E-Mail To Home Depot CEO Resolves Month-Old Problem In 12 Hours

Consumerist reader Jim was feeling a little frustrated with Home Depot. He’d ordered some parts online for his chainsaw, only to find that one of the two boxes was completely empty. This was just the beginning of a month of misleading assurances, conflicting instructions and overall dissatisfaction for Jim. That is, until he penned an e-mail to Home Depot’s CEO.

Using info from this Consumerist post, Jim sent off the below e-mail to CEO Frank Blake:

Mr Blake,
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. In early November, I ordered online from Home Depot.com two parts for my chainsaw, which was purchased at Home Depot, in Gainesville Ga. They weren’t on sale, but there was FREE shipping which made it convenient for me as I am 45 minutes north of your nearest store. UPS delivered 2 packages to me, both sealed and in fine shape. However, upon opening one package which should have had a chainsaw bar in it, the package was empty, except for some bubble packing material. The box was taped, however the bar is very flat ( like a small lawnmower blade ) and all I can think is that it slipped out around the tape ( there was enough room ) or someone was distracted while packaging and simply forgot to put it in. This is not an expensive part, but I still needed it and so I called Home Depot.com customer service. I had to order a second one, and I was now charged for the shipping (which had been free ). I needed it, and didn’t want to argue, so paid the shipping charges. I was assured I would be credited for the missing part and I hung up satisfied.

A few days later I received an email asking me some further questions , which I answered and received a Return Authorization # and a note that said I would be reimbursed in 5 -7 days.

I waited for 3 weeks and called back. I was told that there was a note on my account to tell the customer he would have to DISPUTE the charges with his credit card company. I am shocked. We are talking a $39.00 part with shipping, and the customer service agent would not let me speak to anyone else about this. I was NEVER contacted and told this information, and had I never called back to inquire, I guess they were hoping I would just forget about it.

By being honest and saying I received a closed, yet empty , box, I guess I am assumed guilty of theft, fraud or whatever the customer service department has decided. I am upset, not so much about the money, but that I should be made to file a dispute with my credit card company.

This ” guilty until we see how much he screams ” policy is unacceptable, and I guess you know that I won’t risk shopping at Home Depot again. I am grateful that this wasn’t a hundred dollar or more item.

Anyone can make a mistake, Mr. Blake, and whether it was a distracted employee or a poor taping job, I would like Home Depot to be reasonable in this matter. A check on my shopping history will show you I am a frequent Home Depot shopper and have spent hundreds of dollars on Home Depot.com in the last year, with no other problems. I don’t understand why I would be judged a liar or thief on this small item. Thank you for your attention, I have attached the correspondence from HomeDepot.com showing my RA and the message that my refund was coming shortly. Sorry this was so long winded…

And lo and behold, within 12 hours of sending off this e-mail, Jim received two follow-up e-mails and a phone call to let him know that the problem was being fixed and that he’d be receiving the refund on both the re-ordered part and the shipping cost.

Says Jim, “Thanks Frank Blake and thanks Consumerist for making the CEO’s email available!!”

To which we reply, “No problem.”

Comments

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  1. ThatTastesTerrible! says:

    It would have taken 1 hour to resolve if the email wasn’t so long.

  2. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    An excellent, to the point, and concise letter. All EECB’s should be this way (though the apology at the end sort of removed the bang)

  3. Dallas_shopper says:

    May be using that same tactic later today. Sick of getting the run-around from them, and we’re talking about nearly $400 here that they owe me.

  4. DrPizza says:

    I’ve had trouble with Home Depot in the past, but was amazed a couple weeks ago that their employees were suddenly incredibly helpful. One offered to help load my cart with 20 pieces of wallboard. Another volunteered to help me decide which fixtures to get for lighting. As I am perpetually remodeling as a hobby, I spend a small fortune between Lowes & HD, as well as other lumber and hardware stores. (I’m currently turning a 600 sq ft garage into an apartment for my son – new electric, water, gas, walls, kitchen, bathroom fixtures, etc.; and consider it a trivial project to do.)

    • Broke_Daddy says:

      You’ve mentioned something that struck me also. A couple of weeks ago I was in Home Depot and suddenly every employee was saying “Hi.” or offering to help in some way. Even a cashier that I didn’t use thanked me for coming in.
      It must be a new push given that Lowe’s is scaling back it’s expansion plans and shuttering some existing stores.
      Having called on them as a Manufacturer’s Rep in the past, this change was pretty good. It will be interesting to see if it’s a lasting thing.

