Home Depot Investigation - Part 5 | NBC Southern California

Home Depot Investigation - Part 5

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    NEWSLETTERS

    They are the nation's biggest home remodeling contractor and the subject of a KNBC undercover investigation. Now, nearly a year after KNBC's investigation first aired, The Home Depot is making good and compensating dozens of remodeling customers who complained to KNBC.

    October 2007 - Marla Smith has all new floors. Cheryl Aguilera got her money back. Barbara Ostroff got a big refund check. "If it hadn't been for you, nothing would've happened," she tells KNBC Investigative Reporter Joel Grover.

     They're just some of the people who turned up in KNBC's Home Depot reports, starting last November, where KNBC began exposing problems with Home Depot's remodeling business.

     KNBC's first report generated hundreds of e-mails to the TV station. Home Depot's vice president promised to make good with anyone who contacted KNBC. So the TV station sent them the names of 177 angry customers.

     "We are going to take care of every customer that brings an issue to us," Home Depot's Gary White told Grover.

     But this May, months later, most of the people on KNBC's list were still angry. Since that last report, Home Depot is now resolving many of the customer's complaints.

     "Thanks to Joel Grover and KNBC," says Cheryl Aguilera.

     KNBC first met Aguilera last year, when she'd been fighting with Home Depot to replace new marble floors that she says were cracked.

     Now, Home Depot has given Aguilera a refund, but she can't say how much because she had to sign a confidentiality agreement.

     "It's a payoff. I'll give you money if you shut-up and don't tell anybody and go away," she tells KNBC.

     When Barbara Ostroff appeared on KNBC's show last year, she'd been telling Home Depot since 2005 that they'd "overcharged" her for cabinet refacing. Now, they've given her $2900 back.

     "Is this because I was on the NBC consumer report? And they said 'well yeah,'" Ostroff tells KNBC.

     Last year, Marla Smith told KNBC Home Depot's subcontractors botched her flooring job.

     "They were chewing tiles to get the contours around the doors...with their teeth," She told KNBC.

     Home Depot just re-layed Smith's $2,400 floor for free.

     "I don't think it would've happened without you," Smith tells KNBC.

     Home Depot tells KNBC it's now resolved complaints of almost all the names the station gave them. But professor Ron Newcombe says they didn't make good with him. KNBC gave his name to Home Depot last February, after he found evidence he'd been overcharged on his $17,000 Home Depot roof.

     "About $4000," Newcombe told KNBC.

     He even met with a Home Depot executive to show him the evidence. But says they never offered him any compensation.

     "It's my money. They should refund that money to me," Newcombe tells KNBC.

     Home depot told KNBC it doesn't owe Ron Newcombe any money back, and has closed his case. As for the rest of the 177 names KNBC gave them, Grover asked them to provide the specific names of the cases they've resolved. They refused, even though it was KNBC who provided Home Depot with the names to begin with.

     The following statement was sent to KNBC for this report:

     October 1, 2007

     Home Services has completed approximately 440,000 projects in the greater L.A. area over the past three years, and KNBC submitted 177 complaints that roughly spanned this time period. We apologize for any issues customers encountered, regardless of the circumstances. We were able to reach 164 customers, and have worked diligently to address these concerns in an effort to stand behind our work, just as we will continue to do whenever a customer is not satisfied.