Status of extended warranties in limbo at Sears
Published Saturday, October 14, 2017 6:43PM EDT
The status of extended warranties is in limbo at Sears Canada as the one-time retail giant moves to shutter its stores.
On Friday, an Ontario judge granted the retail chain approval to liquidate its 74 remaining outlets -- a move that concerns Phillip Smith, who bought a complete set of home appliances when he moved back home to New Brunswick last year after losing everything in the Fort McMurray wildfires.
“We bought the washer, dryer, fridge, stove, dishwasher, deep freeze and microwave,” Smith told CTV Atlantic.
Smith also purchased extended five-year warranties to cover everything at a cost of over $1,300. When he first heard that the retailer was on the brink of shutting down for good, he tried phoning the company to find out what would become of coverage he’d purchased.
“First day it was 45 minutes on the phone -- no answer,” he said. “Second day, five hours on the phone -- no answer. I decided to call the store itself and they told me that basically, it would be null and void once the store was closed. Then, the next day, I called again and it was over two hours on the phone and my phone died.”
In a written statement provided to CTV Atlantic, a company spokesperson offered little in terms of answers.
“We do not have information at this point regarding warranties (outside of what the manufacturer would provide),” Peter Block of Longview Communications, which is representing Sears Canada, said.
“We hope to be able to confirm details as soon as possible and will share whatever information we have at that time.”
Despite the response, Smith still feels in the dark.
“What do people do?” he said. “I’m not the only one involved in this.”
With the closure of Sears Canada stores now official, details of the liquidation are becoming clearer. Sales will begin on Oct. 19 and run for 10 to 14 weeks, with the last day of business being Jan. 21, 2018. All sales will be final.
In addition to customers, employees have been left in limbo, with any compensation they may receive being depending on how well the liquidation sale goes.
“In order for the employees to realize on their claims, we need to have an estate, we need to have a liquidation process that will generate funds,” Susan Ursel, a lawyer representing Sears employees, told reporters this week.
As for Smith, he doesn’t think he’ll buy an extended warranty ever again.
“You’re trusting the companies today to keep their word,” he said. “And they’re not.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore