Atlanta Better Business Bureau Delists Home Depot

Aug 12, 2002

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that the city’s Better Business Bureau has delisted Home Depot as a member for not responding to more than 100 complaint letters, some of which went back as far as April, according to Dean Smith, the organization’s president and chief executive officer. “This is not the first time their membership has been jeopardized,” Mr. Smith says. While suspended, Home Depot does not appear as a listed member on the BBB’s web site and is shown as having an “unsatisfactory record” in contrast to, its closest competitor, Lowe’s “satisfactory record with the bureau.”

The suspension “is not something we took lightly,” says Don Harrison, Home Depot spokesman. “Customer service is the holiest of holies for us at Home Depot. We took the BBB’s list of customer concerns, measured them against our own, and found they did not match up. It did come as a surprise.” Mr. Harrison attributes the problem to administrative errors. “We thought we were in compliance. We think we’ve got it resolved,” he says.

Home Depot’s efforts in recent days show the company is trying to resolve the problem, Mr. Smith says. “They have committed verbally to ensuring a quicker turnaround on any future complaints that may be processed to them through the BBB,” he adds.

Moderator Comment: Does having a satisfactory record with the BBB give Lowe’s an advantage with consumers over Home Depot and its unsatisfactory listing?

If publicity around the issue was significant, we could
see Home Depot taking a hit over this. Of course, Home Depot employs many people
in its home market of Atlanta. This may make the delisting more embarrassing
for the company but it also probably means that local consumers are more likely
to give the chain the benefit of the doubt. [George Anderson – Moderator]

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