      • Rhinoguy says:

        Sad to say this won’t last too long. With Lowe’s this is cyclical. Their stock drops below a certain point because they are ticking off too many customers who stop shopping there. Management retrains/fires until problem is fixed. Regular help in store declines until stock price suffers. Reboot. I’ve shopped at Lowes for over thirty years, since they pushed Moore’s out of business.

    • Darury says:

      Well, I have to admit.. it took me two readings on your reply. The first reading saw “apartment for my new son”.. which I thought it’s rather harsh to make a newborn move into his own place within months of being born.

  5. BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

    This is pretty great. :) Now we know who is behind the great Georgia Chainsaw Massacre of 2011. Jim and the CEO of Home Depot.

  6. StarfishDiva says:

    It’s YOU’RE WELCOME!!!! HOW RUDE!

  7. tillzen says:

    LOWES continues to eat Home Depot’s lunch here in El Paso. Home Depot is under staffed which means waiting for help finding what you need and waiting longer on check-out line.

  8. jake.valentine says:

    Although I am sure it changes from region to region, Home Depot is a very well run company out here in San Diego. The stores aren’t quite as pretty or new as Lowe’s, but the people are always helpful and they seem to have better prices.

  9. DrRonster says:

    Home Depot, the All-American store, sponsors Toyotas in NASCAR. They were with Pontiac then Chevrolet and for Tony Stewart’s final year with Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota. Lowes sponsors Chevrolets. Lowes also gives a military discount. 1.5 miles to Home Depot. 6 miles to Lowes. #14 rules (in a Chevy)!

  10. carsinamerica says:

    It’s a pretty good letter, except for the point where he says, “I guess you know that I won’t risk shopping at Home Depot again.” In the very next paragraph, he adds, “A check on my shopping history will show you I am a frequent Home Depot shopper and have spent hundreds of dollars on Home Depot.com in the last year, with no other problems.”

    I don’t believe it does much good to say, “I’ll never shop at [Store] again.” First of all, you probably will. Secondly, if you’re sincere that you won’t ever come back, then you’ve just reduced the incentive for anyone to help you. If you still won’t shop there again — no matter how accomodating they are — why should they do anything? I’m obviously speaking more broadly than this specific example, where Home Depot was more clearly in the wrong. I think people would get much better mileage by saying something like: “I’m a regular customer, I like doing business here, but I don’t think I am being treated correctly. Please fix this so I can remain a satisfied customer.”

  11. kokathy says:

    My parents had an issue with a door they ordered from Home Depot. My parents ordered a new front door and they were told 2-3 weeks and that was sometime on October this year. We were coming up close to Thanksgiving and still no front door and they were being told it’ll be another 2 weeks and loads of excuses as to where the door was. The best being the door was being shipped state to state to be painted.

    I emailed the Home Depot CEO and Mr. Blake helped us out as well. Turned out after a few days the door has always been in the Home Depot my parents ordered the door from. I guess the employees “misplaced it”. I also got my parents a $100 gift card for their trouble and Home depot threw in some other extras for the door and a free truck rental so we could the door home.

  12. kokathy says:

    My parents had an issue with a door they ordered from Home Depot. My parents ordered a new front door and they were told 2-3 weeks and that was sometime on October this year. We were coming up close to Thanksgiving and still no front door and they were being told it’ll be another 2 weeks and loads of excuses as to where the door was. The best being the door was being shipped state to state to be painted.

    I emailed the Home Depot CEO and Mr. Blake helped us out as well. Turned out after a few days the door has always been in the Home Depot my parents ordered the door from. I guess the employees “misplaced it”. I also got my parents a $100 gift card for their trouble and Home depot threw in some other extras for the door and a free truck rental so we could the door home.

  13. Steve S says:

    The problem Home Depot faces is how well does it treat it’s employees. How well are their managers trained. If you took an employee survey, are most Home Depot employees satisfied or not? The impression I get after reading blogs, complaints and post by Home Depot employees, most are not treated well and upper management and floor management are not trained well. This is where companies fail – CEO’s and upper business management need to take off their suits and ties and business attire, get out of their offices at headquarters, and travel the country, looking at their stores, talking to employees, training management. Biggest failure of any CEO is to not associate with those employees at the “bottom” and learn, listen and make changes according to what they say. It’s the people that work day to day in those stores, some for long hours and under very poor management that need to be listened to. They know the answers to successfully keeping a business afloat, where both the customer and employee are happy

  14. ctmurray says:

    I had a good experience at HD lately. The agent took the time to show me how vinyl siding worked (actually the plastic fitting around an opening for an exterior light fixture which is two pieces that snap together) so I could remove my old one, take out the lamp and replace the receptacle. He even showed me the best receptacle.