Home Depot sent wrong item $170 more than what I ordered

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Jul 10, 2019
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I placed an order for vertical patio blinds (about $30 including tax) on Home Depot's website. Instead of blinds, I received a DEWALT saw stand ($199 on the HD website) - the box has my name and address on the website, so it's clear that the mistake is on the part of HD.

Since I wanted my blinds and figured that this was a one-to-one swap (i.e. someone else ordered the saw stand and got my blinds), I called HD customer service. I ended up talking with 3 customer service agents over 2 days:
  1. I informed Agent #1 that there must have been a mix-up and asked what to do to get the blinds I ordered. Agent #1 asked me to (a) physically take the 67lb unordered saw stand to the closest store, and (b) place a new order for blinds online. There were several issues with these instructions, which I pointed out before Agent #1 hung up on me.
    • Issues with instruction (a):
      • I'm about 100lb, so there's no way that I can physically lift the 67lb saw stand let alone take it to the closest store
      • I ordered the blinds to be delivered and received the saw stand via delivery. Home Depot should rectify this issue via delivery and not in store. Taking the saw stand to the closest store would take time I do not have.
    • Issues with instruction (b): I already paid for the vertical blinds in full. I shouldn't have to pay, double the price of the blinds or otherwise, for a mistake that I had no part in.
  2. I was on hold for 20-30 minutes before speaking with Agent #2. Agent #2 was more reasonable, refunding my payment for the blinds and placing a new order for blinds to be delivered. Agent #2 also informed me that someone would call me back about picking up the unordered saw stand.
  3. Since I didn't hear from HD or any delivery contractor, I called HD customer service again to follow up. Agent #3, like #1, seemed to think that it was reasonable to ask me to physically take the 67lb saw stand to the closest store. Agent #3 also said that "there's no need to be upset" when I pointed out that I can't lift the saw stand and it would take too much time out of my schedule to take the saw stand to a store.
I learned that according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), I'm legally allowed to keep the unordered saw stand and it is illegal for HD to try to invoice me for the saw stand under $16k-per-incident fine (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0181-unordered-merchandise). Since I was so frustrated with my attempts to call HD customer service, I finally sent an email describing the situation (with photos of the saw stand and label); pointing out the FTC regulations; and giving them an ultimatum that if they don't reach out to me by this Friday, the 12th, I won't try to contact them about this again because I can legally keep the saw stand. So far, no reply.

Questions:
  • Did I act correctly in this situation? What would you have done?
  • Should I keep the saw stand?
 
Sep 27, 2017
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#2
Personally, I'd make one last attempt IN WRITING to HD to return the property. If they are still that indifferent, I'd put the item up on the local Craigslist or want ads. Sell it for 1/2 the retail price and make someone who could use it very happy.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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#3
I agree with Riroon with a couple of caveats to cover yourself. Send the written demand by certified mail, and don't dispose of the property until 90 days after you get the proof of delivery of your certified letter delivery.

I am no attorney and have no experience to back this up. Just paranoid and a watcher of TV "judge" shows.

And I am also assuming that holding on to this thing for a few months is not some kind of huge problem for you.

But whatever you do, keep a paper trail. Words to live by.
 
Jul 10, 2019
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#4
Thanks for your suggestions Riroon & Kate Teeters


I agree with Riroon with a couple of caveats to cover yourself. Send the written demand by certified mail, and don't dispose of the property until 90 days after you get the proof of delivery of your certified letter delivery.

I am no attorney and have no experience to back this up. Just paranoid and a watcher of TV "judge" shows.

And I am also assuming that holding on to this thing for a few months is not some kind of huge problem for you.

But whatever you do, keep a paper trail. Words to live by.
I'm wondering where you got the 90 days from? There's no mention of any timeframe in the FTC webpage that I linked. The FTC also notes that I had/have no legal obligation to notify the retailer (Home Depot in my case).
 
Jul 10, 2019
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#5
If Home Depot does come through and retrieve the saw stand, should I demand a written notice of pick up? Should I be concerned that they'll invoice me for the saw stand, delivery, or any other fees after pick up?
 
Feb 3, 2019
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#6
Should I be concerned that they'll invoice me for the saw stand, delivery, or any other fees after pick up?
They would have to prove you had actually ordered the saw stand to be able to charge you anything.

