Tag Archives: Lowe’s

Lowe’s makes online appliance purchases impossible

I enjoy shopping at Lowe’s, but the company has made it impossible for me to purchase an appliance online–twice. My most recent shopping failure at Lowe’s.com unfolded over the last week. My goal? Purchase an upright freezer before the Lowe’s 10-percent-off sale on appliances ended. Not only is online shopping faster, but I wanted to start my purchase at Ebates.com so I could get a 2.5 percent cash back on my purchase.I tried multiple times to buy my new freezer online, both from a desktop and a laptop computer and using Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Each time I tried to complete the online checkout process, I got an “Error code 22” message. Finally, I emailed Lowe’s to ask why I couldn’t check out online. A customer service representative called me to say Error Code 22 corresponds to some type of sales tax calculation error, and there was nothing she could do to fix it. She offered to complete my order over the phone, but I declined, hoping the company would resolve its online issues over the coming days, before the sale ended.

Tonight, it became clear online ordering from Lowe’s was still futile, so I called to place my order over the phone. It took 28.5 minutes to order a freezer over the phone. I sat on hold on at least four different occasions during the call while the customer service representative attended to various problems arising from the ordering process. At the end of the call, he actually had to transfer me to my local store so they could take my credit card number and apply the payment to the order. A properly executed online order would’ve taken about four minutes, so ordering by phone took seven times longer than ordering online.

Unfortunately, this isn’t my first failed attempt to order an appliance from Lowe’s.com. Last summer, I needed to purchase a new refrigerator, but my online order wouldn’t go through. That time, I kept receiving a different error code. In the end, Lowe’s blamed that ordering problem on special characters entered into the “special instructions” field of the online order form–the section of the form where you provide directions to the delivery driver.

A company as big as Lowe’s should have plenty of information technology resources at its disposal. Surely the company’s computer gurus can find a way to provide an easy online ordering experience for customers. While they’re at it, maybe they could make it easier for the Lowes.com phone representatives to assist customers. When a customer has her item number and payment information handy, it should never take more than eight minutes to complete her order.

What experiences have you had while shopping at Lowes.com?

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Quadruple fuel points are back at Kroger

Now through April 7, you can earn quadruple fuel points at Kroger on the gift cards you purchase. Your total points earned will be four times the card’s value. So, a $25 gift card earns you 100 fuel points, and those 100 points entitle you to 10 cents off each gallon of gas you purchase in a single fill-up at a Kroger fuel center. A $100 gift card would net you a 40-cent fuel discount.

There are some important exclusions to keep in mind. You’ll find details in this previous post, along with the reason I stock up on gift cards for myself during these types of promotions.

Available cards at my local Kroger store include Lowe’s, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, McDonald’s, Best Buy, Shell fuel stations and many more.

Kroger last ran this promotion at Christmas time, so it might be a while before you see it again. Consider what spring and summer birthdays are on your shopping list, and you could cash in on the extra points for those purchases now.

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December 16 is Free Shipping Friday

It’s Free Shipping Friday on the Web, with more than 2,000 retailers offering the discount today. A minimum purchase amount may apply to qualify for the deal.

If you’re ordering an item for Christmas, be sure to check the site’s holiday shipping schedule and the product page to confirm your item will arrive in time with the free shipping method.

Sites offering free shipping with pre-Christmas delivery include Overstock, Walmart, Old Navy, Meijer, OfficeMax and Lowe’s.

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How owning an extra freezer can help you save money

If opening the freezer compartment of your refrigerator unleashes an avalanche of frozen food, you know the challenges of cramming groceries into this small space. The limited storage area severely restricts your ability to stock up on frozen foods when they go on sale or to buy them in bulk. That’s why I suggest investing in a chest or upright freezer.

In a blog focused on saving money, it might seem strange that I’m encouraging you to spend money on an optional item. But I believe you’ll save money in the long run because of the added buying power a dedicated freezer space provides.

Because I have a chest freezer, I can buy beef in bulk from a local farmer. He sells half of a steer for $2.99 a pound. While that is higher than what I’d pay for ground beef at my local supermarket, it’s considerably cheaper than store prices for the steaks, stew meat and roasts that come with my order. Plus, I can buy beef from a trusted member of my community who doesn’t use antibiotics, steroids or hormones to enhance his cattle.

