7 On Your Side: How to succeed when faced with Sears service problems

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- When one homeowner decided it was time to remodel her bathroom, she went to a company she trusted. But that dream bathroom turned into a botched job that cost her thousands.

The homeowner needed a new bathroom, so she contracted with Sears, the once-mighty retailer that has fallen on hard times. As Sears has closed hundreds of stores, her contractor botched her bathroom job then took off.

It was time for 7 On Your Side to take on this fallen giant and reincarnate her failed renovation.

"The quality of work here is terrible, it's not professional," Linda Walters said. The Newark resident has spent half a year living with what she calls a botched bathroom.

Back in February, Walters said she asked about the troubling headlines of store closings but was assured by Sears Home Improvement it was not part of the sinking Sears retail stores.

"He said 'That's just the stores, this is Sears Home Improvement,'" Walters said.

Sears Home Improvement charged her $10,000 for the remodel. Yet her new vinyl floors don't meet the wall. There's no back on the tub, no screw holding the shower bar, gaps and missing grout throughout. The job was supposed to be completed by mid-April.

The contractors came, but never completed the job.

In May, the excuse was Sears needed to order more tile.

"How long it's been on order? Five months," Walters said.

Since she financed the project, after making two payments, the homeowner called her lender and reported the issue. Her balance was zeroed and an investigation opened, but she still couldn't get a refund -- leaving her out of pocket around $3,000.

She called 7 On Your Side in to take a look. After seeing the shoddy work, we got in contact with Sears Home Improvement.

"The same days 7 On My Side called, an hour later my phone was ringing off the hook," Walters said.

She got a full refund on the project and a check for $3,000.

Sears apologized for the customer service problem and hopes Walters will remain a customer.

The big takeaway is before hiring any contractor, shop around and get at least three estimates. Walters only got one.

Research the contractor and be wary about a company in distress. It was well-known Sears had been in trouble long before Walters hired them.

And if you already own a Sears product or are thinking of buying a Kenmore appliance, what's the deal with warranties? Well right now you're still covered. But, if Sears liquidates without another owner taking over, there's a chance these warranties won't be honored.

So bargain shop -- but be wary.


Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!

Send us your questions, issues, and story ideas to Nina by filling out the form above, by emailing 7OnYourSideNina@abc.com, or contact Nina on her Facebook page or tweet her at Twitter @7OnYourSideNY! You can also call the 7 On Your Side Hotline at 917-260-7697.

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