Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Selling or Soiling your Brand – Sears Marketplace

leave a comment »


Trying to emulate (copy) Amazon and Yahoo, Sears has created a shell for other retailers to sell under the name. It enables other vendors to use (or sadly) exploit the (once) trusted name of Sears to sell their product.

Case study:

  1. Bought Microsoft VISIO 2010 Pro at a Market Prices from Sears Marketplace. Not discounted, not off ebay, et cetera, so all seem legit.
  2. Installed, but would not activate.  So after several phone calls and a day plus with Microsoft (Case Number 111062467009014 ), it is communicated that the “activation number” has been improperly used from a MSDN kit.  Microsoft’s only path of support – get the vendor to replace the kit or refund.
    Note, desite the intial faux-pas with Microsoft in not knowing how to handle-route this problem, once we got to Aaron in Minnesota and his boss Sanjeev, the support, follow-through and monitoring was A+.
  3. Call Sears Marketplace Customer Service to address and their reply can be summarize as “We are a front for another company, you need to contact the actual company and work out the problem, here is their email and phone number.”  (Sears Tracking > Order 240288667 – Pirated Software (KMM17788298I15977L0KM)) (See final important note on discussion on fraudulant-pirated software).
  4. So was the email (gmail) or phone number valid?  No, on both acounts. So Sears is directing you into a void.  (Later, mail did out of the gmail account).
  5. So after some pressure, we get a request to ship the software back, which they get back, and after a few weeks of email, remainders, requests, there is no resolution.
  6. After several weeks we push harder – noting we will take further action. Next response from Sears, is the statement again, “We are a front for another company, you need to contact the actual company and work out the problem, here is their phone number.”
    I also think there was also an email to effect, “please lets us do what we do best, Customer Service”.  (Irony not losted).
  7. And yes, it is the same phone number as before, and it still does not work.  Why bother, have they not read the file, they just blindly continue on the same path.  Also since it is already been identified as non-operational weeks ago, why are they still using it. Were is the follow-through and corrective action.
  8. In this final frenzy of pushing, going to the manufacturer, Sears, copying Microsoft, talking to the Credit Card company to refute the delivery of purchase, the replacement software arrives and it works.

In the summary response, it is note Sears should reflect on the problem (not the sympton of us getting bad software), but the problem ….

They are using their brand to sell bad product.  Which raises the question, how do they qualify and manage the companies they give their brand to.

They provide a non-functional problem resolution system, using email and phone numbers that do not work. Again, what is their process to ensure this mechanism works.

There is no follow-through, no system to identify corrective action has been taken – whether it is correcting the bad software shipment or their commuication system back to the vendor is faulty.  (Though the case was close with Microsoft, Aaron and Sanjeev keep checking back every week to see if Sears had corrected the issue).

So the resulting bad taste (lesson) is you cannot trust Sears Marketplace.

So after many decades of building a brand of good faith, passed down by generations (thinking of my mother, who retired more than a decade ago) to her children is being undermined, by the desire to emulate Yahoo, Amazon for money, by selling their brand, but not keeping to what was their core identify by providing the mechanism a safe environment to do business in.

Looking at this as a Business Case Study, is the process of Sears Marketplace an illustration of Selling Your Brand or Soiling Your Brand.



Important Note:  I have no reason doubt that the License from Microsoft was mis-appropriate. I do not believe Sears every intended to sell Pirated Software, and I have no idea about their partner.  Their partner early in the claimed stated … “We had to get authorization from microsoft to issue a replacement for the defualted products”.

Piracy also implies intent.  In the end, all that can be assured …. it was “bad” and Microsoft would not authenicate it noting the license number provided is for MSDNs and not for commercial sale.

This blog is not about the distribution of bad software, but when bad things happen, how does an organization respond.

Mistakes, problems, faults always has happen and will happen in the future. The stature and a quality of a company shines or diminshes in how it addresses a problem.

2012-01-02 Update: Sears has been annoucing they are beginning to downsize and close some stores. I am sure they can blame the economy and Wally-World, but truth in the matter, I think they let themselves become forgotten. A me-too product that was no better (worst) than who they tried to imitate. Sad.


Written by raspberryfisher

2011/07/30 at 17:26

Posted in Helpdesks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: