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***** The Official "Issues With SYWR (Shop Your Way Rewards) Offers" Thread *****

dzignr_tastz 94 May 2, 2013 at 09:52 AM in Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) (5)
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Please Post Here With SYWR Offer Issues!!!

Well I'm quite disappointed it has come to this, but in my few weeks of attempting to utilize the SYWR promotional email offers that I'm constantly bombarded with for Sears and Kmart, I have found several issues and/or discrepancies with the wording and terms of the offers themselves as opposed to how they are calculated for customers when they are applied to orders (assuming they work at all, mind you).

Given the seemingly widespread nature of this situation, the intent of this thread is for SlickDeals users to relate and compile their personal issues with these offers to not only see just how serious of an issue it actually is, but also to compare responses that customers are provided in such situations and, hopefully (or ultimately), get Sears Holdings Corporation to correct and/or revise their practices to avoid any future inconvenience to their customers... for while the offers are theirs to choose and distribute as they please, it's OUR job to make sure they honor whatever they choose to send out.

I'll start with a link to the thread that really started this endeavor, but more can be added by participants to the Wiki as applicable, or posts moved by the mods as they see fit.

Points Match BACK Offer

As the link states, that advertised offer was for a "Points Match Back", stating "Redeem your points and we'll match back the points you've redeemed (up to $100)", but when the offer was applied to orders, they did not remove the full amount of points you applied to the offer and then credit them "Back" (as the offer states), but instead just deducted half the points you applied to the order from your account and attempted to make it sound like they straight "matched" half the points you applied to that order (or even tried to convince you you only applied half of what you did), which was not congruent with the terms of the offer. These type of "discrepancies" are what we are trying to keep from happening in the future...
How Many SYWR Offers Have Not Worked Correctly For You?
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43 Comments

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Joined Apr 2006
L4: Apprentice
46 Reputation
#2
Thanks for taking this on dzignr_tastz, thumbs up.

SYWR offers can be amazingly generous, which is why so many SDers deal with them despite their erratic behavior. (Humorously, Sears is bragging about this massive generosity even now in their most ads, e.g. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jsv3PKZQHvo , which pops up each time I watch The Colbert Report lately.)

The major problem is chronic glitches and inconsistencies. They simply cannot seem to:

-Educate their CSRs RE what exactly their promotions are offering;
-Keep the plain language of their offers consistent with what the offers actually do (e.g. OP's example);
-Honor promotions they've offered when they become surprised at how heavily they are utilized.

If I were corporate counsel for Sears, I would be very nervous about how they handled several matters recently. For example, perhaps the most infamous I'm familiar with with the LG TV offering with the 250K SYWR points. Customers were told explicitly that this great deal was *not* "one per customer", and so many ordered more than one (I know one guy who ordered three just for his own home). I'm not even talking resale here..just for personal use. But in many cases--including months after the fact, in some cases--Sears Holding went back into customer's SYWR accounts and retracted the points they had duly awarded pursuant to the terms of their own offer.

Any law student can tell you that's a cut and dried case of fraudulent inducement.

Do I think that Sears deliberately set out to screw its customers in cases like this? No. They just didn't anticipate how this generous promotion would be received, and once they looked how much the deal cost them, someone decided to stop the bleeding by reneging on their side of the bargain. I suspect that they rationalized their behavior by inferring that many of the most aggressive customers were ordering for resale, which is against their T&Cs. And no doubt that's true. But of course, that doesn't excuse wholesale, stealthy, unilateral rewriting of contracts after the deal is done.

I hope someone at Sears does the right (and legal) thing and force revisions in these business practices.
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Joined Oct 2008
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Original Poster
#3
I agree with every word you said, Dave, but would like to add one more bullet point:

• Find competent programmers to make the website perform the functions described in their offers

Point in case... the offer I received via email just today.

-----

Get an instant $6 in Points. Here's How!

• Make a Kmart purchase of $80 or more.
• Redeem any amount of your current Points.
• Unlock an extra $6 in Points (6,000 Points) on that purchase!

Ta-da! $6 savings in Points!

Hurry! These Points are valid from 5/2/2013 to 5/8/2013. Points will apply automatically towards your redemption, in store or online at Kmart.


