Subpar Kitchen Cupboards and customer service
SARNIA, ON --
A letter written to Home Depot with no response as yet other than to tell me the very poor options still stand. Certainly anyone that wants a kitchen renovation will benefit from not falling their promises of commitment to great customer service and product quality.
June 12, 2012
xxxx xxxxx, President
Home Depot of Canada Inc.
900 - 1 Concorde Gate,
Toronto, On, M3C 4H9
RE: Concern about Lack of Follow-up into Kitchen Installation Problems
Dear Mr. xxxxx,
The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the many unresolved issues I have experienced with Home Depot Sarnia since installing a new kitchen in my residence - August 2010.
I will give you a concise timeline overview first and then the detail:
August 2010 - Installation of new kitchen cabinets by Home Depot.
September 2010 - Installation complete - but:
1. I cannot use all the burners on my stoves because the side cabinets overhang the stove. Initially, I was not aware this was a design flaw.
2. I cannot open a corner door by the stove all the way because the door hits the control knobs on the front of the stove and could inadvertently turn on the gas burner.
3. I cannot open the corner cabinet by my sink all the way as it strikes the front of my expensive porcelain farmhouse sink.
I learn that this was the Kitchen Design experts first design job. All of the appliances were new and the specifications were made available to the Home Depot designer.
February 2011 - The chocolate brown stain on the cabinets begins to visibly fade in unusual patterns on all cabinets in large random areas. I call Home Depot and they agree there is a problem with the stain as well as the poor cabinet design placement which they promise they will rectify.
February 2011 to June 2012 has been one frustrating process after another resulting in a final and insulting letter from your resolution specialist asking me to choose one of two very poor options and to sign off on the issue.
Home Depot - Sarnia, initially fully agreed with me that there were major problems and health and safety design flaws that needed to be addressed but now your head office has decided not to follow through.
As a customer I am extremely frustrated with your company's lack of communication and engagement in resolving the issues. To be clear, throughout this process I have experienced poor customer service and misleading commitments by senior agents and/or affiliates of Home Depot stating they would correct the defects and issues and then a complete turnaround with no explanation other than they cannot fix the problem because the original cabinets chosen will not hold the colour they offer them in. I have made a very large financial investment into this project, I have chosen complimentary tile and backsplash based upon my initial choice. I cannot use my stove safely. I have further agreed to compromise by altering my cabinet colour choice. In the end I have been left with a very minor offer of help.
The more in-depth background of my Home Depot kitchen experience follows:
Leading up to August 2010, I devoted a great deal of time and effort into budgeting and planning for a large scale new kitchen design and renovation. My dream kitchen installation began in mid August and was substantially completed near the end of September, 2010. There were some issues experienced with the design and the way the kitchen âworkedâ and the stove cabinets were not to code.
In early February 2011, I notice unusual patterns of fading on the kitchen cabinetry facings. The flaws were clearly noticeable and these observations were not disputed by Home Depot sales and design staff, who visited to review my concerns. Mainly, the issues cited were in relation to numerous cabinet facings 'fading out' and displaying signs of defect in workmanship. The unsafe cabinet placements were also discussed.
During the next few months I received numerous visits to my home from staff of Home Depot and/or affiliate agent(s) namely, MasterBrand Cabinets Inc., and National Installations Ltd. They sent managers, Regional representatives, design staff, and installers to make assessments and review. Each time I was told not to worry as the issue would be resolved to my satisfaction. During this period all the door and drawer facings were replaced to address the fading that had exposed the raw maple cabinetry.
Within the next six months (near August, 2011) the facings of the cabinets and drawers were observed to again fade and Home Depot - Sarnia was again immediately contacted. This time, I did not receive a response from the store. I then placed a call to your customer service center and Home Depot -Sarnia returned my call the same day.
Since involving Home Depot customer service, a Home Depot, Kitchen Manager, and Store Manager visited my home. Both stating and acknowledging the fade-out in the cabinetry and the design issues. Again, I was assured the errors would be taken care of and I was advised not to worry. This began a process of many representatives again entering my home for various reasons. More frustrating was reviewing over-and-over the product defect issue with each representative who was making enquiry. Many of these visits and/or phone calls were lengthy in duration and exhausting. Each time I was promised that Home Depot and their affiliate companies would stand behind and resolve the issue. I have never before experienced such a horrible and unpleasant situation.
In March, 2012 after speaking with a Regional Manager from MasterBrand a shipment of many boxes arrived at my front door. This was totally unexpected because it was discussed and agreed that - I was to be given the opportunity for input as to a resolution. Clearly this did not occur. I called, xxx xxx, Regional Manager of MasterBrand asking what these boxes were as I did not want the same facings again. I believe I had given MasterBrand ample opportunity for resolution with replacement facings. With this new delivery it would be the third replacement. To satisfy my concern, I was provided a copy of the attached letter. In brief, MasterBrand's Director of Sales and Marketing for Canada, xxx xxx assured me in writing that the newly arrived facings had gone through additional 'quality measures' to safeguard the integrity of the product. Additionally, the Regional Manager for the same - visited my home and acknowledged the issue with the assurance that it would be addressed to my satisfaction and all necessary work would be completed as required.
