Lowe's Installers Fail To Follow 9-Step "Easy Guide To Quick Setup," Break Washing Machine

Poor Eric. He only wanted Lowe’s to deliver and install a Bosch washing machine, a tall order for any home improvement giant. Eric chose Lowe’s to escape Home Depot’s notoriously horrible customer service, but Lowe’s installers turned out to be just as incompetent. Thanks to their shoddy workmanship, Eric new washing machine has an uncontrollable urge to shake across the room when in use.

I finally realized why it was moving; the installer did not read the “Easy guide to quick setup” booklet with only 9 steps to follow through. The most essential step which was in big bold letters stating “removing the transport bolts is VERY IMPORTANT!”.

Bosch insists that the washer is damaged, but Lowe’s refuses to deliver a replacement. Eric writes:

Dear Lowes,

Please take the time to read my experience, which is only fair because your company took time out of my life which was completely avoidable and unnecessary. My name is Eric and my father John is the person who bought the washer. I have had to endure this whole ordeal since my father’s limited speaking ability would be impossible to explain our situation. Everything that you read is my experience since I had to do everything.

This is about regarding my horrifying experience buying my Bosch clothes washer. I have wasted countless hours of my life and experienced unneeded stress and anxiety. After much shopping around for prices, my family decided to chose Lowes for their excellent price and rebates that covered delivery and even offered a rebate for a 75 dollar gift card for a future purchase; I always considered Lowes a step up from the horrid service at Home Depot and I was completely wrong.

I purchased my Bosch washer in the San Bruno Store #1019 and was overcharged for my washer; the price did not match which was advertised in the store. I drove back the next day to fix this error, only to wait in line at customer service for over 15 minutes only to be told to talk to appliance department where my transaction was to reordered and to return my previous order.

So basically start new again. I waited for another 15 minutes in the customer service line in order to do this, only to have my washer only refunded but not my extended warranty and when I reordered the washer another extended warranty was charged on to my credit card. Its quite confusing, and its even harder to explain this when I am shuffled around department to department trying to explain what happened. I basically have a washer and two warranties. I realized this after I left the store and was already 20 minutes away from the store. I went back to the store to wait another 10-15 minutes in line due to the lack of customer service reps on the counter throughout the whole day. I finally get everything resolved and I have wasted gas and my time sorting this mess out. (the charges are still not reversed but somehow they were able to instantly charge me for the other washer)

About a week and a half, I finally got a message that my washer was in stock and I should call back to confirm a date to have it delivered. So after calling, Ryan the salesman who I placed the special order was out on lunch, so another person assisted with setting up a timeframe for my delivery. We agreed it was to be the next day between 12 and 4. The following day, I waited on my day off for the dryer to come, after 4:30 I called the store to see what time they were able to come.

After much transferring and holding, hold time was approximately 6 plus minutes in each department and being shuffled around only to be brought back to the same customer service center after about 30 minutes I finally talked to a manager who informed me that it was not procedure to tell anyone the time frame of a delivery the day before and that I had to set up another time frame the next day and that I should receive a call from 7-8:30 to confirm a time frame. I never receive the call, in fact I had to call the store to get the time frame after being on the phone for 15 minutes due to the fact I had to be on hold and the delivery department never picks up their phone. Again, I had to talk to a manager to get any progress done.

I finally get my delivery on the time frame they said, the delivery guy installed the washer with ease and took my back my old washer. The installer checks everything and does a test run everything is fine and says we’re good. After running it for the second time my washer started moving out of place, so I thought it was out of alignment. I called Lowes the next day asking to send a delivery/installer to adjust the washer for me, this of course took me over 30 minutes after being transferred to department and to department and being on hold only to wait over 6 minutes to recall the store just to talk to a service rep. I told the guy my problem and he told me they could send a installer the next day and that I should receive a call from 7-8:30am to confirm a timeframe like last time.

The next day I waited and when it was 9:00am I called the Lowes and they said the deliverers were late and I should expect a call later on. 11 rolls around I call the Lowes and the customer service rep told me to expect a call after giving my name and number. 2pm passes and I still did not get a call so when I finally reached a manager, they told me there was no order for a delivery person to come over and adjust my washer and I had to wait for Monday to have a delivery/installer come in.

Monday rolls around and I expect around 7-8:30am to confirm a timeframe but again I had to call the Lowes department to actually get a timeframe. After I finally get my washer adjusted the washer starts moving again when I test it out.

