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Home Depot / customer service an oxymoron

1 United States Review updated:

My experience with Home Depot has helped me see that you really don't care about your customers. Therefore, in hopes that someone at Home Depot's corporate offices will read this I am writing this summary of my recent experience.

1. On May 5, 2007 I purchased a riding lawn mower at Home Depot in Sandusky, Ohio. When I purchased the mower I also rented a truck from Home Depot to transport the mower back to my home (about 15 miles from the store). Your employees loaded the mower on the rental truck, and thanked me. I had, however, not even paid for the lawn mower. Realizing this, I went back into the store, told the woman at the customer service desk that your employees loaded the lawn mower on the truck and I had not paid for it. I told her that I could have driven away with the mower, but I didn't. I told her I wanted to pay for the mower. I waited for 15 to 20 minutes until she located the employee how handled the transaction (the man who loaded the lawn mower on the truck). I paid the for the mower (a little over $1000.00).

2. My next door neighbor had purchased the same lawn mower a few days before I did (one of the reason why I decided to purchase this particular lawn mower). While he purchased the same model as I did, the store employee loaded the next higher model on the truck my neighbor rented to take the lawn mower back to his house. When my neighbor informed him they put the wrong lawn mower on the truck, and the one they loaded on the truck was $200.00 more than the one he paid for, the employee told him - "It's OK. Our mistake, just go ahead and take it."

3. I've since used my lawn mower a total of four time. When I tried to use it on Thursday, June 7, 2007, a part must have come loose from the mower, because the deck was hanging to the ground on one side. Thursday June 7, 2007 happened to be 3 days after the Home Depot 30-day refund policy expired. I called the Sandusky store and told them that I wanted this lawn mower fixed. I had only used it 4 times and paid $1000.00 for it (I could have gotten it free had I chosen to be dishonest). The employee told me to call the company that manufactured the mower and that there was nothing Home Depot could do about it. I told him I didn't buy the lawnmower from the manufacturer, I bought it from Home Depot. He said it didn't matter, I now had no other course of action but to call the manufacturer. I asked him if that was the only thing he could tell me, and he said yes. I then asked his name. He said (QUOTE) "I'm not going to give you my name." I pressed him for his name and he said "Dave". I then asked for his supervisor who told me basically the same thing.

4. After going through the same waste of time with the customer service department, I asked to speak the store manager. He was busy at the time, so I gave him my phone number to call me back. About 20 minutes later, he called me back and told me his name was Miguel. I explained the situation and he told me that I had to bring the lawn mower in and they would send it out for repair. I told him I was not renting a truck at my expense to take the mower to the store and then rent another truck at my expense to pick it up when repairs were complete. The exchange became heated after a time. He finally agreed to have someone pick up the mower and take it back to Home Depot and then bring it back to me when repairs were completed. But he indicated it would cost me a "Diagnostic Fee" of $30.00 and that if the repair service (not the manufacturer) determined that anything that was found wrong with the mower was "the customer's fault" that I'd have to pay for repairs. The exchange got heated because I had only used the mower 4 times to do what the mower was designed to do - mow grass and I had no assurances the repair facility was going to be honest. Miguel asked "Are you done, yet?" and then proceeded to say "Look, dude!" (quote). At this point I stopped him and said "What did you say? Did you call me 'dude'?". He said, "Sir, madam, Mr., Mrs....it doesn't matter...". I told him I thought this was rude and unprofessional and told him I would contact the corporate office of Home Depot and find someone who cared about Home Depot customers. After that, he hung up on me.

This is when I learned that no one at Home Depot cares about its customers.

My next step was calling the Home Depot Customer Service toll-free number. I spoke to an associate who told be basically there was nothing I could do because a 30-day refund policy means 30-days. I was 3 or 4 days over the 30 days and that's Home Depot policy and that's that. I asked to speak to her supervisor.

I was transferred to a lady name "Betty" - supposedly a customer service supervisor. After a discussion with Betty and seeing this was going nowhere, I finally agreed to the arrangement "Betty" proposed. Since I had no desire to and, in fact, refused to ever call "Miguel" (the Sandusky, Ohio store manager) again - Betty told me she would contact the Sandusky Home Depot store and arrange for them to pick up the lawn mower, take it back to Home Depot, send it out for repair and then bring it back to me when repairs were completed. She said for my inconvenience she would issue a $10.00 Home Deport card for my trouble. I agreed to this, because I could see that I wasn't going to get anywhere with anyone at Home Depot and wasn't going to be able to exchange the lawn mower.

