Home Depot keeps cooking

By | January 22nd, 2016

William Leeper hauled his new $404 GE kitchen range home himself from the local Home Depot only to find some of the external metal damaged right out of the box.

Returning or exchanging the range was no trivial task, even if Home Depot took responsibility. How would he be compensated for the aggravation and time?

Before Leeper could consider the answer, Home Depot made it right — and then some.

Leeper has a knack for happy endings when things go awry with a new product purchase, and was the subject of a similar previous story about Kiwi polish.

Now, moving from polish to hardware is something I can really relate to. While I am a guy not prone to polishing shoes, I love hardware stores and know what every single thing in every aisle is for. But I have not really considered Home Depot for an appliance purchase. Maybe I should. Apparently, some deals can be had, especially by saving on the delivery and store-provided installation.

“We purchased a new GE kitchen range and picked it up from the store after it arrived,” began Leeper. “When we unpacked the unit we discovered that the rear of the range metal had been pushed in about three to four inches, the lower front right corner dented, and the bottom drawer twisted.”

Ouch. Sounds like a bad day for the forklift operator.

Leeper wasn’t worried about getting it replaced, but now he had to haul it back. Today, our schedules have never seemed busier, and while most companies usually replace a defective product without a hassle, that alone does not always keep the customer coming back after the aggravation.

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“I immediately called Home Depot, where the assistant manager, Gina, took charge of the problem,” continued Leeper. “Without any evidence of the damage, she offered to reorder a new range for me, this time with free delivery. And we could go ahead and use the current stove until the replacement arrived.”

Now we’re cooking.

Although Home Depot threw in the extra delivery cost and interim usage of the dented stove by way of making it up to Leeper, they were not done.

“She said if we were inclined to try to fix the damage ourselves, they would refund $100 cash,” he added.

What inner Tim Taylor of “Tool Time” would not rush to this throwdown challenge of not only using his or her tools to fix something, but for an additional $100 to boot, when the problem was just misaligned sheet metal? With a myriad of tools pacing back and forth on my workbench, restless for action, I almost wish I had that problem.

(Insert “Tool Time” baboon grunts here.)

Leeper is a guy after my own home repair heart, and straightened out the metal himself. “With a bit of muscle and some proper resistance, I managed to get most of the range straightened out,” he triumphantly exclaimed. “You can hardly tell it was damaged, and I accepted the $100 – plus the tax.”

Both the good news guy and home repair guy are impressed.

The bigger message here is not just that Home Depot acted promptly to exchange the merchandise, but that they also recognized the true cost to the buyer when something goes awry — the time and effort involved. And, they really were sorry.

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In the end, Leeper was not only made whole but was given a choice — something we simply do not see that often today. Anyone can sell an appliance, but not everyone can keep a loyal customer.

We can take some responsibility and do our part to encourage this sort of thing. (Leeper is a good-natured guy who was very polite, which never hurts.) And rather than gird our loins for battle while prematurely affixing blame, accept that mistakes happen and let those able to do so show their ability to correct them. We just might be pleasantly surprised.

“Even in the store, they never asked for photos or any other proof of the damage,” Leeper concluded. “They took us at our word — and they took ownership of the issue. I am so pleased with how Home Depot handled our problem.”

Smiles and baboon grunts all around!

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