-----

Sound easy, right? Wrong! I received an email just the other week which I attempted to utilize which was very similar to this one, except for the fact it was for $5 in points, there was no minimum purchase requirement, and it was for a Home Fashions item. As such, I clicked on the link provided in the email, went to the website, found a handy little kitchen utensil for $5.39 under one of the categories listed for "Home Fashions", went to check out, and clicked the button to "Redeem My Rewards Points".

Now mind you (and most are probably already familiar with this), when you click that button, it automatically applies either the maximum amount of rewards points you currently have in your account towards the purchase if the total is more than the amount of points you have, or applies the same amount as the purchase price if the total is less than the amount of points you have. For example, if you have $50 in points and make a $100 purchase, it automatically applies the entire $50 towards it. If you make a $10 purchase, it applies $10 worth of points towards it, leaving $40 in your account.

However, you can, after the fact, manually change the amount of points being applied in either instance by clicking the "Change Amount" link provided, and since the offer terms stated I could redeem "any amount of current points" to "unlock an extra $5 on that purchase", I changed the amount to 10 points, or $0.01 (which certainly qualifies as "any amount") and expected the $5 in points to be "unlocked" and applied to "that purchase", as stated. To the contrary, the points were never applied, and it attempted to charge the balance of $5.38, plus tax, to my credit card.

Now this single purchase is small change in the BIG scheme of things, but the fact of the matter is the offer didn't work as "expected" (which is notated on my SYWR account activity several times). But did I "misunderstand" something? Is the wording of the offer quoted above actually that difficult for the average person (let alone myself) to comprehend? Did I do something wrong? Apparently the answer to all of these questions is a resounding "NO", as when calling to get the points for the offer credited after I took the $5 in points that was supposed to be automatically applied out of my account balance in lieu of them, I was provided several different "versions" of what was supposedly the cause of the situation (although how the offer was "intended" to work was exactly how I expected it to).

Anyway - I voiced my concerns, alerted them to the issue, and they ultimately awarded the points to my account balance. However, a day or two later I received another similar offer ($5 off a $10 Kmart Lawn & Garden purchase) which I again tried to utilize, again could not get to apply, and again called (this time in advance of the order) to complain about. The CS rep I spoke with this time spoke with someone else, now informed me the remaining purchase balance after the $5 in free points was applied had to be more than the $10 minimum purchase price (which was different from how it was explained while getting the purchase I actually made corrected), and despite the fact the terms of the offer stated "Purchase requirement calculated before taxes and after other discounts (not this free point discount) have been applied", I decided to humor her, end the call, and placed a $60 item in my cart just to be sure to cover the minimum $10 requirement. Still no go...

So I called back, at which point, after explaining it ALL again, this CS rep explained that they just so happened to have (conveniently) received a departmental memo that the site was not even capable of performing the calculations necessary to complete an offer such as the one advertised, and as a result, they would no longer be offering them online, but only in-store. I then asked when this offer was sent out and was informed just earlier that afternoon, but when I inquired as to why the first CS rep hadn't mentioned it, she stated it was only an hour and a half prior to our conversation. Little did she know I had only spoken to the previous CS rep 15 minutes prior...

At this point I'm sincerely wondering if in these situations they don't just leave notes on the account so the next rep you speak with knows what excuse you received from the previous rep... for I truly feel they are little more than "excuses". I mean, obviously the site isn't working properly or else the offer would be redeemed correctly and as (rather plainly) advertised, but if their current programming team can't make the site operate as they need it to, they certainly (IMO) need to find a new one. My REAL gripe, however, is even if their explanation was honest and sincere, and the site actually isn't capable of calculating such offers, why in the HELL did I just receive yet another one (listed above) just today, based on the very same fundamental principles that I was blatantly told two weeks ago weren't available on the site? Really? Who is running this show? Given, this time there is an $80 purchase requirement, but I just tested it and it still doesn't work, is still advertised as available for use "online", and worse yet, when I try to checkout the $120 "test" order I just put together for a random vinyl pool with "any amount" of points, if I attempt to apply "any" less than $6.01 worth of points, I get an error message stating "Oops. Your purchase is unfortunately ineligible for a Rewards redemption. Please use another form of payment". $6... not eligible; $6.01... it is; and when I click the "Why?" link, the explanation I get is...

