Stop Customer Abuse - A&E Signature Service at Sears Holdings Corporation

Subject: Stop Customer Abuse - A&E Signature Service at Sears Holdings Corporation
From: A&E Services Assurant Warranty Holder
Date: 24 Apr 2013

Vice President Sean Ramsey
Business Development
A&E Signature Service at Sears Holdings Corporation
1560 Tableranch Rd.
San Antonio, TX, 78245

January 25, 2013

Dear VP Sean Ramsey:

I am writing in regards to a recent conversation I had with A&E Signature Service Case Manager Leslie (she preferred not to tell me her last name) and to address a grave concern with the way that A&E services Assurant warranties.

I called A & E’s service line on behalf of my parents who have had an ongoing problem with their dishwasher since November of last year. Their warranty expires in March of this year and though A&E technicians have come out six times (and not shown up for an additional two service appointments) we have yet to see a resolution. The technicians have expressed that they do not know what is causing the problem or how to fix it, and have ordered various parts as stab-in-the-dark attempts to find a solution, but all to no avail. I find it unacceptable that no one will deem it “unable to be repaired” so that Assurant will replace or refund the unit.

Earlier today, Friday, January 25, 2013, I called A&E and the first customer service representative I spoke with repeated the mantra that the company was just following procedure, etc., etc., so I asked to speak with a manager. I was connected to Leslie and began to tell her that I was angry with A&E for letting this problem drag on for so long and wanted an immediate, acceptable solution. As I attempted to explain the problem further, Leslie interrupted numerous times and talked over me to try and convince me that I should be calling Assurant instead of A&E. I had just hung up with Assurant and the questions I had were for A&E. Not finding Leslie to be a good listener, I asked to speak instead to her manager but was informed (by Leslie) that she was the highest management personnel that could be reached via telephone. So, I tried again.

Once Leslie heard me out enough to learn that I wanted to know the specific criteria for deeming a dishwasher irreparable or what the actual procedure is for technicians to get to the root of the problem and to fix it, she informed me that no technician is allowed to claim that the dishwasher is unable to be repaired unless they order a specific part and that part is no longer made. She stated that this will go on until Assurant gets fed up and decides to replace the item rather than keep paying for parts and technician visits.

I asked Leslie to clarify that A&E technicians will indeed continue to replace parts whether they believe the dishwasher can be fixed or not and was told point blank: “Even if our technicians have to come out a hundred times and replace a different part each time, they will not deem the dishwasher irreparable unless they order a part and it is no longer being manufactured.” Leslie further stated that if the technician does not have a theory on the problem, he will call a tech line and that person will tell the technician some part to order to keep the cycle going.

I hope you can see how this is a huge concern for my parents who—in good faith—purchased the warranty to protect their purchase and are now stuck in an unending cycle that gets them no closer to a repaired or new dishwasher and is costing them a great deal in time and money (as they must drive two hours in from Wisconsin) for each appointment. Leslie also shared that with an A&E direct warranty there is set criteria and a four-visit limit after which the dishwasher would be replaced. As A&E would be paying for the parts and technicians with a direct warranty, I can see how they would have more incentive to act under a direct warranty plan. However, that is not the plan that my parents purchased and this third party arrangement seems only to line A&E company pockets, but do nothing to repair or replace their product.

My conversation with Leslie served to inform me that A&E has my parents in a bind and that there is nothing my parents can do about. It is highly unreasonable to ask an individual to take time off work to be available to a technician who is reordering parts at random for as many as 100 times in a 365 day year! Please revisit the way that you are currently handling your third party warranty partnerships as well as the human beings—with real, beating hearts—that are on the other end of these deals.

Please also ensure that Leslie receives training on appropriate customer care, as she seems to be the head of such. While I do not find it pleasant to speak with mechanical individuals blandly repeating a corporate script and inserting, “I’m so sorry you are having a negative experience…” five times, at least they let you finish. I did attempt to address the lack of customer service directly with Leslie by stating that while I admit I was already angry with A&E (and I am sure she could tell that from the start), I did not appreciate her taking my complaints about the company personally, cutting me off and having a general disrespect, disregard and lack of empathy for our position. Leslie’s response was that if she is being disrespected, she will be disrespectful right back and that her employment with A&E justifies her vigorously defending A&E procedures.

As everything I said during our conversation (aside from “Listen!”) was directed toward the company, not to her, and was also confirmed by her to be true (with flowery language of course), I can assure you that I did not deserve the treatment I received.

The customer may not always be right, but he or she should always be respected.


~Bethel J. Swift