Last week, ConsumerWorld.org released a report that criticized Sears for padding online large appliance purchases by automatically tacking on 5-year warranty policies that cost an additional $100 to $550. A shopper need only remove the warranty from his cart, but the publication was concerned that consumers might miss the unnecessary charge. With the practice now exposed, Sears decided to change its policy.
According to the report, the Sears website was automatically tacking on 5-year service contracts whenever a major appliance was added to a shopper's cart. Edgar Dworsky, ConsumerWorld.org founder, used the example of a $1,299 GE refrigerator that jumped to $1,774 in-cart, with the addition of an unrequested $469.99 extended warranty and a $4.98 water hose.
Sears began tacking on 1-year warranties to appliance purchases since 2010, pursuing a default opt-in policy. Recently, the store began adding the most expensive Sears service plan. Dworsky said he believed that consumers "shouldn't have to go through their cart and eliminate things that retailers slipped in there," and urged Sears to change its policy.
Which is exactly what the store did. While Sears' PR Director, Larry Costello explained to MSNBC that Sears had received "very little negative customer feedback" about the in-cart warranties, he said that Sears has revised its default option regarding service plans; a shopper will now need to manually select a warranty.
Do you think a default opt-in policy for service plans and warranties is an acceptable practice? Or is it misleading? Has this kind of up-sell stopped you from buying from a specific merchant before? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.