DO NOT BUY FROM HOME DEPOT...and here's why and what happened to me today !!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Sandpiper Plumbing, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. ATTENTION FELLOW CONTRACTORS: Do NOT buy from Home Depot !! I discovered today that they have a new, much stricter return policy. I returned a leaking G.E. water heater, guaranteed for 6 years, and was told to return it at my local Home Depot. I did not have a receipt, nor did the home owner as it was installed just over 2 years ago and since guaranteed by G.E. for 6 years, and date stamped on front date of manufacture, there should be no need for receipt. Well, H.D. took and scanned my drivers license and said since this was my 3rd return withing 12 months without a receipt, that I'm flagged and banned from making any other returns for a year. Now, if I have another G.E./Home Depot water heater fail, I have to bring the home owner along and use THEIR drivers license for the return, and that's even IF Home Depots new Return Dept. Nazi will allow the return. I was interogated by some prick named Ed today for 15 minutes, accused of picking the heater up off the side of the road, and almost denied my heater exchange, even though I'd called G.E. for return authorization and offered the home owners phone number to the return clerk wanted to call and confirm I was legit. note: the store manager and even corporate can NOT overturn the denial once your drivers license is flagged.
    I called corporate and told them this was a horrible policy and that it's going to anger alot of contractors and eventuelly trickle down to the angry customer level. The guy in line in front of me was an electrician returning a broken Husky pliers and they beat him up because the bolt broke, he lost the broken bolt, and they wouldn't take the pliers back because they weren't "complete".
    Horrible customer service. I choose to spend my money elsewhere !! And so should you !!
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Hd

    I do not let it bother me. I have exchanged, not returned, innumerable GE heaters, obviously without a receipt. Last year, I was flagged for 3 months because of excessive returns without a receipt, but I expected it, I just didn't know when it would happen. I just accumulated my returns and after the 3 months I brought them all in at once.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,050
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    We've pulling out fairly new GE gas water heaters too. We're not installing them though. They get replaced with either Rheem or Bradford White.
  4. Exchanging, not returning.

    Allow me make a correction: I was at Home Depot to make an exchange. I wasn't looking for money back or anything like that, I was there to do a warranty exchange. But to do that , they claim they have to have a SKU, do a return, then charge for a new heater. They won't do an exchange for me now for months. I'm going to call G.E. Monday morning and present my case/complaint to them and see if there's any other way to exchange a G.E. heater.
    Oh, and we rarely ever install a home center heater. We're usually installing A.O. Smith's or Rheems. This one was installed on a Sunday a couple of years ago because the customer didn't want to wait until next day for a pro-grade heater.
  5. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,867
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Just out of curiosity, when you have an emergency and need to get one on the weekend, is Sears an option? Those Kenmore water heaters are made by State/A.O.Smith, and I have found that the Sears in our area, at least, carries quite a few of their most popular models in stock. They have a pretty good online tool that lets you know their stock, and I am absolutely amazed by their order online/pick up at store system; you pull up in a covered area, scan your online receipt (or type in your confirmation number or swipe the credit card you used) at a kiosk, your name goes up on an overhead monitor, and a clock starts ticking showing how long they are taking. Within a couple of minutes, a guy comes up and put the product in your car/truck. I have bought like 6 items that way this year, and never expected such good service from Sears -- who knew? It really works well, and you're in and out within like 5 minutes of pulling up at the door.

    After all, time is money.

    I'm also guessing that they wouldn't treat a pro as a criminal for patronizing their stores.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  6. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    ND
    Here is my take.Being able to exchange the product at the box store is great. The box store is doing you a favor by honoring a warranty from GE.GE could make you provide the proper paperwork and proof purchase.Then you would have to file on line or you might have to call GE and get an authorization. Then after review GE would send your customer a replacement.Your customer would not be getting his replacement product for at least a week.That is the procedure our small store has to go through to exchange anything no matter what brand.So having your customer provide his information during the exchange of the product and getting a replacement on the spot is nice.I wouldn't complain to loud.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Hd

    They get the SKU by bringing the replacement heater to the counter and scanning if for the return AND the replacement. The problem with Sears heaters is that when it does go bad, THEY have to inspect the heater while it is still connected, then they supply the replacment. But, this takes a lot longer than if we can just take the heater, or nameplate, to the wholesaler and exchange it in a matter of minutes. In addition, as one of my customers who had a Sears lifetime heater discovered, if they are NOT the customers who purchased the heater, the warranty is void.
  8. DougB

    DougB Member

    I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for a receipt. If the customer is too lazy/disorganized to keep a receipt for a warranty product - that's their fault. What you could do is tape the paperwork (in a zip lock bag) to the side of the water heater when you install it.

    I'll tell you one reason they want a receipt: HD has to contact GE, get a replacement for the one they give you, and they have to dispose of the old one. That's a lot of work - obivously wipes out any profit they made on the original sale, so they want to make sure they sold it, and that you didn't buy it somewhere else.

