I ordered a Christmas tree from Home Depot but it never arrived

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By Christopher Elliott

What happened to Stefanie Rogers’ Christmas tree? And why won’t Home Depot refund her for the plastic Tannenbaum she never received?

Question

I ordered a $390 Christmas tree from Home Depot to be shipped to my home. I did not receive the item. Home Depot advised me to contact FedEx and my credit card company, Wells Fargo. FedEx opened a case but later emailed me and stated, per their investigation, that the package was delivered correctly.  

The Wells Fargo investigation is underway. FedEx advised me to have Home Depot file a lost package claim, but Home Depot states they do not file this type of claim.   

I have now purchased a second tree and would like my money back for the one I did not receive. Can you help me? — Stefanie Rogers, Mobile, Ala.

Answer

Home Depot should have delivered your Christmas tree as promised. But instead, it looks like it handed off the tree to FedEx, which then claimed that it sent your tree. But you say it didn’t.

The online chat between you and Home Depot is pretty illuminating. It continues to insist that you received the tree and that you even signed for it. But you insist you didn’t. (Related: Her Tidewater Workshop order is missing. What happened to it?)

It’s interesting that Home Depot publishes a page on its site about online orders but never addresses the possibility that your shipment fails to get delivered. I mean, you can’t be the first to whom this has happened. (Related: Help! Apple wants to charge me again for AppleCare coverage)

However, Home Depot publishes a vision statement that promises “quality products, service, price and selection” and says it will “go the extra mile to give customers knowledgeable advice about merchandise and to help them use those products to their maximum benefit.” 

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Can she get a refund from Home Depot?

I think it’s safe to say Home Depot is not living up to that vision statement by referring you to FedEx and your bank in your search for your missing Christmas tree. But what’s the solution? The fix Home Depot had in mind — asking FedEx and then going to war with Wells Fargo — puts the burden entirely on you to come up with a solution. 

Instead, Home Depot should take ownership of this problem. You didn’t get your Christmas tree, so the first order of business is getting you a Christmas tree. If you have to buy another tree, then Home Depot should refund the one that never arrived. And it should be on the business — not on you — to get this resolved. (Related: Home Depot can’t install my garage shelving. Can I get a refund?)

A brief, polite email to one of the Home Depot executive contacts listed on Elliott.org, my consumer advocacy site, might have gotten things moving in the right direction. But by the time you contacted me, Christmas was almost here and you wanted some good news. (Related: My kitchen cabinets are peeling! Can Home Depot customer service help?)

I contacted Home Depot on your behalf. The company apologized for you not receiving your Christmas tree and refunded your $390.

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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. He is based in Panamá City.

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