ED Magedson – Founder
Home Depot1675 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, California USA
Home Depot Is Home Depot's return policy hurting loyal customers? Los Angeles California
Two days ago I tried to do an exchange on a damaged product. I did not bring the receipt. They swiped my ID and they received a message saying DENIED. They could give me an explanation but told me to call the number on the receipt. I was told that my product return patterns were highly suspect and that I was blacklisted from doing more returns to HD. I found myself a victim of the one eyed, one-sided company called The Retail Equation. Why one eyed, because this company only looks at your returns not your purchases. In other words if you are an infrequent, non-loyal customer of HD this will not happen to you. If however you are a loyal customer that frequents HD several times a week or month, be careful.
This experience bothered me, so I did some investigating. Here is what I found out, but first a little background.
Have you every done a small home repair (fix a toilet or faucet) with one trip to HD? If you are like me, I did good if it only took me 2 trips. Now imagine a contractor or someone like me that has been rehabbing 2 homes and 3 apartment buildings for the past 3 years. I would buy about 5 to 10 percent more material than the job requires. Why? Because it costs money to have hourly workers standing around waiting for me to run back to HD for one more piece of drywall or a pipe fixture. The average trip to HD is about an hour (if you are lucky). So buying a little extra material allows for unforeseen events, plan changes and errors in calculations.
As I am rehabbing I have several jobs running concurrently, plumbing, electrical, flooring, drywall, building material, fixtures, etc. Even with over buying I was still making several trips to HD per day. So here is my first mistake:
Say I bought initially $5000 in material. Then during the course of the job I would run back to HD and return some of the used items and purchase more needed items. I sometimes would not bother with receipts because I might be returning $30 in material, knowing I going to buy another $300. Store credit seemed like a clean and easy way to go. Now in the past year I purchased about $35000 in material and probably made (guessing) 10 to 20 returns amounting to about max $1000. Now kick in The Retail Equation, it appears that they do not look at my purchases, only my returns. If you were only looking at one side of the equation it would certainly appear as if this customer might be abusing the return policy, perhaps stealing and returning.
Problem is my purchases are not taking into consideration, if they were I would not have been placed on this Blacklist. I tried talking with several employees of HD, including the manager. I also talked with the Retail Equation folks. There does not appear to be a review process, no warning is given, and nowhere did I see any notification given about using HD store credit. You are just blacklisted period.
My recommendation would be that is you are a loyal customer of HD. Do not return items for store credit. In some cases where you paid cash and you have the receipt, insist on getting cash back. Remember anytime they ask to see you ID your information is being put into The Retail Equation database.
Needless to say, I have since then switch my loyalty to Lowes. They have a program called MyLowes that keeps track of all my purchases and makes it very easy to do returns. No receipt is needed if you use the MyLowes.
In my continued pursuit of clearing my name I spoke with someone in HD Corporate. She told me that I could not be removed from the Blacklist but I could use my HD Pro Account upon checkout. Using my Pro account upon checkout might be similar to the MyLowes. I really don’t know I haven’t tried it. I just find it disturbing that no one in HD every asked me for my Pro account number nor explained any of this to me.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/18/2013 02:15 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/home-depot/los-angeles-california-90057/home-depot-is-home-depots-return-policy-hurting-loyal-customers-los-angeles-california-1108072. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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