Letter To Home Depot CEO Gets Dishwasher Replaced In 12 Hours

Last August, Consumerist reader Dan bought an LG dishwasher from Home Depot. When the unit began to exhibit issues, his attempts to deal with LG were in vain. But a well-worded letter to the CEO of Home Depot got the ball rolling and had a replacement dishwasher ready for him the next day.

According to Dan, the dishwasher was “garbage. It never properly cleaned dishes, and to get even close to clean, we had to pick the longest, most energy-and-water intensive cycle (up to four hours for a full cycle.) Not long after we bought it, parts started falling off – the alignment brackets on the door, the wheels on the lower tray.

“LG wanted to charge me for a repair estimate, and the rep basically said that such damage would likely be considered user-inflicted, and therefore not under warranty. Since I didn’t ever take a baseball bat to the unit, I didn’t see how we could have harmed and abused that poor appliance.”

So Dan used some tips he’d gleaned from the Consumerist to compose the following email to Home Depot CEO Frank Blake:

Dear Mr. Blake:

First, thank you for your time in reading this.

My wife and I are new homeowners and new parents, and when we moved in during the summer of 2010, it seemed that we practically lived at Home Depot. Nearly every single item for our semi-fixer-upper came from your store at Figueroa St., in Cypress Park (Los Angeles.) The employees were universally friendly and helpful.

So, I’d like to compliment your entire staff. But, of course, I’m not writing only to praise.

The only item we’ve purchased that has really, truly, not worked out is our dishwasher (LG Model LDS4821WW, in white, purchased in August, 2010.) From the start, it cleaned dishes poorly. But we were able to make some adjustments – we had to use the most intense cycle, which somewhat negates the product’s energy efficiency, one of the reasons we bought it – and we managed.

Unfortunately, the dishwasher is now, literally, falling apart. From the bottom kick panel to the seals on the door and the rails that guide the dish racks, parts have worn out or simply broken. It is now impossible to properly seat and slide the lower rack. I was amazed, upon researching, to find that this isn’t a rare problem with this product.

LG, unfortunately, has been no help – they say that these aren’t warranty issues, but damage. I can assure you (as I’ve assured LG) that damaging a dishwasher is really hard to do, once it is installed, and we’ve used it like any ordinary family does: no abuse. In fact, once we had the not-clean-dishes problem, we were very careful to baby the product.

Right now, we’re pretty much back to washing dishes by hand, since the dishwasher has turned out to be such a disaster in so many ways. I’ve never written a complaint letter to a CEO, so I’m not sure exactly what to ask for, but what I’d really like is for Home Depot to take the product back, used as it is, so we can exchange it for a better (non-LG) model. I am open to other solutions, but both my wife and I feel that we’ve been through the wringer on this already.

Thank you again for your time, concern, and service.

Dan wrote that e-mail on a Wednesday night at 8:00 in the evening. The next morning, he received a reply from a Home Depot “resolution expediter,” who had been forwarded the e-mail from Mr. Blake’s office.

By 8:45 a.m. that same morning, someone from the local Home Depot called to let him know they would replace the dishwasher free of charge:

She told me that she was standing in front of their floor version of the same model, and then she proceeded to go through all of the competing models they had in stock, comparing them feature-for-feature. Basically, I could pick any one I wanted. I finally chose a Maytag. Final resolution: the replacement dishwasher is on order, and will be delivered to my home next week. They’ll install it, and take the old one away, all at no cost to me.

Dan says his experience with Home Depot has been so positive that he plans on making his next major appliance purchase (a washer/dryer) there.

Comments

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  1. Bativac says:

    I wish the “satisfy the customer” idea would trickle down from upper management to the front lines of customer service reps (or, more likely, their supervisors / managers). You shouldn’t have to go all the way to the top of the company to get something like this resolved. Especially when Home Depot didn’t even manufacture this shoddy dishwasher, LG did.

    Tangentally related question – is there a dishwasher that truly works well? Mine was brand new when we bought our house, so it’s a little over a year old, and as a dishwasher, it makes a great drying rack. I think it’s a Whirlpool. Anybody have any better luck?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Fridgidaire, and haven’t been thrilled by it. My office has a model that costs half as much – albeit not stainless steel – and seems to work a lot better. At home, I always get particles on my top rack bowls and glasses.

    • Nighthawke says:

      GE’s back in the 80′s had one hell of a pump on them that could blast the glazing off your dishes if given the chance. Fortunately the spray bars were built as such the pressure was distributed evenly.

      GE, Whirlpools, Bosch units, all with good reps. Go for stainless tubs if you can. Double or triple insulation to kill the racket from the metal tubs.

