I pulled a copy of the Appellate court's opinion and read it, and the
fact is I think we all have to understand that consumer credit is
handed out blithely by retail big box outfits like HD, which
subcontract the credit extension and approval process to folks like GE
Capital (as in this case) to manage the credit process. HD outsourced
and promptly forgot about the process, and forwarded everything over to
GE to handle, 'cept in this case the lawsuit fell into some fine print
in the GE contract which likely said "this is your issue, HD." So it
got lost in the shuffle, little guy gets a judgment, and the "cost" is
not really one of lawsuit defense, but one of "outsourcing" to people
who don't give a sh*t about the HD customer, e.g., GE Capital (who IMHO
are some of the slickest characters out there and cut really sharp,
perhaps too sharp, business deals). If its not in the contract, GE
doesn't do it and doesn't tell you they aren't doing it. So the long
and the short of it is that the guy at HD who outsourced this function
then "forgot" about it ("Hey, GE will take care of it, not to worry")
is the guy who should be fired, and yes, they are lucky this was not
filed as a class action. Its a bigger problem of granting credit too
freely, and not paying attention to your business once its outsourced,
and HD is paying the price for poor management, simple as that.
And because of an expensive settlement and PUBLIC EMBARASSMENT, maybe they
will get off their lazy asses and do something to correct problems like
They certainly have no incentive to do so otherwise.
Of course we should sue the life out of GE capital so that HD will have
to use an Indian or Chinese company who will care even less about the
I disagree that HD is paying the price for poor management. They are
paying (mostly) punitive damages because they have deep pockets. There
is nothing wrong with outsourcing. I outsource my lawn mowing, my car
repairs, my garbage pickup.
I hope HD's response os to stop taking credit altogether! To just say
screw it! But, of course, there's too much money involved and I ain't
The reason GE cuts really sharp deals is that there are too many folks
out there itching to sue somebody and essentially "win lotto." Too many
jurors that are pre-disposed to hate the "big multi-national". Too many
judges that think they need to punish the evil capitalistic pigs. And
so it becomes a componet of why our companies are outsourcing to Indian
HD lucky it was filed as a class action. No the public is lucky --
that's who ultimately pays the bill.
You can outsource, but have to supervise what is being done in your
name. If the garbage company spilled your garbage in the street and it
blew on neighbor's property, you'd more than likely pick it up and then
call the garbage company to complain. If the lawn service insisted on
cutting the lawn while your children or grandchildren were playing
kickball on the lawn, you'd likely get the kids off the lawn or tell
the mower guy to cut it later. That's my point. You can't avoid
liability by simply outsourcing.
By the way, I wonder how you, me, or for that matter, anyone else would
feel about having your credit trashed by repetitive credit checks
fraudulently submitted over and over after you brought the situation to
the credit card company and they refused to even consider what they
might do to make it right. This guy was not trying to win the "lotto"
- he just wanted to clear his good name after having done absolutely
nothing wrong. I don't see anything sinister, greedy or litigious
about that. HD simply ignored the guy's calls, ignored his lawsuit,
ignored the judgment and in the end has to sleep in the bed they made
Everybody blames those who simply enforce the law, which has been
around for a long time and at it's base is designed to protect people
from the wrongs of others. The problem is not judges, juries or
litigants, its just that nowadays corporate america too often wants to
ignore owning up to their responsibilities when their actions directly
affect someone else. Then they hire corporate spin doctors to make
themselves out to be the victims. Reminds me of this totally obscene
medical malpractice insurance debate, which has nothing to do with jury
verdicts and a whole lot more to do with the insurance companies's
mismanagement of their investment portfolios, and if the yield isn't
there to generate profits then they raise the premiums. So, we limit
recovery for med-mal plaintiffs - tell that to the brain damaged guy
with 4 kids who went in for elective surgery and the anethesia went
bad. Oh, gee, I forgot, his family can go on welfare! But that's
another debate and entirely symptomatic of the weak minded (or on the
take) politicians who happen to be in control of the country right now.
