December 7, 2012
On Monday of this week I attempted to return a Price Pfister kitchen faucet purchased last year to Lowe’s Home Improvement store. The cashier, Karen, understandably denied my request citing Lowe’s 90-day return policy and the manufacturer’s 12-month warranty. (Although I no longer had the receipt, I estimated that 19 months had elapsed since the purchase date.)
I then asked to see a store manager (not to pursue a refund—even I didn’t expect that). My only motivation was for the manager to listen to my grievance about the faucet and acknowledge my reasoning for not returning it sooner.
Background: In April 2011, I purchased a ceramic sink and the faucet in question from Lowe’s for around $1,000. I then paid a plumber another $200 to install both. After 3-4 weeks, I noticed the faucet was loose at its base but was unable to determine how to tighten it. Assuming the plumber would have answers, I called him back out to my home. He was able to locate and secure the set screw at the base of the unit. While hidden from view facing the backsplash, he pointed it out in the event the problem resurfaced.
After paying another $65 to the plumber, I resolved to not put another cent into the faucet and sink upgrade. From that point on, whenever the faucet was noticeably loose at its base, I simply tightened the set screw with an Allen wrench. I estimate that I was tightening the screw about once a month. I considered returning the faucet sooner but that would have required uninstalling it and reinstalling a new one. And that would cost even more money.
So, I lived with it until last month when I bought a replacement faucet that I had installed by the same plumber. He asked what I wanted to do with the old Price Pfister faucet (which had less than two years of use). Even though it was well past Lowe’s 90-day return policy and the manufacturer’s 12-month warranty, I’d heard great things about Lowe’s customer service quality. So, I took a chance and had the plumber box up the old faucet.
And that brings us back to my experience this week at Lowe’s. The store manager, Gil, listened to my story, examined the faucet (paying particular attention to the base of the unit and the set screw in question), obtained a part number, and cheerfully issued a merchandise credit worth $171.07.
Ironically, the day before I was unable to obtain a $27 refund from Dairy Queen for a disappointing ice cream cake that I purchased five hours earlier and for which I had a receipt. (Here’s the story with all the gory details.) But I was able to receive $171.07 in store credit from Lowe’s for a faulty faucet that I purchased 19 months ago for which I had no receipt!
How was your last refund request handled?
Illustration: Aaron McKissen