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SOS: One oven hood returned, one oven installation fee refunded

September 25, 2018

Sharon Rowland wanted to return the oven range hood she purchased in July at Madison’s West Towne Mall.

Shirley Mathison wanted the double oven she purchased in July from Madison’s Brothers Main — but not the $250 bill to install it.

With an assist from SOS and quick action on the part of two retailers, both women are getting what they want.

Rowland, 81, of Mazomanie, sent SOS a letter Sept. 4 to say she’d purchased the hood for $158.25 from the mall’s soon-to-be-shuttered Sears.

Then early in August her husband died and, she understatedly writes, “I was busy with all that goes with a death.”

When she could again focus on the hood a few weeks later, she realized Sears had ordered her the wrong kind — ductless, as opposed to one that could be connected to an outside vent.

A West Towne Sears assistant manager told her she couldn’t return the product there and to take it to the East Towne Sears, Rowland said, but an employee at the East Towne Sears told her the store hadn’t been taking West Towne returns “for several weeks.”

This pawning her off to another, inconveniently located Sears that also could not help her was what most upset Rowland.

“I would (have) been happy if Sears would have exchanged the range hood but now I have purchased one elsewhere — and at a cheaper price!” she wrote.

Sears’ tune changed after SOS contacted a trio of company officials on Sept. 10. The next day, Sears spokeswoman Jesse Liskza wrote to say the retailer had agreed to take the hood back and refund Rowland’s money.

Rowland said she took the range to the West Side location, where a “very courteous” man named “Joe” gave her a chair to wait on for the 5 to 10 minutes it took him to credit the amount of the hood to her credit card and retrieve the item from her car.

“I certainly was sitting there with my mouth open after all the struggle I had,” she said.

Liszka noted that a copy of Rowland’s receipt says “ALL SALES FINAL.” It also says that the product purchased “may be subject to a cancellation/restocking fee if returned” — suggesting that the hood was, in fact, returnable.

Mathison, 75, of the town of Middleton, said she thought her $2,942.40 oven came with free installation. After all, that was the deal after she purchased a washer from Brothers Main a year ago.

Instead, one of the independent contractors the store works with put the oven in and handed her a $250 bill, which Mathison felt she had no choice but to pay given that the installer had spent two hours on some well-done installing.

Mathison said her Brothers Main salesman never told her of the installation fee. After SOS contacted store officials on Sept. 10, co-owner Dennis Egbert wrote back the next day to say that “upon further review we find that our policies in regard to informing the customer were not rigorously followed and in the interest of customer satisfaction are going to cover the cost of the installation by refunding Ms. Mathison’s $250.”

Egbert provided a store policy stating that the Brothers Main does not install “built-in” appliances, such as the double oven, but will provide referrals for installation, the cost of which it does not cover. The salesman made a mistake when he neglected to provide Mathison with the policy, Egbert said, and the incident will be used as “a teaching exercise for all sales staff.”

After speaking with Egbert Tuesday morning, Mathison declared him “very nice” and herself “very pleased.”

“It’s restored my whole faith in purchasing,” she said.

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