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By kacey in charlotte, NC on 6/24/2006
I am writing hoping someone out there could help me. I am an owner-builder in NC. This is the first house I built, also be my first house. It is everything for me; everything about my life is in there.
The problem I have is that my windows are late. I will tell my story in detail in fact more detail than anyone would care to know because this will also serve as my journal to account on what has happened so far with my windows incident. Some information here is not important, but I choose to include everything.
Back in April, after researching and comparing windows, I decided to go with Andersen. I ordered through Home Depot. The order includes 3 French door units and 27 windows, mostly 200 series with some 400 series. I paid in full which was $14427. My framer, who by the way is great, has been waiting for the rough opening for these windows. The next day, I gave him a copy of my order showing all the rough openings. He told me these bedroom windows would not be in compliance with EGRESS. He said he could not believe how Home Depot ordered these windows for my 3 bedrooms. He made some calls. I made some calls to confirm the information. My 2456 windows would not make EGRESS. I told my salesperson to please change them to 2856. There is one quad unit of 2456 in the master bedroom which I asked to make it as a triple unit of 2856 thinking that a quad unit of 2856 would be too big for that wall. There would be price adjustment since there were fewer windows. The windows expected arrival was the end of May. I didn't’t know what went on with my order after that until I received credit card slips in the mail showing a credit transaction and a charge transaction. Apparently, my salesperson canceled the order and created a new one. That was not a problem. The different in amounts were less than what I thought. That prompted me to get a new printout of my order. [Plus, I supposed to get 10% off $2000 for opening Home Depot account. By the way, my salesperson told me that I received volume discount which was about 10% or 12% off the whole order. However, I suspected that wasn't’t true. I asked him, and he confirmed that I did. I am going to verify that again because I am still not sure about that. (May be I did receive that discount.)] There are many more additional charges on mulling and labor that he didn't’t have on the original order. The new expected delivery date is 6/2/06. I was not sure why it took him a while to finalize my order. The credit card slip showed 5/5/06 date. Though, 6/2/06 (I thought) I could live with that. He said sometimes Andersen could do a “quick ship”. I might get these windows sooner. I said please ask whether they could do that. No word about that. The discounts, additional charges and delay in ordering bothered me at that time. I was going to press on that, but I decided to let it go. I didn't’t feel comfortable asking too many questions to my salesperson anymore. I was just going to wait for my windows.
During that time, I started to work on rough plumbing, HVAC and roofing. I stopped by Home Depot regularly to inquire about different things. I was interested in everything they have to offer. It’s a new construction. I basically need everything. I went back to order 3 skylights. I inquired about garage door, interior doors, entry door, etc. At that point, I decided that I would order my garage door, whole house interior doors from the same salesperson. I could not find what I was looking for on the entry door at Home Depot, so I kept searching. It was just the matter of deciding with garage door and which interior doors I want.
By the end of May, my framer called wanting to know when my windows and doors would arrive. He wanted to come out and finish my house. The order was not late at that time, so, I was not worried. One day, I stopped by customer service desk inquiring about my special orders. (My salesperson was off on that day.) I actually wanted to pick up my skylights thinking that they must have arrived since it was almost 2 weeks overdue. Then, I was told it would take 2 more weeks because it is a new product. A bit unhappy but went on to ask whether they know the status of my Anderson windows. They pulled my order up on the computer and told me my salesperson had to help me with that. He needed to call Anderson to find out for me, and he was not there that day. That was fine. No big deal. I’ll wait for my skylights. My windows are still not late. Still, I was not worried.
Two weeks ago, I started to inquire more and more about my windows since it was late by then. My framer needed to be done with the job because he has many houses lined up to be framed. He said he would be so caught up later on.
