Home Depot Investigation - Part 2 | NBC Southern California

Home Depot Investigation - Part 2



    When NBC4 aired its first report, Home Depot said most of its remodeling customers are satisfied. But since that report, NBC4 has received more than 300 emails, from unhappy customers. After further investigation, NBC4 has found what appears to be a pattern of problems with the country's biggest home contractor.

    Video: Home Depot Investigation - Part 2

    November 2006 - Meet some of Home Depot's customers.

     "They gave us grief, ulcers," says one customer.

     "It's just been a nightmare," says another.

     "Just come into our homes and devastate our lives," says another customer.

     They all emailed NBC4's Joel Grover after watching his undercover investigation. Grover also heard from ex-employees.

     "There was no way we could give good service," says one former employee.

     NBC4's Grover sat down with more than 30 customers of Home Depot and asked, "How many of you are unhappy with Home Depot's work?"

     The entire group raised their hands.

     They're unhappy, in part, because they say Home Depot salesmen promised that jobs will get done quickly.

     "It was miserable," says Melissa O'Gara.

     She hired Home Depot to remodel her kitchen, when she was five months pregnant.

     "They said that it would take two weeks," O'Gara tells NBC4.

     But four months later when her son was born, the kitchen was still torn up.

     "We had no running water, no oven, no stove. I wanted to enjoy him [her son] and I couldn't really enjoy him," O'Gara tells NBC4.

     She says her son was 3 years old when Home Depot finally finished that two-week job.

     "There's still mistakes and our cabinets are peeling," O'Gara tells NBC4.

     In fact, most of the customers NBC4 interviewed say they got shoddy work by Home Depot's subcontractors.

     "You name it, it's gone wrong," says one customer.

     "It [marble] has fractures along most of the floor," says another.

     "They ruined our roof," says another customer.

     "We have a giant hole in back of our stove. We have tiles that don't match, countertops that don't match," says another.

     NBC4 also found other cases, where Home Depot subcontractors did work that was against code.

     "No permits had been pulled," says Ken Ramsey.

     He and his wife Sherrie paid Home Depot $23,000 to remodel their kitchen. Workers installed a gas shutoff valve behind the stove.

     "You put my family in danger," says Sherrie Ramsey.

     Home Depot salesmen, like one NBC4 caught on tape, tell customers all work is guaranteed.

     "People trust Home Depot. They know if Home Depot does the work, they'll stand behind it," the salesman told an undercover NBC4 employee.

     NBC4's Joel Grover asked several customers, "How many times did you have to call Home Depot before you got help?"

     "Over a hundred phone calls, and still no resolution," says one customer.

     A former manager at four Home Depot stores tells Grover the company gave him almost no authority to fix problems.

     "I couldn't exceed $200 of compensation," the former manager says.

     When Melissa O'Gara's new kitchen cabinets were peeling and discolored, she says a Home Depot subcontractor gave her a marker and told her to touch them up.

     NBC4 heard similar complaints about projects with Home Depot's upscale Expo Design Centers.

     "It was the worst nightmare I've ever experienced," says a customer.

     "When things start to go wrong, no one seems to have any power to correct the problem," says a former kitchen designer for Expo.

     "Its very easy for things to slip, and the client can't get a good resolution to any problem, large or small," says the former designer.

     Several customers tell NBC4 they were so frustrated, that some of them wrote to Home Depot's CEO Robert Nardelli, asking for help.

     One customer has some advice for Mr. Nardelli.

     "He should go to Home Depot or Expo and have his whole home remodeled. See what he thinks," the customer told NBC4.

     Home Depot wouldn't talk to NBC4 on camera. But in a statement said, "We complete more than 98 percent of (remodeling) projects without a single complaint from our customers."

     They also say, "The Home Depot has contacted or is continuing toward appropriate resolution with all of the customers identified... (By) KNBC."

     Home Depot tells NBC4 they want to resolve complaints from any customer who complain. They've already contacted some of the customers NBC4 spoke with to try and make good. NBC4 will forward all the additional complaints they've received form customers they spoke with to Home Depot.