Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Fight at Home Depot Watertown

I had such an unnecessary disagreement today at Home Depot in Watertown, and while I'm now less irritated by the dispute, I'm still amazed at their lack of customer service - totally contrary to every other experience I have had at Home Depot in Dorchester.

When I ordered my cabinets, I ordered cabinet hardware that I believed matched the existing ones.

When my order arrived, the hardware was close, but not exact. I happened to bring one of the existing knobs into Home Depot last week, and found a very close if not exact match with some off-the-shelf hardware. Only problem is that I needed 14 knobs, and they had either 10-packs or just one single knob at the Dorchester store. I bought two 10-packs, but later decided to try another Home Depot at some point in the future, and return one of the 10-packs along with some other items that needed to be returned (some face plates, screws, etc).

I figured that I had to make a trip to Tile Showcase in Watertown today, and I would check out the knob inventory at Home Depot Watertown, and if they had single knobs, I would make my returns there. It shouldn't matter what Home Depot I return items at, should it?

For in-stock problem. For special order appears that they only accept returns at the store of purchase.

Only problem is that nowhere on the receipt does it say that, nor does it indicate it on store signage.

When I returned a few stock items along with the special order item, they took back the stock items without problem, but then informed me that I would need to go to customer service for the special order items.

No problem, I thought. Three people behind the counter, two people being helped now, a short line of two people waiting.

No joke - 20 minutes later (I verified the time on my return receipt), finally I walk up to the counter. It's now my turn.

They took one look at the receipt and said they could not accept special order items purchased at another store.


I told them that I was sent over to Customer Service from that lady over there (I pointed) and had been waiting for twenty minutes in a line of practically nobody.

Nope, can't take it back here.

I'm now getting more vocal, insisting that they call the Dorchester store and figure out a return over the phone. That didn't work.

I mention that this is a stupid $20 return on an almost $4,000 order and insist on a gift card in the amount of the return.

Nope. Now the clerk throws the receipt back at me (to which I responded "You DO NOT throw this back at me.") and summons a manager.

At this point, in my still hoarse-from-sick-yet-yelling voice, I'm drawing the attention of others. Some douche customer walked up to me and mentioned that he had been waiting an hour to return something on a $10,000 order (basically his way of suggesting that if he can wait, I can wait).

"This does not concern you." was my curt reply. Dude, go away.

The manager came over, listened to the problem, said there was nothing he could do, and told me to have a good day.

Thirty minutes wasted, all because the very first clerk did not take the time to realize that my special order item was not purchased there, and they would not accept the return at that store.

How am I, as a customer, to know this policy, when it's not spelled out or explained anywhere else but verbally at the Customer Service desk?

Before I left, I ended up staring down the douche who interjected (after 10 seconds of being stared at he finally gave me a facial expression of "um...yeah?" to which I yelled over "that was none of your business.)

I also had words with the first clerk, telling her about my wasted last thirty minutes in the store because she did not correctly explain their return procedure to me before sending me over to Customer Service.

After listening to me, she said "I'm Sorry," which to be perfectly honest was all I needed to hear from someone who worked there. Nobody else said anything else that was close to apologetic.

Oddly enough, the same person who sent me down the wrong path is the only one I have forgiven.

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