For Presidents Day, Sears advertised a big appliance sale, and really was one of their best sales of the year. They were promoting 35% off Kenmore appliances, which is their most generous across-the-board discount on this brand.
Poking around the Sears website, MrConsumer was curious to see if Sears was really giving this generous of a discount on all Kenmore major appliances. Checking some refrigerators, some times they were $20 or $25 or so less than a full 35%, and sometimes they over-discounted by that much.
Moving onto slide-in gas stoves, similar to what MrConsumer owns, he found this.
The actual discounts for these ranges were not even close to the claimed 35% off. Thinking that possibly the extra discount would be added when the item was placed in one’s cart, MrConsumer added that $1259.99 range on the left.
Shockingly, the price became $100 higher –$1359.99 — making its discount the same as the other three shown — only 15% off.
Nothing in the original advertisement indicated the discount on Kenmore appliances was “up to” 35% off as they disclosed for other brands. And there was no asterisk indicating that some Kenmore appliances were excluded from the sale. Given the nature of this advertisement, it is perfectly reasonable for a consumer to believe that any and all Kenmore major appliances were being offered at 35% off.
After running the “35% off Kenmore” appliances claim for several days, Sears finally heard the whispers of Honest Abe Lincoln and George “I cannot tell a lie” Washington, and changed their advertising to “up to 35% off”:
And they even fixed the price on that slide-in range back to the promised $1259.99.
UPDATE: On Presidents Day itself, one day after correcting their advertisement, Sears sent an email to customers once again promising a full 35% off Kenmore appliances:
So much for Honest Abe.
The bottom line is, unfortunately, that you have to double check every price and every savings claim to ensure that you are really getting what was advertised.