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Archive for September, 2011


THD At-Home Services

THD At-Home Services

…that I didn’t hear from the inspector to do the 2nd measurements. So much for them expediting things….

I did however, get an email last night that says I am now on “Step 2”, which gives me a project coordinator named Tammy and says that they are reviewing the sales paperwork….

Today I got 2 more emails, one of which was a customer survey (which I plan to do eventually), and the other of which said I was now on “step 3”, and that the project coordinator would call to make an appointment for the inspection. Gee, hadn’t that already been set up by Tom & Jim??????

Now that I’m blogging about this project, I am debating whether to let things follow their natural course to see what happens, or to be my usual pushy self & stay on top of things….

In any event, if I go by the 4-6 weeks time frame that Jim gave me (supposedly from when I sign the contracts), my windows should be installed between October 27th and November 9th (at the latest). Of course I have nothing in writing about this, so let’s see what happens….

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THD At-Home Services

THD At-Home Services

So Jim showed up promptly and was very apologetic for not having called me back. He simply forgot, which I understood. He also went through his called ID log, and for some reason my call did not appear, which is weird since I checked the number on his card as the little recorded voice told me what number I had reached. So either his phone fritzed out or he deleted it. Oh well.

Anyway, we went over everything (including Jim still saying that it would be 4-6 weeks and not 4 weeks as Tom said) and I was ready to sign the contracts. God I hate those darned things – they’re always in favor of the other party.  And as usual, I was prepared to write notes and initial them, and as usual, I was told I couldn’t because it would invalidate the contract.

So these were the issues:

1) There was absolutely nothing in the contract about a time frame for installation. So technically, they could take my deposit and disappear off the face of the earth, and I would have no recourse.

2) I have 3 days to cancel the deal & get my deposit back without any additional penalties, restocking fees, etc. Well that would be fine & good, but if I discover in 3 months that they still haven’t come to install my windows then I am signing something that says they can keep my money!

3) I am obligated to pay the full balance on the job after they complete installation, even if they do a crappy job. If they screw the whole thing up, I am supposed to pay them and then resolve the conflict under the 1 year workmanship warranty. Are they frigging serious?

4) The contract supersedes anything I have been told either verbally or in writing. Well, all the good stuff in my favor came in those forms, but apparently they are meaningless.

So Jim calls Tom & puts me on the phone. Tom keeps saying not to worry about it, and tells me all the stories about how they stick around and fix everything before I pay. I keep reminding him that I am signing a legal contract that says I will pay them no matter how bad the job is, and that I am also signing a legal contract that declares whatever he is telling me outside of the contract is worthless. He didn’t seem to “get it”, so I gave up and against my better judgement signed the stupid contracts.

Both Jim and Tom said that they would expedite getting the inspector dude out to do the remeasure. In fact, Tom said that he would get the guy out the following day (Friday).

As Jim was leaving, I remembered to ask about licenses and insurance. He said that each contractor is covered under a HD insurance policy in addition to having their own, and that they have an umbrella license (hope I am remembering that correctly) – he gave me a copy of the insurance information (and maybe license info – I need to check that).

The drop in grade has nothing to do with Jim, it’s just dealing with lousy contracts & my frustration with trying to explain it to Tom.

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THD At-Home Services

THD At-Home Services

I have to admit that THD Home Services seems to respond promptly to issues with customers (of course, they are still trying to get my business). I got a call from Tom, who is Jim’s manager. Tom is a real people person, & he listened to my tails of woe with previous contractors & why I was worried now I made it very clear that Jim had been prompt & very professional when I met him, and that I didn’t know what had gone wrong.

My big concern was handing over money & then never hearing from them again. I had already been through this with Overhead Garage Door, who had my money for a door I was supposed to receive in 2 weeks, & who would not take my calls over several months. They finally answered the phone when the contractor who was replacing the garage floor called them. Don’t get me started with the whole woman vs contractor issue…..

In any event, Tom listened to everything, & we agreed to set up another appointment with Jim. I was a little concerned because Tom said the windows would be installed within 4 weeks, but Jim had told me 4-6 weeks, and the lack of being on the same page seemed like an issue. He also went into great detail about how Home Depot goes out of it’s way to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that the customer is happy, & expressed more than once that the whole reason for Home Depot’s existence was due to people having contractor issues…..

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THD At-Home Services

THD At-Home Services

2 hours after sending my message to HD, I got a response from a nice fellow who doesn’t sound like he’s in India. Geoff had clearly read my message, and said that he had contacted our At Home Services Department and notified them that I have not been contacted for installation. He also said that he would follow up with me again by Friday 9/30 to ensure that the matter has been properly addressed.

