Lowes Sucks – Fence Installation and Crappy Customer Service

// November 14th, 2007 // Personal Crap

IMG_3668.JPGWe’ve had a crazy and unbelievably drawn-out ordeal with Lowe’s Home Improvement. We thought we were alone, till we saw that guy that had Lowes-sucks.com (he’s settled so the site’s gone). Then, while composing a letter to Lowe’s corporate, we searched, and found there are quite a lot of complaints out there, most having to do with installation and customer service. Does it make us feel better that we’re not alone? No, worse actually. Lowe’s is getting away with crappy customer service coast to coast.

IMG_3667.JPG Below is the letter we sent to Lowe’s. We’re at our wit’s end and wanted to share our experience and hopefully publicize so others won’t have to go through the same crap.

Please link to this article. Share it with friends and family. We’ve been more than patient awaiting some sort of resolution, but all we’ve been given is the runaround and a lot of empty promises.

Our letter to Lowe’s regarding the Substandard Fence Installation and total lack of customer service.

To Whom It May Concern:

My wife and I are writing to inform you of the substandard quality of the installation of our fence, the repairing of its problems, and the general customer service surrounding the entire ordeal.

In November of 2006, we ordered a fence from Lowe’s store #625 in Raleigh, North Carolina. When the fence was finally installed in December of 2006, it took longer than estimated, and we ended up having to pay an additional amount of money for the installer to utilize a jackhammer for the installation of the fence posts. Even as the installer, Wayne Knight was erecting the fence several red flags were raised. The installer broke two drill bits installing the fence posts and was slow to complete the job. We also witnessed him putting the concrete bags into post holes, taking up valuable volume that should be filled with concrete. Our initial reaction was that not enough concrete was being used in each post hole, concrete bags aside. A home inspector and several other fence installers, including one utilized by Lowe’s, later confirmed this.

Within only a few weeks, the completed fence was leaning in multiple places. We immediately called Lowe’s to have the installer fix the problem. The installer was slow to respond, and took over a week to make an appearance on our property. The installer informed us that this was normal and to be expected. He proceeded to take the few posts / fence sections that were leaning, and added more concrete to this post holes. The fix was quick and we were a little appalled that the fairly extreme fence leaning was written off as normal. We were also put off by the fact that the installer did not take time to check, nor reinforce the other fence posts.

As the following weeks and months went on, we had multiple more problems with fence leaning, along with both gates working improperly. Repeats of the first “fix” occurred — quick fixes, with no checking of the additional fence posts, which may have saved multiple trips out for the same problem at different locations throughout the fence. The initial fix for the non-latching fence gates by the installer was to smack and pound on it. This did not sit well with us, nor did it instill faith in the other repairs made on our very new fence. Another fence installer of Lowe’s later told us that the hardware utilized for both gates was not sufficient to hold the weight of the gates (two hinges where a minimum of three should have been utilized), and that it was no wonder there were issues. Both gates continue to exhibit issues, dragging on the ground and not being able to latch properly. To prevent the gates from opening on their own, we attempted to zip tie them shut, but the mechanisms are so warped, that nothing short of nailing the gates shut with additional lumber will keep them closed.

As a direct result of these gate failures, our dog was able to escape from the yard on one occasion, where he got injured, with permanent nerve damage. Upon informing store #625 of this, little apology, nor any concession for our $250.00 veterinary bills was ever offered. This seemed like an obvious place where Lowe’s could step in with a little bit of compassion and compensation to ease our customer service nightmares, but we have heard nothing.

Along with the major issues of fence leanings and gate malfunctions, other issues have popped up over the past year, with no resolution. Multiple places, nails have popped out, creating hazard for both humans and canines to get snagged on them. Additionally, multiple posts and fence slats have exhibited unnatural warping and bowing. Lowe’s recognized that these were out of the ordinary and contacted the supplier, Georgia Pacific, but Georgia Pacific refused to get involved.

