His Home Depot lawn mower is broken. How about a refund?

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By Christopher Elliott

Justin Thornhill’s Home Depot lawn mower is broken. And, as it turns out, it wasn’t even new when he bought it. Can he get a refund?

Question

I bought a Z-beast zero turn lawn mower from the Home Depot site last October. I had a house fire so I didn’t get the mower delivered until this February.

I’ve used the lawn mower three or four times. Every time I did, we had to send it to the shop because it kept breaking.

Thank God we bought an extended warranty at the time. I’ve discovered the lawn mower is actually seven years old. The mower had been in storage since 2011 and somehow got moved to the front of the warehouse. I was the lucky one who got the old “new” mower and nobody wants to help and replace it. Home Depot wants to keep fixing it.

I paid for a brand-new mower. I want a brand new mower!

Can you help me trade my non-working lawn mower for a brand new 2018 zero turn mower? — Justin Thornhill, Bells, Texas

Answer

If Home Depot promised you a new zero turn mower, then it should have sent you one. Instead, according to your account, you received an old mower in the box, which didn’t work.

Boy, you really got into the weeds with this case. There were numerous polite emails from you to Home Depot, the company handling your warranty and the manufacturer. No one wanted to directly address your concerns that you’d received an older mower and that it didn’t work. Home Depot emailed you that since the lawn mower was technically still working, that there was nothing the company could do.

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“Your case has been closed,” a Home Depot representative told you. “If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to give me a call. I will be more than happy to make sure your questions gets addressed.”

There’s nothing wrong with selling you an older lawn mower. But Home Depot should have told you about it before you made your purchase. It’s not clear if Home Depot disclosed the mower’s 2011 manufacturing date when you bought it online. And did the mower’s nowfunctioning status matter? Or did it mean Home Depot and the warranty company that covered the garden tool were off the hook?

A sense of urgency in your requests

After all, you have almost three acres to mow; paying someone else to do it would be expensive. You needed a reliable lawn mower, not a lemon that inevitably breaks down. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problem.)

I see you tried to reach out to the Home Depot executive contacts I list on my consumer advocacy site. That’s excellent. A brief, polite, email should have done the trick. I’m sorry to say in your case, it didn’t. (Related: This CRI Genetics report seems odd. How about a refund?)

Your case falls under a gray area of consumer advocacy. Technically, Home Depot delivered the lawn mower you ordered and serviced it as required. And even though it fulfilled its obligations, it clearly wasn’t enough.

I contacted Home Depot on your behalf. The company agreed to reimburse you for the full $2,272, the cost of your lawn mower.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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