I would consider one email to Home Depot customer service requesting they retrieve the unwanted saw stand to be sufficient to CYA. After all, that FTC link you posted makes it explicitly clear you aren't even obligated to notify the seller you received the unordered merchandise in the first place, much less return or pay for it. And if you do offer to send it back, Home Depot is still on the hook for shipping and handling.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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#7
Thanks for your suggestions Riroon & Kate Teeters




I'm wondering where you got the 90 days from? There's no mention of any timeframe in the FTC webpage that I linked. The FTC also notes that I had/have no legal obligation to notify the retailer (Home Depot in my case).
I got it from nowhere other than my personal desire to avoid hassles. I might even wait longer personally so I could return it to them if they figured it out.

After all, it does not belong to me. No reference to the law at all. I'm not an attorney. Just a person.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
I placed an order for vertical patio blinds (about $30 including tax) on Home Depot's website. Instead of blinds, I received a DEWALT saw stand ($199 on the HD website) - the box has my name and address on the website, so it's clear that the mistake is on the part of HD.

Since I wanted my blinds and figured that this was a one-to-one swap (i.e. someone else ordered the saw stand and got my blinds), I called HD customer service. I ended up talking with 3 customer service agents over 2 days:
  1. I informed Agent #1 that there must have been a mix-up and asked what to do to get the blinds I ordered. Agent #1 asked me to (a) physically take the 67lb unordered saw stand to the closest store, and (b) place a new order for blinds online. There were several issues with these instructions, which I pointed out before Agent #1 hung up on me.
    • Issues with instruction (a):
      • I'm about 100lb, so there's no way that I can physically lift the 67lb saw stand let alone take it to the closest store
      • I ordered the blinds to be delivered and received the saw stand via delivery. Home Depot should rectify this issue via delivery and not in store. Taking the saw stand to the closest store would take time I do not have.
    • Issues with instruction (b): I already paid for the vertical blinds in full. I shouldn't have to pay, double the price of the blinds or otherwise, for a mistake that I had no part in.
  2. I was on hold for 20-30 minutes before speaking with Agent #2. Agent #2 was more reasonable, refunding my payment for the blinds and placing a new order for blinds to be delivered. Agent #2 also informed me that someone would call me back about picking up the unordered saw stand.
  3. Since I didn't hear from HD or any delivery contractor, I called HD customer service again to follow up. Agent #3, like #1, seemed to think that it was reasonable to ask me to physically take the 67lb saw stand to the closest store. Agent #3 also said that "there's no need to be upset" when I pointed out that I can't lift the saw stand and it would take too much time out of my schedule to take the saw stand to a store.
I learned that according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), I'm legally allowed to keep the unordered saw stand and it is illegal for HD to try to invoice me for the saw stand under $16k-per-incident fine (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0181-unordered-merchandise). Since I was so frustrated with my attempts to call HD customer service, I finally sent an email describing the situation (with photos of the saw stand and label); pointing out the FTC regulations; and giving them an ultimatum that if they don't reach out to me by this Friday, the 12th, I won't try to contact them about this again because I can legally keep the saw stand. So far, no reply.

Questions:
  • Did I act correctly in this situation? What would you have done?
  • Should I keep the saw stand?
The FTC issue is not relevant — that is for intentionally sending someone unsolicited items and then demanding payment.

Many states have laws about unjust enrichment when you have received something paid for by another.

For instance here is what Georgia says:

It is a different matter if the mailing you received was due to a mistake by the company. In these circumstances, Georgia law regarding “unjust enrichment” obligates you to return the item paid for by another customer. The company, however, will have to pay postage and handling or make arrangements to pick it up.”

http://consumer.georgia.gov/consumer-topics/unordered-merchandise

This is one state example. This is similar to going to the bank machine, taking out 40, machine mistakenly gives you $400 — no you do not get to keep it.

You should notify in writing twice by return receipt— no way to prove receipt by email.

Some state laws allow for clawback of the value up to 6 years later.

Why on earth do you want to keep something you cannot lift?

Send written notification and make them pick it up.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
I placed an order for vertical patio blinds (about $30 including tax) on Home Depot's website. Instead of blinds, I received a DEWALT saw stand ($199 on the HD website) - the box has my name and address on the website, so it's clear that the mistake is on the part of HD.