After taking time off of work multiple times to meet Lowe’s employees and installers, Lowe’s agreed to hire an independent home inspector and contractor to evaluate the fence. Both home inspector and Lowe’s quickly assessed that the multitude of problems with the fence were severe enough that it necessitated demolition of the entire structure, starting anew with new material and a new installer. This decision was reached in August of 2007. As of November 11, 2007, we still have the original substandard fence, with malfunctioning gates. We were originally promised that the replacement fence would be reinstalled by the final week of October. Then, we were told it was pushed back into November. Currently, we have been told first week of December. We have little confidence that this date will not slip yet again.

Overall, we are completely unsatisfied with Lowe’s and Lowe’s subcontractors’ apathetic handling of our entire ordeal. There has been no acceptable, nor timely resolution at any step in the process. We are appalled at how many times we have been brushed aside. Lowe’s employees and installers have been horrible at returning phone calls. Many time frames have been setup to receive return calls, updates and the majority of the time; these dates come and go without contact. We end up having to make contact again. We are dismayed at the long periods of days and weeks that go by after contacting Lowe’s. We have always had to be the ones to initiate and offer up resolutions. Customer service has been severely lacking.

At this point, we want to make sure that Lowe’s corporate offices are aware of the issue, and we will also be contacting our local network television news organizations to see if they can assist in resolution. We will also make sure to make it known on the Internet of the runaround and complete dissatisfaction we possess for Lowe’s Installation and general customer service.

Sincerely,
Ryan and Amanda Keefer

See our followup here.

31 Responses to “Lowes Sucks – Fence Installation and Crappy Customer Service”

  1. Keefer says:

    Here’s the thread at TiVoCommunity about suggestions and all regarding our fence.

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=374431

    After writing to the local news channels, one has already expressed interest in helping us out.

  2. JP says:

    I am currently dealing with a bad situation with Lowes. I payed for a bunch of roofing shingles that they deducted from my account at a discounted price. They called me back the next day and changed their mind on the price they agreed to AFTER I ALREADY PAYED FOR THEM (I have the receipt to prove it). The manager of the store overided the decision of the other manager that approved all of this and basically said too bad. This is going to cost me over $2000 of loss if Lowes prevails in shafting me.
    How much luck have you had with going above the district manger (chain of command for Lowes) or the 1 800 cust service number? I found a phone number on the web that says it takes you directly to a executive customer service rep 336-658-3599. Have you considered or been advised about any legal action? It looks like I may be facing legal action with what I have dealt with so far. This is a shame since I have primarily had a very good experience with Lowes overall in the past and even own stock in the company. Whats wrong is wrong, crapping on a loyal customer! Any response would greatly be appreciated.

  3. Keefer says:

    JP, we had a fair amount of luck calling corporate, but honestly, the real thing that lit a fire under Lowe’s ass was after contacting the three local networks’ news “consumer protection” reporters. After one of them contacted the store, things got rolling. We never had to take the legal route, thought that was our next step. Best of luck!

  4. Two weeks ago I speical ordered a round 8 by 8 rug and waited two weeks for it. When it arrived I took it home and laid it on my floor. The quality was poor not the same fabric that I chose from the rugs hanging from the ceiling. I checked again and the texture was not the same. It had raveled around the edge of the outside seam and when you stepped on it the squares came apart exposing the white nylon they were glued to. I took it back and purchased a beautiful rug at another store.

  5. Tom Harris says:

    I bought fence panels from Lowe’s 2 years ago and in just one year the fence is warped. Now my neighbor hates me. I had no idea that the fence would warp like that. It is the cheapest wood I had ever seen. Next time I will call a professional fence installer. Judging by the way the fence looks it won’t be long. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

  6. Tim says:

    What company was the original fence installer? We just recently got an estimate from Lowes for our wood privacy fence. I was a little aggrivated because the estimate from Lowes was much higher than the rough estimate the contractor gave me in the field.

