Home Depot Remodelling Service Investigated For Sucking

Linda Byron investigates complaints against Home Depot’s remodeling service, detailing a history all too familiar to close readers of The Consumerist: extensively delayed projects, shoddy workmanship, and unresponsive customer service when things go wrong.

As Linda alludes to at the end of the newscast, the real problem lies in that Home Depot customers are forced to pay for their services in full, upfront. Typically, contractors don’t get full payment until the job is completed to the customer’s satisfaction. By denying customers this crucial check and balance, Home Depot encourages sloth and incompetence.

For their part, consumers should avoid agreeing to deals where there is no built-in recourse if the good or service isn’t up to par. — BEN POPKEN

Investigators: Shoddy work leaves Home Depot customers feeling nailed [King5] (Thanks to Cherise!)

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  1. homerjay says:

    That headline is awesome.

  2. clbarrientos says:

    I wonder why the contracts are delayed…? Service quality problems we know that…but why?

  3. Asvetic says:

    This is great exposure, I live in Pennsylvania and probably would have never heard or seen this. I’m not surprised that Home Depot is treating it’s customers like this, I walk into their store only to be ignored or refused proper assistance when asked. It’s pathetic. I continue to shop at Lowe’s now because they’ve always been helpful and professional.

  4. laughingdove says:

    My husband does freelance remodeling work, and 80% of his clients are getting work redone that was screwed up by another contractor. He’s done quite a few Home Depot fix ups too. I worked for him for a year, and got to see how badly some of these other contractors try to hide shoddy work and shortchange their clients. Sure, he gets his jobs from other peoples crap jobs, but we still would like to see some justice. Heck, he would like the word ‘Contractor’ to finally have some merit, instead of being a dirty word.

  5. srhbks says:

    I had a very different experience- I had my windows done with Home Depot in MA and I was very pleased with the service. The project manager was very professional, and I had some odd quirks with my windows that were handled by the PM without any additional cost assigned to me. The guys that came to install the windows did a great job, and the PM came by to check on them and their work. They even cleaned up after themselves- making sure my floors were vacuumed and the windows were cleaned. I also got callbacks from the main office to make sure that I was pleased with what was done. The whole project was completed three weeks after my initial meeting with the salesman.

  6. srhbks says:

    I had a very different experience with Home Depot in Mass. I had windows installed- the whole thing was great from start to finish. It took 3 weeks from my first visit with the salesman to the windows being installed. The project manager and the guys that did the installation were very professional, and did a great job. I had some quirks with my windows that required them to do a little extra, which they did and I didn’t get charged for. The guys vacuumed when they were done, took away the old windows, and cleaned the new ones. Customer Service called me a few days after the installation to make sure I was happy with the work and the windows.

    I was very pleased with the whole process and would absolutely recommend them.

  7. MonkeyMonk says:

    One alternative to using Home Depot is to get your own general contractor to do the installation and then have them purchase all the needed materials at a Home Depot or Lowe’s with you. We’ve down this now with a kitchen and bathroom remodel. It’s a little more expensive than doing the whole job through Home Depot but it’s a lot cheaper than going with a design/build or speciality contractor.

    One word of advice . . . ask around for recommendations on a contractor that someone you know and trust has used with good results. There are a lot of horrible contractors out there too (probably the pool HD is subcontracting with because the good one are usually booked up already).

  8. The problem is that most people distrust contractors – more so than lawyers and doctors it seems. So they use someone like HomeDepot or Lowe’s because they feel “HomeDepot will make sure it works.” Well, the stores aren’t going to be your backer in this case.

    do it yourself, or interview and hire a contractor that you use over and over. I have one who happened to be a neighbor at one point. I trust him to do a decent job, and he knows I won’t nickle and dime him over each and every thing.

    contractors and mechanics are two professions where people feel the most “taken” yet if you cultivate a relationship with one you will be well taken care of over the years.

    Now for professions which “take” me, let’s talk about dentists and doctors.

  9. spanishmack says:

    I’ve had several jobs done recently through Lowe’s. Some very smooth, some not so smooth. But, Lowe’s always has called after the job is complete to verify my satisfaction, before making final payments to the contractors. So, you kind of keep a little bit of control, via proxy through Lowe’s customer service department. But, I’m still not sure how well it would end up if I had a a really big issue, though.

  10. We had three windows installed by Home Depot this fall. Other than some issues getting the windows to our house, the installation was quick and professional.

    We had the typical delay issues: 3-4 weeks from the factory turned into about 6 weeks. The installer was booked to deliver and install them 2 weeks from that day, but when he went to pick up the windows the night before, one of them had a large crack in it (didn’t the store inspect the windows when they arrived?). They put in a re-order for that window, 3 weeks for delivery, 2 weeks to schedule the installer.

    At least after that point the additional 3 weeks of delays were due to rain – they were finally installed in mid-Dec.

  11. micho says:

    I worked for HD for about six months and the one thing they care about more than anything else is the bottom line (despite all their happy horseshit about Customer Service). Unlike most contractors, whose ability to obtain future contracts largely depends on positive word-of-mouth, Home Depot lowballs each and every subcontract they get. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with an abundance of skilled craftsmen available for cheap, i.e. markets with lots of new construction happening, then you should have no problem. However, you’re still better off finding your own contractor through people you know who’ve had remodeling work done. Not only do your chances of a positive experience increase, contractors get a discount on materials at HD and Lowe’s. This is a discount that is not passed on to you if you contract directly with the company.

  12. consumer says:

    Home Depot lures home improvement sales representatives away from other companies with the promise that they will make $120k-$170k per year. This seems outrageous to me! How can a company steal employees from other home improvement companies that have Non-Compete contracts in place and not blink an eye at the industry standard of pay? The average home improvement sales representative makes $40k-$60k per year. How do you think Home Depot manages to pay their sales reps such “top dollars” to sell their products? They increase your contract amounts for the products that you have them install.