    • nybiker says:

      I have a GE Profile Triton Model GSD5920F00 that was delivered on Sept 13, 2001. Other than having its harness replaced (and that was due to a GE recall or some other sort of proactive action, not me calling them) it’s worked great from day 1 {knocks wood}.
      It’s just me using it, but I run it when it’s full, so it gets used at least once if not twice a week.

    • c!tizen says:

      I have a stainless GE, forget the model, but it’s one that’s not super expensive. In fact, it’s the only appliance that I didn’t go over budget on, and I’m kind of kicking myself for it. This thing is awful. It can’t seem to clean even rinsed dishes.

      I came home one day to hear my girlfriend screaming obscenities at the top of her lungs. For a minute I thought one of the cats had pee’d in her purse or something so I hurried in to try and save the poor kitty before she stomped it out of existence only to find that she was “talking” to the dishwasher.

      She’s done the dishes by hand ever since.

    • Sanshie says:

      We bought a Kitchen Aid back in the spring and have been really happy with it. It replaced a POS Whirlpool that we were given by Whirlpool when they broke our original one trying to repair a recall issue.

    • Griking says:

      Well, the problem is that when you start making exceptions like these people grow to expect them to be the norm. If the washer was beyond the return policy then it really wasn’t Home Depot’s responsibility to replace it, it was LG’s. Home Depot did however replace it and while they now have a happy customer they also likely took a hit on the full cost of the washer. It’s not a big deal for a large company to eat the cost of a single washer but when everyone expects to be taken care of the same way a company can’t just replace every bum appliance.

      • CharlesFarley says:

        You can count on LG getting a chargeback from HD.

        • Griking says:

          If it’s still a current model then yeah, LG may take it back from Home Depot but most manufacturers charge their retailers restocking fees for returns.

          • CharlesFarley says:

            LG will accept the charge back if they know what is good for them. A company like HD has no issue craming down their throats.

    • jesirose says:

      I only ever use dishwashers as a drying rack – so I’d have to say the best dishwasher is yourself :)

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Asko – they’re expensive, but for me it’s worth the cost.

      SUPER quiet – you literally have to put your ear up to the door to hear a slight little noise to tell you it’s working. And it cleans perfectly every time, no matter how disgustingly dirty the dises are. We’ve had ours since 2003 and I still am extremely happy with it.

    • selkie says:

      If you don’t mind it taking a long time to dry, Bosch is excellent with the wash part of the equation (both effective and gentle) and also pretty quiet.

  2. Dragon Tiger says:

    I think that’s the most impressively written letter to a company I’ve ever read.

    • tasselhoff76 says:

      Agreed. That is a great letter.

    • ninabi says:

      It should be used as the example for How To Write A Proper Complaint Letter.

    • runswithscissors says:

      I agree, great letter. But given the typical commenters around here I was sure I was going to see at least one “RARZLFRARZL WHY DID HE MENTION BEING NEW HOME OWNERS AND HAVING CROTCHFRUIT ITS IRRELEVANT STICK TO THE FACTS RAGRLEZARGLE!!!”

  3. gspdark1 says:

    My boss bought an LG washed that basically stopped working after 3 normal loads for a household of 4 people. LG basically told him the same thing, but he bought it at Sears. Since he knew his counterpart at LG, he got a replacement.

  4. calchip says:

    This sort of service and responsiveness is how Home Depot originally established its reputation 20 some years ago. It’s really good to see that they seem to have realized that returning to this mentality makes sense.

    Honestly, my own recent experiences, as well as reading some experiences of others at Consumerist, seems to indicate that perhaps the store’s own staff would have been able to resolve this issue for the OP. I don’t know if he tried, but it seems a lot of others are reporting similar positive experiences without the necessity of an EECB.

    • Kibit says:

      I hope they are going back to the good days of Home Depot. They started pissing me off a few years back, but they now seen to be headed back in the right direction.

  5. calchip says:

    This sort of service and responsiveness is how Home Depot originally established its reputation 20 some years ago. It’s really good to see that they seem to have realized that returning to this mentality makes sense.

    Honestly, my own recent experiences, as well as reading some experiences of others at Consumerist, seems to indicate that perhaps the store’s own staff would have been able to resolve this issue for the OP. I don’t know if he tried, but it seems a lot of others are reporting similar positive experiences without the necessity of an EECB.

  6. Mr Grey says:

    While I am happy for Dan, I do wonder how clean thorough the dishes were well rinsed ahead of time.

    My wife will routinely rinse a dish with dried food on it, and stick it in the washer, and wonder why does not get clean.

    I treat my dish washer more like its a sanitizer, I run a scrubbie over the dishes before they go into the washer.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      I beg pardon, Mr. Grey, but you have a rather expensive dish rack. :) You are the dish washer.