  7. Keefer says:

    The guy that did our good fence was Don Campenella. The first guy, I’ve since blocked out his name. But after our ordeal, I’m pretty sure that he no longer does fence installs for Lowe’s, or at least the Raleigh store we went through.

  8. Nicole says:

    So glad I found this! I won’t be calling Lowe’s for my fence.

  9. Travis says:

    have you tried just going outside and fixing whatever is wrong with the fence yourself? I understand that you should get what you payed for but why fuss so much about it, just walk outside and fix it…. Is the latch broken? unbolt it…. take it back to lowes with your receipt…. get a new one. problem solved. It is always best to do things yourself that way there is no one to blame but yourself….

    • Bryan says:

      I know this thread is old, but Travis – you are crazy. If I have paid for a product and/or a service, & it fails within a reasonable time window, the company needs to do the repair/replacement – not me. You must be a pushover & have too much time on you hands.

  10. Louis Sabater says:

    Sorry to hear about your fence installation. Lowe’s subs out work to very unqualified installers. That is why I do not want to be there installer because I would not be able to agree with their beliefs. I build fences and decks and I am very particular of the wood I use. I prefer the pressure treated wood sold by Home Depot. This is the only item I buy at HD since their service also sucks. Anyway, my advice, get the best installer and material for the money you want to spend to prevent any future problems.

  11. Best Home Alarm says:

    We live in Arizona and so there are very few wooden fences (if any) like yours. But I will say that the Lowes stores seem to have more helpful people in them than the Home Depot ones – which is nice.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that they are good at installing fences…

    Nice post!

  12. Lowes customer service sucks says:

    I won’t deal with lowes again. The employees act like inmates. If you don’t like your job quit and get another one. Why take it out on the customers. If you’d have planned your life better you wouldn’t be working for an abusive employer.

    Lowes can bite me. I’m getting my kitchen somewhere else.

  13. Norman says:

    Thank you very much Ryan and Amanda. I am installing a fence for my girlfriends co worker next week. I was wondering if I should just pass it on to Hompe Depot or Lowe’s. Fences are so easy to do it’s kinda like relaxing time for me. You truely deserve better treatment than you have recieved. It is my personal opinion that Lowes should reimburse you in full for the cost of you fence and pay for the work themselves. When you think about it just the fact that they caused you write that letter has already cost them one customer for sure, me. My supplies will not come from Lowes I assure you. They really missed out this time I have some doors to replace and several other projects that will exceed the cost of them reimbusing you. You know most major corporations already know this. Anyway thanks you guys and don’t hesitate to take them to court. You can’t lose.

  14. Ken says:

    Do not EVER get a project card and lord help you if you lose your job and get behind. They will call you EVERY DAY including 8:30 on Saturdays and on SUNDAYS! They called about every day last week!

  15. Tom says:

    Lowes doesn’t suck its their sales staff. I’m a Fencing Contractor and used to install for Lowes. We didn’t get one job in the ground because of the sales staff. We were told to go bid a job around a pool and Lowes doesn’t do pool fencing because of liability reasons. After going to bid jobs that Lowes doesn’t accept or the sales staff doesn’t tell them the HOA doesn’t accept it. Taking the time, gas, and energy its not worth it, I lose money. Good contractors don’t put up with the bull, so Lowes gets the left overs. Advice to all, don’t go to a hardware store to get your fence installed. You don’t go to autozone to get your engine rebuilt. You take it to a mechanic. Dumb for all who want to spend their money on a name (LOWES). Your phone book has plenty of contractors in it. If you don’t do any research, you get what you get. As for your pictures of the fence, sorry the fence looks like #@%$. If you need to repair it(something I would do) get a contractor and charge Lowes for the repair.