After reading the instructions and seeing why it would keep doing it, I finally realized why it was moving; the installer did not read the “Easy guide to quick setup” booklet with only 9 steps to follow through. The most essential step which was in big bold letters stating “removing the transport bolts is VERY IMPORTANT!”.

I wanted to call and have my washer replaced with a new one because of the unknown damages running the washer with the bolts still attached to it might cause, this was what the Bosch service rep insisted that I do since I could still replace the washer because of the 7 day return policy. Having 3 days left before it would be too late. I quickly called Lowes to try to get this washer replaced.

This is the absolute worst part of my experience and I have this part down for your convience. I call the store to tell them I want to return my washer only to be shuffled to Customer service, Appliances (5 minute wait time), Delivery (No one picked up had to recall the store again), and other departments they transferred me to without telling me that I where I was being transferred to. Customer service suggested that I somehow bring the washer back to Lowes and have it exchanged only to have them redeliver and install it for another 80 dollars which they claim is justified since they have a rebate which makes the installation and delivery free. Finally 50 minutes later I actually talk to a person who seemed helpful but regrets to inform me that he needs to get a manager. He tells me that he would get one and explain the situation and I should expect a call back (which I some how doubt they’ll call back). I had to go to work and I gave them my cell number, I waited throughout my shift for a call and nothing happens, I did not get a call or a message on my voicemail. I wasted over 50 minutes of my life on the phone only to get absolutely zero progress.

This is the worst customer service I have experience in my life and I am disgusted by the level of service I have received and how unprofessional this store has treated me. I will not ever shop at Lowes again. This is what I expect would expect from Home Depot but now I realize Lowes is exactly the same if not worse. I have worked retail for over 8 years and this is completely unacceptable and disrespectful for any consumer.





Edit Your Comment

  1. cryrevolution says:

    Just a quick question: Was there actually damage to the washer after all this occured? Why would the poster go through all the fuss of replacing if it didn’t actually do any damage? I would complain, yes, about the technicians lack of knowledge and such, but I wouldn’t get a replacement until I knew something was actually wrong with it. Just my $.02.

  2. peggynature says:

    Maybe running it with the bolts voids the warranty, whether there’s obvious damage or not? I wonder why the “Bosch service rep insisted” he return it…sounds potentially important.

  3. Hinomura says:

    A. CryRevolution: If you paid $500 dollars to have an appliance installed and then they f*cked it up, wouldn’t you want something done about it?

    B. Vibration can cause serious damage to machinery and their components. If your mechanic left a piece of metal sticking out in your engine and you found out about it the next day would you ask him to just remove the piece or recheck the whole engine? of course recheck the whole engine

  4. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Never, ever say “I will never shop at _______ again.” It gives them more incentive to ignore you.

  5. “is your washer machine running?”

    har har

  6. I also really doubt that the installers were anything more than contracted workers with absolutely zero affiliation to lowes. A lot of companies do this to reduce their expenses on insurance/salaried workers/etc and make it seem like they provide the complete solution, but most of the time these technicians are barely (if at all) trained average joes on a 1099 contract making $10-15/hr (and they think they are making out with bandits). In the end, Lowes wins, the consumer loses, and those contracted workers are being sought out for evasion of tax payments that they never even knew they had to pay

  7. cryrevolution says:

    @discounteggroll: Agreed. I handle commercial liability claims for Lowes and see these kind of minor messups all the time. And usually, the result is major, like water damage from an improperly connected hose or worse. I don’t particularly know if they are contracted or not, they usually list their installer as an employee on my claims, but it’s highly likely.

  8. philbert says:

    Lowes sucks

  9. philbert says:

    Lowes sucks big time

  10. Anonymous says:


    The manufacturer insisted that the washer should be replaced since it was in an unknown state as far as damage is concerned.

  11. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Yeah, saying “..I will never shop there again..” doesn’t give much reason to help the customer, since they are no longer a future customer. The guy claims to have worked in retail for 8 years, so he should know this.

    Also, his complaint letter is way too long and full of unnecessary ranting. It’s sad to say, but people these days don’t read. They skim for information that is pertinent to them. This is particularly true for people that read a lot of letters or e-mails daily, like say, people that work in customer service departments. ;-) Eric should have kept it short and direct. If he wanted to include the fine details, he should have broken them down into bullet points with the date/time of the events.