Since I wanted my blinds and figured that this was a one-to-one swap (i.e. someone else ordered the saw stand and got my blinds), I called HD customer service. I ended up talking with 3 customer service agents over 2 days:
  1. I informed Agent #1 that there must have been a mix-up and asked what to do to get the blinds I ordered. Agent #1 asked me to (a) physically take the 67lb unordered saw stand to the closest store, and (b) place a new order for blinds online. There were several issues with these instructions, which I pointed out before Agent #1 hung up on me.
    • Issues with instruction (a):
      • I'm about 100lb, so there's no way that I can physically lift the 67lb saw stand let alone take it to the closest store
      • I ordered the blinds to be delivered and received the saw stand via delivery. Home Depot should rectify this issue via delivery and not in store. Taking the saw stand to the closest store would take time I do not have.
    • Issues with instruction (b): I already paid for the vertical blinds in full. I shouldn't have to pay, double the price of the blinds or otherwise, for a mistake that I had no part in.
  2. I was on hold for 20-30 minutes before speaking with Agent #2. Agent #2 was more reasonable, refunding my payment for the blinds and placing a new order for blinds to be delivered. Agent #2 also informed me that someone would call me back about picking up the unordered saw stand.
  3. Since I didn't hear from HD or any delivery contractor, I called HD customer service again to follow up. Agent #3, like #1, seemed to think that it was reasonable to ask me to physically take the 67lb saw stand to the closest store. Agent #3 also said that "there's no need to be upset" when I pointed out that I can't lift the saw stand and it would take too much time out of my schedule to take the saw stand to a store.
I learned that according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), I'm legally allowed to keep the unordered saw stand and it is illegal for HD to try to invoice me for the saw stand under $16k-per-incident fine (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0181-unordered-merchandise). Since I was so frustrated with my attempts to call HD customer service, I finally sent an email describing the situation (with photos of the saw stand and label); pointing out the FTC regulations; and giving them an ultimatum that if they don't reach out to me by this Friday, the 12th, I won't try to contact them about this again because I can legally keep the saw stand. So far, no reply.

Questions:
  • Did I act correctly in this situation? What would you have done?
  • Should I keep the saw stand?
Again you can not legally keep the stand. No I am not a lawyer but SO is — and I got a lecture on the difference of a mistake someone paid for and intentionally sending someone something unsolicited
and then billing for it....-apparently there was a time when companies would send unsolicited books to entice people into book of the month clubs ... stopped listening to the history after a few minutes....
 
Apr 3, 2016
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#10
Contact customer service via email and say you want to arrange a pickup at your house that is convenient to you. If they balk, use the HD contacts on this site to ask them to get it picked up. They might just write it off and tell you to keep it depending on the met cost of the item vs the shippong cost.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
Contact customer service via email and say you want to arrange a pickup at your house that is convenient to you. If they balk, use the HD contacts on this site to ask them to get it picked up. They might just write it off and tell you to keep it depending on the met cost of the item vs the shippong cost.
This is what happened when I mysteriously got a box filled with food leashes brushes and shampoo for a dog— except I do not own a dog. Company said to keep it. Gave it to a dog rescue.

But this company does not have bad outsourced customer service —
 
Jul 10, 2019
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#12
Multiple points here:

1.
Why on earth do you want to keep something you cannot lift?

Send written notification and make them pick it up.
To be clear: I don't want to keep the saw stand to enrich myself. I've contacted Home Depot 4 times now and they either want me to physically take this to the closest store (Again, cannot do because I can't lift the thing and it would take too much of my time and effort; besides the fact that I paid for blinds to be delivered and they delivered the stand to my house) or will not respond to the situation (e.g., hanging up on me). If they do not arrange to pick up the saw stand, there is no choice but to let it sit in a corner of my house.

2.
Many states have laws about unjust enrichment when you have received something paid for by another.

For instance here is what Georgia says:

It is a different matter if the mailing you received was due to a mistake by the company. In these circumstances, Georgia law regarding “unjust enrichment” obligates you to return the item paid for by another customer. The company, however, will have to pay postage and handling or make arrangements to pick it up.”

http://consumer.georgia.gov/consumer-topics/unordered-merchandise
I checked my state laws and they mirror the FTC regulations for unordered merchandise. There is no law for unjust enrichment as applicable to my situation.

Considering how customer service is giving me the run around on the saw stand, it's not clear if it was paid for by an individual or was a mistake in their warehouse (it was shipped here from an out of state warehouse in Ontario, CA).

