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Trust... gone in an instant

January 21, 2015

I like to take on DIY projects around the house. It’s enjoyable to work with my hands and see something come to fruition. For a recent project, I decided to rent a belt sander since the sander I have was a little small for the project.

Home Depot offers rentals at some of its stores, which is really convenient, since I needed to pick up some supplies anyhow. While checking out, they offered me rental insurance, which included, according to their sign, “Incidental/Accidental Damage Relief”. It was only a couple of dollars, so I said I would take it.

While working on my project, I hit the cord with the belt sander and it quickly ground through the cord cover. It was a bummer, but I was glad that I had bought the rental insurance. Wow was I surprised when I took it back to the store and they told me I would have to pay for the cord.

According to the clerk, damaging the cord was considered negligence and not an accident, so it is not covered by the insurance. Upon further questioning, it became clear that dropping the equipment was not covered as well. It seems that someone in Home Depot’s marketing department has trouble understanding what the word “accidental” means.

Now the cord only cost $20 to replace. So, it was not about the money. I felt cheated, deceived. And while Home Depot had been my go to store for home projects for the past 20 years, I no longer want to shop there. Why? My trust in them is gone. This was not the case of one employee making a mistake, it is company policy.

So, what is the marketing lesson here? Make sure that your actions and policies are designed to build trust. Without trust, people are unlikely to do business with you no matter how useful or compelling your product or service is. And if you break their trust, they are going to tell others (even use it as the topic of a blog).

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” --Unknown

 

 

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