Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Shopping At Lowes? Buyer Beware

We ran into an interesting weakness in the customer service aspect of how Lowe's (Lowe's Home Improvement) handles their financial transaction at the customer level.  This could happen to you, so wake up.  Get some tea.  I'll wait...

... intermission ...

Okay.  Away?  Good.  Here is the scenario...

Let's assume that you bought a really big purchase using either your bank card (preferred), or your own credit card.  Say it's the best of the best in their appliance section.  For the sake of this argument, we will say it's a washer and dryer set.  We will assume that you just paid $5,000.00 for them both, because they are super cool, and they bring you tea. ;)  Oh yeah, and they have the special doo-dad that the Johnsons next door don't have.  (Basically, something that needs to be ordered and/or delivered.)

The next day, you see that another box store has the same washer and dryer for nearly half price!  Awesome!  Wait... We already bought them at Lowe's. No problem.  Lowe's offers a 15-day price match gaurantee.  Being proud, you walk in to Lowe's and they match your price.  You're feeling great, because you just saved $2,400.00.  You should be.  After all, it's a lot of money.  But the darkness begins to fall...  Don't run out and use your bank card or credit card again just yet.

Here's what you just walked out of there NOT knowing...

If you are not using their credit card (referred to as the "Lowe's card"), they use a different method to refund your money.  You'd think that they would just determine the difference, and just refund that amount.  That's simply not the case.  Instead, they do a full refund on the entire amount of the original purchase.  Then, they re-charge you for the new discounted amount.  It doesn't sound all that bad yet.  Let's break it down though.

Day 1 Purchase - $5,000.00
Day 2 Refund + $5,000.00
Day 2 Purchase - $2,600.00

If this was done Tuesday through Thursday, chances are that you may squeak by with no problems.  However, any other day of the week, you will likely have issues, depending on your bank or creditor.  Issues?  Yes.  On a day where the transaction will not reconcile overnight, and using credit cards, it usually takes up to 3 business days.  If you have a limit or remaining balance of $7,500.00, you're overdrawn or over your credit limit by $100.00 because the credits take longer to clear.  You are now going to have all kinds of grief dealing with fees.

Lowe's says that they will take care of any fees, but that's not the point.  We asked why they did it this way, as it sounds more logical just to refund the difference.  They replied that they use this method to refund to prevent a double order to happen in their system.  What??! 

In order to prevent an order from happening twice in their system, they potentially cause the customer all kinds of grief related to their bank or credit account.  The customer is potentially getting overdrawn, getting refused purchases, having to put off other purchases, calling their bank, and more.  All of this, just so the Lowe's location doesn't have to go through the trouble of cancelling the extra order.

Lowe's gets a D+ for todays customer service grade.  Horrible...

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