Consumers Speak: Home Despot (We Had to Say It Once)

Sandra G.’s dealings with Home Depot could have been worse—she didn’t get the exact experience she wanted so she got her money back, albeit with a fair degree of hassle—but we figure it’s time we let you tell us about your worst experiences with Home Depot. We’ll start with our own: Why won’t Home Depot let you use gift cards online? We’ve got a $50 card that we’ve had for a year.

But before ya’ll speak, Sandra:

Home Depot.
What lovely little angels of home improvement!
Sure, when you can actually *find* one of the orange apron wearers you might get some assistance but what happens when you try to buy and have them install an appliance?

Last summer I bought my first home and after seeing the Flintstones era dishwasher I decided it needed to be replaced.
Flush with $200 in Home Depot gift cards from my recent housewarming party I set off to Home Depot, ready to get it done.

Home Depot had other ideas.

Buying the GE dishwasher was easy enough.
Home Depot, like many other retailers, is adept at *taking* your money.
I plunked down my gift cards and popped the rest on my credit card.
I even arranged for them to install it.
I was elated by the good news that they had my model “in stock” and that it could be installed in a few days.
I scampered home, eager to wait by the phone like a sophomore girl awaiting a call from the captain of the football team.

Two days later, I got the call.
They offered me a few dates, I picked one.
I asked for an installation in the early morning or late afternoon since I would have to arrange to be late to work or leave work early.
Piece of cake, right?

It wasn’t cake after the jump.

They only do installations for my area of Sacramento between 11am and 3pm.

“What if we move the installation date?
Would that be helpful in changing the time?” I asked.

We only deliver and install in your zip code during that time window.” the “helpful” installer caller replied.

“Well, is there a Saturday appointment available?” I asked.

We are all booked up for Saturdays for the next month.
We can do it next week but it would be between 11am and 3pm” she said.

I gently explained the problem with that installation window but she would not budge.
I asked what would happen if I was the only install on the books for a particular day.
“Could I have the dishwasher installed early in the day since you had nobody else to deliver to?” I inquired.

“No, we only deliver and install between 11am and 3pm to your zip code.
It’s because of how we route our installs and deliveries.
Your item will be in the middle of the truck and we would have to move other people’s items to get to it for a morning delivery” she replied.

“But, if I was the only one, there would be nothing else on the truck” I pointed out, feeling victorious in my logic (I should have known better).

“Sorry, it’s our policy.
11am to 3pm for your area”, she said, undaunted by logic and reason.

So, I told her to cancel the order and restrained myself from directing her to place the GE dishwasher in her lowermost orifice.

Getting my money back from Home Depot proved to be equally difficult.

You would think that by cancelling an order over the phone that it would be entered as cancelled in their system and that you could go to your nearest Home Depot, present your order number, have them retrieve the order and refund your money.

Of course not.
That would be too easy.

It took me two weeks to get my money refunded.

First, I had to wait until the cancellation cleared through GE’s system.
I couldn’t tell you.
GE never had to touch the order as far as I was told.
I bought from Home Depot, they had it in the warehouse and their rigid “only between 11am and 3pm” installer was to bring it out.
But, no, GE had to clear it through their system. The customer service rep at their “help desk” told me it was because they “transmitted payment directly to GE daily for appliances purchased” and that I had to wait for GE to send the money back to Home Depot for my order. Once that happened, I could return for my money.

How long would that take?
In my case, almost five days!!

So, a week from the day I bought the GE dishwasher I returned for my money.

They couldn’t find the order.
They found the installation order but couldn’t find the order for the product.
I was flummoxed. They were ordered at the same time, with the same payment method but now one has gone missing?

After 45 minutes of calling, conferring amongst themselves and calling GE again, they approved my refund.
I got part refunded to my credit card and then began the “gift card war.”
Since I paid with $200 in gift cards they would only give me a $200 gift card.
Exasperated, I took the gift card and marched on out of there, determined to never spend one more dime at Home Depot again.

7 months later, I still haven’t.
Luckily, I sold the gift cards to a co-worker for full value. :)

Bonus Link: Home Depot Tool / Equipment Rental Class Action Investigation [Lawyers And Settlements]


Edit Your Comment

  1. CMPalmer says:

    I may have posted this before — I can’t remember.

