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Need help with Home Depot... any lawyers here??

16 October 2006
Johnson City, TN
I have an issue with Home Depot and their complete lack of care that they are responsible for raw sewage in my house... Any suggestions? I'm at wit's end on this!!

On 28 August 2008 two guys from Home Depot (Chris and an unnamed employee) came out to stack my washer and dryer after Jim from the appliance section forgot to install the stack kit. Approximately six hours after they had left, I came downstairs to find my garage/basement flooded. Assuming that the lines were improperly hooked up I mopped up the water and checked all the fittings. The next morning I found even more water on the ground and no evidence of leaky fittings. I called Home Depot about 9 a.m. to inform them that the sewage line out of my house was now leaking adjacent to the washer and dryer. I was assured someone would immediately get out to fix it. Finally at about 3 p.m. Chris and another employee came out to fix the issue. Unable to resolve the problem, they tried a quick fix on the sewage pipe and informed me that no plumbers were available since it was Labor Day weekend. Apparently I was going to enjoy raw sewage throughout my garage for my labor day. I was assured that a plumber would be there on Wednesday at the latest, but most likely on Tuesday. I spent the weekend mopping 6-7 times a day…
Wednesday came and I stayed home to make sure I didn’t miss the plumber. Finally at 4pm I called HD again to talk to Chris and was informed that he didn’t remember saying that they’d be there by Wednesday but in any event they would DEFINITELY be there Thursday. I spent Thursday at home enjoying my sewage pool and waiting on the plumber. Again late that afternoon I called Chris and was told that there had been “a water heater emergency and that it took priority.” Apparently raw sewage isn’t nearly as bad as cold water. Strange that in my training here in medical school we learn the bugs like C. difficile and E. coli can be bad for you. Let’s not even think about Black Mold. Anyhow, I was assured that no matter what, it WOULD be fixed by Friday. Now remember, this is over a week after the leak started. The sewage leak. As in feces, urine etc. sewage. Well finally Friday came around and I excitedly anticipated the arrival of the plumber. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Friday afternoon I called back to Home Depot and talked to the “manager on duty.” She promised that she would get this resolved as fast as possible. I gleefully continued to mop fetid water out of my garage…
Amazingly, within an hour, a real live plumber called me. Apparently he had just been called by HD about this. Yes, eight days later and after numerous promises, HD finally called the plumber. Now this seems a little odd since he supposedly has known about this for a week now. Well he again informed me that there was no way possible he could make it on the weekend, but he promised to be here between nine and eleven on Monday. Finally, the sewage crisis was going to be fixed. Oddly enough, I’ve now developed a chronic headache and sores on the inside of my nose. I wonder if it has anything to do with the stagnant water in my house? Well I must also say that the one upside is that detritus has filled some of the leak by now, so I don’t have to mop as often…
Well Monday, twelve days after the first leak, arrives and I get up early to make sure I don’t miss the plumber. I check the leak, which is now relatively small, but still present. I then park my rear on the couch and watch the clock. At precisely 10:58 the phone rings… It’s the plumber… He tells me he probably won’t make it out. I remind him he SWORE he would be here before ten, and explain that this is the third day of school I’ve missed. He somehow has forgotten he ever promised to be here before eleven, and I ask my roommate if he remembers this. He does. Finally the plumber professes that he can be here no later than five p.m. and we’ll have it fixed tonight, no matter what. By this time I pretty much understand this to mean “you’ll not see me at all today, and probably not tomorrow, either.” Therefore I’m hardly surprised when five rolls by with nary a phone call. Finally, at 6:01 p.m. I collect my mold spore addled senses enough to call the Home Depot corporate line. I explain to Mr. Ceary my predicament with the sewage, and also mention that I spent over $30,000 last year at Home Depot. Yes, I used the last of my insurance money from losing my arm to renovate my house, purchasing all my supplies through HD. While I realize that to Home Depot 30K isn’t much, to me it represented and arm and a leg… Well at least an arm. Ceary puts me on hold a few times while attempting to remedy the situation. Finally he comes back and explains that the people who handle these matters are gone for the day. He tells me he will continue to work on it and hopes to have it resolved in 24-48 hours. At this point he might as well promise to get it done using pipes manufactured by leprechauns and hauled to my house on unicorns, as I would believe that just as much as 24-48 hours. Sadly, my house now has a distinct “fecal smell” which I think might have something to do with the pipe in my basement. I also think this will be the last time I EVER shop at Home Depot. To me thirteen days of sewage leaking while vehemently promising its’ repair does not constitute customer service no matter how you stretch it. I guess tomorrow I will contact my insurance company and a lawyer to see what can be done about this. Until then, I’ll make do mopping up the putrid water, minimal as it may be, still leaking into my basement.
WOW! You're a better man than I am. I would have been at HD a long time ago. Good luck.
Wow, very sorry to hear of your predicament. I would have called a private plumber the very first day to have the emergency condition remedied immediately. I would have taken pictures to try to document how it is that HD caused this problem. Then I would have gone after HD for the bill. Allowing this "shit" to collect for 2 weeks was not reasonable by any standard. Sorry.
Hindsight is 20/20, no? I would have taken pics, hired a plumber to do it right and then take HD to court to recover the costs.

Not sure what you recourse is now. Certainly a lawyer is going to cost you plenty.
Same here. I would have documented every call made to HD. In my state, only one person has to know you are recording the conversation, and that person can be you.

In the meantime I would have called a plumber myself to have them come out and fix it. I would have also had that plumber document exactly what the issue is. I'd then give the bill to HD to pay. They'll probably scoff and ask how you know it's their fault. That's where the documentation from the plumber comes in and the fact that you have 13 days of recorded conversations where you gave them every chance to come out and fix it.

I find it very hard to believe that HD couldn't find someone to come fix it. Is there one plumber in your entire town? Last I checked, just about every single plumbing company has a 24 hour emergency service. The Labor Day excuse wouldn't fly with me.
Yeah unfortunately I'm a disabled medical student on a pretty tight budget, so coughing up several hundred dollars for a plumber is a bit far for me... Someone suggested calling the health department, so I may try that, too.
That really sucks. Here's a link with a list of the Executive VPs of Home Depot. http://corporate.homedepot.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/.cmd/cs/.ce/7_0_A/.s/7_0_10T/_s.7_0_A/7_0_10T

I'd start at the top and call each one of them and describe you situation. I'd also tell them you are a disabled Veteran of the US Armed Forces and you are being taken advantage of by their big corporation. I gaurantee that your problem will be fixed by midnight if you are serious.

Might not hurt to mention the "local 8 news" or whatever said they wanted to talk to you but you'd rather not cause a big stir, you just want it settled fair and square as fast as possible. That combined with Doc's advice and if they don't deal with this it might just end up on the local news.
I work at Home Depot and am sorry to read about what you've been through. I would like to get someone in touch with you about this, do you mind sending me some contact information? email it to information (at) home depot (dot) com.

I'm also on Twitter if you prefer to contact me there.

Sarah, Home Depot Communications