Veteran had trouble getting military discount from Home Depot
BY STEPHANIE ZIMMERMANN email@example.com May 27, 2012 11:12PM
THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:32AM
D ear Fixer: Home Depot offers an every-day military discount for active and reserve military personnel. Most of the time I go there, I get hassled about the discount because they say my I.D. is not valid.
I spoke with the local store manager and she says I should get the discount every day. She said she would notify the staff. But that didn’t help.
I’ve had to call the corporate office about three times since October.
I recently used a VA loan to purchase a house, which I am trying to improve, so I shop at Home Depot often.
Earlier this year, I called the corporate office again to complain. This time I got a claim number, and then I was asked to fax a copy of my military I.D.
They claimed my government-issued I.D. is not valid at Home Depot and can only be used on holidays such as Memorial Day for the 10 percent discount, not every day. They said it should say “active” or “reserve” on it.
I have been in the military for 15½ years — active for four years and reserve for 11. All military I.D.s are uniform, with the branch and rank listed.
I also work for the Department of Veterans Affairs, so I am employed by the government in more ways than one. Go figure!
Vanessa Romero, Chicago
Dear Vanessa: Given that you’re a petty officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves and your regular job is also in the military, it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t qualify for Home Depot’s 10 percent daily discount. It’s not like you’re a teenager trying to pass off a fake I.D.
Team Fixer asked Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes what gives? It took a while to hear back, but apparently they were hung up on the fact that your I.D. didn’t state “reserve” on it. They looked into this more, heard about the drills you still regularly perform with the reserves, and finally sent you written confirmation by email confirming that you are indeed eligible for the discount. (We suggest you keep a copy of that email in your wallet.) Holmes also apologized.
You told us that you’ve shopped there a few times since then and didn’t have a problem. You said you might even hit Home Depot this weekend to get more supplies for your home projects.
P.S. For you and other readers in the military, fatwallet.com has an extensive list of military discounts. Click on the blog entry “Military Discount: Welcoming Military Families with Savings and Cash Back.”
Shutting off the shut-off notices
Dear Fixer: In December, we had the required five-year inspection by Nicor of our gas meter and pipes.
For some reason, in January, we got a notice telling us to make an appointment for this same inspection. I called and explained that we had it done already.
We got more letters in February and March, and each time I called to straighten it out. When I got another letter in April, I ignored it.
Then they sent a notice threatening to shut off our gas in eight days.
Nicor says they will correct their mistake, but they don’t. Who can we call to put a stop to this? What if we are on vacation and get an eight-day notice and come home to find our gas shut off?
This has nothing to do with our bill, which is current and up-to-date.
Judith Speizman, Lincolnwood
Dear Judith: Good news — we have solved The Mystery of the Annoying Nicor Notices! We asked Nicor PR pro Annette Martinez to do some digging, and she quickly discovered that due to an error, there were two inspection orders for your address.
So even after you completed the required inspection and that order was completed, the other order kept automatically generating those letters. When you called, it was noted in their system, but the inspection folks weren’t getting that info.
Martinez told us your gas would not have been shut off. The gas company “triple-checks” accounts before taking the drastic step to disconnect, she said.
At any rate, Nicor has now fixed the problem, so you needn’t worry about any more letters. She also apologized for the hassle.
Thanks to contributor Mike Nolan.
Getting the runaround over a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at suntimes.com/fixer , where you’ll find a simple form to fill out.