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THD At-Home Services - Can You Hear Me Now???

THD At-Home Services - Can You Hear Me Now???

So after a couple of attempts to reach Charles the New England Regional Manager, I finally got through tonight.

The first interesting thing I learned (when I explained that the replacement windows looked horrible with such a large frame around it), was that sales dude was supposed to have held up little demo corners for me to look at so that I’d see what it looked like. I didn’t even know what he was talking about.

Then I told him about pricing out replacement vs new construction windows, and how the price difference per window was $200. Well, that set him off & running, with me unable to get a word in edgewise. He went on & on about how the new construction window price didn’t include the installation labor, or the warranty. I *finally* managed to get him to slow down enough to explain that I priced out *both* windows without installation, and so that price difference should be the same, with out without the installation price on both, assuming that the markup is the same.

“Ohhhh…” – I think he got it.

So then he said “Well, what do you want to do about this? A Home Depot Gift Card”? To which I gave a resounding “NO”. Then I explained that they actually have $400 of my cash. Real money. That I worked for. On the other hand, if I get a $400 gift card (assuming a markup of 33.333% over cost, which I am guessing is on the low side), I end up buying stuff that cost them $300, and they get to pocket the remaining $100 that I overpaid. Doesn’t seem right, does it?

So he seemed reasonable about it (so far). I said that I would go check out the actual price difference and get back in touch with him. He, like everyone else at THD, is pretty nice.

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The Home Depot called back

I came home to find two messages on my machine, both about the window price. One was from Rob (the District Sales Manager), and the other was from Charles (the New England Manager of Installation Services).

Figure I’ll call Charles, as he sounds a notch higher than Rob…

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I have an unlisted phone number. In fact, I pay extra each month to have it. And the reason I have it is because I do not want unsolicited calls from anyone who isn’t a friend of mine, my doctor, my bank, etc. I’m also on the National Do Not Call List for the same reason.

So, that day I went to The Home Depot to check the prices of new installation vs replacement windows to see if I had been ripped off, the guy wanted my phone number in order to give me a printout of prices. I asked what they wanted my number for, & specifically told him that my number is unlisted and that I don’t want sales calls. And he told me not to worry, it’s just that that’s the way the system is set up and I can’t get the printout without the number.

I’m not a complete moron, but apparently I was enough of one to give it to him. So what happens? Sure enough I get an unsolicited call this week from someone telling me that the friggin’ windows are on sale.

Great. Now not only am I getting calls I don’t want, but now I know how badly they ripped me off!!!!!

I don’t necessarily blame the guy who was quoting me the prices, it could be he really doesn’t know what the number is used for. But no opt-out checkbox in the software???!!!

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Really unhappy with THD At-Home Services

Really unhappy with THD At-Home Services

So guess what I have found out in the meanwhile…

  1. Looks like I’m the one eating the cost in the window price difference
  2. The tax credit I was quoted by THD far exceeds what I’ll actually get

Price Difference

So if you remember from my window saga, the replacement windows looked awful when they put them in, so The Home Depot At-Home services offered to replace them with new construction windows. And when I asked about the price difference, they said “Don’t worry about it – we just want to make you happy”. Sounds like they are eating the cost, doesn’t it? Well guess what – I went to my local Home Depot, & found out that the friggin’ new construction windows that I ended up with are over $100 less expensive than the replacement windows I paid for!!!! That can’t even be legal.

Tax Credit

I feel like an idiot for not checking the status of the federal tax credit for consumer energy efficiency products, but for some stupid reason it didn’t occur to me that the sales guy would lie to me (yes, a sales guy lying – novel concept, right?). It turns out that he upsold me to a more expensive energy efficiency on the basis of the tax credit that they were giving back in 2010, at a rate of 30% up to $1500. But guess what – it’s 2011 and the credit is now 10% up to $500!!!!!

***

The moral of the story? Don’t believe a word any sales person tells you, especially if they work for The Home Depot.

Looks like I will be doing more battle with them. Geez, this just shouldn’t be this difficult…..

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Needed my THD Project Paperwork

Needed my THD Project Paperwork

So somewhere along the line I realized that most of my paperwork disappeared with whoever I was dealing with at the time. So on Sunday I emailed Tammie the Project Manager & said:

Hi Tammie —

Thanks for your call the other day.

I actually am in need of something if you wouldn’t mind. I seems that I didn’t get my copy of most everything I signed during the process – that includes the original contract, the list of materials I ordered, special instructions, thyat I was satisfied at the end, etc.

So if you would please make copies of everything in my file and send them to me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving,

She replied the next day with:

You’re very welcome for the call and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving thank you! I hope yours was great as well!

