If you value your time, money, and integrity be warned, do NOT deal with Home Depot or American Woodmark for any of your cabinetry needs, you will get badly burned, if our experience is anything to go by. We are writing this as a warning and as a service to other consumers in the USA - we would spare you the anguish of going through the same experiences we have in our dealings with both companies, including the following - misaligned doors - no amount of tinkering with the hinges could get them level
- Having our first order totally screwed up, so that I had to go through the entire invoice to pick out all the faults and correct them before the order was shipped out to us.
- Receiving two thirds of the shipment some weeks later, and being told that we had nothing further to receive by American Woodmark. Taking further time away from my work I returned to Home Depot to eventually discover that our order had been mysteriously broken up into two orders, the latter of which was going to take a further two weeks to arrive. gaps in joinery - note also the splintered join in the corner
- Discovering upon returning home to unpack the shipment which had arrived that the majority of the cabinets were of an appallingly standard, with crooked and slanted drawers, sagging and misaligned doors, cabinets out of square, drawers that wouldn't fully close, poorly finished woodwork, and damage which included router marks, scratches, dents, and a warped door. In sum it proved to be the poorest workmanship I had ever seen, the worst by a long way, so embarrassing that it left one to wonder how any business could or would have let the products out the door.
- Being told by Home Depot, in response to my complaint, that it would be inconvenient' for them to come out to inspect the goods until the remaining cabinets had arrived. It was considered more convenient obviously to take up half our living room area storing the stuff for a couple of weeks, even though I had made it plain the cabinets were unsatisfactory and would have to go back.
- Receiving confirmation from Home Depot that the remaining cabinets had arrived and would be shipped out to us the next day, a Friday, which just happened to be the day prior to Hurricane Frances' arrival in our home town of Orlando. As is per usual with these kind of self-serving deliveries, Home Depot gave themselves the widest window of opportunity (anytime between 9 - 5) and I sat around all day hoping for an early delivery so I could make a dash out for some last-minute purchases that had come to mind with regard the emergency. The day went by and no delivery took place, at which point I rushed off to gather what I could. The following Monday I called Home Depot to find out what had happened - Oh, we had to cancel delivery because of the hurricane! Nice of them to tell us, wasn't it? In the face of the hurricane's arrival I'd had the courtesy to hang around all day when other matters were more pressing, yet this appalling company couldn't even have the courtesy or consideration to take two minutes to call our home and save me the time and trouble of hanging about waiting all day, especially when they would have known that Orlandoans were preparing for a hurricane. B..ds. Frayed ends sticking out in the join - a common problem with all the cabinets
- Receiving the remaining pieces and discovering the quality was just as poor as the first shipment. Included was a pantry cabinet with a door hanging loosely by one intact hinge at the top - the other two had snapped off, leaving the door to swing about and scratch the woodwork with the jagged edges of the broken metalwork.
- Received a letter from Home Depot's accounting section to inform us we were being penalized for late payment. What a punchline to the whole fiasco to date, when the fact was we had made the whole purchase under one of the company's periodic no-interest, no-payment for 12 months' schemes. No, we were told, that wasn't the case, as we had made our purchase the day AFTER the offer had expired. Let's backtrack a bit at this juncture, so you can fully understand our disgust at all this. We had made our initial order on the last day of the offer in question, signed all the papers, everything. But because of the problems I had detected in the order, when I returned the next day to rectify the situation the woman I dealt with informed me that the only way she could make the corrections through Home Depot's computer system was to cancel the previous order. As far as accounts were concerned therefore, Home Depot's methods for fixing up their own screw-ups were our tough luck if it meant the deal had expired when the corrections were made. It was only after a heated telephone conversation that the company decided to honor it's agreement.
