Here’s the thing about Lowes installation contracts. It concerns ‘forced arbitration’. Meaning that if a dispute arises between you and Lowes as the result of a faulty installation, you could be out of a lot of money even if you choose to take them to arbitration which is your only recourse if informal mediation between you and the store that provided the service fails.
First of all, you’ll need an attorney unless you want to want to ‘bring a knife to a gun fight’ because there’s a good chance that if faced with arbitration, Lowes will certainly bring out their ‘hired guns’. If the billable hours of your attorney begin at $305.00/hour, you’re then looking at well over $1,500.00 for at least 5 hours (minimum) to prepare for the hearing with dispositions, discovery and so on.
Then there’s the expert witness that you’ll need to hire because again, Lowes will bring one or more of their best to the proceedings! So be sure to add another $2,000.00 (for each expert witness) to your legal fees.
For example, If your claim against Lowes for totals around $3,000.00 and the arbitration panel finds for the plaintiff (that would be you) for the entire amount, you will have won nothing since you’re down another $500.00 for all your effort (that’s if you chose to include the testimony of at least one expert witness).
Incidentally, if you read further into the fine print on the last few pages of your installation contract with Lowes, you’ll notice that you also have the option to bring them to ‘small claims’ court depending on the amount of your claim. However, if you choose to bring Lowes to small claims court, they will need to bring an attorney since Lowes is a major corporation and cannot send an ‘ordinary manager’ to represent them in court. The rules for the county in the state in which I reside prevents attorneys from representing their clients in small claims court. They would instead be referred to the next level, district court, where attorneys are allowed by both parties.
And since the ‘fine print’ in Lowes’ contract for installation services precludes a consumer from suing Lowes in a general court of law, your only other recourse is ‘forced arbitration’. Hence, Lowes has ‘all the bases covered’. I found this out after I consulted an attorney who spent well over an hour with us for only $40.00 (we found through a legal-aid referral from our county Bar Association) and deciphered the cryptic legalese of my installation contract with Lowes. By the way, this is a fairly common legal tactic used by larger companies that have numerous complaints and wish to minimize their costs for litigation.
The moral of this cautionary tale; if you’re considering using Lowes especially for a major renovation, and something goes wrong as a result of their installation, if you file a claim, and eventually go to arbitration (even with legal representation and expert witnesses to support your case), you may find the amount your recover will barely cover your legal costs and you will have won an worthless moral and hollow victory.
And in my case, after all the grief I’ve suffered due to the incompetence of one of Lowes ‘highly skilled’ contractors, I’m not about to add insult to injury by giving these ‘bottom dwelling ***-suckers’ the satisfaction of knowing I’ll have spent even more money by pursuing them in arbitration.
So it’s a given I’ll never recommend Lowes installation services to anyone nor will I ever set foot in another of their stores to spend a bloody dime as long as I am drawing a breath. But I also truly believe in ‘Karma’ (what goes around, comes around) so in one way or another, Lowes (including everyone from the store manager down to the contractor who had their grubby little hands on my project) will someday get theirs. And the most delicious part, it will be when they least expect it!
Product or Service Mentioned: Lowes Installation.