Home Depot destroys customer loyalty

In one fell swoop Home Depot was able to lose me as a customer forever. Since purchasing a new home in the San Francisco Bay Area last september my wife and I have been making weekly trips to the Home Depot in San Mateo, CA for supplies for the house. In August of this year we decided to upgrade to Andersen sliding doors and windows, hoping that they would improve the value of the house and help with heating / insulation. This was going to be a decent sized purchase for us, but probably very middle of the road for Home Depot.

The initial purchase experience was decent. The salesman was knowledgeable and helped us pick out the doors that we wanted. The next step was to put down a deposit and have a contractor stop by to measure and make sure the proper order was placed.

The contractor showed up on time and was very proffesional. The order was then placed and shipped to our house. It took about a month for delivery but wasn’t an issue since there were some non-standard sizes.

The day after the order arrived a team of contractors was scheduled to install the doors. Again they were proffesional, showed up on time, and were able to get the work done quickly. If the purchase experience had stopped here, Home Depot would have garnered high points. Everything was completed as expected and handled proffesionally. There was one small hitch though. One of the sliding doors had been damaged in shipping and wouldn’t slide on the rail. The contractor told me it was no big deal and that I would just have to call Home Depot and they would send another one out right away.

Call #1) So, the next day I called and talked to a Home Depot rep from special services and described the situation. They informed me that indeed this was not a problem and that they would take care of it immediately. The door would take about a week to arrive and they would call me when it did.

Call #2) After two weeks, things were busy and I had forgotten about the door, I call Home Depot back. The door was supposed to have been scheduled for delivery on Sept 10th, but the rep that took the call could not find any information about the door being delivered or even ordered. I ask if they have one in stock, to which they responsd that they would have to check. They tell me that if I wanted to come to the store and bring the old door in they would see if they had one to replace it. I try and explain to them that the door is 8′ long and I don’t have a vehicle that it’ll fit in. They tell me that they’ll have to call me back.

Call #3) Another call after I had determined that Home Depot was not going to call me back. The rep from special services is confused by the order and can’t figure out what’s happening. I’m transferred to someone else. He informs me that there was no order for a new screen door, but that he would need to talk to someone to fix it since he wasn’t sure how to place it. I’m put on hold for 40 minutes. Getting frustrated I pick up my cell phone and call in to Home Depot again and the person who put me on hold is no longer around, but the new rep takes the call. They assure me that they will get things sorted out and call me back.

Call #4) After another couple weeks pass I call in again to check to see what the status is. Again the rep that takes the call is unable to understand the order system and can’t determine if the door has been ordered or not. They assure me that they will figure it out and call me back.

Call #5) Tonight at 5:30pm I called again, this time determined to not hang up until someone is able to do something about the order. The first person to take the call again cannot determine what is happening. He admits to not being able to understand the order system. I tell him that I’m rather upset and would like to talk to someone that can help. I’m put on hold and after a few minutes connected with a Manager, Tony. I try and explain to Tony what has happened and that all I needed was to replace a screen door that was damaged in shipping.

Tony immediately takes a very confrontational tone and asks why I haven’t talked to any supervisors. I try and explain that I was not aware that I was required or had the option to speak with a supervisor. Tony tells me that he’ll have to call me back.

At this point I admit to getting rather upset and raising my voice at the prospect of being hung up on again. I tell him that if he can’t help me with this problem then I would like to investigate getting a refund for the price of the screen door. Tony informs me that he can’t determine the price right now and that again he’d have to call me back with that info and that further more his system has no record of there being an issue with the door or my having called so obviously there was nothing he could do. Tony claimed that as far as he was concerned the order was completed successfully, even though I was currently on the phone with him trying to explain that indeed it was not.

I try and explain that as a customer, the failure of the reps to log previous calls should not have been my problem. I have no visibility into Home Depot’s internal systems or methods. It’s become apparent that nothing has been entered into the system since the original order. Tony asks for the name of the reps that I had talked to previously and unfortunately I didn’t think to take them down at the time. I ask Tony why, since I was now talking with a manager, the problem could not be resolved. He refuses to discuss any more options with me but declares that he needs to talk to the original rep that took the order and he would call me back. Tony makes it very clear that he does not have any intention of replacing the door that had been damaged in shipping.

Update:

The night after I posted this, I started looking all over the web for recommendation and business review sites. Found about a half dozen and left a full description of my situation. I also went to the www.homedepot.com site and filled out their customer feedback form. The next day someone from corporate called to let me know that my screen door had been ordered.

Several weeks later I received another call that the door had arrived. Of course even though I paid for delivery of the initial goods I’m told that they can’t deliver this item. I have to get a truck to go pick up the door.

That saturday I show up at Home Depot to pick up the sliding door. Once they go back to get it, the rep realizes that it’s been smashed by a larger package sitting next to it and is in even worse condition than the initial door.

3 weeks later another call that another replacement has arrived and they still won’t deliver it. At this point I just want the whole fiasco to be over with. I pick the door up and bring it home, 12 months later.