- Eventually received a visit from a young man working under the nebulous title of Home Depot's Install expediter'. From what we could ascertain the title is a euphemism for let's get our arses out of this as painlessly and as cost-effectively as possible'. The delivery was slick, smooth and fast, starting with an initial foray into snow-job territory, with claims that most of the concerns were quite normal and readily repairable in-the-field' - this with barely a cursory glance at the stockpile of junk I'd been forced to store for weeks for just this occasion. Only when I began giving the guy a guided tour of all the havoc did the tone quickly shift to one of solicitation and good intentions. I'm here for you, what can we do? When I informed him that I thought the stuff was junk and would have to go back I was presented with two choices, both of which were delivered with the kind of generosity of spirit that left me wondering if I was supposed to get down on my knees and thank Home Depot for its largesse. In the first instance I was told, with all the enthusiasm in the world, that I could return the faulty cabinets and get another order - at no extra cost to me (how generous is that, hey?) - and that this time Home Depot would make sure' that the cabinets were given special attention to ensure they were up to specification. Call me strange, call me weird, but isn't this what I SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Only Home Depot could take a consumers basic expectations of a product and turn it into some sort of bonus feature to the deal, a wonderful gesture of benevolence. Yep, after all we had been through their basic way of making up for it was to essentially offer us what we should have already received, and do it in such a manner that we should have felt grateful. It's a pretty a pathetic world we live in when you apparently have to receive special treatment in order to obtain the basic items you've ordered. Can you picture American Woodmark as a car manufacturer and Home Depot as a dealership - I tell you what we're going to do, when you get out of hospital and finalize funeral arrangements for your wife and kids I'll make sure next time that you get a Woodmark Woody' that DOESN'T lose it's steering wheel at high speed, okay, cause you know that we're here for you, guy!
As for the other offer? With the same enthusiasm and overtones of largesse, the opportunity to simply return the goods, at no expense to ourselves! Our expediter friend went out of his way to assure me that the bill for the cabinets would be forgotten - wow! Another basic consumer right wrapped up as a gilt-edged offer.
Later that day a truck was sent around to pick up the cabinets. Having kept all the packaging I fully expected Home Depot to send a team of people around to re-box all the cabinets for their return journey to the manufacturer. Nope. One driver arrived who proceeded to load them all up as is, no packaging, nothing. The obvious impression given was that Home Depot cared nothing whatsoever for the cabinetry, which was of particular note when my wife returned home from work later that day and called the company to voice her own complaints. The individual she spoke to, someone by the name of Larry, tried doing a deal, stating that we could have the cabinets back less 10% of their value. On the one hand Home Depot had wanted to initially argue that there was little wrong with the cabinets, had then treated them with scant respect for the return trip to their store, and now wanted to offer us a pathetic discount on faulty items that had probably had further damage added to all the inbuilt flaws they'd arrived with.
What Let's-do-a-deal Larry doesn't get, what his smooth-taking predecessor didn't get, and what the company doesn't get, is that they've acted in an insulting manner from beginning to end, glossing over our concerns and anger, over the appalling quality of the product we received, and over the company's own mistake-ridden contributions to the fiasco. At no juncture has anyone even considered offering us an apology for screwing up our plans, our time, our hopes, and our home for the last couple of months. We have been planning on remodeling our kitchen for the last few years, and now, when we finally had the time and money to accomplish it, our plans have been squashed by one company's appalling standards of manufacture and another's utter self-absorption and disinterest where it's customers are concerned. This is the price we pay when our traditional small firms get pushed aside by corporate entities whose only bottom line is shareholder interests and profits. Go to American Woodmark's home page and see where the main focus is - you'll get the point. You either get redirected to Home Depot or Lowes to view their actual products, or you can delve further into the site itself and discover that it has next to nothing to do with cabinetry or remodeling, it's all about corporate structure, profit margins, and shareholders.
Here it is - http://www.americanwoodmark.com
Thanks to all this our plans for remodeling the kitchen have had to be shelved till next year, due mainly to the fact that pending work commitments, plus the time it would take to find an alternative source for the cabinets, preclude my being able to find the time now to perform the task. Thanks so much to Home Depot for its part in the debacle and for its very warped perception of customer service, and a big thanks to American Woodmark for showing us why moving the manufacturing processes of this country off-shore might not be such a bad thing after all.
If you've read this far, do yourself a favor if you're thinking of remodeling your kitchen and steer well clear of American Woodmark's products, they are nothing but poorly manufactured junk, as far as we can judge from our own experience. A dozen faulty cabinets out of an order of fifteen, spread over two orders, would tend to suggest that what we received was no accident but a uniform manufacturing process. Go to the following page for more details.
Finally, do other people a favor and email them this page. The more people who become aware of our story the better, as it may help others to avoid the same pitfalls and disappointments of dealing with both company's. One manufactures a crappy product, the other sells it, and neither apparently cares about the repercussions to the consumer.
((photos to be posted soon))
altamonte springs, Florida