Home Depot Customer Service and Ctiibank driving customers away
Prior to June of this year (2012), I had been a loyal Home Depot customer for decades, purchasing all the materials for three home remodels nearly exclusively from them.
I kicked off my most recent remodel with a trip to Home Depot, and when I went to the counter with $4000 worth of merchandise and a 10% off coupon. It has been a few years since my last remodel, and as it turns out, 10% off advertisements from Home Depot don't necessarily mean 10% off. After providing a laundry list of excuses, exceptions, and provisos, I was offered 35$, or less than 1% off my $4000 purchase.
After a lengthy discussion, the sales rep pushed me to get a Home Depot Credit Card. With the credit card app, I was told I would be able to actually obtain the 10% savings clearly printed on the coupon. I didn't need the credit, but I went ahead and did it anyway. It took me over an hour to complete this simple purchase.
The next day, I walked into the "Design Center" where a sales assistant offered to put together a bid for a glass shower enclosure. It took a week for the bid to come back via telephone, by which time, I had already awarded the job to a local glass company for 25% less than the Home Depot bid.
My next trip, I came to the counter with 600$ worth of redwood fencing and tried to use the newly created Home Depot account which had been pushed on me. I had left my ID at home, so they denied the charge, froze the account, and, on talking to the Home Depot Credit (Citibank) rep on the phone, was informed I was already near or over my credit limit, despite the fact I had only used the account for it's initial purchase. Stunning!
The very next trip, I went in to shop for flooring, wanting to decide between wood, engineered wood, tile, and stone. To say the employee in Home Depot's flooring department was uninformed about the products she was selling would be the understatement of the year. I ended up going to a flooring business out of Anaheim's mile of tile and got not only sound advice but flooring for 50% off of what Home Depot was charging. Another $8000 in lost revenue to the Home Depot.
Over the next four weeks I spent over $25,000 on meterials for phase 1 of my remodel, the only portion of which went to home depot was the initial $4000 spent via their customer loyalty credit account, which they froze within 24 hours of opening. In essence, poor customer service and a poorly managed customer loyalty program lost them $21,000 in revenue in less than a month.
I then receive a call from Citibank(Home Depot Credit Services) telling me I am late on my payment, despite the fact I had received no billing statement and had been lead to believe charges over $2500 came with 18 months of free financing. The person from citibank(Home Depot Credit) tells me smugly, "Its 18 months free financing, not 18 months free financing and no payments" as she treats me like a dead beat credit account and also informs me of the $25 late fee I have been assessed.
I let her know the manner in which this card had been pushed on me was very misleading in this regard, not that she was concerned in the slightest. I asked her about the frozen nature of my account and she told me I needed only to present my Id in store, and the card would be once again useable. I also made immediate payment electronically to bring the account current.
The very next day I had done my shopping online for closet cabinetry. I had already discovered that most of what is offered online is not available in the stores, so I was very careful to choose a product that said it was available for pickup at the local store. When I got to the store, you guessed it, not there. I waited for 15 minutes to find a customer service rep who informed me as much, with a bit of attitude. I was directed to another store 10 minutes down the road who had the items in stock.
I proceeded to that store, found the items, went to the checkout with my ID and the physical Home depot Credit card which had since been mailed to me. I tried to use the card. Denied. First the sales associate called to get it cleared, without success. Then I called to get it cleared. I handed my phone to the Home Depot employee who talked with the Home Depot credit person and followed his instructions. He hung up the phone and said it should all be taken care of, but when he ran the card again, denied. While standing at the checkout, I called Home Depot Credit(Citibank) again to find out why I am still standing at the home depot checkout counter with 10 people behind me for a half hour dealing with their customer loyalty program. The rep on the other end of the phone told me smugly that the payment they had collected electronically would take 24 hours to post to the card, and that was still a few hours away.
Enraged, I told him to close the account, to which he responded, "With pleasure". I went directly to Lowes and got the exact Closet Maid items I needed at the same advertised price, from a neatly organized store with helpful and informed employees.
In summary, Home Depot, by means of their Home Depot Credit services (the irony of a customer loyalty program), and their poor customer service, managed to alienate a decades long loyal customer. I now will not set foot in Home Depot unless it is absolutely something I can't get anywhere else, and lets be honest about that. Almost anything you want at Home Depot you can get somwhere else, usually at Lowes, and usually for less.
This remodel alone has another $50,000 worth of purchases to be made, and I'm happy to say I'm already $10,000 into that 50k, none of it spent at Home Depot. Your customer service reps words, as he closed my credit account still ring in my ears. "With pleasure".