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    Mr. Richard Smith, Store Manager
    The Home Depot
    Eastview Mall
    Victor, New York 14564


    December 20, 2003

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    I have purchased a considerable amount of tools and equipment both personally and professionally from The Home Depot. I called RIGID concerning the 3.25 HP Wet/Dry vacuum I had purchased for my home from The Home Depot when it had malfunctioned on December 14, 2003. The person who took my call in the RIGID Customer Service Department instructed me to bring the vacuum to The Home Depot and they would “take care of me.” So, today I drove my young family (ages 6, 4, 2), my wife, and I to the Eastview Mall location of The Home Depot bringing my malfunctioning vacuum in an attempt to get service.

    I was greeted at the Returns register cordially by Drianna at 1:15 P.M. whom I have seen numerous times, before when I have returned or exchanged items, since I frequent this store. She requested an individual to inquire what vacuum there was on the shelf to service my needs. As it would take several minutes, I waited as Drianna waited on another customer. The individual returned stating that the store had a 3.5 HP to which I said fine. The individual then went in search of the 3.5 HP model, as it would then be several minutes, Drianna waited on another customer. When the individual returned he was carrying a vacuum without a vacuum hose or attachments. When he set the vacuum on the counter I looked over the new model comparing it to mine, realizing the hose I had at home would not match the new vacuum, I said to the individual that the hose would not match up. He then said RIGID did not make the model I owned and the hose would not match up.

    Hearing this I looked at him a bit puzzled and inquired what I was to do, to which he replied that I would have to bring in my hose from my malfunctioning unit in and then he would give me the new hose with attachments. When I heard this I said why was this not pointed out to me when I first walked into the store while my wife and three very young children are waiting in our minivan in the parking lot. Ken replied in a sneering brusque, manner, “well, it just makes sense that you have to bring everything.”

    At no point was the RIGID policy on returns or exchanges explained to me. I did not know what to expect when I walked into The Home Depot, nor did I know after being waited on by The Home Depot staff.

    When hearing the, “’just makes sense,’” comment I thought why am I being talked to this way? I brought the vacuum into the retailer as I had been instructed. I had waited patiently as the staff went through its’ procedures. Now, I am being told that I am to figure out before I travel to the retailer what I think makes sense on a return or exchange on a particular product.

    When I attempted to point this out to the individual he told me to, “leave his store.” I replied to him asking whom the manager of the store was, to which he said, “I am.” The individual repeated to me twice more to, “leave his store.” I asked him specifically “Your store?” To which he replied, “yes.” Now, estimating at how I was being handled I considered the individual before me and seriously doubted that this was in fact the store manager. The individual then got on the phone loudly and proclaimed to call “security,” employees of the store started to look at him waving the phone. I remained motionless and requested the store manager’s name and phone number. After several minutes of the individual calling, “security, “ he came back to me and I told him that things did not have to have turned out this way and I requested the Store Manager’s name and phone number.

    When the individual went to get me the information, I said to the return cashier, Drianna, that I am in this store quite a bit, to which she acknowledged. I then asked to whom I had just dealt with to which she replied Ken Kaiser, the afternoon shift Hardware Manager.

    This whole episode was very upsetting. I got into our vehicle with my hands shaking as I told my wife what I had just gone through. It took some time before I could drive our family to our home. We immediately retrieved the original box the vacuum was purchased in with hose and attachments (some still wrapped in original packing) and returned to The Home Depot.

    I handed Drianna my box and she handed me a box with holes in it held together with packing tape that had contents with dirty hoses and attachments.

    I ask is this how The Home Depot and RIGID treat a customer who has been loyal to you?


    Matthew D. Kells, CPM, MRCM,

  • #2
    Sounds like good wholesome family fun to me! Geesh! That wasn't Ken Kaiser the major league baseball umpire was it? (rather large guy?)


    • #3
      I can't believe I'm seeing two of these in one day. Lake Ontario, please read my reply in this thread and consider my sympathy and advice to be the same here.


      • #4
        The employee is one of the "eye for an eye types," fully lacking in knowledge or wisdom in customer service. Giving him the hose with the replacment vacuum is known in legal terms as "making him whole" according to warranty law. This would be the judge's ruling in any court. What the heck is the customer going to do with the old hoses, if he no longer has the vacuum that uses them.

        Almost all good companies will trust the customer, if he or she says that parts are missing from the package and send them out immediately. The last thing that a company wants is a large number of bulky or at least sizeable items returned to the store. Transportation, servicing and selling a refurbished product is almost never a money maker. The manufacturer can only hope that a fraction of the organization's costs is recovered.

