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?