    I’m with the others.. it’s not clear what the real damage is here. Based on the instruction manual, it looks like leaving the transport bolts only locks the suspension system. It doesn’t prevent the washer from operating and the only ill effect is a noisy spin cycle. If the washer is indeed broken, I think Lowes should step up and make things right.

  12. I bought my Bosch washer/dryer at a local appliance store instead of a big-box chain. I’m glad I did, especially after reading stories like this!

    Eric, I hope that they listen and fix your problem. Once you get that machine running, it’ll be the best washing machine you’ve ever used.

  13. spinachdip says:

    @philbert: Thanks for clarifying that. I wasn’t quite sure exactly how much Lowes sucked after your first post, but now I know!!! It sucks big time!

  14. stevemis says:

    Some friends of ours here in North Carolina had the exact same problem with Lowes delivery. They did this to the original machine and the two subsequent replacements. On the last one, our friend finally figured out the bolts were not being removed, so he took them out himself.

    Someone needs to figure out a way to outsource this to India. If it can’t get done right, it’ll at least get done cheaper!

  15. mantari says:

    My great installers from Home Depot decided that the ‘extra parts’ on my dishwasher install were only needed to cover extra gaps if they were present. As it turned out, that was the extra noise abatement material that Maytag charges much extra $$ for.

    At least the left the extra parts. I decided to install it myself rather than to let them back into the home.

    Speaking of which… they came to my home looking for every conceivable way of getting OUT of the install. They even left a guy in the truck (which was running) for fifteen minutes, until I pushed them to decide that they were really going to do it. Geeeeez.

  16. crnk says:

    Sorry, but the letter is too long and rambling. Instead of listing a billion things that went wrong, summarize. Produce something that someone can relate to–use numbers, since most people understand them.
    State that you’ve made x phone calls, totaling y minutes and talked to z departments.
    Tell lowe’s how many trips you have made to the store after you made the purchase–and tell them how far it is.

    Lastly, tell them how to make it right. I couldn’t figure out what you want from them. There is an allusion to the fact you want the problem fixed, but your LETTER needs to state what you expect them to do.

  17. spinachdip says:

    @crnk: Agreed completely.

    If your goal is to simply vent, yeah, a rambling letter will do, but the idea is to want to, or at least feel the need to, help you. This only encourages the reader to toss it aside.

    You should be able to get all the key points on a single page, double spaced. Anything more is either too long or needs to be an addendum or attachment.

  18. crnk says:

    Great points—I like the idea of an attachment, as an additional document could potentially be very moving. Imagine if he just charted out every single trip he made to deal with it, and then had a running total of the miles driven and estimate of cost to him.
    Then, if he had a chart showing each phone call, noting transfers and people he talked to, that could show how he got the runaround sometimes.

  19. Buran says:

    Threaten a chargeback. If they don’t help you, go through with it. Send full documentation to the credit card company — you were sold goods that were not as ordered.

  20. cryrevolution says:

    @Darren666: The service rep insisted this because they were still in the 7 day return period. He has not gotten a service rep out to inspect the washer since the whole Lowe’s debacle. If the state is unknown, why replace the entire washer if there is in fact no damage? He needs to find that out before he starts getting into the whole replacement process. I’m not condemning him for wanting to replace it, I’m just saying he should figure out if he even has to.

  21. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    Yeah, you kinda mentioned that a couple of times — anything else to add?

  22. amoeba says:

    @IRSistherootofallevil: I wouldn’t emphasized the “NEVER-EVER”, but you’re right. You can’t say that you won’t do businesses with them if the next day you are inside the store again.

    One thing that caught my attention since I’ve been reading Consumerist, that many of the stories related to “installation” are done by the stores technicians or the people who deliver the item. All my appliances I’ve bought in the past; they have been delivered only. The sells people told me that I am responsible of the installation, and so far as I know all the stores in my area follow this rule. I am not sure if they do this in Utah because they want to avoid this same problem.

  23. persch5 says:

    It is not installers that hook up the washing machine. It is the delivery drivers. The only appliances that need installation service are dishwasers OTRs and Gas Appliances. Could be just a dumb driver…..

  24. FLConsumer says:

    Actually, leaving the shipping bolts in place is probably one of the BEST mistakes the installers could have made. They usually do the opposite — remove the shipping bolts, then bounce the washer up the stairs, drop it in place, etc. They’re supposed to be removed with the washer about to be moved into its final location.

