Kevin Hunt: He Wants Money Back (And More) For Home Depot Kitchen




Bob Deasy and his wife, Janet, have lived in the same Unionville house with the same kitchen for 44 years.

They're retired, living on a pension and Social Security, but last October Bob Deasy decided to flatter both his wife and their home with a new kitchen. He took $22,000 from their savings to pay The Home Depot of Bristol for the purchase and installation of new appliances, new cabinets, granite countertops, a tile backsplash and vinyl flooring.

When the project started in early December, Deasy expected to show off the new kitchen to family and friends by Christmas, the promised completion date. That didn't happened. The job, in fact, still isn't done even though Deasy is finally done with Home Depot and its contractors.

Anyone who starts a major home renovation should expect delays and unexpected problems, but Deasy's troubles piled up, he said. The installed cabinets were not level. The first three microwaves delivered were either damaged or not working. The first two stoves were damaged. The granite counter was installed, he says, with three dings.

Home Depot ultimately took care of everything. It paid $2,400 for labor required by contractors hired by Deasy to correct the cabinets' installation. It paid $500 toward the appliances. It sent a technician to repair the granite's most obvious flaw.

For months, though, the two sides were locked in a stalemate over the vinyl floor. Deasy says it was improperly installed, beyond repair.

"The seam stands out like a neon light and there are bumps under the floor," he says. "When I call to complain, the flooring contractor comes over with a hammer to hammer down the bumps, leaving marks on the floor."

Home Depot managers and inspectors and Deasy's independent contractors examined the flooring.

"They're working out what to do about his dissatisfaction with the floor at this point, so we'll get this resolved," said Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes when contacted by The Bottom Line in March.

Home Depot didn't run from Deasy, but the delays eventually overwhelmed him.

"I want what I paid for, a new kitchen," he says.

Home Depot sent out an independent contractor, then another Home Depot-affiliated flooring contractor. Each said the floor was repairable.

"Our installer agrees these [dimples] should not be there," says Holmes, "as well as the fact that one of the seams needs to be fixed. He believes they can fix all of these issues relatively easy, but Mr. Deasy would like his own inspector to look at the issues before we move forward, which is understandable."

The independent contractor Deasy hired recommended Home Depot talk directly with the flooring manufacturer, Armstrong.

Home Depot wanted to repair the floor by heating and rolling the vinyl. That, Deasy says, would void the warranty. No, he told Home Depot, he wanted a new floor.

Home Depot continued to work with Deasy, who paid $3,226 for the floor. Home Depot first offered $1,700 as a settlement. Deasy refused.

"What am I going to do with the money," he says. "I still have a bad floor. The floor cost me $3,226. To fix the floor I am assuming it will cost more."

Home Depot later offered almost $3,100, close to the initial cost. Then it offered full reimbursement. Both times, Deasy refused.

"I wanted to be made whole," he says.

Deasy wanted more than the $3,226 initial cost. To install a new floor, he says, he would have to pay $1,200 to remove the existing floor. In late May, after speaking to a member of Home Depot's "executive escalation team," Deasy dug in: If Home Depot refused to pay the additional $1,200, he would sue. He called a lawyer, he filed a complaint with the state attorney general's office and he continued updating TBL.

But TBL also kept in touch with Home Depot. At no point did Home Depot seem unwilling, even reluctant, to negotiate with Deasy. But now that Deasy wanted more than full reimbursement, Home Depot hesitated.

At the end of May, Holmes told TBL that Home Depot would make a decision that day. Within hours, it called Deasy and said it would pay the $1,200 and the cost of the initial installation. A week later, Deasy had a check for about $4,500 toward a new floor.

"Why should I have out-of-pocket costs due to their contractors?" says Deasy. "But principles are important, too. HD just can't do a substandard job and expect the customer to accept anything less than what was promised."

Deasy and his wife have picked out new flooring and await installation by an independent contractor in early July. Only then will Deasy get what he promised his wife so many months ago — a new kitchen that, finally, looks the way they envisioned it.

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