Betty explained that she would call me back later in the day with a confirmation number for the Home Depot $10.00 gift card and we would make arrangements for the pickup of the lawn mower. I explained that I was going to be out-of-town the rest of that day (Thursday 6/7/2007 and all day on Friday 6/8/2007). I told her any day next week would be find. I gave "Betty" my cell phone number and told her to contact me anytime that day (Thursday). She never called back on Thursday, nor did she call the next day. My cell phone was on the entire time and I received many other calls, but none from Betty or Home Depot.

It really appears to me that no one at Home Depot really cares about customers so I really don't expect more than a cursory reply to this message. But I will find a way to get this message to the CEO of the company and any other corporate officer I can find. I am not going to drop this and I will post this information in newsletters and on blogs and on customer complaint sites until someone at Home Depot acknowledges me and my problem.

Thomas Smith

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Comments

  • Ho
      18th of Jan, 2008
    0 Votes

    Sir, as I do understand the nature of customer service these days I also am attentive to the lack of personal responsiblity and rule following the consumers like you have seemed to have forgotten about. I work in the building industry as a salesman for a large box store so I do see both sides of this argument. Unfortunately, day in and day out I see people like you who purchase things knowing policy but belive that you are personally entitled to rule breaking and special favors. If a compnay with over 2000 stores were to cave in to "special" requests like yours day in and day out they would not be here to serve you when you need a screw and a nut!

    On the other hand, training is minimal for customer service, personal interaction and understanding differences of opinions. People are thrown on the sales floor and don't always know how to kiss the ### of "empowered" people like you.. which is after all "WHAT YOU WANT!"

    I hope in the future you have better experiences shopping and also understand the importance of policies .

  • Br
      20th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    Your complaint is a classic, 'the customer is always right'. You simply did not hear the answer you wanted to hear and continually pressed the issues with many representatives at Home Depot. Of course they are all going to give the same type of answer as it is policy and in the contracts, ect. I agree with what Homer says as the company has to protect itself also.

    The only thing rude in this situation is you and your continued 'crusade'. They tried to compensate the best they could by offering to pick it up and take it back. They even gave out a $10 gift certificate. Home Depot is going above and beyond trying to help compensate you for the situation. The only thing they won't do is fold over backwards and take a big hit. If they did that every time then they wouldn't in business.

    Bottom line is policy protects the consumer and company. It is extremely rude and unfair of you to push this issue like you are pushing when the company has tried to help in every way possible that they could without breaking policy.

  • Mi
      13th of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    For a company that predicates itself on cusotmer service, I have to say that it is sorely missing the mark. I went into our local Home Depot recently to spend about one thousand dollars and couldn't get anyone who new anything, to help me make my purchase. I stood in the aisle for about twenty minutes or so, spoke with two different employees that said they would get help and still nothing. I have had so many poor experiences with this Dartmouth, Nova Scotia store, that I drove clear across town to go to Rona where I had immediate help and spent my thousand dollars to get the same product I tried to purchase at Home Depot. I wonder how many others get fed up and leave. If I were a Home Depot shareholder, I would sell out my shares now before this stock tumbles. Home Depot talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. SERVICE IS EVERYTHING! They are loosing lots of consumer dollars as a result of their lack of this ingredient.

  • Ri
      26th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    WHAT CONSUMERS NEED TO REALIZE IS THAT IT IS A WAREHOUSE. NOT SAKS 5TH AVENUE. IF CUSTOMERS WERE A LITTLE MORE ORGANIZED IN THEIR THINKING AND WOULD STOP ACTING LIKE SPOLIED CHILDREN AND EXPECT EVERYHTING TO BE PERFECT, THEIR PROBLEMS WOULD BE VERY EASILY SOLVED. WHEN CUSTOMERS COME IN WITH ATTITUDES AND HIGH DRAMA, IT IS ALL QUITE UNECESSARY AND IT DOESN'T GE TTHEM HELP ANY QUICKER, IN FACT, EMPLOYESS CAN NOW SENSE IT COMING ON AND WOULD RATHER AVOID THE CUSOTMER THAN START UP WITH THEM.
    THIS WHOLE CUSTOEMR SERVICE EXPECTATION OF ANY COMPANY TODAY IS WAY ABOVE WHAT THEY CAN PROVIDE. ALL CHAIN STORES NOWADAYS ARE UNDERSTAFFING AND SPREADING THE EMPLOYEES SO THIN, THAT THINGS ARE BOUND TO GO WRONG. ALSO THE PAYSCALES THEY START PEOPLE AT ARE RIDICULOUSLY LOW---IN OTHER WORDS YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
    LASTLY, ANYWHERE THAT PISSES YOUOFF THAT MUCH---DON'T GO THERE!! EACH TIME YOU GO YOU ARE PREDETERMINED THAT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A PROBLEM AND YOU BRING THAT PREVIOUS DRAMA WITH YOU.
    STANLEY MARCUS, FORMER CEO ANS CHAIRMAN EMERITUS OF NEIMAN-MARCUS STORES ONCE WROTE: "CUSTOMERS SHOULD ACT LIKE CUSTOMERS WITHOUT TATRUMS AND SCREAMING AND YELLING, AS IT GETS NOTHING DONE ANY FASTER."

