Home Depot Quartz Countertop Story
Home Depot Quartz Countertop Story
Two days ago, February 24, 2023, I found myself re-installing three sinks for a young woman Kathy and I know from our church. She had new countertops installed in her kitchen and two bathrooms by Home Depot.
The day before I was at her home as the countertop contract workers from Home Depot were finishing up the installation. The lead installer had out a tablet and took some photos of the tops and then asked the young woman to sign the tablet "so I can get paid from Home Depot". That's exactly what he said - I heard it.
It's important to realize this young woman is an expert in contract language. All she does all day long is read the fine print in contracts to protect her company.
She said, "I'd like to inspect the countertops if you don't mind." She went to all three rooms and looked at them. It was a pressure situation as the installer was hovering over her the entire time. Even I felt the stress.
I was on the first floor and they went up to the second-floor bathroom. Evidently, the installers smeared some silicone caulk on the quartz tops leaving a dark area. She pointed this out and the installer said it was water.
How it could be water is a mystery since the SINK WAS DISCONNECTED! What did he do, get water from the toilet bowl/tank????
The young woman then asked him a few questions about the warranty and he responded that it does include labor and material and is for a year.
Trust Can Be Dangerous
She then signed the tablet.
After the installer was gone, she got an email from Home Depot thanking her for signing the Release of Lien. Realize I didn't read the email. I'm just sharing hearsay.
But it gets worse, much worse. When I arrived the next day to reconnect the sinks, the young woman shared more details about signing the tablet.
She said, "He actually duplicated my signature. I signed one block and he re-produced it on two documents on the tablet. He didn't make those two available for me to read. It's illegal."
I arrived the next day to install the sinks and that wet area on the second-floor countertop was still there. It was NOT WATER. I'm convinced it was smeared silicone caulk that was used to adhere the quartz backsplashes to the wall.
Let's go back to the tablet. Do you know how you can enlarge parts of what you see on a screen by putting your thumb and index finger on the screen and spreading them apart?
The installer had done this so just the signature area of the document was showing on the screen and you couldn't read any of the text above without scrolling. That, in my opinion, is very unethical.
The young woman was signing an important legal document and she was not aware of it.
All in the heat of the moment.
How to Avoid Unethical Behavior
I KNOW you've been in a similar situation at some point in your life.
I know I have!
How could this have been avoided? What's the teaching moment?
When she went to Home Depot to look at the countertops and to set up the purchase, she SHOULD HAVE ASKED to speak with the Installed-Sales manager.
She should have said, "Can you provide me with a copy, either digital or paper, of EVERY DOCUMENT I'll be required to sign INCLUDING any documents that the installer may have me sign when he completes the work?"
You then READ those documents BEFORE you place your order. You keep the documents so at the time a tablet is placed in front of you you can see if there's an EXTRA document you're being asked to sign that you've never seen before.
If you're NOT COMFORTABLE signing any documents at the time the installation is finished, DO NOT SIGN THEM. The installer is not going to rip out the work. Ask the installer to call the Installed-Sales manager at Home Depot/Lowe's/or the company you placed the order.
Tell that person you MAY sign them AFTER you've had a chance to read them. You don't want to surrender rights or say you're happy with the installation until you can look closely at the work after the contractor has left.
Yes, I know you might DAMAGE the work after he leaves, but allow the contractor to take as MANY PHOTOS as she/he desires to protect her/his interest.
You should do this with ANY contractor/salesperson you deal with. It could be a replacement window/door company, a roofing contractor, or a kitchen/bath cabinet dealer.
For the love of God, STOP trusting people and STOP being played.