What happens to Sears warranties, reward points, and more

What the Sears Canada closure means for you

What shoppers need to know about warranties, points and more

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Sears Canada’s liquidation was approved earlier this month, meaning the Canadian retailer will be closing its doors for good after 65 years of operation. As the liquidation period approaches (starting Oct. 19, 2017 and running until Jan. 21, 2018), there are many things shoppers need to know about rewards, warranties and more before the store’s closing sales start.

1. Warranties

Sears Canada announced today that it won’t be able to honour Sears Protection Agreements (SPAs), also known as warranties, on its products after October 18. Refunds on protection agreements will be allowed to customers that have purchased them within the past 30 days per normal procedures. Sales at Sears’s remaining 131 stores are scheduled to start Oct. 19. “In the event of a bankruptcy, all warranties could be void,” says Emma Borski, spokesperson for the central Ontario Better Business Bureau. Your best course of action? To contact Sears immediately if you’re worried about whether you will be covered by your Sears warranty. “If there’s a lot of concern, the issue can move up the bankruptcy trustee’s list,” says Borski. While the Sears extended warranties are unlikely to be honoured, most shoppers will at least be able to count on a one-year manufacturer’s warranty on their purchase depending on the item.

2. Points and rewards

Like warranties, rewards points generally are good as long as the company is operating. And while Sears has said they will be honouring Sears Club Rewards points and gift cards throughout the liquidation period, our advice is to use your points during the next few weeks so you won’t be disappointed. They’ll be worthless after that. Also, remember you won’t get any more reward points on the purchases you make during any part of the liquidation period (and in fact haven’t been earning any since June 22, 2017).

3. Be careful shopping liquidation sales

“Most items might be final sale and warranties can get trickier on those items,” says Borski. Sears is clear on this policy. During the liquidation period, all sales will be final and not returnable or exchangeable.

 4. Keep making your loan payments

Don’t think you’re off the hook for that washing machine you’ve been paying for in instalments. Joel Shaffer, spokesperson for Sears, says that items bought from Sears on payments plans that have loans attached to them stay the same for the entire period of the loan. “There is no change on those,” says Shaffer. So keep making your monthly payments as usual.

5. Online shopping ends

The Sears online store, too, is going to close down and you won’t be able to purchase anything during liquidation. “But if you’ve bought something online already and haven’t received it yet, Sears plans to honuor those sales,” says Shaffer. Delivery at all stores will be available until November 30.

Also of note, if you paid for goods/services by credit, try contacting your credit card provider to check the options available to you as some credit cards offer extended warranties automatically for items purchased using the card. And finally, according to Harry Malhi, media advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, “consumers may wish to contact a lawyer or paralegal to discuss their options when a company closes.” The Law Society Referral Service can be contacted at 1-800-268-8326 for the name of a lawyer or paralegal who may provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes.

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