Was Sears in the wrong here?

So yesterday, after having our dryer die for the third time (this time, it’s Really Dead) we ordered a new washer and dryer off sears.com after shopping around at a bunch of sites.  One of the main reasons was their Appliances site said (and at the moment, still says):

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Here’s the exclusions listed when you click on the "See details" – yes, they misspelled Efficiency, but I’m going to let that go.

1.) 20% Off High Efficency and Energy Star(R) Home Appliances, plus, 10% Off All Other Appliances thru 04/09/08. Excludes Great Price items, Electrolux, LG Brand, Kenmore PRO(TM) small kitchen appliances, floor care, sewing machines, closeouts, dehumidifiers, water heaters, air conditioners, compact refrigerators, countertop appliances, microwave hood combinations, and outlet store purchases.

So what did we buy?  This Energy Star washer from Frigidaire, expecting to get the 20% off.  Looking at the exclusions above, none applied to this washer, so it seemed to definitely qualify for the 20% as it’s quite clearly Energy Star compliant.

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So, it’s quite clearly Energy Star, but the listed price shows only 10% off.  I figured there was one of two possibilities:

  1. It’s accidentally marked 10% off and we’ll get another 10% off
  2. or even better, the 10% it’s already off is unrelated and we’d get an additional 20%

Either way, it seemed clear to be that we should get at least another $75 off the price (the additional 10%), so I went ahead and ordered it (yeah, I know, in retrospect that was a bad idea) and just sent in a customer service request after the order went through asking for the price to get adjusted.

Today the response comes as:

We appreciate your consideration of Sears for your shopping needs. Unfortunately, the Black w/ silver trim Frigidaire 3.5 cu. ft. I.E.C. King Size Capacity ENERGY STAR Washer, Sears item# 02606296000 did not qualify for the 20% discount. You may view the appliances we offered this discount for on our Sears.com homepage. To view the list please click on the "20% off" wording on Sears.com. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and hope to provide you with a more satisfactory online shopping experience in the future.

So, when I follow their instructions and hit the main page instead, sure enough it adds in the word "These" with a link provided, and following the link (and a couple extra click) leads to a list of 29 specific washers that are in the 20% category, one of which is basically the identical washer, but "Arctic White" instead of "Black with silver trim" (neither of us care about the color, so that’s fine)

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Now, the story has a happy enough ending – I call the 800 number in the email, explain the confusion, and they go ahead and cancel the order (although the web site doesn’t show that order as canceled yet) and tell me to go ahead and place to the new order, which goes through fine and it’s scheduled for delivery 3 weeks earlier than the first one (woo hoo!).

Admittedly, I didn’t push to get the 20% on the original washer since the other version (both same specs, same maker, same list price of $750, etc) was available sooner, and I’m willing to blame the appliance page’s lack of clarity on an honest mistake instead of malice.  Since everything worked out fine (assuming the original order *does* end up actually being canceled in the system), then I guess it’s no harm, no foul.

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