  • Sh
      20th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have read all of your comments above and realize what idiots there really are out there. I have done customer service and collections for over 30 years. "The customer" is always right, regardless of what product or service you are selling. I do understand that companies have policies and procedures so that they do not get taken advantage of and are able to stay in business and that there are a lot of people out to steal from you. But when a customer goes back into the store to pay for an item that was incorrectly loaded on their truck without paying for it first, worth $1000, then this is the kind of customer I would want when I am running a company or as a shareholder! I treat people the way I want to be treated. I would have gone back into the store and paid for it too, therefore I am a CUSTOMER and should be taken care of like one.
    My parents have spent thousands of dollars at Home Depot (Peoria, IL). They just tried to get a hardwood floor for a bedroom. Their hardwood floor in the dining room was done by Home Depot (Peoria) last year. The guy ($35 charge) they sent out to estimate the job from "At Home Service", comes out and writes everything down, makes a comment "This is what every home needs", pointing to the Bible they had in their bedroom window and leaves. He never discusses any additional charges with my father, who is standing right with him and is elderly. It takes this guy or Home Depot; not sure who is responsible for taking 4 days to make a job estimate price, to come up with a price and an additional $450 added because he says the floor is wet and it needs a new sub floor too. If my elderly parents don't pay the additional, they will not do the job. Out $35.00.
    I called and spoke with Mike (Operations Manager) and he says that this guy said it was wet and had to have a sub floor, or they wouldn't do the job.
    1st - The floor was wet from a water bed that leaked and ruined the floor. That is why it needed a new floor. But it is not wet now and has been cleaned, bleached and dried before he ever can out.
    2nd If this job required additional charges, why didn't the guy discuss it with my father at the time of the visit, instead of waiting 4 more days when they could of gotten Lowe's or Menard's to do the work.
    3rd My mother and father where both on the phone at the same time and my mother told them she didn't want the sub floor and since it was never discussed until now, she feels they are trying to con her and feels this is a scam and she doesn't want the sub flooring. Home Depot told her they will not lay the floor without doing the additional $450 sub floor. She refuses and they hang up on her. Sounds a lot like the original persons comments!!!
    4th She calls and tells me and I call Mike and discuss this entire matter with him. He tells me they won't do the floor without doing the entire job with the additional sub flooring because they cannot guarantee the job.
    I asked him why the person who came out didn't discuss this additional charge at the time of the estimate and he says they should of. I asked him if my parents sign a waiver to disregard any guarantee, because they wouldn't need it anyway, would they do the job. He said he would have to check into it and call me back. He took my phone number, but never did. He then called my parents back and told them he wrote my phone number down wrong. Again, I have done customer service for over 30 years and give my phone number slowly and clear. Then I asked him how does he consider this to be "F^%^ing" customer service? He says that is what made the person on the phone hang up on my parents because they used the "F" word twice, he heard it himself, yet it was Jeff they were speaking too. I did use the "F" word with Mike because he is incompetent in his job, responsibilities and response to a customer requests. But my parents never did and were really offended to hear Home Depot accuse them of this. My mother started crying and said, "I did tell them I thought they were trying to con us and it appears to be a scam, but we never used that word or any curse words, because my parents are good Christians and remember they are the ones with the Bible in the room.

