I recently had a terrible shopping experience at both Home Depot Online and at my local Home Depot (NYSE:HD) store. I was a bit surprised at how bad my customer experience was. And it seems I’m not the only investor to have had a bad experience. The Dividend Guy also had a recent bad experience at Home Depot and shared his feelings on his blog, where he writes:
It was probably the worst shopping experience I have ever had. I went in for one particular item that was featured in their weekly flyer. You would think that if it was in the flyer that had just come out the store would be prepared to sell it and make it relatively easy to find. 20 minutes later and 4 sales associates later the item was finally tracked down. I grabbed 6 of the items and headed to the check out. The 2 staffed lanes and the 2 self-checkout that were open (the other 3 were ‘down’) were about 10 people deep each. Already delayed with a wife waiting for me to pick up dinner I said to hell with it and left. I was fuming.
I had similar story -- one of my worst online shopping experiences of all time. I tried to order a patio set and gas grill back in March from the Home Depot website since it was offering free shipping this spring for patio sets. After almost 4 weeks, I got the patio set but it was missing the unbrella and base. Home Depot also cancelled my grill order.
I then spent over 1 hour on the phone with them to correct the problem. Another month passes and I call them up. They inform me that no umbrellas or bases are available from their online store, and maybe I could get it from one of their brick and mortar stores. I relent and agree to that, if they can call up my local store and put it on reserve.
The local store refused the Home Depot Online customer service reps’ request and indicated there were only two more umbrella sets in the store. I raced off to the store to get it, and none of the employees at my local store (DC Sniper Home Depot) would help me find the items, so I had to climb up on one of their latters to get it myself! I should have falled and sued them.
The good news is that they double credited my account for the umbrella and base, so I ended up getting back an extra $200. I guess this is why Warren Buffett sold off his shares of Home Depot. I wonder how Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) is doing? Hmm…
Home Depot is one potential wide moat company that I’m taking off my watch list until they resolve their customer service issues.