Okay, it was my fault. Five minutes after I ordered some wedding gifts from a HomeDepot.com wedding registry, I realized I'd already bought the couple a gift from another registry a few months earlier.
So I needed to cancel the order. Easy done, right? Wrong. You can buy stuff from HomeDepot.com, but they do not let you cancel orders online. Instead they make you call the customer service line during business hours.
The next business day, yesterday, I called the customer service line, and after 15 minutes on hold, they agreed to "void" my order, a process that took another 10 minutes as they called the various warehouses that contained the goods. Also, since my order was "voided," I was told I would not receive any confirmation email.
All done, right? Wrong.
Today, I got three emails from HomeDepot.com informing me that my mis-ordered gifts had been shipped in three separate packages, and my credit card has been charged.
I called customer service again. After another 10-minute wait, the woman told me that there was nothing she could do, so I needed to call UPS to have all three packages returned. But UPS couldn't even process a request until the packages reached their hubs, so I need to call back again next week.
Remember, I attempted to cancel my order five minutes after placing it. Who knew e-commerce was such a commitment?
Update: I received a response from "Jack H." at homedepot.com on Saturday at 4:48 a.m., more than a week after submitting my complaint via the contact form (the only way to reach homedepot.com using a computer). Who's sending emails at 4:48 a.m. on Satuday? Yes, "Jack H." may be in India, but then why does their call center only operate during US "business hours"?
Anyway, "Jack" apologized and gave me return instructions, which were different from the ones the call center gave me. In fact, the call center had told me that the method "Jack" provided wouldn't work!
Thank you for replying to my email.
I called your customer service line, and they gave me alternate return instructions for my friends to whom the three packages shipped. They told them to write city names (e.g., "DALLAS") on each of the packages and leave them with their doorman for pickup.
I still want to make two suggestions to improve your service:
(1) Obviously, you need to offer some way to cancel orders outside business hours. You clearly have an automated order-delivery system, since everything was in the shipping pipeline by the time business hours rolled around, and if I had been able to cancel my order online (like I would have at Amazon or just about any other e-commerce site), then this wouldn't have happened. Even if you had a 24-hour phone line, instead of just an office-hours one, this problem would have been avoided. You should look into this -- they're doing wonderful things in Bangalore these days.
(2) In addition to the inconvenience of making me call four times while I'm working, your call center is either understaffed or sub-optimally managed. In all the calls I had to make to resolve this issue, never did I wait less than ten minutes on hold before speaking to a representative, and once I waited almost 20 minutes. Unacceptable.
I'm going to avoid homedepot.com until you fix these issues.
Or maybe I'll just avoid homedepot.com entirely.
Another update (July 27): It's been five weeks since I placed and attempted to cancel the order, and my newlywed friends still have two of the three boxes in their home due to some more bad information from HomeDepot.com.
About three weeks ago, they told me that my friends needed to write the cities of shipping origin on the three boxes in permanent marker, and that UPS would come pick them up. What happened? UPS came a week later, took one and refused the other two. I called HomeDepot.com today, and after waiting on hold for another ten minutes, the agent told me that writing the cities on the boxes was the wrong thing to do. Now they're sending me return labels, which are coming separately, and I'll have to pick up the boxes from my friends and take them to a UPS facility.