Stand-alone freezers also come in handy for meat and other items that go on sale at the supermarket. I can stock up on chicken breasts, pork ribs, pizzas, ice cream and frozen vegetables when they reach their buy prices. If there’s a hunter in your family, having a chest or upright freezer gives you storage space for that meat, and you only pay the cost of processing it.

You’ll find two main types of stand-alone freezers. Chest freezers get their name from their design. Similar to a treasure chest, they have a horizontal lid that lifts up. Inside, you find a large storage cavity that typically offers some hanging storage baskets and possibly a dividing wall to help you organize items. Upright freezers, on the other hand, look much like refrigerators, with horizontal shelves for organizing food and a vertical door. Chest freezers typically offer more space per dollar than uprights, but it can be harder to find and dig out items buried at the bottom of their storage space. Chest freezers also require more floor space than uprights.

Freezer prices vary by size. If you can afford it, I’d recommend buying at least a 15-cubic-foot freezer. If you have a household of more than four people, consider a model with 20 cubic feet or more. Large retailers selling chest and upright freezers include Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears and Best Buy. Right now, Home Depot has the cheapest 15-cubic-foot model, a Maytag priced at $314 with free shipping. Plus, you can get 5 percent cash back on your purchase if you go through the Ebates website to order. (Learn more about using Ebates.) You’ll spend about $3.18 a month on electricity to run this model, but you can easily save that much when buying one family pack of chicken on sale. Look for the bright yellow Energy Guide label in stores or online to see the operating costs of other models.

Sometimes, spending money helps you save in the long run. Such is the case with chest and upright freezers.

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Save money by buying online and picking up items in the store

Whether you want a movie on DVD, a new vacuum cleaner, a replacement water heater or an Apple iPad2, your first inclination may be to run down to your local store and buy one. But taking this approach can lead you to miss out on savings you’d get by prepaying for the item online.

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can get cash back for transactions you conduct with many major retailers by starting your shopping at the Ebates website. By going to Ebates and purchasing your item online, you can get the cash back and still pick up the item at your local store. For example, this week I had to buy a new water heater. I went through Ebates to access the Lowe’s website, then purchased the item and elected “store pickup” at checkout. By doing so, I got $7.29 back that I wouldn’t have received if I’d simply driven to Lowe’s and bought the item off the shelf. If I’d preferred to earn miles for my purchase instead, I could have used the Delta Skymiles Shopping or a similar website to complete the same purchase.

Lowe’s isn’t the only company allowing you to buy items online and pick them up in the store the same day. You can also do this at Home Depot, AutoZone, ToysRUs, Finish Line, J&R and Walmart. Sears promises to have your item ready for you within five minutes. Best Buy says your order may be ready within 45 minutes. When possible, order early in the day or the night before you want to get the item so you can minimize your waiting time at the store.

Most stores send you an email confirmation of your purchase that you take with you when picking up the item, and they may send an additional email to tell you when the item is ready for pickup. Have your driver’s license handy in case the store wants to confirm your identity. Some websites give you the option of specifying other people who are authorized to pick up your order for you.

In addition to the cash back or frequent flyer miles you can earn for shopping online, you may also be able to apply Web-only discount coupons to your order.

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Home improvement stores offer holiday savings on paint and supplies

paint brushYou probably associate Labor Day with cookouts, trips to the lake and the start of the college football season. But if you’re willing to put a little labor into the holiday weekend, you can also rack up substantial savings. Major summer holidays, including Labor Day, are traditionally a time when home improvement stores put their painting supplies on sale, and this year is no exception.

Now through September 7, you can save $5 one one-gallon cans or $20 on 5-gallon buckets of Behr, Martha Stewart Living, Glidden and Zinniser paints at the Home Depot. The sale includes primers, interior and exterior paints, stains and waterproofers. To realize your savings, you must complete a mail-in or online rebate form. Remember that paint is not a returnable item, so think carefully about your color choice before asking the store to tint a can for you.

Home improvement giant Lowe’s is also in on the paint-sale tradition, taking a slightly different twist. The company is offering $10 off every $50 you spend on paint and supplies. The promotion includes paint brushes, mixing buckets, tray liners, stain, primer, sandpaper, drop cloths and other items. You’ll receive your discount when you checkout. This sale continues through September 5.

Finally, Ace Hardware if offering 20 percent off all Ace-brand house and wall paint through September 5. The promotion includes quart- and gallon-sized containers. Use the company’s store locator to see if Ace has a location in your neighborhood.

Whether you’re painting, barbequing or sitting in front of your big-screen TV,
I wish you a wonderful holiday weekend!

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