Grateful for having a real person respond, I sent back an email that said:

Thank you for getting back to me Geoff. My concern now has to do with the issue of placing an order, and I assume having to put down a deposit. Twice now I have had to find another route in order to expedite this project. Theoretically, I could put down a deposit and then have to spend my time trying to get someone to let me know what’s happening, which could put me well into the winter trying to get my money back and finding another contractor.

1) Will I be required to put down a deposit for the windows & installation?
2) Will I get a time frame for the project in writing?
3) What guarantee does Home depot give that the project will start within the time frame that I am given? That is, is a discount provided or what recourse do I have at that point?

I hope that you will understand my concern considering my experience so far.

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THD At-Home Services

THD At-Home Services

OK, it has to be in the contractor gene. I was supposed to get a call back on Tuesday and now it’s Wednesday. I shot off an email to HD through their online form. Wish I remember what I said, but I remember it ended with saying I was going to Lowes.

I got an automated response pretty quickly saying that my message had been received…

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THD At-Home Services

THD At-Home Services

I left Jim a message around 2PM on Friday, and now it’s Monday at 2PM. So this time I called the main number & tried using their phone directory to reach him. stupid phone systems – I hate them. So I called back and got an operator. She was super nice, so I left a message with her which she said she would get to Jim.

Sure enough, Jim called back a couple of hours later. He answered my questions, and I asked to set up an appointment to sign the papers. He needed to check his schedule, so he said he’d call back tomorrow (Tuesday).

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time to buy the windows

time to buy the windows

It took me longer than a few days to decide, but it looks like I should order the windows. I still had a couple of questions though, so I called Jim & left a message on his cell phone.

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THD At-Home services

THD At-Home services

As promised, Jim, the in-home sales guy, called before coming out to the house, and he also arrive exactly when promised. As far as I can tell, The Home Depot seems to book people at 3 hour intervals to try to make sure there aren’t scheduling conflicts.

He measured the windows, and then discussed pricing and the process with me. The price wasn’t a lot less than what another contractor had quoted (maybe $200 less), and I was curious as to how much the labor cost was. He said that he only had the cost of fully-installed (which I doubted immediately), but he showed me the book, & sure enough that’s the only price that they give him.

I thought I might be able to save some money if I didn’t get the screens (you have a choice of full or 1/2), so I asked how much the screens were. For some reason he was only able to give me a ballpark, & that was around $120 less per window for full screens.

I had some more questions about the windows themselves, so he took me out to his car where, sure enough, he had small windows that I could look at.

Apparently the next part of the process is having their inspector come to remeasure (measure twice cut once I guess), and he explained some other stuff about the process.

Since the price was higher than I was expecting, I decided to wait & told him that I’d call him in a few days. He gave me his card with his cell # and his office & fax numbers.

All in all a good experience.

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THD At-Home services

THD At-Home services

Well, 8PM rolled around & sure enough I got a reminder call about my appointment tomorrow, as well as the following email:

Well, it looks like I can’t post the rest of the email, because at the bottom it says: The information contained in this e-mail and any attached documents may contain information that is confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, or if this message has been sent to you in error, please immediately alert the sender by reply e-mail and then delete this message, including any attachments. Any dissemination, distribution or other use of the contents of this message by anyone other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited.

But one nice thing is that they have a special website for Home services customers that let’s you track your project, and they have a test login so you can try it out ahead of time. Nice feature.

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Home Depot At-Home Services

Home Depot At-Home Services

I’ve been putting this project off for quite a while, but have now come to the conclusion that the 2 rotted casement windows may very well fall out of the house this winter.

Today I went to the Home Depot window department to find out about how windows and contractors. I already knew that I wanted to replace the casements with double-hung tilt-ins, so at least that part was decided. I also knew that I wanted wood inside, vinyl clad outside, because every other window in the house (built in 1974) has finished wood inside.

I was lucky that someone was at the desk when I got there, but unfortunately he wasn’t the window person. He called someone over, & luckily I didn’t have to wait too long.

She knew a lot about the windows, and was able to give me some prices based on some rough measurements that I had taken. She was also able to explain how their system of contractors works, and that all contractors are actually Home Depot employees, and not sub-contractors.

I decided to make the no-charge no-obligation appointment, & was surprised when she said “the earliest appointment that I can give you is Friday”. Well, considering that it was Thursday, that sounded terrific. She said that I would get a reminder call from the main office, and another from the contractor (probably my misunderstanding, as it turns out he’s a sales guy) before he comes to the house.

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