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Customers Sour On Customer Service By Sears

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Sears bankruptcy is making a lot of customers nervous.

They're worried warranties and gift cards are worthless and pending refunds won't be paid.

CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker gets to the bottom line of the bankruptcy and the impact on the customers.

A Sears bankruptcy means the company is reorganizing. According to industry experts for consumers, at least for the near future, nothing should change. However, some consumers are still complaining.

Katrina Alexander wants her money back for a Sears refrigerator she bought in June.

"I just want my refund back," said Alexander. "$619 was taken out of my checking account."

But three days after the purchase, because of a delivery issue, Sears cancelled the order and agreed to refund Alexander's money.

"They said you'll receive your money in 14 days," said Alexander.

That was three months ago.

Alexander is just one of the more than 25,000 complaints against Sears from the Better Business Bureau. A ConsumerAffairs website has more than 600 complaints and Yelp gives the company one star.

"I'm not surprised to see an increase in complaints," said Loyola professor Seth Green. He added that when companies get into financial trouble, the customer service staff can be among the first cuts.

However Green said when Sears filed for bankruptcy it promised consumers would not be affected.

"If you have a Sears gift card, under the bankruptcy plan that they've already put in, you're going to have that card honored. If you have a warranty, that warranty will be honored," Green said.

So what about Alexander's complaint?

"That story strikes me as unacceptable," Green said.

Alexander said she called Sears numerous times asking for a refund. On Wednesday, CBS 2 went with her as she tried again. She was told to come back Saturday to talk to another manager.

"I am beyond frustrated. If they're doing this to other customers, their demise seems imminent," Alexander said.

CBS 2 called and emailed Sears representatives to ask about Alexander's complaint. CBS 2 never received a response. But CBS 2 received a call from Alexander who said she got a call from Sears and they said come pick up your check for $619.

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