    While I agree that Lowes’ installers are pathetic and screw up quite a few front-load washer installs (I know, my step brother’s a Lowe’s store manager), your washer’s actually in good shape. The shipping bolts are there to protect the drum suspension & shock absorbers during shipment & transport. Just pull them and KEEP THEM in case you have to move and take the washer with you.

    While this doesn’t take Lowes off the hook for having untrained installers and poor customer service, your washer’s fine.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I had Lowe’s install countertops and a refrigerator last year with no problems. They did a very good job. However, I put in the other appliances myself.

  26. Protector says:

    I got a kick out of how he went from Home Depot to Lowes, assuming that this kind of stuff would NEVER happen elsewhere.


  27. Greeper says:

    True story from this week — my friend had Lowes install siding on his weekend house (in rural VA) for 13k. THis friend is a notorious cheapskate who will ALWAYS call and complain and try to get some discount afterward. True to form, he didn’t like the job they did. Lowes sent someone out and their rep said it was a really bad job. My friend demanded 6500 back. Lowes called him back and denied his request for 6500, insisting on refunding 7200. He was like, ummm, OK. When he used Lowes at his main house in DC, they refused to give him a cent back for substandard work. SO he’s attributed it to the friendly country lifestyle.

  28. Indecision says:

    Imagine you were on a deep-sea fishing vessel which has capsized. You appear to be the only survivor, clinging weakly to some flotsam as you drift through the frigid waters. You are bleeding heavily, fighting the urge to slip into unconsciousness. You know it’s only a matter of time before the sharks find you, and you’re not sure if you should stay awake long enough to discover whether the coast guard finds you before the sharks do, or if you should give in before finding out.

    That is horrifying. Spending a couple of hours on the phone and in a store dealing with a washing machine purchase is most assuredly not horrifying. If I were a manager reading your letter, and you described a shopping experience as “horrifying” (without involving sharks or bears or anything), I’d have a very hard time taking you seriously. Not to mention that your letter is excessively long, and on top of that, it seems to lack a point. It’s just ranting. What do you want Lowes to do?

  29. sporesdeezeez says:

    @indecision: Very well said. I thought his wording was very melodramatic as well. It’s funny how that relativity of emotion works. I’m a little upset because I’ve developed some permanent tinnitus recently, but I find it relatively easy to console myself because at least I’m not, as Lewis Black said, “crocheting something that isn’t there.”

    I would, in a more succinct and less melodramatic fashion, demand that the washer be replaced, though. I don’t know what the market is like for refurbished washers but it’s probably good enough they’ll make their money back. If enough force is acting against the bearings in the washing machine to cause it to walk across the room in the spin cycle, that’s probably causing some damage. A washer is something that should last a decade or more, with the occasional out-of-balance load doing this for a few seconds, with suspension to dampen the shock to the bearings.

    Plus, if he’s tipped off Bosch to this – rightly or wrongly – they could probably refuse warranty repair. At this point, if he keeps it, he’ll likely get stuck holding the bag if it breaks.

    He should write a second, revised letter. This one probably got chucked instantly.

  30. jesirose says:


  31. proficiovera says:

    I had something similar happen with Sears a few years back. Luckily I caught the mistake before any damage was done.

  32. doubleclutch says:

    Yes people, not taking the shipping bolts out of the back of a washing machine can seriously damage it. These shipping bolts are meant to hold the drum still while in transport from place to place. Sometimes when not removed they’ll allow the drum to rotate, sometimes not. The motor is working extra hard trying to make the drum rotate, while the shipping bolts are doing their best to keep it still.Hence, a damaged washing machine motor.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Please don’t judge all Lowes by one store. Some stores contract out delivery/installation services but most have a bona fide Delivery Dept complete with a manager, drivers, loaders and helpers. I am a driver with a Lowes store in North Carolina and we pride ourselves on superb customer service. Removing the shipping bolts on front-loading washers is mandatory procedure. We do a complete install and do a complete test run before we leave the customer’s premises. That includes checking for water leaks and mechanical noises or malfunctions. We are confident that the appliance works as it should before we leave. We treat our customers as we ourselves would like to be treated. From time to time there may arise a problem but it has been my experience that our store personnel do whatever it takes to right the problem and take care of the customer. Thanks.