PALM COAST, FLORIDA -- I purchased a six-foot piece of 1/2" rebar at the local Ace Hardware. The price was $10.99 plus tax. I thought that this price was way too much but I had to have it then. I went to Home Depot and Lowe's and the price for a 10-foot piece of rebar was $4.82. To me Ace's price was highway robbery.
MEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS -- I have numerous home improvement projects and have frequented Ace, Home Depot, Lowe's and local hardware stores. Ace always has a superior selection of tools and products. Their staff is always courteous, offers assistance, and is knowledgeable of their products. I have even special ordered products which were promptly delivered and I was notified of their delivery to the store. Recommend this store over other "home improvement centers". The stores in our area do not carry large items such as lumber, but I would prefer to visit the lumber yard for these items anyway.
GRINNELL, IOWA -- Is it Ace's policy not allow returns or exchanges from one Ace Hardware to another? I shopped at an Ace in Illinois on a trip and bought an inexpensive remote control that did not work. I tried to return or exchange it at my home Ace Hardware (Paul's Ace Hardware in Grinnell, Iowa) and was told they could do nothing and I had to go back to Illinois. Just to add to my frustrations, I had made an earlier purchase during a special on compact fluorescent light bulbs.
The stock person helped me and when I specifically said I did not know how many of each wattage I needed, he had said I can always bring them back to exchange. I tried to do the exchange at the same time as this other return and was told that they could not do an exchange between wattages even though both were for the same price during the sale.
To make it worse, I was planning on doing a simple exchange (same item) for one of the bulbs that did not work, and they had none in the store and had no idea if/when more would be in. In effect, they were not stocking the most popular GE CFL bulb. I was patient and considerate the whole time, and the employee that would have processed these returns and exchanges was the owner's wife, so I do not think the issue had anything to do with employee knowledge.
If each store can be this unique in their practices, I will have to stop shopping Ace as I have no way of knowing how each store operates, and this loose affiliation of individual stores gives no benefit to customers. I have been successful at staying away from the DIY superstores, but maybe I will have to change that.
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLORIDA -- I went to Ace Hardware at 784 Marsh Landing Parkway, Jacksonville Beach, FL to buy two tools. The exact tools were not in stock in the tool dept., so I searched through the bargain tool bins and found a couple of tools that would work. I brought my selections to the cashier, and was given a different price than was advertised on the bin.
The store manager refused to sell one of the tools, saying that some customer has placed it in the bargain bin where it did not belong. I asked him how he new that. He simply continued to refuse to sell the tool at the price advertised on the bin. I declined to buy either of the tools, and told the manager I would check at the newly opened Home Depot - two blocks away. He told me I should do that. Home Depot sold me the exact tools I wanted at $6 less than Ace.
I complained to Corporate, and was told, that the manager says: "...this happens a lot. A customer might pick up an expensive tool, and then find another tool in the bargain tool bins. They don't realize the quality is not the same. He said they are constantly going through that bin to put the more expensive tools back to the correct area."
My response was: Please think about what you are telling me. The manager knows "...this happens a lot." What I read is that even knowing the problem exists "a lot", your manager won't take the simple step of either pricing the items in the discount bins or get rid of those bins. Home Depot has no bins, and they seem to get along just fine.
My comments to you were sent in the spirit of trying to keep an old friend in business in the neighborhood. I feel compelled to tell you that the manager's response is unacceptable. He is still telling us how the customer is wrong, and the problem is not the fault of the store or its management. Why not have a look at what Home Depot is doing? They are only a couple of blocks away. While your manager is there, he'll find many of his old customers there. Certainly, he'll find the customers that he has encouraged to shop at Home Depot. "This happens a lot."
It is always easy to pass off a customer complaint as coming from a "crank." However, in this case - I hope you and the manager will ask yourselves this question - how would I respond if the manager told me to go to Home Depot and see how they treat me? I did that, and I don't think I'll be back to Ace. I don't think you would be back either. Does that make me a crank for registering my complaint? And, is the legitimate answer to any complaint - "this happens a lot?"