I was told by my salesperson that my order was finished and left Minnesota. It was on its way to Greenville, SC. Once in Greenville, it is a matter of overnight that I will receive it. For about a week I was told, almost daily that my windows would arrive “tonight” in Greenville, SC distribution center since the truck has already left Minnesota. One day, I asked what if my order arrived on the weekend, will I know? He said they work 24 hours a day in Greenville. As soon as my order arrived, his rep. will call him. I called and called asking the same question “Was it on the truck last night?” The answers were always “no”. I stopped calling figured that he would call me if it has arrived. At one time, he said they didn’t know which truck my order was on. Naïve (or stupid) enough, I believed him. After a couple days, I said to my husband “I could not believe an order that big and they don’t know where it was”. How do the companies like Andersen and Home Depot operate? I said they would at least know when it was done, what day it left MN, which truck it was on, and the day it scheduled to arrive at the destination where ever the destination might be. I said to my husband, “Take half a day off to watch the children. I want to go to Home Depot. I need to get an answer. I need to get to the bottom of it.”
I went to see the salesperson and told him my thought. He said my order to Andersen is small. “They made 15,000 windows a day.” I begged, please tell me the truth. Are my windows really done and really have left the manufacturer? I said I need to know because I schedule everything around it. My subcontractors (exterior siding, insulation, sheet rock, etc.) are waiting. I told them what you told me. Everyone scheduled their work around it. I kept apologize to people. I asked if he did everything he could. What about his Andersen rep.? My salesperson said they both did everything they could. “Jason (the rep I’m not sure about his name) is a good guy. He came here regularly. He would let me (the salesperson) know as soon as the order arrived.” He thought it would arrive by Monday. I wasn’t sure whether I should schedule the installer for Monday, but I told him anyway that it would arrive Monday. I left Home Depot. I didn't’t accomplish anything. …back to where I was before I went there.
My framer came back to work on my property this past week to finish up what he has left. He was hoping my windows would arrive sometime during the week. He said he has to move out of my property by Friday. On Thursday (4pm), I called customer service at the store explaining my situation. The customer service told me that he would check with the vendor and put me on hold. I was holding for a long time until I decided to use my cell phone and called the store on another line asking whether they are still checking. Bob, who answered the phone, said he did not know because he was not in the same area, but he could transfer me again. No one picked up. I called back using my cell phone at least 3 more times. Every time, Bob picked up. I finally explained to him the situation. By that time, it has been an hour hold time on my home phone. I said every time he transferred me, no one picked up. He said, “Let me page someone for you.” Finally, I got someone on my cell phone line. I asked, is the other customer service (I don’t know who he is) still helping me because I am still holding on the other line? Shockingly, he told me that the person had already left. I complained how he could do that still putting me on hold. I was in hope that I would get an answer that was why I kept holding. I explained my situation again. He looked up my order. Nothing would prepare me for what I was about to be told. He said my order was put on hold up until yesterday (Wednesday) and now is in production as of yesterday. After confirming what he was saying making sure that I didn't’t misunderstand something. I was furious. I said I paid for it in full 2 months ago. What is going on? I said I wonder whether my salesperson was aware of the situation. I got a quick remark from the customer service rep, “I don’t know I didn’t ask him.” I was extremely upset. I remember I was shaking badly. I wish I could explain my feelings better. No one would understand. Finally, I said I wanted to talk with a manager. I got Tommy, the manager at the time, on the phone. He must have received a brief from someone before talking with me. What I could remember was that he was talking really fast over and over about how he did not know what was going on and could not do anything and wait until tomorrow. I kept telling him that I understood perfectly what he was telling me. I knew that there was nothing he could do at that moment. I just wanted to tell him what went on in the past few weeks. I didn’t want him to just think that there is this window lady that just complains. I sensed that he was upset because how fast he talked and I felt that he was rude. I finally said, “Why do I feel like I upset you while I’m the one who should be upset. It was me that paid for the windows 2 months ago, and it was my windows that are late.” I also said that “I was never been impolite or angry at my salesperson”. I have been very patient and understanding. I was not really upset up until that day. Mainly because I was on hold for so long to find out that my windows were not even in production until the day before. I kept remembering how I was told that my windows would arrive “tonight”, how they were done and have left Minnesota. From then, Tommy sounded a bit better. He said he would have Mary, the expediter, on it the next morning. He would let the next day manager know about the situation since he would not be in. He said my salesperson knew the situation. He said Tim, another millwork salesperson, also knew the situation. Tommy said 7:30am when Mary comes to work, she will take care of it. He will follow up when he is back to work on Monday. (It’s Saturday now.) I asked for reassurance before finally ended the conversation that “So, Mary would call me tomorrow?” He said “Yes.” That night, I couldn't’t sleep.