    Let's recap for you idiots that think this place is just a warehouse, or a retail Neiman-Marcus store.
    How do you think any business or service company makes money. CUSTOMERS!!!
    5th My parents paid $35 for an estimate for work to be done that Home Depot refuses to do unless they get an additional $450 of sub flooring business. That is a pretty good scam and side business if you ask me.
    6th You have "At Home Service" do your companies estimates, which Mike verified that they exclusively work for Home Depot take 4 days to figure a 10x12 floor estimate, pathetic.
    7th They lied to me concerning my parents and my father told them they do not only feel they were being scammed now, but now Home Depot has been slanderous on their comments about them.
    Yes, I believe you give a company a chance to help you without a tantrum or screaming, but if you get nothing but idiots on the other end, then do what you can to make it right. I have policies and procedures I have to follow in my profession, and I can't always make people happy; but I treat them the way I want to be treated regardless of how much ### kissing I have to do. The customer, patient or client is the person who signs my paycheck!!!

    In Home Depot's defense, they did return the $35 charge back to my parents, only because I (daughter) called and complained for them. They are too nice. I am a customer service representative, expecting a customer service department to do their job. Regardless of what you are paid. Also, to the idiot out there concerning the pay of service representatives; if you did your job right and didn't lose so many customers, maybe companies could afford to give you a raise. But most customer service and department managers are way over paid for what little they do.
    So if this is how Home Depot and companies out there like this consider to be Customer Service, you have a lot to learn.

    Sherri

  • Tu
      30th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    sir I agree with you WE bought spent 160, 000.00 dollars in a period of 14 months with home depot building new house then i bought hardwood floor nailer that did not work i took it back to Lenior city Tn. store where i met mike he would not give his name was very rude to us would not give credit or replace nailer i will never step foot in there stores again there mangement really needs help i hope they go busted i still like about 40, 000.00 to finish house Lowes will be my supplier from now on the nailer in question was bought six days before i tryed to return Home Depot SUCKS

  • Ha
      31st of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    Home Depot needs to take a look at their managers. Anyone that will put up with personnel treating customers rude is not a manager.

    I went to Home Depot and purchased a washer and drier ($900.00). The only two left in the store. I was to return the next day and to pick it up. The salesman put an eight inch square sticker on both boxes with my name and address on them saying sold. The next day when I returned, after waiting for about one hour, I was told that they could not find my drier. They told the only answer was that it was sold. I agreed to wait for them to order another. I was told it would be lest than two weeks. At the end of two weeks I was called and told that it would be six weeks before my washer & drier would be delivered. I told them to forget the sale and then I almost had to fight to get my credit card refunded.

    The same day my daughter bought the same model washer & drier. They were told that they didn't have the set in stock and it would be three weeks before they were expected in. At the end of three weeks she called to see when they should pick them up and was told that they had cancelled their order. HD wouldn't reorder the pair. It had to be HD that cancelled the order. I think that the sales being made on black Friday that HD never intended to order anything that they didn't have on the floor.

    Also my daughter had her purchase charged on her HD card, and it took two weeks to get the charges refunded.

    I believe the CEO needs to institute an honesty policy, and quit expecting customers to hand him their money and get the hell out of sight.

    PS: The store I was dealing with is located in Harrison, Arkansas

    Harrol King

  • Go
      6th of Oct, 2010
    0 Votes

    A policy is a policy, rules were made to be broken, policies were not. Quit being so lazy and fix it yourself or take it to the nearest authorized service center for repairs which would be covered under what is called a warranty where I come from.

  • Je
      10th of May, 2011
    0 Votes

    A washer and drier, or any special item involved in a Black Friday sale is fist come first served. Often they are special buys that they get at discount for whatever reason. HD gives no rainchecks on these items because they are not usual stock. They might have tried to order more, but were unable to. You should not have been told, in my opinion, that they would be ordered in the first place. That was an error on the part of the associate who put in the order on a sale item. Lesson to take away: If you want an item that is on sale, GET TO THE STORE EARLY.

  • St
      26th of Jul, 2012
    0 Votes

    If you have worked at any h.d. you know that staff are very nearly irrelevant, good only to shuffle out all the crap they sell. So, is it any wonder they could care less about the customer? In fact, the DIYer is not their bread and butter, the contractors are-they cater more to them. Employees have no advantages for working their feet off on that unforgiving concrete floor, get no discounts and little to no training. Don't expect a ten dollar an hour 'associate' to know the latin terms of your plant, if you want service, stick a crowbar into your wallet and go to a local, small hardware store where they pay their employees decently. For every dollar the consumer saves, that's another dollar out of the employees' pocket. Only the consumer has the power to drive the standard; no one wins when a mega corporation is given all the leeway to abuse people and communities indiscriminately. Best idea: DO NOT SHOP AT the home depot.

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