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

  1. #1
    Plumber Sandpiper Plumbing's Avatar
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    Default DO NOT BUY FROM HOME DEPOT...and here's why and what happened to me today !!

    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. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    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. #4
    Plumber Sandpiper Plumbing's Avatar
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    Default 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. #5
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    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 by wjcandee; 06-21-2013 at 08:03 PM.

  6. #6

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    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 by jacobsond; 06-22-2013 at 05:26 AM. Reason: spelling
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  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member DougB's Avatar
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    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 by DougB; 06-22-2013 at 09:13 AM.
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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    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. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member DougB's Avatar
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    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.
    If a hammer won't fix it, it's an electrical problem.

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DougB;383678]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.[/QUOTE]



    Dont want to sound criticle here but you dont know what you are talking about

    your comment makes me wonder if you have ever installed even one water heater in your whole life...


    Its not the plumbers job to keep information for the home owner, its usually all stored in a plastic bag on the side of most heaters... Even with the Rheem heaters I install, I am not at my computor or have a secretary to look up the install date for a heater we did 5 years ago...... Of course the serial number will tell you the exact date that the heater was made and that is usually enough for most places ....

    In the HOME DEPOT install, half the time these folks find some brother-in-law to install the original heater and now 3 years down the road he has moved on... and they need someone to do the warranty replacement for them........... most folks throw away information or it gets lost over a period of time......

    in a real world setting the Rateing Tag off the water heater should be all you
    need to exchange a water heater in any plumbing supply house.. If you got to drag a water heater into Home Depot
    to make an exchange and hand them back the water heater, that can kill half a day just fooling around with those folks..

    I would rather not get involved with Home depot or any hardware store ....
    You are trying to do the customer a favor by picking up the water heater and it all blows up in your face for your reward.....

    They were too cheap and tight assed to give you the business in the first place with the original water heater
    and now they beg you to get involved and bail them out of trouble on a satruday afternoon....

    I do hope that you charged them good for your troubles on a staruday afternoon..






  13. #13
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    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.


    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

  14. #14
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    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.

  15. #15
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    We keep copies of everything. Still though I would never buy ANYTHING plumbing related from Home Depot or lowes for that matter.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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