UPDATED ON 9/14: My Home Depot customer service story

UPDATED ON 9/14: The Home Depot Twitter folks have been in contact with me several times today and have been very honest and straight-forward, which I appreciate. They also have done a few things to remedy the situation. While I’m still frustrated by what went down, at least I know that my concerns have been heard and that makes me feel better.

Here’s my original post from 9/13:

I’ve you’ve talked to me in the past week or read my tweets (see http://www.twitter.com/justin), you know I’ve been having some issues with my local Home Depot. Since it’s been such a terrible experience, I figured I’d air out my grievances here on the blog.

First, the backstory: I’ve been living near the Harvester (St. Charles County) Home Depot for a little over four years. In that time, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on things like piant, tools, you name it. I had heard bad things about the customer service at other locations, such as the one in south St. Louis, but I’d never had a bad experience. Then, I ordered a custom door several months ago. On the day the item was supposed to have arrived by, I didn’t hear a word. Then, about a week later we finally were contacted – the door was going to be coming late. We were given a new delivery date. I was a little peeved because our old door lets water into the houes and we really needed to get it fixed. Anyway, the next delivery day comes and goes. A few days later, another call. The door is coming late again. Thankfully, it did finally come in – on the third delivery date and about four weeks – and more water damage to our house – after we were supposed to have it.

That was bad experience No. 1. And now the current story, which I like to call strikes two and three:

Last week, our garage door finally bit the dust. It had held up admirably for four years, despite some major damage caused by the previous owner of our house. The door cracked and wouldn’t go down; in fact, it sort of started to fold up like an accordian as I held the button down to close it. I backed the cars out of the garage and tried to manually close the door. As I did this, all but two wheels popped off the tracks. The door was being held by those two wheels and the wires at the front end. It was hanging there like Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible.” Then the wheels popped out and I grabbed the one end, and I held it until my strength gave out. “Bam!!!” – it came crashing down.

In a panic, I hurried to my Home Depot. There, I purchased a new garage door. That was on Tuesday night. I was told the door would be delivered on Thursday. That was the best the could do, as much as I would have liked to have the door sooner. I had no way to get it to my house, since the panels are 16 feet long.

So Thursday comes and I’ve made arrangements with my work to be at home. And I sit around, and sit around, and sit around. Then, my wife gets home so I head to the office. And she sits around, and sits around, and sits around. A little after 5 p.m. she calls the store. “Looks like they forgot to enter it into the system,” she’s told. “We will deliver on Friday.”

At this point, I’m just starting to get peeved. I mean, we’ve already gone two nights in a row with no garage door. All of our stuff – some valuable and some not – was out in the open and there for the taking. Thank goodness I have friendly neighbors. Had I lived in a shadier part of town, I’m sure a police report or two would have had to have been filed. Anyway, so just the thought of my garage being exposed had me worried every night. I’d hear a noise and peek out the window or flip the lights on and stumble out in my sleep shorts and glasses. Frustrating and nerve-wracking.

Back to Friday. So now I’ve made special arrangements with my work to be home again. The door is scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. I work a deal out with my father-in-law to come over that afternoon to help install the door. Around 11 a.m., we still have no door so I call the store. It will be there by 2 p.m., I’m told. Even more frustrated, there’s still nothing I can do so I say “OK” and wait. And wait, and wait and wait. Around 3 p.m. I call the store. It will be there around 3:50 p.m. I’m told. I say, “Are you sure?” The guy says, “Yes, I just checked the tracking on the truck and you’re third on the delivery list.” Feeling confident, I call my father-in-law and he agrees to come over around 4 p.m.

Around that time, the garage door finally arrives. I sign the paperwork and my father-in-law arrives. We start opening the boxes and getting ready to put it together. After watching the instructional DVD (there were no written instructions – another major frustration) several times, we keep going out and looking at the parts. Something’s wrong. Finally, we determine that the panel boxes were mislabeled. We had been delivered two sets of the top two (there are four total) panels. We don’t have the bottom two panels – the bottom one, for example, should have a weather strip on it.

We can’t do any work, so the father-in-law heads home. I call the store and talk to the manager. He doesn’t really understand what I’m telling him, so he asks me to come up to the store. OMG, I’m livid by this point. But I’m trying to be nice. I head up to the store – about a 15-minute drive, mind you. Then walk to the back of the store and show him what’s wrong. I even brought pictures with me to show him. He’s really, really confused. After about 10 minutes of talking, he finally gets it. He says he’s going to have to call me back around 6:30 p.m. and that he’d get the right box to me on Saturday, even though Home Depot doesn’t deliver on Saturdays.

Around 8 p.m. (yes, 90 minutes late!) he calls. No dice. The panels will need to be delivered on Monday. I voice some major frustrations. I have my worries. Such as: my father-in-law is headed on vacation next week so I’ll have nobody to help me, my stuff will have to go all weekend sitting out in the open for burglars, and I have a job and can’t keep taking off work. I keep my cool, but I’m pretty stern.

By this point, I’ve also been tweeting with Home Depot (http://www.twitter.com/homedepot). However, not only does Home Depot not deliver on weekends, they also don’t respond to tweets after the bell rings at 5 p.m. Great customer service, let me tell you. I work in PR, and I can honestly tell the Home Depot folks this: If you’re going to be on Twitter and customer friendly, you have to be available at all hours. In fact, you have three people tweeting on your behalf. Do they all work 8-5, M-F??? Re-think your policy! It’s Sunday evening now, and not a word since Friday afternoon. Very nice.

Well, Saturday morning comes. All my stuff is still in the garage, despite me waking up and checking out there two times during the night. Around 10 a.m., the store calls. They tell me they’ll be deliverying the door that afternoon. They called in a favor with a delivery guy, since they don’t do Saturdays. Later, the door arrives. I call my father-in-law and he comes over (mind you, he lives out in Wildwood, so this is not short jaunt over to the Lopinot household – it’s about an hour each way).

Last night, around 8 p.m. we finally had the door in place. I could finally sleep easy. But I guess that’s the end of the matter for Home Depot. I haven’t heard anything from them since. I figured they’d at least refund my delivery charge or give me a coupon to use toward a future purchase. Just something for all the frustrations they put me through. But the silence remains.

So that’s it – my Home Depot customer service story. If you’ve read this far, you deserve an award. Pretty lengthy. The moral of the story: Lowe’s needs to build a store on the south side of St. Charles. I would be the store’s biggest supporter.

11 thoughts on “UPDATED ON 9/14: My Home Depot customer service story

  1. Justin – sorry for the delay this weekend. Our customer service team reached out again this morning via Twitter DM. Yes, we’re still figuring out how to manage Twitter 24/7 – in the meantime though the company is making strides to get to the heart of the matter and improve customer service in our stores. Even if we can’t help you via Twitter immediately on a weekend, by Monday AM tweets like yours are responded to – but you should also know we collect and share feedback like yours so we know where/how we need to improve the business. Thanks – and we look forward to taking care of this for you. Sarah (the PR gal on @homedepot).information@homedepot.com

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