    A friend of the family was getting married and we couldn’t make the wedding, but we wanted to buy them a gift and give it to them at a local party before the wedding. Among other places, they were registered at Home Depot. I went to Home Depot to buy a tool set that was on their online registry. I brought it up to the “service” counter so it would be removed from the registry (which is the whole purpose of these things, right?). We looked in vain for 10 minutes, trying the groom’s name, the bride’s name, and several common mispellings thereof before the clerk said, “Did they register here or online?” “Online,” I said.

    “Oh, we’re not connected to the online system and we can’t access it. This is only a local store registry.” This is on a PC in the store which is presumably connected to the Internet. “You’ll have to go home and log in to remove it.”

    So, I bought the tools, went home, accessed the registry and… found that they only way to remove an item from the online registry was to purchase it online! The party was the next day, so that wouldn’t have been appropriate even if I hadn’t already bought the gift. I checked to see if there was a contact or help number, but there wasn’t.

    I had to give the groom the gift, then tell him to go logon and manually update his own gift registry if he didn’t want duplicate gifts because Home Depot doesn’t know how computers and databases are supposed to work.

  2. sixtoe says:

    Home Depot has installed a garage door for me–minus the windows I paid for. A custom cut-and-bound rug came at a completely wrong size. A custom bathroom cabinet came in the wrong finish–not once, not twice, but three times. And another rug I ordered was said to be “ready for pickup” on my voicemail, but after leaving work early, picking up a friend, and borrowing a pickup truck, the rug was nowhere to be found–and the guy who was helping me on the service desk actually puched out and went home midway through helping me. Leaving me at the service desk waiting for him for 45 minutes until someone realized he left.

    I’ve been so frustrated by their custom order specialists in the past that I’ve actually leaned over the desk and helped them enter my order properly.

    Why have I spent tens of thousands of dollars with them? Oh, right, because they put all other hardware stores in my area out of business.

  3. A_B says:

    This story is missing parts, nonsensical, and, overall, seems like the writer just wants to bitch and moan.

    First, the writer is sarcastic about how hard it is to find a person in an orange apron, but then continues with, “Buying the GE dishwasher was easy enough.” So was it hard or was it easy?

    “I asked what would happen _if_ I was the only install on the books for a particular day. “Could I have the dishwasher installed early in the day _since_ you had nobody else to deliver to?” I inquired.” (emphasis added)

    A lot of the complaint is premised on the idea that no one else was on the route and therefore they should get their stuff early. But when did the person on the phone say that? The writer says “if I was the only install” and then changes it to “since.” How do we know that the writer was the only one on that day?

    And given that a lot of “installers” give you 8 hour windows, this 4 hour window hardly seems egregious.

    Is it suprising that Saturday would be all booked up considering very few people can just take a day off from work? Yeah, everybody has a problem with midweek deliveries. Welcome to the real world where not every delivery can be accomplished on a single Saturday. The last few pieces of furniture I bought (none from Home Depot), none had a weekend delivery available as an option.

    And this doesn’t make any sense at all:

    “First, I had to wait until the cancellation cleared through GE’s system. Why? I couldn’t tell you. GE never had to touch the order as far as I was told.”

    “The customer service rep at their “help desk” told me it was because they “transmitted payment directly to GE daily for appliances purchased” and that I had to wait for GE to send the money back to Home Depot for my order.”

    It says right there why GE was involved. The writer didn’t get their money because GE had it.

    However, I sympathize with the exasperation over the 5 day wait. That’s just too long. And while the 45 minute wait is annoying, they did in fact have the information and the writer got their refund.

    The fact that $200 was in the form of a gift card, since payment was also as a gift card is standard operating procedure for every story I’ve ever been to. “Gift card war”? Hardly.

    Frankly, it sounds like Home Depot did nothing seriously wrong. The writer was inconvenienced by the 5 day wait, and then the 45 minute wait at the store, but in the end, the situation was resolved. Frankly, I think the delivery expectations were out of touch with reality.

  4. billpendry says:

    That’s what I was thinking too, A_B.

