ConsumerWatch: Big Box Stores May Not Cover Shipping Damage — Even When They Deliver

ConsumerWatch: Big Box Stores May Not Cover Shipping Damage — Even When They Deliver

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Sal Meola still gets worked up just thinking about the day his new stainless steel refrigerator was delivered to his home. The retired South Bay businessman feared the worst as he watched two young delivery guys attempt to drag the 25-cubic-foot fridge up his front steps.

“They almost dropped it. It went backwards and they saved it from actually falling once,” said Meola. “They took a piece of wood out of every stair they came up and every time they tried to lift it another stair they took out more wood. I thought they could even possibly hurt themselves.”

The delivery guys escaped injury but Meola’s newly-installed redwood staircase took a beating. Each stair — even the side rails — ended up having a chunk of wood scratched out. Repairs to the steps and rails would end up costing around $1000, and in the process of filing a claim, Meola was dismayed to find that the delivery had been executed by a third party contractor called Borders Transfer.

The catch: Meola bought the fridge from Sears and, like many consumers, figured Sears would immediately step up and offer to pay for the damages. Meola says he was shocked when the big box retailer told him to contact Borders Transfer himself and make a claim.

Borders Transfer did send out an adjuster to look at the stairs but when months went by and Meola still hadn’t received reimbursement, he contacted Sears again. The retailer redirected him to Borders Transfer. More time passed, all the while Meola still had not received reimbursement.

Fed up, Meola contacted various consumer agencies for help. Among those agencies he called was KPIX ConsumerWatch. We called Borders Transfer and within days Meola had a check for $1000.

“I would advise anybody who has a problem,” said Meola. “Call ConsumerWatch and see how they can help you out because they definitely helped me out in this matter.”

And, as for those young delivery guys, Meola says he does not blame them for their lack of training or proper equipment. Meola says he holds Sears responsible for not properly vetting its delivery services.

Sears did not provide an official statement for this story but a spokesperson told KPIX 5’s ConsumerWatch by e-mail that “a damage claim needs to be filed” and that “The carrier will reach out to the member.” But Sears also stated it will “escalate a claim and the contract manager will get involved” if the third-party vender does not respond in a timely manner.

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