinstalled, and torqued by hand, not with an air gun. I brought a real, calibrated torque wrench in case they didn't have one.

Since I can't go into the bay (insurance reasons), I go across the parking lot and watch from under a tree. Out comes the air gun. The guy at the register is sure that I'm mistaken. He goes and stops it.

Again, on remount, out comes that air gun. I stop it again. Lots of dirty looks from the crew.

When done, I go in and he asks "is everything ok?" I say, "I don't know, you are supervising this job, is it ok?" He has nothing to say. I guess since I paid, it's all ok.

I wanted to take the old tires with me. They were in good shape, just 5 years old. Still good for farm and ranch use. The spare was unused. They loaded up 4 tires and "forgot" to put the spare into the van.

Had to take the spare in two weeks later because they failed to balance it. They also put 6 pieces of lead on one wheel that took only one piece to balance previously. I took it back and they turned the tire carcass on the wheel to get a better match. This was magic to them. It took two pieces of lead to balance.

When you go back, it's a good idea to get the manufacture date on the tires. It's probably on the inside of the tire so you will need to see it before they mount it. I'd check myself (take a flashlight). If tires are really only good for say, 5 years, best not get one that is already 2 years old.

Also, if you get a prorated road hazard warranty, make them measure the tread and put it on the original invoice (with initials and get the manager's card), watch them do it. I suspect the "new" tread depth they start with is somewhat greater than actually exists on the tires. So if you drive it 1000 miles and get a non repairable cut, you may find you are already down 20% of your tread.

Good luck.

Tom
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:44 PM   #3
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Re: RANT - Long - Sears Auto Dept $%^&*

Bought a set of two new front tires from Sears for a '95 Honda del Sol VTEC that I had some time ago. About 9 months later, the car seemed to be pulling to one side, and had a trusted mechanic do a front end alignment. He couldn't get the car to stop pulling by fixing the alignment.

Even though they were directional tires, he swapped them around, and surprise, the car pulled the other direction. I took the car back to Sears to complain about the tires. They assured me the tires were fine, but that I needed a complete front end and rear end alignment. Kept arguing with them that swapping the tires showed it wasn't an alignment issue but a tire issue. They kept dragging it out, swapping the tires back and getting the same result. They must have dragged this out for two hours, probably hoping to wear me out, keeping me waiting for each and every conversation. They kept telling me that it couldn't possibly be the tires, "they don't do that anymore". When they finally got me some new tires, magically the pull to one side was gone. I have no doubt they would have compensated my alignment (at my expense) to temporarily take care of the pull rather than fixing the actual problem (at their expense).

Never been back.


Herb

(Oh yeah, scary stuff that they tried to rip you off for the wrong tires, that they grossly overinflated them and then tried to tell you it was OK).
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:03 PM   #4
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Re: RANT - Long - Sears Auto Dept $%^&*

For what it's worth, I've had nothing but good experiences with the local Les Schwab folks, and with Les Schwab stores where I've traveled. On-line research has supported stuff they've told me, and I get straight talk with no flim-flam. Can't say that every Les Schwab tire place is good, but I'll always go there first. For similar reasons to those posted on this thread, I do not go to Sears either for tires or for auto service.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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Re: RANT - Long - Sears Auto Dept $%^&*

I second the opinion on Les Schwab. Very good customer service and decent prices. Wish we had them in Colorado. I deal with Discount Tires and they have been very good to me. Big O sucks a$% though. Horrible.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:50 PM   #6
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Re: RANT - Long - Sears Auto Dept $%^&*

I third the opinion on Les Schwab. I had Coopers on my motorhome and they seemed to be a good highway tire, but I was warned not to let them sell me a farm vehicle tire, which they tried to do.

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Old 08-27-2009, 10:21 PM   #7
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Re: RANT - Long - Sears Auto Dept $%^&*

Years ago my sister worked for Sears - quit them because of openly sexist promotion practices. Just recalled what folks in my area of the Midwest used to call them - "Scares and Rareback." Had a great toy catalogue at Christmas though...
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