    The poster’s work schedule is somehow more important than the delivery peoples’? If everyone got to change the system around to meet there needs there would be no system at all. I would be surprised if the delivery company EVER had a day with one delivery, if they did they would be out of business pretty quickly.

    And the gift card gripe? Are you serious?

  5. Kevin Meyers says:

    Agreed with A_B and billpendry. Original poster needs to chill and realize that a company like Home Depot probably has an astonishingly sophisticated supply chain, and they route their deliveries very precisely. It’s also not difficult to believe that they reconcile their purchases with GE on a daily basis — I would imagine Home Depot is one of GE’s largest appliance vendors.

    The bottom line, you’re not dealing with Mom and Pop’s Hardware Store up on Main Street, and you should have been a little bit more flexible. When I purchased a TV from Best Buy, I had to schedule a delivery about three weeks in advance. Did it suck? Of course. But the Best Buy delivery guys came on the day they said they would, they brought the TV into my home, and even removed the packaging. No muss, no fuss. Sometimes it’s in your best interest to give a little.

  6. limiter says:

    Home Depot does not deserve defending. I’ve been to Home Depot many times and it is extremely hard to get a person to help you, when you do get someone then they treat you like you are an idiot. Especially in the tool or building supplies areas.

    I frequently get grilled on why I am buying something and if I answer truthfully I will be told I am buying the wrong thing, or at the wrong store. If I want black screws for MAME cabinet then they shouldn’t stand there and tell me I don’t know what I am doing when they don’t even know what a MAME cabinet is.

    Hey Home Depot: some tips to avoid being such asses to your customers:

    1. When I purchase a large item don’t automatically assume I don’t have a big enough vehicle to take it home with. After telling you I brought a pickup don’t ask me what model it is because I doesn’t freak’n matter. It is a pickup truck, it probably will fit whatever crap I am buying from you.

    2. If I ask for 300 feet of CAT5e cable don’t tell me “it’s not for phone lines ya know” or “CAT3 is cheaper and works just as well”. No it doesn’t, and as much as you might like to think you know what you are talking about, you don’t.

    3. When I want a small piece of wood/plastic/metal/whatever for a custom project don’t demand to know the intimate details of it because it doesn’t matter, you probably won’t be able to help me.

    4. If I am waiting to ask you a question don’t ignore me and go straight to the construction-looking-person who is not waiting for help and proceed to chum up to him like you’ve known him all your life.

    5. Just because I am buying an electrical/plumbing item doesn’t mean I am going to use it for that purpose.

    6. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make something up. This happens far more then I would like.

    7. Don’t insist I am buying the wrong item when I have told you that I repeatedly have bought the item in the past with great success.

  7. People Paula says:

    Hey Palmer, how’d that Home Depot marriage work out?

  8. billhelm says:

    Welcome to the real world. My cable company can only give me a window of a whole day. My phone company, same deal. A 4 hour window is a luxury when dealing with appointments.

    This story is mostly crap. The only even slightly legit part is that Home Depot wouldn’t refund their money because their vendor had it. That sounds like a line of crap made up by some customer service rep. The transactions should be independent as home depot probably pays for those dishwashers well before or after the end customer purchases them.

  9. lgf says:

    Disclaimer: husband works for HD.

    That being said, I agree with the other posters that this was not that big of a nightmare at all, except maybe for the “GE system” part.

    If you buy something with a gift card and you return it, you get a gift card back. If you buy it in cash, you get cash. If you buy it by credit card, your cc is refunded. You should not expect anything else.

    And yes, not ever service store has Saturdays open for us 9-5ers to get our stuff done. That’s the real world. Anywhere I buy a big item, hey, even when I call my plumber, cable guy, exterminator, etc., it’s weekdays within a certain window. Installing a dishwasher is not a 15 min job, so account for it before you get high expectations.

    Before husband worked at HD, we bought a French door and a garage door had it installed by them. And let me tell you, the buying part, not pretty. It was very convoluted, even the employees kept apologizing for the system and processes (we had to go to 2 different service desks to enter each part of the order: buy and install). But once ordered, they did a great job of follow up, and the subcontractors they sent did a great job. And yes, they were installed during the week.

  10. CMPalmer says:

    Paula, ???

