DUDS Oven Repair

Welcome to another installment of DUDS – Dumb Unilateral Decisions by big companies.

We cleaned the oven. Well, OK, my wife pushed the ON button on the auto-clean function. This turns the oven up to super-high of about 4,000 degrees where all the burners are glowing, the heat incinerates the contents stuck to the walls, spews acrid smoke, heats the whole house, but is labour free!

Apparently, the high heat can cause some problems. After the cleaning, the oven wouldn’t work. So, we called Sears, where we bought the oven. And the conversations go like this:

My wife, the Beautiful and Smart Kerry (BASK) calls Sears: Our oven doesn’t work. When can you send someone to fix it?

Sears: The soonest we can send someone is Monday, but the technician will need to call you to confirm.


Then, the technician calls, and confirms an appointment for Monday. Monday comes, the technician calls in sick, and the appointment is rescheduled to Wednesday.

Me: Let’s call someone else. So we call a local repair company (Hurst Appliance Repair, recommended by Coast, where we bought our new cooktop) and they arrange for Wednesday, promising to call us in the morning to confirm.

My wife calls Sears to cancel.

Sears: I’m sorry, you can’t cancel the appointment as we’ve already ordered parts.

BASK: How could you order parts? Your technician hasn’t looked at anything and doesn’t know what’s wrong. Please cancel our appointment.

Sears: You can’t cancel. We’re sending the technician.

BASK: Send him if you want. We’re not letting him in and we’re not paying.

Sears: Oh. Well, then, I’ll have the technician call you.

BASK: No, we’re done here, and we’re cancelling the appointment.

Sears: OK. Thank you for calling Sears!

The local guys, Hurst, call at 7:59 on Wednesday morning and confirm for 9:30 later that morning. They show up on time, do a great job, and the oven works.

The new technician advises to NOT clean your oven right before an important event (Christmas dinner) as the heat can cause problems. I advise that cleaning your oven should be done in the summer when you can open all the windows and sit outside enjoying a cold drink while the hot oven incinerates itself.

Business lessons:

  • Don’t do something disruptive, like loading new software or changing processes, right before an important deadline. (I swear that my printer can tell when a report is due)
  • If one of your people can’t meet a deadline, provide someone else, or provide some value for free to preserve the relationship.
  • Don’t tell your customers what they can and can’t do. They’re the boss. And, they have choices.
  • Beware when the marketing is more effective than the service.

Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved. Phil Symchych

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.