-----

Why cannot I use my funds?

Rewards Redemption excludes the following:
Prescriptions
Tobacco
Alcohol
Firearms/Ammunition
Gift Cards
Installation charges
Shipping charges
Delivery charges
All taxes and fees
Extended warranties
Protection agreements
Items not sold by Sears or Kmart

-----

Problem being? D) None of the above (and obviously some sort of value-based issue)...


In summary, on the offer I received just today, I...

1) Can't apply "any amount" of points
2) Can't "unlock" the $6 in points, no matter how many points I apply or how much I spend
3) Was sent the offer despite the fact I was informed the other day offers like these don't work with the website and won't be sent out anymore for online use
4) Would more than likely get hassled (or worse, cheated) if I buy the item anyway and attempt to call to resolve after the fact

This just can't be allowed to continue, and it truly doesn't seem they're going to do anything to fix it until someone forces their hand...
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Joined Aug 2012
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#4
I on occasion have to call sywr folks to have points added to my account. The only reason I can think of is because When I meet the $ requirements on the final checkout page, their system doesn't see that number. You never see the price I have to pay online unless you click on the special pricing for hawaii & alaska link. So say I need to spend at least $10 to use a certain code... I add an item that at hawaii price is $10.01 but on the product page and for most of the check out pages the item will be listed at say $7. I never get any error messages... I dunno

Gimme your $6 code lemme try it out for ya Wink
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Joined Oct 2008
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Original Poster
#5
Quote from The_Ransom View Post :
Gimme your $6 code lemme try it out for ya Wink
Unfortunately, there's no "code" with it, or else I'd definitely throw it your way (as I sure don't consider $6 off an $80 order much of a deal). Wink

Guess it's tied to the account since in-store redemption just requires phone number and/or email addy and account PIN.
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Joined Aug 2012
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#6
Uuugh I hate in store use only... Solely because despite the fact that online prices for Hawaii are more than I'd like then to be they're still far lower than in the store... Like what?? Plus so many codes to stack and always cb programs Smilie
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#7
got an email about my 7000 visa promo points but when checking out to buy stuff, nothing there. even looking at the account on the shopyourway.com site, nothing there either.

plus some items do not qualify to use them points and it is not listed under the ban listing...

plus when I get my order cancelled email due to stuff not being on stock, the free points did not get loaded in my account again to try.......just to have the promo points expiring

all failed for me but I'm not complaining though. I do not deserve any points but hey, don't tease me with email offers and can not deliver. It is the principle that counts.
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Joined Feb 2011
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#8
On several of my Sears orders, when the orders consist of multiple items the SYWR offer was applied to a single (not necessarily higher priced) item despite the offer clearly specifying that it is per transaction (not per item).
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Joined May 2012
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#9
My wife also had the $5 off $10 lawn and garden promo. We went to the store, bought a $12 item, used $.30 in points and....nothing. Thankfully the manager made it right, but that promo may not have been working in store either.

HOWEVER, I recently noticed that many of the promos seem to have an "apply coupon" link on them. I don't think that one did, but I am going to pay more attention to this in the future.
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#10
Quote from StoreRobber View Post :
got an email about my 7000 visa promo points but when checking out to buy stuff, nothing there. even looking at the account on the shopyourway.com site, nothing there either.
On those 7000 Visa points... mine had "only valid" dates on them starting 5/3, and while they showed up in my Activity, they didn't actually show up in my account balance (or become "active", I guess) until today.

I've also noticed your points balance doesn't actually update sometimes unless you log out of your SYWR account and then log back in. Refreshing just doesn't work. Just a tip for whoever...

Quote from w777w View Post :
On several of my Sears orders, when the orders consist of multiple items the SYWR offer was applied to a single (not necessarily higher priced) item despite the offer clearly specifying that it is per transaction (not per item).
I've noticed this as well, but it always seemed to apply to the one highest price item in my cart, and if I change the items, the item it is applied to changes as well (assuming the highest price item changes).

Shady... and an excellent example!

Quote from DocDeals View Post :
My wife also had the $5 off $10 lawn and garden promo. We went to the store, bought a $12 item, used $.30 in points and....nothing. Thankfully the manager made it right, but that promo may not have been working in store either.