<spleen now fully vented - time to return to making my cherry chairside
Believe me I have much venom for the ID thieves. But why don't you tell
me who they are and where to find them. They use your name and SS# to
open an account and provide a bogus billing address. The closest you
might come to finding them is the state in which they live. Those cell
phone stands are in every mall in the country. Just apply and 5 minutes
after running *your* name and SS# through a clearing house, the thief
walks away with a new phone and service.
If they cared about theft then they'd put in the software and personel
to protect their profits. (I believe they already have extensive
capabilities, they just have so many "reps" selling their products that
they accept the theft as a fact of doing business.)
I couldn't care less if any of the big box stores existed. I rarely go
to any of them and frankly can find the same or better products and
Did you attend public school? College? Ever go to a doctor or dentist?
Do you carry health insurance? Ever applied for utility service? Got a
driver's license? Do you have a credit report?
If you answered yes to any single question above then you are at risk
for ID theft. All it takes is for one dishonest employee at any of these
record holders to sell your info to those just waiting in the wings. You
know those college students working in the registrar's office... do you
think it could be possible one of them might need a little crack money?
You have zero control of the info out there. All you can do is regularly
pull credit reports to try to stop anything before it gets too far along.
Oh, yes, you heard about the company last week that mistakenly put out
thousands upon thousands of inividuals' information for all to see?
Maybe your's is one of them... if that's the case I expect you to bend
over to receive your kick in the butt.
I disagree about it being "just a write-off to the balance sheet." The
money lost is a real cash outflow. While they expect losses, the fewer
they have, the better off they are. More cash and more profits. Plus,
in a competitive environment they can either reduce fees and attract
more customers and make even more profits or keep fees in line with
their competitors (who experience higher loss rates) and make even more
profits. Either way, there is an incentive for companies that grant
credit to consumers to reduce losses.
The problem is that the losses are the result of companies such as home
depot who somehow seem to be able to offer credit but don't have to pay
the price of their own carelessness.
A great place to get bogus log-in names and passwords. You can't get
one for every site, but many newspapers are listed. All you do is enter
the URL for the site, and if the site is listed, it comes back with
log-in name and password.
On Sun, 20 Feb 2005 23:54:03 -0500, "Lee Michaels"
I always have to wonder in stories like this just how hard the person
tried to resolve the problem before resorting to court. He wrote a
letter, but did he follow up with a phone call to the HD credit
department? Home Depot didn't respond to a lawsuit that was filed? I
find that hard to believe unless the papers were served on HD by
taking them to the local Borg and handing them to a sales clerk. I
wouldn't be surprised if the lawyer did something like that just to
try to ensure that they didn't make it to court.
I don't think HD should be absolved of all responsibility, but almost
a million bucks is pretty extreme unless he can demonstrate
*intentional* damage and not just incompetence.
There are a lot of holes in the story. Was credit issued based on any
of the fraudulent applications? Did the credit checks reveal them to
be fraudulent? How much effort did he put into cleaning his credit
rating when he discovered the problem?
I played a similar game a couple years ago after a stolen credit card.
A few hours on the phone ended up resolving everything with no
permanent impact on my credit rating - in fact I cleaned up a couple
things I didn't even know were there while I was at it. This whole
thing just smacks of the philosophy of trying to become a lawsuit
millionaire because of a small problem.
He sent them a letter by certified mail. They clearly received the
letter and filed to act, even so much as to respond with a form letter.
A written request sent by certified mail with return receipt is always
the correct means of correspondence when you expect to need to be able
to document your actions. A phone call has little or no value in this
Home Depot didn't respond to a lawsuit that was filed? I
If lawyers served summons this would maybe be possible. Summons are
served by process servers and/or sheriffs deputies. None of them takes
direction from private attorneys.
Why? Is his damage less if they were merely imcompetent? The
purpose of punitive damages is to punish and deter. The judge is clearly
aware of that. If the judgement were for some inconsequential amount of
money do you think anyone at HD would care? Do you think it would deter
them from being similarly negligent in the future?
