Problem Solver: Oven disappears — and so does refund

Customer went from store to store, but trail grew cold

When Joe Molinare bought the cooktop range and double oven from the Matteson Sears in April 2012, he had every intention of remodeling his kitchen within weeks.

Then life got in the way.

His father-in-law fell ill, requiring open heart surgery. After returning from the hospital, the father-in-law lived in Molinare's living room for eight months.

A kitchen remodel was no longer in the cards.

Originally, Molinare was to pick up the $2,868.59 range and oven on May 23, 2012.

The Tinley Park resident said he was told that if he didn't pick it up, the appliances would be returned to the store's inventory and he would be credited the purchase price.

But that didn't happen.

The Matteson Sears closed in June 2012 amid financial trouble at Lincoln Mall, where it was housed. Unclaimed merchandise from the store was sent to the Sears store in Calumet City, Molinare said he was told.

When Molinare asked the Calumet City store about his appliances, he was told the store would have to investigate where the merchandise went.

Then in June, the Calumet City Sears also closed, part of a companywide purge this year of more than 120 underperforming stores.

That left Molinare adrift. He said he inquired about his range and oven at the Orland Park Sears but was told there was no record of his purchase or the appliances.

"The merchandise was never picked up and Sears failed to credit my credit card back," Molinare said. "Sears' internal controls cannot identify where the merchandise is or if it was or wasn't picked up."

Upset, he emailed What's Your Problem? in October.

Molinare said he had been in contact with Sears' corporate customer-relations group.

"They said there's nothing they can do," he said. "Right now, I'd just like for them to return my money."

The Problem Solver contacted Sears spokesman Larry Costello and forwarded Molinare's information, including a copy of his receipt.

On Friday, Costello emailed to say the situation will be taken care of.

Because Molinare bought the appliances on his Sears branded credit card, run by Citi, Sears worked with Citi to facilitate a refund of the $2,868.59.

"We have worked with Citi, and they have credited the amount back to Mr. Molinare's account," Costello said in his email. "We sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience to the Molinares."

Molinare said a Citi representative called him to say he would receive the credit, but it had not been posted to his account as of Wednesday night.

"The credit card company said call back (Friday)," Molinare said.

The Problem Solver will provide updates as warranted.

facebook.com/chitribproblem

Twitter @wyp_tribune

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