3.
Again you can not legally keep the stand. No I am not a lawyer but SO is — and I got a lecture on the difference of a mistake someone paid for and intentionally sending someone something unsolicited
and then billing for it....-apparently there was a time when companies would send unsolicited books to entice people into book of the month clubs ... stopped listening to the history after a few minutes....
Considering how customer service is giving me the run around on the saw stand, it's not clear if it was paid for by an individual or was a mistake in their warehouse (it was shipped here from an out-of-state warehouse in Ontario, CA).

Regardless of how the mistake was made, even if Home Depot finally picks up the stand, I haven't gotten any confirmation that they will not charge me for (a) the stand itself; (b) pick up/ delivery fees for the stand; (c) the blinds I originally ordered + delivery (i.e. a 2nd charge). In other words, I'm not confident that they won't charge me after they get the stand back.
 
Jul 10, 2019
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#13
Contact customer service via email and say you want to arrange a pickup at your house that is convenient to you. If they balk, use the HD contacts on this site to ask them to get it picked up. They might just write it off and tell you to keep it depending on the met cost of the item vs the shippong cost.
I wrote an email to customer service, but they haven't responded. I gave them the deadline of Friday, the 12th to respond because this whole thing is taking too much of my time.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#15
Moving forward, I would wait until I get a response by Home Depot IN WRITING.

I am not a lawyer so I cannot answer whether you can legally keep the stand or not. However, be aware that if you dispose of the stand without "authorization", Home Depot could put you on a "ban" list to receive in-home delivery in the future. Unlikely, but it is still a possibility.

You have sent an e-mail. I would also send the e-mail to a Home Depot executive today, so that you have not only contacted customer service but also contacted an executive.

I commend you for doing the right thing.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#17
The front line customer service agents at so many businesses are borderline inept.

I would also be frustrated with the situation. My point in asking the SO about the FTC quote is that the FTC rule is a different issue for businesses and local laws can differ.

That heavy misdelivered package is a burden .. and i would be hesitant to sell something on CL that I could not lift — because that means the buyer has to come to residence. Some police stations encourage people to do CL transactions in public places but if one can not lift the thing....

What should have been a simple request — ie come pick it up — turned into a drawn out annoyance because of the poor responses of the telephone agents.

I would send an email to the contacts as Neil advised.
 
Dec 17, 2018
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#18
Here is where you may have an issue, LairdLady. You're not a lawyer, so you're not used to analyzing specific language. So even though your state laws mirror the FTC rules, that doesn't mean you actually can keep the saw, and here is why: Unordered Merchandise is defined in the US Code (which would be the FTC rules) as:

(d)For the purposes of this section, “unordered merchandise” means merchandise mailed without the prior expressed request or consent of the recipient.

The FTC rules are meant to protect someone from something RANDOMLY showing up on their doorstep and then them getting billed for it. You ACTUALLY ordered something. I.E. you gave Home Depot consent to mail you something - they just got it wrong. THAT right there might be enough to turn this into a "you can't keep the saw" situation. Now, is Home Depot really going to kick up a fuss about it? Maybe not, honestly. BUT, please be aware that there is probably a LOT more law, both federal and in your state, that actually analyzes these types of situations. I AM an attorney, but not in your state (because I actually live near Ontario, CA, where the item was shipped from, and you're not from here, as you said), so I can't advise you specifically on here, OR even not on here. I'm just saying, be aware there may be analysis out there that kicks this out of the "unordered merchandise" rules.

Now, as others have said - sending a certified letter is reasonable. Tell Home Depot about the FTC rule and WAIT - WAIT as others mentioned - at least 90 days. And that isn't because of any "rule" but only because Home Depot is a huge corporation and is slow. You don't want a giant hassle with them later if you sell the saw and suddenly they want it back on day 89. So certified letter, tell them YOU think (you BELIEVE - put it that way) that the FTC rule applies and it protects you, and they are required to pay for shipping or pick it up - because even you taking it to Home Depot is gas money to you, so that shouldn't be on you, and that you're waiting 90 days from confirmation they received it, and then you will dispose of the saw as you see fit after that time. Send the certified letter. Then wait.
 
Apr 30, 2016
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#19
I would suggest to look closely at your order and confirm the Home Depot part number you entered was correct, and look at the Home Depot part number of the saw to see if there was an unintentional error made.
 
Likes: mschlick
Mar 18, 2019
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#20
I would also recommend you look into lost property (not abandoned property) laws in your area. If you register the lost property with the police or court clerk (depends on your local laws) you can be more assured that the property will legally become yours if HD doesn't retrieve it within the specified period.