Lowe's treatment of contractors who subcontract service and installation from Lowe's is abominable. These contractors provide services that Lowe's employees are not capable of providing due to lack of training and they turn significant profit for Lowe's HIW Inc.
The contractors are rewarded for this by being forced to satisfy middle managers who have no training in the task at hand, but clearly have been threatened to drive up profit margins or receive consequences. Lowe's managers make every concession to please the customer and pass the costs onto the contractor. These concessions aren't made because the customer was 'right', rather because the manager has minimal experience with the service or installation job in dispute and no idea how to troubleshoot the problem. The contractor is forced to pay or lose details (aka jobs). Losing these details usually means downsizing the company or taking a staggering pay cut, so the contractor obliges and takes a loss. These losses are heart wrenching when you're talking about a small company that's barely staying above water in difficult economic times.
I live 0.5 miles from a Lowe's store and I consider it a last resort for my home improvement needs because the situation outlined above sickens me. It's criminal to siphon money from small contractors rather than properly mediating a dispute. I've seen the stock market and it's quite clear to me that Lowe's has the resources to mediate these disputes, but it's cheap, fast, and quickly shuts up the complaining customer if you just take money out of the laborers' pockets and hand it back to the customer.
I am one person and I can't change Lowe's, but there are a few things I can do. First, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS tell me friends, family, and neighbors who want quality services and installation to purchase directly from small stores and contractors. Stores like Lowe's depend on squeezing the middle man to make a buck, not high quality work, word of mouth, or repeat customers. Second, REFER THE HUSTLERS TO LOWES, if someone wants work done around their house and quality is less important than getting $500 knocked off the estimate because the contractor was 10 minutes late, then Lowe's is where they should be. I hate to see decent tradesmen deal with stupidity like that and Lowe's has teams of barely trained employees who can handle those phone calls. Third, POST THIS ON THE INTERNET, it won't do much because there's already plenty of bad press out there for Lowes. However, Lowe's has already shown us that they have no conscience or ethics, so I guess bad press is my only tool for motivation.