Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm annoyed at Home Depot

At the beginning of September, I bought a Black and Decker sander at the Home Depot in Richmond, B.C. to help me fix my bathroom walls.

After using it for a couple of weeks, it broke. There is a plastic dust canister on the back of the unit which holds a filter that is supposed to catch the dust (it does not do this particularly well). You can open up the canister to remove/clean the filter, and the plastic housing where you do this became loose, so that every time I used the sander, it fell off.

On the instruction manual for this sander, there is a message in large letters which says "Before returning this unit to the store, call Black and Decker." So I did that.

The person there was very nice, took my name, address, etc. and said that I would be receiving a replacement canister in the mail.

I waited over a month and didn't receive anything. Normally it takes 2-3 weeks to get a parcel from the States (which is where this part was coming from) ... especially if it has to go through Customs.

So I phoned Black and Decker again. The woman there was also very nice, but didn't have an explanation as to why the part never reached me or whether it actually was sent out. So she said another part would be sent.

After waiting for a month, I still had no part. This was dumb

On my receipt from the Home Depot near the top it said "Return Policy" with a date of 90 days and the expiry date (I had asked about this before I left the store).

So with the expiry date looming, I took it back to the Home Depot.

There is a further condition on the receipt, by the way: "Home Depot reserves the right to limit/deny returns. Please see the return policy sign in stores for details," plus on the WWW site: "The Home Depot reserves the right to limit or refuse to accept the return of certain merchandise at any time and for any reason."

When I got to the store, I checked a sign which is by the Returns cashier. It had basic information on it like "if you are paying by credit card, money will be refunded to your credit card, if you pay by cheque, you will get a cheque, etc." (This information is very similar to some similar conditions on a page on their WWW site.)

The cashier called over some guy from the department where the sanders are sold.

He told me that I had to take it to Black and Decker in Vancouver for warranty service, and that there was only a 30 day exchange period for tools.


Annoyed, I went home. But then I phoned back to the store, since there was a phone number at the top of the receipt, supposedly for the manager. After manipulating my way through the usual voice mail prompts, I got some woman who didn't speak English particularly well. I expressed my annoyance over the date for returns to her, but I got the impression that she didn't understand what I was talking about. Her attitude was like "That's the way it is, and I can't help you."

I then checked the Canadian Home Depot WWW page and called the toll-free customer service number there. The woman who answered my call was very nice, and she was puzzled about this "30 day return" policy for "tools." There is NOTHING about such a policy on the above WWW site FAQ page under returns. She suggested that this might have been some policy particular to the local store. However, she also told me that the return policy only applied if the item I purchased was returned "new in box." There is also NOTHING about this condition on the WWW site or the receipt.

Anyway, I told both this woman at the Canadian customer service and also some woman at the head office in Atlanta to whom I was forwarded that I could have saved a lot of time if the receipt had specifically said there was a 30 day exchange for tools. After all, they are using computers to scan in the item which can be used to determine that it is a TOOL and print the appropriate return terms on the receipt, can't they?

As well, the receipt, without turning into "War and Peace," could say words to the effect that the return policy only applies if the item has not been used. Is that so difficult?

As to where this 30 day tools return policy is stated ... I have no idea. Maybe it is somewhere near the cashiers in the store?


  1. You say you tried to return the tool & not exchange. I wonder if the latter would have elicited different treatment by the Home Depot droids?

  2. I doubt it. Their attitude seemed to be "If there is a problem with the sander after 30 days, go and talk to Black and Decker about it." No idea what would have happened earlier, since after I waited 3 weeks from the time I originally complained to B&D, the time frame had already passed 30 days. If they were only willing to exchange the item (rather than refund), they didn't say anything about this.