      Yes – dishwashers are supposed to clean dishes without requiring that you clean them first ;) Yes, you should dispose of solid food particles before loading the dishwasher, and unreasonably caked on foods do need help. Dishes soiled from normal use should not however.

      • soulbarn says:

        That is practically a quote from “The Shining.”

        Poster: You WERE the dishwasher here, Mr. Appliance.
        Ghostly, Dead Appliance:: No sir, YOU are the dishwasher. You’ve always been the dishwasher.

        Well done.

    • MickeyG says:

      What is the point of owning a dishwasher if you wash all the dishes beforehand?

      I might rinse something that is horribly caked with some sort of substance, but otherwise I never rinse and never have a problem! Even our older crappier dishwasher didn’t need us to practically pre-wash the dishes!

      • Daniellethm says:

        +100

        I currently wash dishes by hand, and because I can’t really afford a device based solely on convenience. However, when I have the extra money I’m definitely going to research and buy a dishwasher that can clean every dish with nothing more than a quick rinse, otherwise what’s the point?

    • Jimmy60 says:

      I never rinse, (pre-rinse is like pre-heat, thank you George Carlin) dishes before they go in the washer. I live alone so it’s usually several days before I wash and my dishes come out fine. My washer is a twelve year old portable. I’ve had to replace the same $8 part twice in that time. It leaks a little around one of the door seals. A big Sham Wow looks after that issue.

    • Mom says:

      From my reading of Consumer Reports dishwasher reviews, I understand that new, modern dishwashers can actually clean dirty dishes without having to do a bunch of stuff first. Not that I have any experience with that, since my 1930 kitchen doesn’t have one of those new-fangled things.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I never pre-rinse with my dishwasher. We ordered an LG based on features, and immediately canceled after reading reviews. We have a great scratch and dent Bosch now.

      I must say Home Depot has awesome service at my local store. Some of the other stores in my area aren’t quite as good, but I think that has more to do with how high my local one sets the bar.

    • Weekilter says:

      Modern dishwashers you shouldn’t need to prerinse them. Matter of fact I’ve seen it that it’s better to have some soil that the detergent can grab. Part of the problem may also be the detergent. Modern dishwasher detergent with “phosphate free” formulas do not clean as well as older formulations.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      As others noted, if you have good, fairly modern dishwasher, you should not have to prerinse, much less prewash your dishes. I never rinse our dishes and put the extremely dirty, sticky dishes in my Asko and they come out perfectly clean every time.

  7. Red Cat Linux says:

    I’ve not had much love for LG since my LG LDS5811ST went toes up one month after the warranty expired. It had all the same symptoms – couldn’t clean anything unless you configured the settings to “take down to the river and beat on a rock until clean”.

    It failed a few months later with a code that nobody could decipher. It took months to get it fixed. Mind you, I still have it. If it goes out again, I will call it a loss and get something else. Even though the error was repaired, I still have to set the wash to ‘power scrub’ to get normal dish loads clean.

  8. MickeyG says:

    What a well-written letter! It wasn’t condescending, rude or demanding. Well done!

    That’s so great that Home Depot was so responsive too!

    • minjche says:

      I agree, the letter was perfectly respectful.

      Good job OP and kudos to Home Depot for the replacement.

  9. tasselhoff76 says:

    Dan’s experience makes me want to buy a dishwasher at Home Depot.

  10. mikec041 says:

    Same here, LG dishwasher went south about 4 months after purchase. LG corporate was of absolutely no help. They referred me to a provider who wasn’t even authorized to repair LG appliances any longer. Home Depot worked on it and even though it took WAY TO LONG it was finally repaired. Now just out side the 12 month warranty it’s making a high pitch squealing noise when it in wash cycle. Will never purchase any LG appliances in the future.

  11. Mom says:

    A friend had an LG refrigerator that was similarly un-robust. It literally fell apart in the first few months she had it, and LG wouldn’t honor the warranty, because it had been abused. She and her family went for nine months without a fridge while she was fighting them. She finally took them to small claims court and won.

    Excellent letter, btw.

  12. sprybuzzard says:

    Wow. Lots of horror stories about LG. I don’t foresee buying a new dishwasher in the near future but I know to stay away from LG…

  13. Kibit says:

    With all the bad comments about LG appliances I am definitely going to steer clear of them and let my friends know too.

    LG could have prevented potential new customers from seeing this info if they had just helped the OP in the first place.

    It sounds like their customers are having a lot of the same problems and they don’t want to take responsibility for them.