HOWEVER, I recently noticed that many of the promos seem to have an "apply coupon" link on them. I don't think that one did, but I am going to pay more attention to this in the future.
Good to know it doesn't work at ALL, online OR in-store. LMAO

And on the "apply coupon" thing, are you talking about the email (usually Xtreme) promos? If so, I'm not sure I've seen one (yet).
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Joined May 2012
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#11
Quote from dzignr_tastz View Post :
And on the "apply coupon" thing, are you talking about the email (usually Xtreme) promos? If so, I'm not sure I've seen one (yet).
Well, that's the thing. There is nothing inherently obvious about this step, and I found it quite by accident:

shopyourway.com->(login if necessary)->My Coupons (in the Featured Apps box on the right)->Load Coupon (ad nauseam).

This loads all of your coupons so when you are browsing Sears or KMart you can pull the coupon straight from the account. I'm thinking this also works in store by linking the coupon to the account number (like, say, Kroger digital coupons). But I don't know any of this for sure as I have not yet actually used any of these.

With that said, I think my wife's $5 off $10 L&G was not actually a coupon, but rather a promo external to the coupons. I thought it popped up in a different also-non-obvious place on the website (User Name->Edit Settings->REWARDS). I had a $125 off $1000 L&G (or was it tools) promo show up in there too. That would have been more annoying had it not worked.

As a side note, that SYW website can be a treasure trove of stuff, but most of it is not obvious. Also, unsurprisingly, even things that one is supposed to be able to do there, one cannot (I forget what specifically it was that I noticed this with).
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#12
Sears may have its problems, but they do make right on it (at least for me). I have done many deals with sears and the online and in-store managers have done a good job. Its the sears corporate that needs to get things fixed.

I feel bad that the CSR and store managers have to clean up after corporate can't do something right.

Also, fix their website needs to be fixed. Its very bloated and has numerous problems, as well as missing core user functions and search filters.
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Joined Oct 2008
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#13
Quote from DocDeals View Post :
Well, that's the thing. There is nothing inherently obvious about this step, and I found it quite by accident:

shopyourway.com->(login if necessary)->My Coupons (in the Featured Apps box on the right)->Load Coupon (ad nauseam).

This loads all of your coupons so when you are browsing Sears or KMart you can pull the coupon straight from the account. I'm thinking this also works in store by linking the coupon to the account number (like, say, Kroger digital coupons). But I don't know any of this for sure as I have not yet actually used any of these.

With that said, I think my wife's $5 off $10 L&G was not actually a coupon, but rather a promo external to the coupons. I thought it popped up in a different also-non-obvious place on the website (User Name->Edit Settings->REWARDS). I had a $125 off $1000 L&G (or was it tools) promo show up in there too. That would have been more annoying had it not worked.

As a side note, that SYW website can be a treasure trove of stuff, but most of it is not obvious. Also, unsurprisingly, even things that one is supposed to be able to do there, one cannot (I forget what specifically it was that I noticed this with).
Gotcha... and I was wondering if that was what you were referring to (the "Load to My Account" button in the My Coupons app). That was where the one $5 off $25 tools coupon that didn't work for me (regardless of how I tried to use it) was from. They also each have a promo code you can copy and manually apply to the cart if you click the "See Details" link on the coupon, though.

And yeah... while they emailed me the $5 off $10 Lawn & Garden offer, it also showed in my account as a "feature" type offer in the top left of my "All" deals tab (also the home page) in my SYWR account.
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Joined Apr 2006
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#14
Great points all, thanks for adding to this discussion.

Quote from dzignr_tastz View Post :
I agree with every word you said, Dave, but would like to add one more bullet point:

• Find competent programmers to make the website perform the functions described in their offers
Excellent point DT.

Note to Sears Holding: *Before* you make an offer live, have a focus group try reading offer terms and then redeem the offer. When it doesn't work as "expected", or glitches, try to fix the problem, then test it again.

If you current team can't rapidly fix these problems, then find folks who can. The time you save in dealing with support calls will more than offset any marginal increase in your IT expenses, and you'll enjoy a noticeable increase in customer satisfaction and goodwill.
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Joined May 2011
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#15
i have TONS of problems with sears, and sywr

20+
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