What an ordeal.
We needed to buy a dishwasher because our old one is shot. So, as I do, I checked the Consumer Reports listing and surveyed the top five models. Oddly, after determining what we wanted, we struggled with where we wanted to buy it… all of the local appliance dealerships have closed or gone out of business. That left the national big box chains. Sears is closed in this area, so the field narrows to Home Depot, Best Buy, and Lowe’s. Not a lot of great options…so we chose what we thought would be the lesser of three evils, Lowe’s.
What a colossal mistake.
About three weeks ago (on October 6th), we visited our local Lowe’s. We spent about a half hour looking at dishwashers, and then about an hour trying to find an associate to assist us. After finding one, he struggled to complete the order. Asking only for my phone number, he printed a bunch of documents and oddly, presented me with a 7-page document listing my phone number and the name, mailing address, and other details for a customer in Florida. A bit disturbing to say the least. After re-processing and re-printing another three times, an hour and a half later, we had purchased a dishwasher which was slated to be delivered and installed on October 20. We were told to call on the 11th, and that if the dishwasher was received early, that they would be able to install it early.
So, on the 11th, I called. I spent about 3 hours on the phone being shuttled to different departments. No one could find the order, then it was found and discovered that the order for the dishwasher was never placed, so there was no hope for an early delivery.
Then, I noticed something strange. In the “MyLowes” app that I had used while we were in store to look through reviews of the dishwasher, all of the customer reviews had changed from five star raves to one star nightmare stories about botched installations, leaked, and other disasters. And I’m not talking about a handful of reviews, I’m talking about hundreds of reviews from all over the country. Was I living in The Twilight Zone? When I was standing in Lowes, (using their WiFi), weren’t the reviews consistently stellar? So, I turned to Consumer Reports again. Oddly, I found that the model number dishwasher that we had selected had two model numbers: one for the Lowe’s version and one for the rest of the world. It turns out that Bosch manufactures a lower quality version with slightly different features for Lowe’s than you would buy at another retailer. This bait and switch is confusing: the model number is exactly the same, but the door construction is completely different. The sprayer mechanism inside is completely different. The hose hook up is completely different.
Despite this, and despite being told that Lowe’s would call 36-72 hours out to schedule an installation, no one ever called. So yesterday, I spent four hours on the phone trying to find out the status of my purchase and whether or not it would be installed today.
Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t installed today.
The complete breakdown of customer service is astonishing and bewildering to me. Though I spoke with nine different customer service representatives from Lowe’s over the past two days (including my local store manager, Ted, and a representative from the executive office), I never once received an apology for my wasted time, the bungled order, or frustration. Not once did any one of the representatives try to reschedule or fix the many issues with this order. Instead, one Lowe’s representative after another passed the buck and passed the blame to another department or the “installer” or the “warehouse.” This lack of accountability and complete absence of basic customer service left me stunned. I cancelled my order and will find another retailer with which to conduct business.
In the meanwhile, Lowe’s has lost a customer. What has your experience with Lowe’s been? Is this an isolated incident of botched customer service or part of the way that Lowe’s does business?