Sears Canada has been given the go-ahead to shutter 74 stores across the country. Roughly 12 thousand people will be out of work and the iconic Sears sign that adorned many Canadian city centres for decades will be no more. While we are left to lament the changing economic landscape and employment fallout, many more will be wondering about warranties on products purchased before the chain’s demise.
Sears has long been selling Kenmore appliances, for example, and while new products carry a manufacturer’s warranty, many consumers will have also purchased extended warranties.
In a press release the embattled company says extended warranties would no longer be honoured.
“After October 18, Sears will no longer be in a position to honour Sears Protection Agreements to customers.”
The statement adding that most of the products it sells are backed by a one-year warranty from the manufacturer anyway. Those who purchased an extended warranty within the last 30 days will be given a refund. Beyond that, extended warranties will be null and void as of Wednesday.
“The simple rule of thumb is that if a business is operating then extended warranties are ok, if not, then there is little recourse. If you wish to fight for a refund you could contact the trustee involved in the liquidation, but that can take a long time and you have to question whether it’s worth the effort,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “The other concern was about gift cards. Sears says they will honour gift cards through the liquidation sales so you’d be best to spend them now.”
BBB Offers Tips for Going Out of Business Sales:
* Shop around and compare prices. Just because a business is advertising that it is closing does not mean they are offering the lowest prices on merchandise.
* Sales are final. There won’t be a store to return merchandise to.
* Sears Club Points. These have been offered since the 80’s. If you’ve collected them, use them now.
* Use a credit card. Credit cards include built-in consumer protections if the company does not deliver on promised goods and BBB recommends making purchases with a credit card instead of checks or cash.
* Don’t count on customer service. Customer service is not a liquidator’s priority and consumers expecting the same level of customer service might be very disappointed.
* Know the status on warranties. Warranties are often maintained by a manufacturer or a third-party, which means that the warranty may still apply if the retailer goes out of business. Consumers should always confirm the status of the warranty before buying.
* Use those gift cards ASAP. Businesses that have entered into the liquidation process will not be around for very long and BBB advises consumers who are holding gift cards spend them as soon as possible or risk getting stuck with a worthless piece of plastic.