Bottom Line First: Do not buy blinds from Hunter Douglas via Costco. Or perhaps at all. Besides being overpriced as compared to options elsewhere with the same quality, their customer service ethic is garbage. Everyone just about everywhere has their own story about some really bad customer service experience. I’ve been fairly lucky. Not too many vendor problems. But this one time I suppose, things just went wrong. And then right.
They were really badly wrong with Costco and Hunter Douglas Blinds, and to some small degree American Express. Then things went great with Blinds To Go. American Express was actually really helpful in assisting us with disputing the charge for the not done services. But in the end, their policies likely won’t help us. We’re not going to pay the charge though. At some point, either my wife or myself or both will have our cards canceled even after years of personal and business charges. (Because we’re just not going to pay the charge.) Oh well. We’ll likely have to waste some time and money on a lawyer or something at some point as well. And drop a note to the major credit agencies about the dispute for when our credit gets dinged for the bill we won’t pay for a product that was wrong in the first place, (based on their measurements and cutting), and which we don’t have in our possession in any case as it was returned. As you can probably tell by now, this isn’t just about the money. This is one of those principle things where we don’t really care if this affects our credit or wastes more time or whatever. It just can’t be let to stand.
When I get some free time, I’m going to put up on this page, in all the gory details, either scans or links to .pdf files of all the correspondence between us, Costco Hunter Douglas and American Express. Most won’t bother reading all of it. Some might if they find this page while searching for Costco Hunter Douglas Blinds and just feel like seeing how painful it can be with what should be a simply resolved issue.
For now, I’ll just offer the bottom line again. Don’t buy Blinds at Costco Hunter Douglas. Go to Blinds To Go. It’s less expensive at Blinds To Go, they’ll actually cut your product correctly, and it’ll work perfectly. Or at least better than Costco Hunter Douglas Blinds.
Update: Costco did the right thing. They gave us a credit and the matter is closed. We should have gone directly to them earlier. American Express was great the whole way with our dispute, but the fact that Costco was responding to Amex as a merchant rather than dealing with us as customers may have been an issue. Since I’ve not had a lot of issues with vendors about much of anything over the years – just lucky I guess – I really didn’t know how to handle such things. But should it happen again, I think I’ll try to a) go to all the sources I can rather than just the credit card company; and b) just write directly to the highest level folks I can find wherever I can. Anyway. I can now once again feel comfortable picking up some bulk toilet paper and cases of whatever.
My wife and I like Costco. We like it better than the other big box folks. You do have to check a little bit on the prices as not everything is the best deal; but in general, things are solid there and it let’s us get a lot of bulk stuff so we don’t have to shop that much. We both work busy jobs and don’t have time for such things. We appreciate Costco’s having done the right thing so we can be happy shopping there. I recently watched a Motley Fool video with Costco CEO Jim Sinegal. This guy’s attitude towards customers is probably why we came out of this with a good resolution that keeps us as customers.
Another Update: We obviously had one really bad experience. I’ll add this though, to Hunter Douglas’ credit… In our new home, we have a Hunter Douglas blind. There was a problem with the retraction mechanism. After troubleshooting and calling them, they sent us the small part we needed to fix it. No charge. We were not the original customers, we didn’t have a receipt. We don’t even know how long the blinds were there. So maybe we’ll give them another shot. It’s most likely we just had a really bad rep who got assigned to us in our original purchase. Still, they all handled it badly. So the whole original post here should just be taken as a cautionary tale. Just like everything else, even though you expect pros to do the right thing, you have to make sure you ask a lot of questions and ensure that they really are doing things properly.