    I see nothing wrong with asking the customer to have some responsibility in keeping the original paperwork (if they want to exercise the warranty).
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  9. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,867
    Location:
    New York, NY
    DougB -- If GE asks you to do a warranty exchange at HD, for a heater you didn't buy at HD, I'm fairly confident that they have a nationwide master agreement with HD that compensates them for providing that service. I'm guessing that doing warranty exchanges at the manufacturers' behest turns this into a net positive for them.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    hd

    quote; so they want to make sure they sold it, and that you didn't buy it somewhere else. You CANNOT buy a GE, or Hotpoint, water heater anywhere EXCEPT Home Depot, so that is a spurious reason. Anywhere else it will be Richmond, Vanguard, Rheem, Ruud, or some other nameplate.
  11. DougB

    DougB Member

    I'm not a WH sourcing expert. Maybe you can only buy GE (Good Enough) water heaters at HD. Is it really too much to ask for the original receipt for an in warranty replacement?

    I'm gonna sound critical with this statement: IMO there's too many 'plumbers' or 'handymen' that just throw away the documentation - installation instructions, receipts, etc. Not a professional behavior.


  12. their compensation to change out a heater is ....squat... In fact their are very few places in our

    area that will even get involved with the wattanty work .... you dont get paid anything for your time
    and usually it takes up to 90 days to see a check from Rheem or GE....

    Home depot does not make anything near a net posotive out of the deal.....

    They make their money selling the heater in the first place dealing with returns is a lot of paper work

    with very little or no reward for all the trouble
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,050
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Mark is right.

    The paperwork is in a bag taped to the tank.
    The serial number that dates the heater is there next to the model number.
    The invoice is kept by the "original homeowner".

    It really isn't our problem after that. Plumbers don't sell GE heaters unless they can't get to their normal supplier on a Monday through Friday setup. And I don't do water heaters on weekends anyway.

    I do however have all my invoicing dating back to 1992 that I can email for all previous work that I have done for my customers.
    It takes me about a minute to pull up the information and email it as a pdf copy of the invoice.
  14. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,184
    Location:
    Maine
    We keep copies of everything. Still though I would never buy ANYTHING plumbing related from Home Depot or lowes for that matter.
  15. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    ND
    Is all this discussion about a product purchased by a customer at Home Depot and now a service company is trying to repair under warranty.Is the service company trying to obtain warranty without having the customer prove or do anything? Now thats service. Maybe not making any money though. Our sales/service company will keep all the records of our sales and preform the warranty work and paperwork involved on the products during warranty repair. We sell appliances and electronics.Now if the customer buys his product from the lumberyard the customer can deal with the lumberyard and the manufacture.We warranty many brands, but will not go on a call from something bought at the lumberyard unless we get a dispatch confirming warranty repair from the manufacture.This seems to work well for us. After the customer has to go through the warranty process at the lumberyard they seem to come to us for their next purchase because we offer the same products only slightly higher prices. With the slightly higher price you get to be able to talk to the serviceman about any problems and we keep all the records. One of the tools our sales people us is "I you buy this from us we will take care of you. If you have any problem you can talk to the service man,the same sales man or the owner of the store.Can you get that from the lumberyard." So I guess I agree dont buy your appliances from a lumberyard.
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    hd

    quote; Is it really too much to ask for the original receipt for an in warranty replacement? Not unless you do a lot of business with the company and would have to sort through HUNDREDS of receipts, assuming you knew the approximate date for it. An "invoice" for the job, is not the same as a receipt for the heater's purchase. I do NOT have to "wait for a check from GE or Rheem". My wholesalers just exchange the tanks, sometimes with a "paperwork" fee but usually not. Bradford White, in this area, DOES require that the entire heater be returned, but the dealer then removes the nametag and scraps the tank, just like HD does. P.S., thanks for getting rid of that obnoxious avatar someone replaced mine with.
  17. DougB

    DougB Member

    Exactly my thought. I don't know why the Original Poster is "bent out of shape?" If it were me, I would give the prospective customer two options: Return the water heater themselves and exchange it for a new one, and quote a price for the installation, - or - quote them a price for you to do all the work. I think hauling a WH to HD, and exchanging it, and installing it is worth 8 hrs labor.
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heater

    You do NOT "exchange" the heater for "nothing". The customer gets charged for the time spent doing it. As for "verifying" the purchase, the majority of companies, other than Sears do NOT require anything other than the name tag to make the replacement. HOWEVER, if this is NOT the original heater and was replaced under warranty previously, the current heater will only have the remaining warranty from the first one, and the company DOES have that documentation.
  19. people get huffy about my record-keeping....



    Terry, you are getting spoiled in your old age if you wont even send your
    son out to install a water heater on Satruday..... ;);)

    I can also pull up information on my quicken books going back to 1998...
    I dont have specifics of what we did, but can tell you the date, check #
    and amount you paid on that date....


    I have had a few customers this week get all bent out of shape with me over leaking
    heaters.... One old fart demanded that I look up the date it was installed for him and I
    bluntly told him that I was not in front of my computor at that moment and was
    standing out in the middle of a parking lot and could not pull
    that information out of my ass at that time....;););)
    I told him to read me the brand and model number off the heater
    and I could figure out how old it was.... and if it were still in warranty
    He acted like it was a great in-convienanace to him and got all peeved and hung up on me !!

    I talked to another lady this morning and told her to get the model and serial number
    off the heater and to please call me back.... she too got huffey and asked me why I could not look it up
    for her..... I told her that I did not keep specific information on what brand of water heater we came out and serviced in her home 2 years ago.....

    She has not called me back yet and its been 3 hours...


    maybe its a full moon or something
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