  16. Al says:

    Thanks for posting this. Lowes should realize that bad service results in bad publicity. I’m in the market for a new fence and decided to do a quick search on Lowes Fence Installations to see other peoples experiences. Here I am and as a result of your experience, Lowe’s will not get my installation job. I will say tha my experience in the store itself has always been great but as far as outside the store, I will not be using their contractors for anything.
    Thanks

  17. Bryan says:

    I live in Indiana and recently bought a battery drill at Lowes and used my debit card to purchase it. That evening while trying to charge the batteries there seemed to be a problem with the charger staying on until the batteries were fully charged. The next day I took the drill back to Lowes and returned it with my recipt. They swiped my debit card and told me they refunded the money. Ten days later I noticed the money was never refunded to my account so I called Lowes and talked to a woman at the refund desk. She immediately acted like she was put out by my call, before I even explained what the problem was. She told me that it takes “15 DAYS” for the money to be refunded to my account!!! I asked her why and she could not give me a reason! I have been a home builder for 27 years and I spend six figures at Lowes every year and have for years, but this was the last straw! I will not give Lowes one more cent ever! There are plenty of other places with better customer service and better trained employees than Lowes so this will not be a problem. If you shop at Lowes – GOOD LUCK!!!

  18. Keith says:

    After placing a contract to purchase a home in North Port, FL, the local Lowes was chosen to handle the majority of the contracted work to be performed. At first, everything was great, the salesman that took the order acted like he was our best friend, etc. To be fair, the guys that installed our fence did a great job. The guys that installed our carpet did an outstanding job. But, the tile install and regrouting of our showers was nothing short of a nightmare. We contracted for Lowes to tile the whole first floor, except for the master bedroom and bath. They showed up with just enought tile to do only the livingroom. When I went to the store to talk to the manager on duty, I was treated like I was some sort of freeloader trying to make Lowes pay for something they shouldn’t have to. It took me calling Lowes and telling them not to bother to start the job before I got their attention. The guy that claimed he was the store manager (only a sales manager) said they made a mistake with the order, and they would make good on it. They did a good job installing the tile. But, when they worked on the showers, rather than regrout, they only patched over the bad spots, and used a different color grout. I’m still waiting for them to fix this problem.

    My advice, go to a licensed and insured contractor, not Lowes or any of the other big box hardware stores to have the work done. They get their pricing from the sub contractor, and mark it up for their profit. You’ll save monrey, and hopefully have a lot less headache. I’ll know better next time. I’ll still buy products from Lowes, but they won’t be allowed to even air up the tires on my kid’s bicycles, much less do any work on my home.

  19. Bree says:

    I wish I read this post BEFORE I made the mistake and hired them to install a very expensive cedar fence. I signed the contract in April and it is currently June 7th and no fence yet. After leaving several messages, they setup a delivery date. Of course, I had to take the day off work since I needed to be home to get the delivery. I was up at 7:00 am as they asked me to. I was told they would call me when the truck was loaded. 9:00 still no call. By 1:00 I called them and they said our fence was almost done being loaded. Ya right, it took that long! Anyways, we received a call at 4:30 saying the fence would not be delivered until the next day. Their excuse was that the delivery guy quit. After much complaining they promised to deliver the fence early the next day. Afterall, they scheduled the installer for 8:00 am and i didn’t want the contractor to put me on the back burner. Around 5:00 the night before installation, Lowes called to say they couldn’t guarantee the delivery time. At this point, I don’t believe this fence will ever get installed. I went to the store and raised he’ll. They dropped the delivery charged and gave me a giftcard. Still doesn’t make up for the day off work. Sure hope my fence is delivered and installed tomorrow. If not, I am canceling the project and getting a full refund. They can stick their giftcard you know where. Stay away from these big box stores. Use your small local stores!

  20. belinda says:

    Wish I’d seen your post prior to throwing awayy $4000 at Lowe’s to have a substandard fence installed. I’m into my 9th month of fighting with Lowe’s over gates that won’t latch properly. Home Depot will be very pleased when I start my next project – remodling the kitchen!!

