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A Treadmill Buyer's Nightmare

Posted on September 24, 2012 by Emma There have been 3 comment(s)

Today we will be discussing taking caution when making a treadmill purchase. Many people have had a horrible experience with customer service when it comes to treadmill purchases. When I stumbled on this review, written by Michael Froomkin about his experience in ordering a treadmill from Sears, it made me shudder. It is quite possibly the worst customer service story that I have ever heard. I encourage you to click here to read the story in its entirety.

Michael decided to go with a good treadmill model. The Sole F80 has solid reviews not only here on our website, but also on other sites such as the Treadmill Review Guru. So as far as picking out a model, that wasn't Michael's problem.

The problem was found with Sears and their delivery issues. For $100 Sears offers to deliver your treadmill, (up one flight of stairs), and set it up for you. That is a very cheap delivery option compared to most places, but I'm sure that after all Michael went through, he wishes that he would have just gone with a more reliable company to come and do the install.

There is one thing worth mentioning that Michael had very good judgement on. During the first delivery attempt, the Sears employees showed up with the treadmill and decided to take it out of the box before carrying it upstairs. When they opened the box, Michael noticed that the treadmill appeared to be in horrible condition - definitely not the perfect new treadmill that he was expecting. Here is how he describes it, "The treadmill was all smashed up, as if someone had taken a giant machete to it front and center, or maybe dropped it from several feet."

At that point, before they brought it into the house, he refused to accept the faulty machine. That is exactly what needed to be done in that situation. Had he taken the treadmill, he would have had a huge nightmare trying to get Sears to take responsibility for the damage.

The bottom line is, when you don't purchase from the manufacturer, there is always going to be a middle man that you will be dealing with if anything goes wrong with your machine. That is why here at, all of our reviews link you to the treadmill for sale straight from the manufacturer. While not all treadmill manufacturers have a great reputation for customer service, I haven't ever heard anything so horrific about a treadmill delivery, so you will likely be in better shape than if you go through a 3rd party, such as Sears. In the guarantee on Sole's Website, they state that, "SOLE Fitness will credit back freight charges only and will not credit back fees that were paid to deliver the treadmill or elliptical into your home or any assembly fees that may have been paid to a third party."

Perhaps it would be a good idea to contact Sole at this point since Sears is obviously not helping Michael through this process. We are wishing Michael the best of luck with his treadmill, and hope that it makes it to his home very soon, and that Sears is able to do something to make up for all of the wasted time that this scenario has caused!

This post was posted in Buying a Treadmill

3 Responses to A Treadmill Buyer's Nightmare

  • Michael Froomkin

    Thanks for the kind words. One of the things I was thinking is that Sears has a local repair operation. I've had decent experiences with their repairs for my dishwasher and washer. If I bought straight from Sole, for example, who would I turn to if needed repair?

    While Sears is a national chain with, it turns out, awful outsourced delivery services, they do have local repair people.

    Posted on September 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

  • Treadmill Review Guru

    Hey Michael-

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience with Sears. I read your post and was in disbelief.

    To answer your question, you will want to look at the warranties that the manufacturer's provide. For example, Sole has a 2 year warranty on labor and 5 year warranty on parts. So if something happens within the first two years, you call Sole and they will get somebody out to your house to fix your treadmill for free. After those two years are up, you will have to call other mechanics, but will have to pay them for the labor (though Sole will cover the parts for 5 years).

    I'm pretty sure Sears mechanics will fix your treadmill even if you didn't buy through them. They will just have to charge you. Otherwise, you will have to find some other technician and Sole can normally refer or provide someone for you. Again, it's just a matter of paying them to do it.

    Unfortunately, while there are benefits to avoiding a third party like the author said above, you won't find excellent customer service from many treadmill manufacturer's. Sole is one of the better ones but they are still not great. If you're still on the market for a treadmill and are putting quality customer service has a high priority (which I suggest you do), look at LifeSpan; they are one of the few treadmill manufacturer's that do a really good job with customer service and they have make great treadmills. But, the Sole F80 for $1099, like you got in the first place, is probably the best deal online right now.

    Best of luck to you, Michael.

    Posted on September 26, 2012 at 8:58 am

  • Emma Green

    Michael, thanks for visiting the blog! I have to agree wholeheartedly with what the Treadmill Review Guru said. If you are still able to get your treadmill through Sears, then you will still have the same warranty on the machine (2 years labor, 5 years parts). Like the Guru said, during the first two years, you probably won't have a say in who comes to fix your treadmill, if needed. Sole will just outsource it and you won't be charged for the visit or parts for those first 2 years. The major problems would manifest themselves if Sears delivered a damaged product or damaged it during set up. Then Sole would probably find them responsible for the damage and you might have to work with Sears to get the treadmill fixed - which we can clearly see is a bad idea.

    I will keep checking your blog for updates. I noticed that you have posted a couple already and it looks as though the issue still isn't even close to being resolved. My fingers are crossed for you. I hope that at some point a nice new treadmill makes it into your home!

    Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:00 am