  11. Benko says:

    im not trying to support home depot or anything, but cancelling an order altogether because they cant deliver when you want them to doesnt make much sense. take half the freakin day off work. and a five day wait? meh, big deal. thats nothing compared to some of the real horror stories that we’ve seen on here. but it’s true, home depot is incompetent.

  12. gretchen says:

    We’ve bought our last few appliances from a local independent store. They don’t even have a computer, just a file box with index cards. You want that washer? He pulls out the index card and it’s yours, with free delivery, and at a savings in the hundreds of dollars range from the big-box stores. We wouldn’t have known about the place if we hadn’t asked around as they don’t do much advertising. Excellent service, excellent delivery and setup, and now I just wish the damn fridge would die so I could get a new one of those.

    Also, giftcard returns being refunded as giftcards is standard. You want to talk about horrible return policies, look at Burlington Coat Factory/Baby Depot.

  13. Buckhorn says:

    I agree with the gift cards policy and I suppose, in theory, 5 days isn’t really that long to wait for your delivery. But don’t you think that if HD really had an “astonishingly sophisticated supply chain” they might have more than one truck/route so that customer needs could be met a little better?

    Also, I find it seems more than a little bit silly that GE and HD – two huge companies with all the resources in the world – can transmit payment data the day a purchase is made but to transmit a refund takes 5 days. Understandably there’s probably some manual entry that has to be done for refunds but it still doesn’t seem that complicated. And besides, shouldn’t HD — who has almost a billion in cash according to their Oct 30 financial statements — be able to refund the few hundred dollars this customer spent immediately? A few hundred dollars to HD is chump change, a few hundred dollars to most of us is significant. Couldn’t their transaction system with GE automatically just reconcile this? From the posts about the online registries, etc. maybe I’m assuming too much about HD’s systems.

  14. Anabelle says:

    Why can’t big, competitive companies permanently adjust their delivery windows to accommodate working people? Is there some natural law that says washing machines, rugs, and new locks can only be installed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays and, if you’re lucky, maybe Saturdays?

    When women began working in large numbers and “housewives” were no longer home M-F during the day, smart stores added evening hours and even Sunday hours so people could buy their stuff. So, why can’t delivery operations for major retailers and services have night shifts? Not only is the practice of scheduling only daytime deliveries annoying as hell for busy working parents, it’s just BAD BUSINESS, folks. Yes, I will choose the vendor that can come to my house “between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. tomorrow” (note: fairly “wide window”) over the one that makes me leave my job and waste most of a morning at home. Doctors, nurses, supermarket cashiers, cops, and zillions of other workers consider night shifts part of the job description. Why not delivery operations?

    Some of the commenters here sound as if we consumers don’t deserve to get deliveries or services at times that are convenient for us. Baloney! We’re the people with the money that those stores and businesses want. Time to wake up and start asking *us* when they can deliver. Instead, we’re trapped in permanent grovel mode: “Please, Home Despot, take my money and make me wait on you.”

  15. AcidReign says:

    …..I prefer Lowe’s to Home Depot. Our local HD is a disorganized mess, with stock blocking aisles, clueless staff, and usually only one checkout line open.

  16. Jen says:

    I know a bunch of guys on one of the Olympic teams- I guess Home Depot is the largest employer of Olympic Athletes, and they make trading cards to brag about it. What they do is keep all these completely untrained athletes on as Part-Time, claiming they work 20 hours a week and paying them as such, benefits and everything, but they work maybe 5 hours a month tops, if they even bother to show up, and could not give a crap about customer service because they know they’re just getting paid to make Home Depot look patriotic.

  17. I haven’t had any problems with cabinets delivered or anything major. Like a few said, adjust your expectaions for delivery and don’t think you’ll get it the next day. Is ANYTHING delivered teh next day anyway?

    No, my problem with them is more basic:

    Do they have to put the ONLY entrance to the store at either the far right or far left with no other way in? Might as well just put it around the back of the store.

    And when you go in, could customer service be located closer to the entrance? Thank god the return line is usually backed right up to the door. Pound-for-pound? The absolute worst entry/exit set-up of any retail chain in America, and that’s including Lowes.