When the installer unpacked the delivery, numerous facings had arrived damaged and there were already visible signs of fading. He replaced some door/drawer facings and returned those to the supplier that were defective.
At this point the whole process was getting ridiculous.
I again called the Kitchen Manager at Home Depot, and the Regional Manager of MasterBrand. Both apologized and assured me they would get back to me with options.
Their initial offer and plan was to reface the cabinetry, but later stated this could not be done as doing so would compromise the integrity of the cabinet boxes. At this point I was offered new kitchen cabinetry.
The process for planning and choosing new cabinetry began again. To be honest, I was initially encouraged at this point by your affiliate company's commitment to stand behind their product. Both parties agreed and stated that this was also an opportunity to correct Home Depot's significant design flaws which were overlooked during the initial design. Specifically, the cabinets over the gas stove appliance which were not to code. As stated earlier they were installed too low and not at the correct clearance height and they infringe width wise. As a result I am only able to use certain interior burners and due to safety concerns I have asked my teenage children not to use the stove at all. Not good!
Also as stated above the adjoining lower corner cabinet opens and hits the gas control knobs. Further, the position of the lower corner storage cabinets near the sink is also a major design flaw. The doors do not extend freely without the knob handle striking the center of the very expensive porcelain farm sink basin. I have to hang a towel over my sink as a buffer. Again - unacceptable.
In April 2012, I was requested by the Kitchen Manager, xxx xxxx to visit the Sarnia Home Depot outlet to conduct a design consultation to plan for the new kitchen cabinetry installation. Along with Home Depot's design staff assistance we began to put the process in motion again. I met with design staff and picked out new cupboards. We discussed the original design flaws and how to rectify them. I let the Regional Manager know that the new cupboards I had chosen were a completely different finish that was much lighter in colour and not prone to fading and he assured me they were willing to waive the up charge because they were unable to resolve my initial kitchen issues. He stated, âthis direction comes from the top.â Again, many hours were dedicated to the process. A representative from National Installations, Mr. xxxx xxxx - Kitchen Install Co-ordinator, came to my
home and spent time taking pictures and measurements. All parties were satisfied we were moving forward including the Kitchen Manager of Home Depot.
I had an appointment to meet with the kitchen designer to review the design on the computer. When I arrived, she did not have this work done and instead advised me to speak with the Kitchen Manager, xxxx xxxx. xxxx advised me the Store Manager, xxxx xxxx and herself were waiting to receive something in writing. They had not received anything from the agents at MasterBrand. Specifically, I was told that they were awaiting a response from the Director of Sales & Marketing Canada, xxxx xxxx and she had not been responding to their many emails.
The process then came to a complete halt and the company has apparently changed their mind about fixing the problem. The local Home Depot has said they can no longer âtalk to meâ.
I have since received a couple of letters offering me a minimal fix. They will now not replace the cabinets with new ones in a safe design and in a colour which will not fade. Instead the new offer is to take down the two cabinets by my stove and replace a few others. I am appalled at this turn in events. I have been very patient and I am now faced with this extremely insulting scenario - where I am now treated like a problem that needs to go away.
I have attached copies of the correspondence that ensued throughout this process that proves that I have an initially agreed upon legitimate complaint. Upon reading the correspondence I trust you will see that it is very evident that Home Depot admitted that:
1. The cabinets were defective, and;
2. The kitchen installation contained design errors that are not to code.
Both of these represent extremely serious issues that I expect Home Depot to resolve to my satisfaction. I do not accept the offers that have recently been given to me. In addition I find the tone of them very insulting.
At this point, I will only settle for either:
1. A complete kitchen replacement or;
2. A complete un-install and a full refund with compensation for the wall tiles that no longer match and will now need replacing.
Lastly, I would like to add that originally I was interested in purchasing the Kraftmaid product line of cabinetry and was led to the Thomasville line by the Kitchen Designer as this product was new to Home Depot. I later learned that it is your house brand. I am sure that you do not want such poor product quality, or this type of customer service representing the Home Depot.
Mr. xxxx, I am asking for your help in resolving this matter. This kitchen is the center of our very busy home and we were looking forward to enjoying our dream kitchen for many years to follow. I feel that I have legitimate problems that need to be addressed.
I thank you for any help you can give me and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
If you have any questions, I can be reached at home at xxx xxx xxxx, or on my cell phone at xxx xxx xxxx.
CC: Home Depot Resolution Specialist
CC: MasterBrand, Director Sales & Marketing Canada
Copy of letter dated April 2, 2012- MasterBrandâs Apology and Commitment to Quality.
Copy of letter dated May 21, 2012 - MasterBrandâs Initial Offer of Settlement
Copy of letter date May 28th, 2012 - Home Depotâs Final Resolution Offer
Copies of email correspondence