Home Depot's Extraordinary Service Leads To Free $800 Appliance Upgrade

Michael launched an Executive Email Carpet Bomb after Home Depot twice failed to deliver an undamaged washer and dryer. Home Depot’s CEO Frank Blake quickly thanked Michael for his even-handed letter, and promised that the local store manager would make him a happy customer…

The store manager gave Michael two options: he could keep and use the dinged-up appliances until Home Depot found suitable replacements, or he could come back to the store and pick out new models that were in stock. She “even offered that should the only models they have in stock be slightly more expensive, that I would be upgraded free of charge.”

The ‘slightly more expensive’ models ended up being $800 more expensive, a difference the manager approved “without hesitation.” She then refunded the delivery fee.

Here’s what Michael wrote to Home Depot’s CEO:

Hello Mr. Blake.

I am writing to express both my satisfaction and displeasure with my Home Depot experience. First, the facts. My wife and I purchased a set of front-loading washer/dryers on May 6th for $1,293. Since they were not in stock, we made a “special order”. We were given a delivery estimate of 5 business days. The first time our order was received at the local store, (Garden City, KS) it was damaged. We received a call from the store informing us of this. We were told our only option was to wait for a 2nd order. When we asked if this order could be expedited, and if our order could arrive quickly, the store’s response was “Well… I hope so.” Today, May 23rd, I checked my order status online, in hopes of finally receiving our appliances soon. I saw a notice of ANOTHER cancellation and subsequent re-order. I was not informed of this by the store. I called the store, spoke with a special order representative, and was told that yes, our order again came in damaged. Again I was told that I needed to wait on a re-order. At this point I called Home Depot’s 1-800 number to ask for assistance in this matter. I am 100% satisfied with the help I’ve received from the staff at the 800 number. (More on them later, I will first continue with the bad…) After their intervention, I was told that I would receive a call from the store within 2 hours, and that they were searching stock for a similar set of appliances in the same price range. This was at 11:15 AM. It is now approaching 5:30 PM, and I just got off the phone with the Garden City Home Depot. The only reason they EVER called is because I again had the help at the 800 number intervene. (2 hours indeed…) On the phone, I was informed by “Justin” that there was in fact a washer/dryer set, the same models that I ordered, in stock that could be delivered. This leaves me puzzled, so I ask Justin how this could be. (When I came into the store, they weren’t in stock. Both the first and second shipments were damaged. How could they be in stock?) Justin’s response was “I wish I could tell you”. In addition, he informs me that delivery can’t be made until Tuesday… 4 days from now. I am to report to Home Depot later tonight to inspect the appliances for damage.

It’s going on 3 weeks since I made this purchase. This washer/dryer set isn’t a luxury item like a DVD player or a pair of shoes. This is something I ordered because my family NEEDS these appliances. Mooching off of co-workers to get laundry done is not a past-time of mine. Having said that, I am very upset that the exact models I ordered are sitting in stock at the Garden City Home Depot. Have they been there the whole time? Why did I have to escalate the situation to even find out that they were there? Do you even care if my order is ever fulfilled?

Now, I promised that there was an aspect of my experience that has been satisfactory, so here goes. Abdi (Extension 41553) at customer care has tried very hard to rectify this situation. He has been sympathetic of my problem. He has called to check on me nearly every 2 days since my first busted shipment. He as intervened for me when the Garden City staff proved that they were completely indifferent to my needs. He has even returned my calls when he said he would! Go figure! He has been the only one to get answers out of this local store, since all that they’ll tell me to do is to wait for the next shipment. My order experience continues to worsen, but Abdi has been trying his damnedest to help me out. I very much appreciate his attempts, even though they have proven essentially fruitless to this point. Kudos to Abdi and the entire staff at the 800 number’s customer care.

I sincerely apologize for having taken up so much of your time with this lengthy letter, Mr. Blake. I just thought you might like to know the that the level of support at the local store and at phone support are polar opposites. I am enthralled with the special care with which Abdi has handled my case. Conversely, I am thoroughly disappointed with the care I received at the Garden City store. My saga isn’t over yet, and I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that it will only get worse from here. And despite the excellence of your 800 number’s staff, I can not in good conscience ever recommend the Home Depot to friends or family again. And I can never again shop there myself, the taste in my mouth right now won’t allow it. Good day.

Sincerely,

Michael

Notably, Michael launched the Executive Email Carpet Bomb before reaching a seemingly final resolution. We usually recommend that you exhaust all normal customer service channels—in this case, returning to the store—before launching an EECB, but Michael’s timing clearly worked out well.

His letter is spot-on, highlighting Home Depot’s customer service shortfalls while remaining reasonable. Michael comes off as a customer that you would want to help, which made it easy for Frank Blake to respond with this:

Michael: I apologize for the bad experience you’ve had. And I thank you that in the middle of it, you still took the time to recognize one of our Customer Care associates. I will have someone contact you as soon as possible to address this problem and if you’re not satisfied with the resolution, please let me know directly. – Frank Blake

Here is the response from the store manager:

My name is Jan Morgan, the store mngr at the GC Home Depot. I am trying to contact you to set up the delv of your appliances. I understand that Justin asked if you could look at the product before we deliver. If this is not able to happen, that is ok, the driver will wait while you look them over.

From the research I did on why this set is at the store, this is a canceled order from another customer that was upgraded again due to received damage.

Looking forward to speaking with you to correct this situation.
Jan Morgan
Store Manager
2219 Home Depot
Garden City, Ks.
620-275-5943

By 9:30 the morning after I sent my letter, I had these responses as well as a missed call from the Garden City, KS store manager. When speaking with the manager, Ms. Morgan, I was given the option of accepting the busted merchandise to use at home until a satisfactory shipment was received. I declined, and countered that instead, we could replace the models I chose with something of comparable value that was in stock. She agreed, and even offered that should the only models they have in stock be slightly more expensive, that I would be upgraded free of charge. Awesome!

I showed up at the store about an hour later, and from then on was taken care of by Stan and Sarah. After searching their stock for me, they found that there were no front loading washer/dryers in stock. They then offered to give me floor models instead, should I find their condition to be acceptable. At this point I say that whatever is closest in price to what I originally purchased is fine. They directed me to a set of LG’s, priced at $699 a piece. This would have been a comp of hundreds of dollars, so I was delighted to accept their offer. The floor models had been stacked onto each other for display, and had seemed to be in great shape. When they were taken down for shipment however, it was revealed that these were also damaged! Having been stacked for so long the bottom appliance had significant damage on top. At this point Stan says, “Well, what about the grey ones? Are they OK?”. I replied that yes, that would be fine. Soon after saying this, I realize that the sticker price on these appliances is $999, and $899 respectively. Holy crap! (GE Washer model WCVH6800J0MS, Dryer model DCVH680EJ0MS) When Sarah informs Stan of the difference in price between these models and the ones I purchased, (At about $530 a piece) and if she should just write-off the difference, he says yes without hesitation. As we finalize our exchange I thank them both profusely for helping us so much. I’m still stunned as I’m writing this letter that this worked out so well.

I will be writing Mr. Blake back to let him know what happened, and that despite what was said in the letter, I will indeed be purchasing from Home Depot again. How could I not? You have no idea how guilty I felt throughout the process. I mean, that’s almost an $800 difference! They even refunded the delivery charge!

I didn’t expect in my wildest dreams for my EECB to turn into this. Thank you so much consumerist!

We knew EECBs worked; we’ve seen the results; but even we didn’t think they worked this well! Great work, Home Depot!

(Photo: ZacharyTirrell)