I will certainly make copies for you and drop them in the overnight so that you can have them for your records. Any questions or concerns with your install just let me know. If I don’t speak with you, it was a pleasure and thank you again for your business. We hope you will consider The Home Depot again if you have any future projects in mind. Happy Holidays!

As promised, it was there on Tuesday, but like a dimwit I didn’t find it until it had been rained on all day. The good news is that the copy paper dried out without turning into a pulpy mess…

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They finally updated my job status – 3 days after the job was finished. Guess they decided to skip Step 6 where the installation happens 🙂

THD updated my status!

THD updated my status!

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[03 December 2011] Note: I have changed my mind about this grade and think it should be much lower – have a look at this post Distinctly Unhappy Again

I thought about it last night, & realized that a final grade of A- on my project doesn’t necessarily mean that I would hire THD again.

If I had a project that didn’t need to be done in a hurry then I would certainly check into how much THD would charge and compare it other contractor’s prices.  The big advantage to THD (despite the fact that a friend of mine had to finally sue them over problems with her project) is they did actually do whatever they could to make sure that I was happy in the end. It still seems like hiring contractors is a crap-shoot.

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Don ‘t ask what makes me do these things, but now that my windows have been installed I checked on my online job status – just for grins….

‘Nuf said…

My final online job status from THD At-Home Services

My final online job status from THD At-Home Services

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THD At-Home Service Final Grade

THD At-Home Service Final Grade

[03 December 2011] Note: I have changed my mind about this grade and think it should be much lower – have a look at this post Distinctly Unhappy Again

I’ve been thinking about this all afternoon, and I’ve come to the conclusion that The Home Depot At-Home Services gets an A- overall for the project. I wish I knew whether the project would have gone differently had it not been for the Social Media team escalating my complaints to the Production Supervisor, but I guess I’ll never know. So when I balance the headaches against everyone bending over backwards to make me happy on the day of installation, I think that the A- seems fair.

Here are my suggestions as to what THD At-Home Services could do to reduce complaints and getter a higher grade every time:

  1. Create an online Knowledge Base system on the website, and use the Social Media Team to keep it up-to-date. They are probably best equipped to handle this since they know what customers are asking/complaining about, and it would allow them proactively address issues before they end up in fire fighting mode. Everyone from the sales team, to project managers, to field inspectors should be aware of the contents of the Knowledge Base, and should ensure that all new customer questions are posted there for response. This would have addressed the problem of conflicting responses on installation times for Anderson windows and whether or not THD sub-contracts or not.
  2. Does THD At-Home Services outsource their customer support to India? Or do they really have an Indian fellow named Geoff working for them (I can only think of Discover Card’s “Peggy”).  If they do outsource, then it’s seriously time that they stop. THD brands itself as an all-American company, and as such, it’s annoying to be discussing customer complaints overseas.
  3. The online customer status system is useless. Either fix it or get rid of it. Having a status that never changes is *really* annoying. Honestly, why not develop a simple system that is integrated to a smart phone app for the folks on the road – customers could post questions there, a calendar could be updated when orders are placed or appointments are made, installation dates could be set, promises to return calls could be logged – and both THD Team and the customers would have easy access to what’s going on with a project.
  4. If you don’t have time to do something tomorrow, like return a call, then don’t tell the customer you will!  Seriously folks, customers are way more understanding than you think they are. If you say that you’re having a busy week and will get back to them in a few days, then say it. It is FAR better than lying about calling tomorrow. And for goodness sakes, make a note of the promise somewhere so you don’t forget!
  5. Don’t bother giving customers phone numbers for folks who may be notoriously bad about returning calls. It just makes for pissed-off customers.

Yeah, I guess that about covers it. I’ll add more if I think of more suggestions. I wonder if anyone at THD who is a position to make changes will actually see any of this?

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New Construction vs Replacement Window

New Construction vs Replacement Window

So here’s the difference between the new construction window (on the left), and the replacement window (on the right) – *way* more glass on the new construction, and I’m much happier!

It even look way better on the outside – because of the size of the replacement windows, they were going to have to install really wide, flat looking trim (even though Joe was able to wrap the wood with the metal to give it somewhat of a profile to make me happy) – with the new construction window, all of the existing wood trim, rotten & nearly rotten goes bye-bye & it all gets replaced with some nice solid composite material.

The "New Construction" window from the outside

The "New Construction" window from the outside

Thank goodness for Chris the Field Supervisor – so far he’s made 2 trips to the Home Depot – first to pick up the new windows, and then to pick up nails & trim. Hurray for Chris! 🙂

Chris, THD Field Supervisor and our Hero

Chris, THD Field Supervisor and our Hero

So now I have my new windows and I couldn’t be happier! Everyone really bent over backwards for me to make sure that the job was done right. I need to put some thought into my final comments on the project, and about what THD At-Home services final grade will be.

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