Fox 8 Defenders: North shore homeowner upset with Lowe’s over window installation
COVINGTON, La. (WVUE) - A north shore woman tells the Fox 8 Defenders she has spent thousands of dollars on new windows from Lowe’s home improvement, but still hasn’t received what she paid for eight months later.
We discovered thousands of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau against the North Carolina-based company, and some consumers have complained to Louisiana’s Attorney General.
Allyson Chauvin said she hoped to spruce up her Covington home with new windows.
“We wanted some sound-proofing and a little bit of energy efficiency,” Chauvin said.
She went to the Covington Lowe’s store in March and says she found what she was looking for.
“The cost was right around $18,000,” Chauvin said.
Fourteen windows were to be delivered and installed to her home in May. But today, eight months after her order was placed, only eight windows have been correctly installed and she’s still missing six.
“We’ve had waves of windows sent to the house that are the wrong size, damaged, broken, poor workmanship,” Chauvin said.
Chauvin says she reached out to Lowe’s and its local installer -- Trinity Exterior Group -- numerous times over the past few months.
“We coordinated with the store, the store pointed the finger at Trinity, Trinity pointed the finger at the manufacturer,” Chauvin said.
The owner of Trinity would not comment for this story.
Chauvin says she could never get a clear answer on when the rest of the windows would be delivered to her home. Frustrated, she turned to the Better Business Bureau.
“I filed the BBB complaint,” Chauvin said, “and within a couple days, I was contacted by Lowe’s executive team.”
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Tom Bartholomy, CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Charlotte, said, “We have a person on staff dedicated to working on Lowe’s complaints. She is speaking to their executive team on a daily basis.”
When asked about the type of complaints the BBB receives about Lowe’s, Bartholomy said, “They’re really kind of across the board. But what really changed, as far as the number of complaints we received on them, was when they got into the, basically, contractor business a number of years ago.
“It’s primarily problems with those third parties, that either the wrong product was brought or the installers didn’t do the job completely to the customer’s satisfaction.”
Some of the thousands of Lowe’s reviews we read on the BBB website complain about installation issues.
On Sept. 21, Tom C. writes, “Started two kitchen cabinet installations through Lowe’s. It’s now been over 71 weeks since they started the installation and neither kitchen is completed. their subcontractor ghosted both myself and Lowe’s for months.”
On Nov. 2, someone with the initials JN M writes, “Awful contractors accountability.”
This customer says they ordered a fence and fence installation services from Lowe’s, but that, “When you ask Lowe’s to help in resolving the issue, they tell you they have no control over their subs (sub-contractors).”
Bartholomy says the BBB typically receives about 5,000 Lowe’s complaints per year.
“The majority of complaints that are filed through the BBB, on Lowe’s, get resolved within 20-25 days on average,” Bartholomy said. “If you want to get something done, if you want to get resolution, that’s when people turn to us.”
Attorney Richard Leefe, who has served as an arbitrator in consumer cases filed against big-box retailers, says that while Lowe’s is responsive to the Better Business Bureau, many people might not know to take that route.
“They don’t want a bad Better Business Bureau rating, so they’ll usually be responsive to that and it’s a good method of getting their attention,” Leefe said. “For business purposes, you’d think they’d want to make people happy with them, make sure the product’s there.”
Asked whether consumers should have to go to the BBB in order to get in touch with a company, Leefe said, “Well, they shouldn’t. They absolutely shouldn’t.”
Chauvin said she heard from a Lowe’s rep soon after filing her BBB complaint.
“I will say that they responded, but they have not resolved,” Chauvin said.
Lowe’s isn’t alone when it comes to complaints about third-party installers.
Home Depot also receives thousands of negative reviews each year on the Better Business Bureau’s website. A BBB spokesperson tells us the organization received 3,800 complaints about Home Depot, so far this year. Some of those complaints concern installation projects.
“I can tell you that our Home Services business performs thousands of installations every day across the United States,” a Home Depot spokesperson said in a statement. “As with any business, a small fraction of these transactions may result in a dispute. We seek to resolve each of them quickly and fairly. When it comes to our third-party service providers, we regularly screen and monitor them, and perform job site inspections. It’s a rigorous process, and if we do see a pattern of performance problems, we will terminate the relationship. We take customer satisfaction very seriously.”
When the Fox 8 Defenders reached out to Lowe’s corporate office about Chauvin’s case, we were told two more windows will be sent to Chauvin’s home this week. Chauvin said the waiting continues.
“They are preparing, right now, to send us our fourth set of windows,” she said. “They finally, at month nine, came back out and re-measured all their windows. And they’re, ‘Aha, oh, these windows are the wrong size.’”
Lowe’s sent us a statement that says, “The satisfaction of our customers is our top priority. Thus far, 8 of the 14 windows have been installed, with two more scheduled to be installed on 11/17. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to Ms. Chauvin. Lowe’s customer care team continues to work with our vendor partners to complete the window installation as soon as possible to her satisfaction.”
The spokesperson didn’t respond when asked why the Better Business Bureau had to get involved.
“They sold me a product, they took my money, they just need to come through on their contract and give me a decent looking window that I paid for,” Chauvin said.
The Louisiana Attorney General’s office tells us nine consumer complaints were filed this year against Lowe’s, alleging issues such as faulty products, pricing, damaged or failed delivery and installation.
If you have a consumer complaint you’d like us to look into, call the Fox 8 Defenders, staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women at 1-877-670-6397. Or click here to fill out our online complaint form, which is the easiest way to reach us.
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