  14. shepd says:

    Are you using phosphate free dishwasher detergent? If so, and you live somewhere where you can’t replace it with stuff with phosphates, add some TSP (powdered or not, your choice) to it and be amazed. Without the phosphates, most detergent is crap

  15. keepher says:

    That was a well constructed letter, a bit of carrot first and then the stick. Keep this up Home Depot and you will win back those you lost over poor customer service.

    hint to everyone: Check the product before you plunk your money down. Confirm that it is made in the US or Canada. Don’t get all of those electronic bells and whistles, that’s just inviting trouble sooner rather than later.

  16. Press1forDialTone says:

    Guess where LG products come from: CHINA!!
    They make crap. I think GE still makes dishwashers
    and here in the US. Whirlpool still makes appliances
    in several US cities and our GE plant here in Bloomington,
    IN makes an excellent high-end GE refrigerator (plug for
    my hometown). They may be cheaper but stuff from China
    (it is still a developing exporting nation remember) is
    generally junk and the US support for their brands is
    non-existent. Here’s an example: I have a Kenmore washer
    and dryer (made for Sears by Whirlpool, Kenmore is just a
    brand and selected manufacturers get to “be” the brand on
    varying cycles) that I bought in 1996 and it has needed only
    preventative maintenance by the Sears service person. I have
    a service contract which has *decreased* in cost the longer I
    have it, it includes 1 yearly inspection and other repairs at
    *no cost* to me. When Sears service says they cannot service
    it, I get to pick a new similar washer or dryer (Kenmore) with
    free installation and a renewed service contract at *no cost to me*
    What’s not to love about Sears Kenmore?

    • ahecht says:

      You do realize that LG is Korean, not Chinese, right? I know, all look same, right?

      • nybiker says:

        While it’s true that Lucky Goldstar is a Korean brand, maybe, and I say maybe because I truly do not know the answer, they (LG) make their products in China? I mean if US companies can outsource manufacturing to China, why can’t LG?

    • Hoot says:

      Did you just hit enter at random or did you really try to get the lines to be the same length?

  17. Nick says:

    LG makes sub-standard products, has terrible customer service and should be avoided at all costs.

  18. Flexo says:

    LG used to be known as Goldstar. If you are old enough to remember, they were makers of the cheapest of cheap electronics (boomboxes and such) sold at stores like K-Mart and Ames. I know the Korean brands are much improved but I still don’t trust LG yet based on that past reputation. I do have a great Samsung TV and some other Korean brand items that I am quite happy with.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      LG does make great TVs and the LG Chocolate was a very, very good phone. I hate mine but that was because it was hard to type on a non-qwerty keyboard with gloves, not because it was a bad phone.

  19. m1k3g says:

    LG used to be ‘Lucky Goldstar’ and I believe it is a Korean company. They have always, in my experience, made lousy products and had lousy customer service. We had almost this exact same experience a couple of years ago – bought an LG dishwasher from HD, the thing never dried dishes and after a month started to smell really bad from the water building up inside. Called LG, they stated that it was working as designed and wanted to charge us for a service call just to have someone come and look at at. Called HD, they sent a repairman out almost immediately. He didn’t find anything mechanically wrong with the dishwasher, but agreed that it was not working as should be expected. Called the HD store manager who refunded our money and we went to Sears and bought one of their dishwashers (which was rated as the best by Consumer Reports). Haven’t had any problems since. Bottom line: LG makes a lot of products and there might be one or two that don’t suck, but the company more than makes up for that by providing NO customer service. Add LG to your list of companies to stay away from. Eventually they’ll get the message, but hopefully by that time it’ll be too late for them to be able to stay in business. Jerks.

  20. GrayMatter says:

    I know that this is a little off-topic, but it is about LG. We bought a new refrigerator from Sears. (And, it came when ordered, no hassle from the delivery folk.) The freezer never worked properly, it varied wildly from 0 F to about 30 F. After a couple of weeks, I happened to discover that the numbers at the front of the modle number tell you the manufacturer. It was LG. (http://www.applianceaid.com/searscodes.html)

    We called Sears and complained. It was under the 90-day exchange limit. We looked around and found a US-made unit and they exchanged it for free.

  21. pyrobryan says:

    Did this guy even try contacting his local store before going the CEO? That seems to be a common theme. People think they deserve to communicate directly with the CEO because they bought something from the company. No. These companies have employees in place for you to contact. One CEO can’t deal with thousands upon thousands of customers and you are no more special than any one else, regardless of what your mom told you.

  22. markmark says:

    There is a big issue with dishwasher and the fact that phosphorous is no longer in the detergent causing lots of complaints and issue with dishwashers ‘not cleaning’. Consumer Reports has some info and suggestions for detergents. We learned this the hard way…with giant bottles of crappy Cascade from Costco (we have hard water).