In December I went online to look for an air compressor for casual use at home. Eventually I found Home Depot's website and discovered a Ryobi 3- Free Compressor on sale for $129 versus the original price of $198. It was highly rated by reviewers, and I spent time reading most of the reviews to further confirm my interest. I later followed up with online, and then returned to the Home Depot site to order the product. Still listed at the sale price, I attempted to order it only to notice it was "out of stock" and it was "online only." I return several times to see it listed at the sale price but out of stock. I called their 800 number and was told I couldn't order it, and was asked if I wanted to look at other compressors available. I said I wanted the one advertised, and wanted to order it even if it was put on back order. I was told that they wouldn't take back orders, but that I should call back after Christmas and the product would likely be available and that I could check back online occasionally to see if it was available. The sale was listed as effective through December 31. I continued to check online almost daily, then called on December 30 as I wanted to order at the advertised price. A fairly nice took my number, indicated that she would note that I would be able to purchase the item at the sale price, that it looked like the product should be available within a few weeks, and promised someone would call by the next day. No one called, but I was confident that my information was documented and I would be able to purchase the product soon. I continued to monitor the site. Tonight I called and once again spoke to customer service at the 800#. This time I was told the item wouldn't be available until mid-March, was told it wouldn't be sold at the sale price, that they didn't offer "rain checks", and again offered an opportunity to look at other compressors they had. I said I wasn't interested in substitute products, expressed my disappointment and concerns for how Home Depot had offered the product for sale through December, offered me assurances of its availability at the sale price, and failed to return my call as promised. I asked to talk with a supervisor. After sitting on hold I was transferred to Jeremy - "the supervisor." A few seconds into my comments with him my call was dropped. So back through the phone prompts and customer service again. Jeremy comes on and I tell him the history and my frustration with the process. He failed to acknowledge any responsibility on Home Depot's part for their failure to perform. When I mentioned to him that I wasn't sure that is was legal to advertise a product for sale, try to switch customers to different product. I said it seemed like a bait and switch tactic -- especially considering the intense competitiveness to get traffic on the website during the all-important Christmas holiday shopping season. He scoffed at the notion, derided my questioning of the legality, arrogantly lectured me about how they cover themselves with "while supplies last" language, and dismissed out of hand any criticism of how Home Depot handled the situation. I asked why they didn't offer an option to place an order on back order and was told that most customer would be too bothered by it being on back order. The arrogance and condescension began to get to me, I had invested way too many hours trying to simply order a product and spend my money with HD to put up with the dripping arrogance and smugness of a wet-behind-ears "supervisor" who thinks he is important and doesn't know the basics of handling a customer call. Zero skills. To my embarrassment I lit into him, only to have him chiding me about why I was still on the phone with him and taunting me!. I have had responsibility for customer service groups as part of my organizations at several large companies and would have dismissed on the spot any customer service person who had no skills on how to defuse a customer complaint and worse yet taunted and chided a customer". It was an astounding case of mismanagement of a customer, but clearly this young man didn't care;. I was embarrassed at how I let it get to me and how I ultimately responded, which was not professional?. Despite Jeremy bragging about how many attorneys "big companies" like Home Depot have writing weasel words that assure their practices aren't illegal, their handling of it fit the "bait and switch" profile;.
"Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud used in retail sales but also practiced in other contexts'. First, customers are "baited" by merchants' advertising products or services at a low price; then customers discover the advertised goods are not available". Other products are "switched" for them; however, these items are often costlier:."
If you have had similar experiences with Home Depot, please post.