Sears parts and service call center appears to be taking a page from Radio Shack when it comes to asking for unnecessary information – they have also supported my belief that the best designed process in the world cannot overcome a lack of common sense.
I needed the model number of a replacement HEPA filter for my parents’ Kenmore vacuum cleaner. The Sears website and a variety of creative Google searches did not help in locating this information, so I decided to call Sears in lieu of visiting a store.
After hearing their opening IVR message to expect an excessive waiting period, I was pleasantly surprised to reach a human being within only three button pushes. I was soon to discover that the IVR might have been more helpful and less irritating.
I informed the parts and service agent that I was only calling to get a part number (and not to order a replacement part) and that I had the model number for my vacuum cleaner – she asked for my name, address and postal code.
I repeated the fact that I was purely interested in a part number and was not placing an order and was again asked for this same information. I asked her why she needed it and she indicated that it was to pull up my data to help in locating the model number.
At this point I reminded her that I did have the model number and she asked me a third time for my name and address. I told her point blank that I did not see any valid reason to provide her with my personal information when my only query was a part number. She finally gave up in defeat and accepted my model number.
To add insult to injury, by accident or by design, even though she did search for the part number, she could not locate a Kenmore vacuum cleaner with that model number (even though I gave her the number from the user manual). Recognizing that there was nothing further that she could do to vex me she indicated that my vacuum cleaner model number was invalid and offered to transfer me to customer service.
Rapidly reaching the conclusion that my quest to get this information was doomed to failure, I informed her that this transfer would not be desirable, hung up the phone and will now be going in person to a Sears store.