Home Depot Ordered the Wrong Sized Windows -- Refuses to Exchange Them
FLEMINGTON, NEW JERSEY -- I ordered new windows and doors from Home Depot -- $22,000 worth including installation, on January 18th, 2006. Prior to that, specifically, on December 30, 2005, Home Depot sent its subcontractor, B n B Associates, out to professionally measure, for which Home Depot charged me $30, to be applied against purchase, should I choose to buy their windows and have their subcontractors install them, which I did.
The windows included two Andersen 400 bay windows, three Andersen 400 double windows, and seven Andersen 400 single windows, plus three replacement sliding windows for the basement. In addition, I ordered an Atrium patio door and a new Feather River front door.
After many delays, the windows and doors were finally delivered on March 15th, and installation was scheduled for March 20th and 21st.
The installers, the same B n B Associates, showed up, and the crew chief informed me that most of the windows were the wrong size, as was the patio door. (B n B faxed their measurements over to Home Depot, which then placed the order -- and for the most part, B n B's measurements were correct.) For example, the patio door, which was supposed to fit a rough opening of 80" high and 66" wide, was in fact 96" (8 feet) by 66". The bay windows were much too narrow and too short. As the installers had removed one of the bay windows first, and couldn't replace it, they had to install the too-small one, "building in" the rough opening by about 4 1/2" on each side, and by about 2 1/2" on top and on bottom. As regular, or even wide decorative molding, was too narrow to mask the framing, they used 5 1/2" wide plywood to do the job, which really improves the appearance of my family room. Moreover, although my original (Andersen) window was a 30 degree bay, the one installed was 45 degrees, which doesn't match the cornice above the window.
The other bay window, which was to go in the dining room, was also too short and too narrow, and I told the contractors not to install it. In addition, all the windows for the second floor of the house were the wrong size. Some were too short, some were too wide for the rough opening, and four (out of seven) were both too short and too wide. They weren't installed either. As for the front door -- the original one was a double door whose master door was on the right, as one faces the house. The one they installed had the master door on the left. I reluctantly accepted that, provided the doorbell was relocated from right to left. (It hasn't been, so far.)
The next day, Home Depot's Zone Manager came out to speak with me and with the contractors. She assured me that all would be straightened out, and that I would get the right sizes.
The following day, however, the Zone Manager called me and said there were "discrepancies" in my store, and demanded that I attend a meeting to take place at the local Home Depot, which is Store 0941 and which is located in Flemington, New Jersey. At the meeting, I was informed by the zone manager and others at the store that Home Depot would not exchange my windows. The reason? A month earlier, I had realized that they ordered the wrong-angle bay windows, by using standard trigonometric formulas to prove that, which made me, in their eyes, an "expert." This should serve as a go-to-sleep call for all you readers now in high school; paying attention in your trig class may prove detrimental to your wealth. Home Depot did, graciously, agree to replace my 8' door with one the correct size.
I immediately starting contacting Home Depot's Customer Care department. Every time I was connected, I was routed to a call center in India where the representative was always very polite, but unable to do anything. Finally, I got a Customer Care woman in Atlanta, who heard my story, and agreed to help me. But when I called her back, she said that the store had E-mailed her, saying that I was unhappy with the measurements that were taken, and insisted, over the store's objections, in selecting the wrong sizes, saying "I'll make them fit." A total lie.
Finally, I got ahold of the store's corporate Conflict Resolution Department. The person handling the New York and New Jersey area wrote me a letter saying that I did my own measurements, and thus was responsible for my own errors. Again, a complete lie, and one easily disproven: I sent him records of the credit card receipt for the measure, a copy of the measure itself, and lots of other documentation. If I did my own measurements, how would Home Depot know they were wrong, and try to dissuade me from ordering those sizes in the first place?
The Conflict Resolution specialist then agreed to reexamine my situation. A week later, he called me on my cell phone while I was out jogging, and told me that while I did prove that Home Depot measured before the order was placed, I was still responsible, since I initialed something saying that custom orders weren't returnable. The fact that this wasn't a custom order to begin with -- everything purchased was of a stock size, seems irrelevant to Home Depot.
After being rebuffed by the Conflict Resolution Specialist, I called Jose Lopez, who is Home Depot's Corporate Senior VP and Chief Customer Officer. I told the woman who answered the phone my situation, and told her I was sending Lopez the same material I sent the Conflict Resolution Specialist. She seemed very cooperative, and even gave me Lopez' floor location so the material would arrive sooner. I told her it would go out by Express Mail the next day (Thursday, April 27th), and that he'd have it Friday (April 28th).
I sent the material Thursday morning, and that afternoon, I got a call from some woman in Atlanta who said she was in the same department. With a sugary-sweet Southern accept, she asked me if I needed anything, then proceeded to tell me that Home Depot was standing by their decision not to exchange the windows, and that this would be the last communication I would receive from Home Depot. I very impolitely, in my best Tony Soprano New Jersey accent, told this woman to go to hell, but before that happened, I'd see them all in court.
I have since filed complaints with the Hunterdon County Department of Consumer Affairs, who normally try to mediate complaints, but in my case have forwarded the material on to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. I have also filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, and have retained an attorney.
As for that patio door Home Depot agreed to take back? On March 31st, two people from the Flemington store came by with a pickup truck to take back the window, which they did. They also had some paperwork for me to sign, which was an order for a door 80" high and 72" wide, again, the wrong size. I refused to sign it (there was no credit for the old door, so if I had signed it, I'd own two doors that don't fit).
I have yet to receive either a new door nor a refund for the old one.