Home Depot Pushes Free Assembly That Isn’t All That Free


When shopping for a grill at Home Depot, Amy and her spouse had a requirement that they didn’t think was too onerous. They wanted a grill that had not yet been assembled, so it would fit in their car and so they would only be able to blame themselves if it were put together wrong. “But…but…but… FREE assembly!” insisted employees at their local store, dragging them into an illogical spiral where “free” actually means “we can rent you a truck for $19.99.”

My spouse and I shopped around for a new barbecue grill and found one that we liked at Home Depot. After looking around at the pre-assembled grills, we solidified our choice. My spouse approached the customer service counter and asked if they had the barbecue still in the box as there were several on the floor already assembled. The customer service representative indicated that they offer free assembly so we wouldn’t have to assemble it. We understand this concept, it’s nice and all, but I have a mid-sized SUV which won’t hold an assembled barbecue grill and, not to be mean, but I don’t trust someone else to assemble something that creates fire from propane and hope that they screwed in all the nuts and bolts. Also, most of the floor models were scratched (stainless steel lids and knobs) and only two of them had the instruction manuals.

So, again, my spouse asked if the customer service representative could please check the back for one in the box. She sighed rather loudly and called. She mumbled something about people “wanting it IN THE BOX” (like this was a new concept). When she hung up, she said they would check and call her back. Twenty minutes later, I asked her to call again since they must have forgotten about it or are having trouble locating one. She again sighs at me and places the call. She asks “Did you find it yet? Yeah, they are STILL waiting” (as if we would leave after a certain period of time). After a few minutes, another employee walks up with a phone to his ear. Apparently they are now less than 10 feet from each other and talking to each other on the phone.

The other employee comes up to us and says there are 10 grills in that store but he can’t find any in the box. He counts how many are on the floor already pre-assembled, seven. So the two of them start looking on the computer again. I look over and count how many pre-assembled grills there are, I count 10. I mention that there are 10 on the floor. The guy from the back counts again. He agrees. Then he tells us how their assembler recently quit. I’m thinking he must have assembled everything in the store and assembled himself out of a job!

Back to the customer service representative who asks us if we want one pre-assembled since the “assembly is free.” We decline as it will not fit in our car and she immediately suggests that for $19.99 we can rent one of their trucks. Uhm, no thanks. I asked her to call another Home Depot in the area to check if they have the grill still in the box. This request was met with a glare from the representative, another sigh and she reluctantly called another Home Depot.

After a few minutes on the phone, she says they do not have one in the box. Of course. She then asks “Did you want me to call another store?” in the most sarcastic, valley girl tone. Uhm, no. She again suggests that we can rent one of their trucks for $19.99. So, in essence, the “free assembly” is not free. It costs you $19.99 to rent their truck to get your pre-assembled grill home.

I left negative feedback on Home Depot’s website. I received a call from their manager almost a week later. She indicated that she would be happy to deliver the grill to our home. And how soon would that happen? Well, she has people going out in our area in two days. So I would have to wait two more days, then I would have to take off work to be present for the delivery, and I would have to tip the boys who drop it off. Somehow, the “free assembly” is still not so free.

I declined her offer, she asked me why. I told her how I don’t like nor appreciate Home Depot finding a way to rip me off for their so called “free assembly” and it is apparently throughout ALL Home Depots, not just the one near my home.

Thanks Home Depot for trying to charge me more! The moral: nothing is ever FREE!

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