Below is letter sent to CEO
This is a very detailed account of my recent experience involving shopping at Lowes for a vanity counter-top which began in mid-September.
For the purposes of remodeling my bathroom, my contractor (Mr. Michael Rombeiro) advised that I shop around online or for in-stock counter-tops at Home Depot or Lowes. My decision to shop at Lowes was based on its close proximity to my home.
The first time I was there initially, I had a lot of difficulty finding someone who would even stop to help me find where the in-stock counter-tops were located. One person would refer me to someone else and they would refer me back to the other person. Finally, someone stopped long enough to tell me he did not know if they had any and if they did, he did not know where they were. I asked to talk to the manager and was told he left for the day. After spending an hour at Lowes without any further progress, I decided to leave and re-iterated what occurred to my contractor.
He told me that they always carried a selection of in-stock counter-tops and I was misinformed. I returned to Lowes a week later to ask exactly what my contractor instructed me to do: Where are the in-stock vanity counter-tops. This time, the employee at Lowes escorted me to a selection of several counter-tops which I looked through and found just one pattern that would go in my bathroom, however, I noticed that the width of the ones at the store were all 8’ wide and I needed 6’ so I flagged down the person who showed me them and asked if I could have one custom-ordered to be 6’ instead of 8’. He said I could but that it would cost me an additional $300 to custom order any other laminate samples that were NOT in-stock. I immediately eliminated that idea due to the expense. Later, I would get a completely different story.
I went home and looked at the ones I could order on-line from Lowes and I came across the same pattern in a 6’ width which I proceeded to order. What I did NOT know was that what the original counter-tops that the employee directed to me were in-stock “KITCHEN” counter-tops, NOT in-stock “VANITY” counter-tops. As a consumer, I don’t know that a different depth was required for each. This misinformation caused me to order the wrong size (in depth) for my bathroom.
I placed the order for the counter-top on 9/20/13 in the amount of $104.40 and received it several days later. My contractor agreed to PICK IT UP on 9/30/13 at 9 AM sharp at Lowes and bring it to my house to cut and install it. I called Lowes many times prior to this day to make absolutely sure that the counter-top would be ready for him and I was assured that had it right there to be picked up as we arranged it. I called on Sunday evening to re-confirm this as I wanted to make this pickup as easy as possible for my contractor as well as myself, so I would not have to pay him extra for his time!
Michael arrived at Lowes at exactly 9 AM with my Order # and everything that was required to pick up the counter-top. At 10 AM he called me at home and told me he was still waiting at Lowes which is why he was late. I was beginning to get annoyed because he should have had it by this time. More time went by and he called again at 10:30 AM to tell me he was still waiting. I then asked to talk to the manager because no one seemed to know where it was. I spoke to Jay, the manager, and he told me he was in the middle of looking for it and sometimes this takes time. So, essentially, I was lied to when Lowes informed me it would be ready & waiting for him at 9 AM just the previous evening! At 12:30 PM (after 3 ½ hours of waiting) I was furious and drove to Lowes to meet my Contractor and talk to the manager in person. Just when I had arrived, Jay had found ‘a counter-top’ (not the one I ordered) that would probably be acceptable. We finally left Lowes close to 2 PM. The 3-hour wait that Michael had to endure has cost me an additional $150. Both of our time is valuable and it was in no way acknowledged or respected plus it caused me an indescribable amount of stress.
Unfortunately, the story does not end here. When we got the counter-top home and set up for cutting, Michael informed me that it was NOT the correct width. The counter-top I had been given measured an additional 5” depth than a standard vanity counter-top. It was NOT a bathroom counter-top as I had originally been told by Lowes personnel.
I wanted so much to get this over with due to the stress of the day based on Lowes’ mistakes and lack of knowledge in this area, that I almost agreed to have him install it as it was. He convinced me to return it, get my money back and re-order a counter-top that was cut for vanities, NOT kitchens! Not only did I not want to step another foot into Lowes; I also did NOT want to custom order anything since Lowes Customer Service had already previously told me that it would cost $300 more to do so. However, he did convince me to return it.
Returning it took an hour! After providing the cashiers all my paperwork pertaining to my order, they could not find it. Neither of them seemed to know what to do and called someone else over who also had difficulty finding my order. I could not believe what was happening. To add insult to injury, while they were looking for my order, they took the time to talk about and show each other their new manicures/nail polish. This is a total disgrace. I was about to lose my temper but my contractor escorted me out of the store for a few minutes to calm me down. It was not easy. It took another hour to find my order, return it, and get a credit on my credit card.
Then it was time to place a new custom-made order. At first I did not want to because as I said previously, the rep at the counter desk told me it would cost me $300 more for another that was not in-stock. However, this information turned out to be incorrect. I could custom order ANY choice available at a reasonable price with accurate dimensions. If only I had been given the correct information during my first visit to Lowes, perhaps I would not have run into all these other nightmares. Given the new information, I went ahead and ordered a new counter-top which I am presently waiting for (again) to arrive at Lowes for pick-up by my contractor on or about 10/17. It only cost an additional $50 over the cost of the in-stock, wrong-sized counter-top that I had originally ordered. I have to wonder, when going to this store, who actually knows what they are talking about? There was so much information and mistakes on the part of Lowes that it’s difficult to keep track of.
I had to pay $150 in additional costs to my contractor for mistakes that Lowes made, and caused a whole day to be wasted. While still in the store, I asked to talk to Jay, in the hope that I would be able to receive some sort of reasonable compensation for all the previous events. Jay had already left for the day, so they spoke to a new manager who had no knowledge of went on previously. She offered me a 10% discount which was far from what I lost that day, but I accepted it since it was the only offer I got at that time.
Now I’m waiting for the new counter-top in the hopes that nothing will go wrong this time. I expect it to be there this time when Lowes says it’s going to be and not a moment later. I’m also writing this up as a complaint in order to receive a minimum of $150 compensation for 3 hours of time that I had to pay my Contractor for having to wait at Lowes for the original counter-top. Lowes showed no courtesy or respect for anyone’s time and it cost both of us a lot of unnecessary costs and stress.
Michael Rombeiro (Licensed Contractor);
Jay (Manager, Lowes, San Francisco)
Monetary Loss: $150.