The next day (yesterday), I waited and waited for Mary’s call. I thought I should give her sometimes to work on it. …half day gone by, no call. I decided to call her. I got her voice mail. I left a message asking about my windows and to please call me back. …still, no call. I called her back a couple times, still only voice mail. Feeling so helpless, I called Andersen knowing there was probably nothing they could do. I did anyway. I begged an Andersen customer service to please check on my order. She said there is no way that she could do that. I explained the situation briefly. She said that is between me and Home Depot and suggested I should talk to the store manager. I actually called him before, but he did not pick up the call. It was after 4pm; I decided to call the store manager again. Bob picked up the phone again. I asked the name of the store manager and said I have spoken with Tommy who I thought was the manager. Bob said Tommy is the assistant manager, and Matt (I don’t know his last name) is the store manager. I asked Bob whether he could remember that I called many times the previous day and was on hold for over an hour. He said yes he remembered me, the window lady. I said I was expecting Mary’s call and have already left her a voice mail. I asked to speak with the store manager. Then, he tried to page the store Manager for me. He just came back to say Matt did not pick up the call. I felt the store manager refused to talk with me. Perhaps, my situation is not big enough. Then, Bob tried to get someone else. I finally got someone. I think her name is Carolyn, another manager. I might be wrong on the name. We talked briefly. I asked whether she was aware of the situation. She said she just heard about it, and until she finds out from Andersen, there is nothing she could tell me. I understood her but went on trying to tell her my situation thinking she couldn’t possibly know the detail. I told her something was going on, but I was not sure what it was. I’m sure she was unaware. I tried to explain, but she told me she needed to call Andersen by 5pm before they close to find out about my windows. She asked me the number where I can be reached and said she will call me back. All day yesterday, no one bothers to call. Obviously no one has taking the situation seriously. Finally, I saw there was a message on my phone. I must have missed the call. It came at 5:50pm. The manager probably talked with my salesperson because he finally called. In the message he left, he said management isn't’t happy, and he is to blame, and it looks like 3 more weeks before I could get my windows. He said my windows order got put on hold because the mulling charge was incorrect. He said he would try to get his rep. involved to see whether it could be any sooner. Carolyn did not call. I’m guessing she told him to take care of this. Many things went through my mind. What I have been told was mostly lies. Neither the salesperson nor the Andersen rep. has noticed that the order that I paid for in full was not being manufactured. As far as I’m concern, this is not between me and my salesperson; it is between me and Home Depot. On Thursday while I was on hold for over an hour on the phone, I didn’t know how many times the message from Home Depot kept replaying. It went on and on and on how anxious they are to help, changing from wanting to know how to know how, how you can do it and they can help. It was so pretentious. 3 more weeks, what am I going to do? I feel so helpless and so stressed with the situation. Last night it rained so hard. I looked at my house with no window in the heavy rain, and tears just came down. I wish management at Home Depot could feel what I feel. I wonder how they would take it if it would have happened to them. I have not felt any sincerity from anyone I spoke with so far except for Bob who showed some compassion. It looks to me at this point that they just want me to wait. It did not appear to me that there is anything they as Home Depot Corporation are trying to do to correct the situation. I lay awake at night thinking about my problem. I imagine as big as Home Depot, they must have purchasing power. I imagine them as one of the biggest customers of Andersen. There must be something they could do about my windows. After all, my order to Andersen is small, and they make over 15,000 windows a day. I am just an unsatisfied customer. Like I have said, “no one takes this seriously”. My home construction project may seem like nothing to them, but it is everything to me. It seems like a whole world to me at the moment. I’m thinking if I post this message on owner-builder forums, someone might be able to help or give me suggestion. At least, if I get the words out, someone will start doing something because they have a reputation to keep. Thank you for reading to the end.