  21. Dale says:

    Please call me before you call LOWE’s! The fence itself is cheap if you used the prefab sections. If there is rock present it can be quite a task to bury the posts. If your installer had to rent a jackhammer and broke 2 auger bits, your yard is full of rock and it sounds like he may have done the best he could with provided tools and payment from Lowe’s. You never know what you will run into when digging!

  22. Laurie says:

    It’s nightmares with subcontracted work like this that prompted me to start doing whatever installs on my home that I can myself. I decided I wanted to replace the storm window on our home this year. I went to Lowes and special ordered the exact windows I wanted, and I’m installing them myself, that way I know the job is done RIGHT.

  23. Gordon says:

    Lowes wooden fence is total crap. I installed my own and its warping to beat the band. after 1 year all the nail are breaking and i just had to renail 2 board today i’m still trying to find the name of the company that makes this crap. i also complained to Lowes with no satisfaction. They sell alot of crap from what i have seen.

  24. REnee says:

    They did a super job installing my front door and the storm door I would recommend the installer group to anyone… I say keep up the good work here from Indianapolis Indiana sorry you all got a bad bad installer group… They have super customer service group here in Indy…..

  25. Jean says:

    I paid 8,000.00 for a lowes vinyl fence with a large gate and a small gate. Within six months the slats started falling out of the panels and both gates were broken. I had the manager come look at the fence and that didn’t do any good nor did it do any good to go to them and try to get help. I will never recommend Lowes for installing anything. They have lost a customer in me and all my family.

  26. Linda M. Revetta says:

    I paid almost $5,000 for a vinyl fence and install from Lowes. I purchased 30 bags of cement and paid over $350.00 for the posts to be placed in cement around my pool. I paid an additional $1,500 for fence install. Lowes did not install the fence in cement, other than four of the 26 posts. The fence started shifting immediately after install and latches on gates broke. I contacted Lowes, they fixed latches on fence but ignored all other problems. I contacted Lowes two more times and they sent someone out once who once again fixed latch ignored other separations on fencing. I contacted Lowes manager in Robinson Township after calling professionals in to look at the fence panels breaking out and they stated that the fence was never installed properly. Manager Alan at Lowes stated that he will do nothing to fix the problem of my fence. I have to pay over $1,500 to fix these problems and replace panels due to improper installation. I am very dissatisfied with Lowes and would like suggestions on how to handle this problem. I plan to contact the media once I get the dates of prior phone conversations together. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance for your help and support.

  27. Cathy says:

    I was thinking about getting another estimate for a new wood fence from Lowe’s, but after reading all the problems, it may not be a good idea. We live in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. I want to use metal posts because they last longer. Has anyone had any positive results with the installation of a wood fence from Lowe’s? Thank you.

  28. Bob Warren says:

    You want some cheese with that wine? You should have been a big boy and not aloud them to leave until it was up to par as to what you wanted as that is stated in the Lowes Installation contract. You may think you have done something to try to fend off customers from lowes but you and a few others are the one in a million people who have had bad luck with installations. You would have bitched just as much if it was someone else who installed it. The installation team at that particular lowes may suck but the contractors are who do the work. Not lowes my dear.

    • Keefer says:

      Wow, what a troll. You’re responding to a 2007 article without reading through the whole article. I stand by everything I wrote five years ago, and feel I was just in venting on my personal blog, and followup continued to place blame where blame was due. If a job is sub-contracted out, the job is ultimately still the responsibility of the primary, which in our fence installation was Lowe’s.

  29. One pissed customer says:

    I can attest to the lies and unfair business practices to this organization. I recently had 850 pella windows installed. They were contracted to measure, order and install the windows. The windows ordered were grossly undersize but they installed them anyway. Clearly this job is a mess and I have pics to prove. The customer support and so called executive customer support were useless. The so called market director came out to assess as a formality and deemed everything was installed correctly. BS!!! Now it’s off to the stage AG to assist. I likely won’t get anywhere and will likely have to chalk this up as an expensive lesson but it’s worth a try. These companies and their fly by night sub contractors need to be stopped!

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