        Almost all instruction sheets, today, state; "Do not return the product to the store. Please contact us via the toll free number for assistance."

        In my business, satellite TV, Channel Master recently filed for bankrupcy, because Dish Networt returned a couple hundred thousand defective LNB's from installed satellite dshes. Channel Master has been purchased by Andrew for pennies on the dollar.

        The particular manager at Home Depot was a fool or quite inexperienced.


        • #5
          Wow. No offense meant to SuperDave or any other HD employees reading, but it seems we have some HD associates cracking up today. Could it be the stress of the tool sale

          Seriously, I would have a hard time spending money at the place again if I was ever treated like Lake Ontario and tbutler6 were today. I remember I quit going to Hechinger some years back after extremely shoddy treatment. Of course they disappeared in bankruptcy not to long after that anyway.

          [ 12-20-2003, 10:50 PM: Message edited by: Redbrick ]


          • #6
            The biggest problem with that line of reasoning is that the majority of people don't really have a choice. Where I am at, I have four HDs and five Lowe's within 150 miles. The only other sources for tools or equipment in that same area is SEARS, Northern, or Tractor Supply. None of these have any kind of selection compared to the box stores, and a boycott just isn't sustainable.

            While there is a WoodCraft store supposed to open about 40 miles from me in January, the number of possible options just isn't there.

            The box stores have driven just about all of the small hardware stores out of business and the independant building supply companies can't make money off the small sales so they are just as bad, if not worse, for service.

            For most, all you can do is try to minimize the number of idiots you have to tolerate. Most are reduced to trying to find the good service people within the box stores or providing their own service as much as possible. I do fairly well with the Lowe's that is closest to me because I do it myself. My wife went once and will not go back without me. She had to rely on the service personnel and was not happy. My choice has been to try to move to the Internet and use the boxes as a test drive center. It has worked for me so far, but I am still tied to the boxes for items I can't wait to have delivered.

            [ 12-21-2003, 12:22 AM: Message edited by: spowell ]


            • #7
              Hey Matthew,

              I do hope you get some results. Customer service is sucking these days.

              I hope that RIDGID considers releasing its product to the open market. (Hey, if Milwaukee, DeWalt, Bosch, and Makita can be sold by multiple retailers, why in the hell can't RIDGID and Ryobi be?)

              I have been happy with my new local HD. However, I bought my Bosch router kit from Amazon because an HD salesdroid in my former geographic area couldn't even get my a price or lead time after 15 minutes of looking through obsolete price lists. (Oh, that Bosch package is a current model.) I was that guy's second customer to leave empty-handed that day.

              Keep us updated as to what kind of settlement you receive.


              • #8
                Between HD and Ridgid's new style of service, I would say the down hill slide of things is waxed, silconed and greesed for a speedy decline.

                Things need to be upgraded sugnificantly. Ridgid is just another overseas manufactured tool these days. They are everywhere, and average on price.

                Personally, I have received emails from Ridgid employees which consistantly are lies, and are not followed through with. The latest being my band saw would be replaced and to expect delivery in 10 days. It's now been 18. No verification it has shipped, no message of any kind.

                Tis sad for Ridgid and HD. I will not spend one more cent on the name until they shape up. There are other companies selling overseas manufactured goods that at least respond to the customers.

                And don't even get me started on parts and accessories!
                John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


                • #9
                  I have had better service experience at Lowes than Home Depot. I remember standing in the window department of HD for a full hour with not one associate in sight. It was during the day so the store was not busy at all.

                  We only have one Lowes in chicago area, but I have talked with a couple of the staff in tool department. Apparently corporate at Lowes has been hammering importance of courtesy and customer service and staffing up a bit more than Home Depot b/c they know of customer service issues. I don't know if this is b/c of being first Lowes in the area or it's nationwide, but I personally drive by 3 home depots to buy at lowes whenever I have the chance.



                  • #10
                    I agree with everyone else, it is a load of B/S to have been treated like that, those individuals would not last long in my company. But with that being said I have to say I revieved EXCELLENT customer service from the Glastonbury Ct. Home Depot. Also the Berlin Ct. and Enfield Ct. were very helpfull. Unfortunatly the world is not lacking for morons and some of them have jobs that affect decent peoples lives, don't let a few jerks bad attitudes get in the way.


                    • #11
                      Boy I can't beleive that. I was at the HD in
                      our area. I was talking to a guy about the drills a warrenty. He said if I run it over with my truck bring it in and he would take care of it.
                      He even gave me his card, he was the manager of the store.