I'm not sure it matters. His score was reduced as a result of the
numerous inquiries. His score would in fact not have suffered or would
have suffered less had the inquiries resulted in new lines of credit.
Did the credit checks reveal them to
I must admit I just don't understand the hostility against Home Depot. If
you don't like the way they do business or you don't like the way you
perceive they do business, don't do business with them!
I went back and re-read the LA Times story. The reporter continuously used
the name Home Depot, but never identified any person at the store, which
store or anyone at the home office or at what, if any, management points in
between. The Times story, like many newspaper articles today, is short on
information and long on pinning the tail on the donkey, I mean business.
There is no mention how the $1.15 million award and interest will be split
between the plaintiff and his attorney.
The article does not contain a single word criticizing the credit bureaus
that award credit scores on the number of inquirers rather than on a
person's financial obligations. Why hasn't someone taken them to court?
There are just too many gaps in the newspaper story to form a responsible
opinion on whether the award is or is not justified. But still I am amazed
at the level of anti-business emotion in this discussion.
My two cents, your mileage may vary.
Home Depot isn't called the BORG for nothing. One big reason for the
hostility towards Home Depot is that when they show up, many other superior
businesses go under. Go elsewhere?? What planet do you live on? With Home
Depot and Lowes around, there is almost no place else to go.
I remember once when I was in CompUSA. I asked a simple question of the
manager. He blew me off and said for me go elsewhere. I informed him that I
used to go down the street. Until they bought them out and shut them down.
He got all pissed off at me.
The biggest problem with the big box stores is that they work to constantly
reduce my choices as a consumer. Not to mention the brain dead employees
they hire to torment me when I go into their store.
.It ain't being antibiz. I work in business research. I just know when I am
being screwed is all. And the big boys just don't care.
I can understand the hostility towards HD. When the tires on my new
garden cart went flat seven times in three weeks, their corporate
office wrote to me with, "You are abusing this cart by not using it on
The first tire went flat before I unloaded it from my truck. This cart
was sold by a store in Hendersonville, NC...at 2100 feet above sea
level. Has anyone here ever tried to grow vegetables in level pavement?
I can't get my Troy-built to bust it up!
Bill in WNC mountains
Folks are getting what they want. There are enough customers who spend
money to keep the 'BORGs' in business. Maybe you and me and some others are
not in that customer group. How many times have you seen posters in the
newsgroup asking where is the cheapest place to buy or the lowest price for
a DeWaukee Sandrill LathSaw?
There is a very strong market for low price. I'm sure you found this in
your business research. Home Depot and Lowe's (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) are
competing mainly on low price and location. They are serving their market
segment. I wish they would/could serve a market segment that I am in.
Go elsewhere? I do. For general hardware I go to Ace. If I'm painting, I
shop Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore. For Kitchen cabinets I went to a
cabinet shop. For kitchen appliances, we went to a kitchen appliance
dealer. When we re-did our kitchen floor, we went to a tile outlet. I used
to drive 120 miles to go to a Woodcraft. Now we have one in town and it's
just 15 miles away. I also buy from Lee Valley, Amazon (Tool Crib of The
North), Rockler, Highland Hardware and others by mail or Internet. There
are choices. My wife and I are retired and we have to watch every penny.
With a fixed income, I can't afford to buy cheap stuff. I learned a long
time ago the cheapest or most expensive is seldom the best buy.
Maybe my point should be: Don't expect the 'BORGs' to be something they are
not. We should understand who and what they are and use their service as we
The original poster that started this thread was pleased that Home Depot was
being penalized. I believe the plantiff in the case shoould have gone after
the thief for stealing his identity or gone after the credit bureau that
counts an inquiry as a debt for credit worthiness assessments.
I mentioned to my wife; "I don't expect very much from Home Depot, so I'm
(In the interest of a fair and accurate opinion I must add that my wife
prefers the paint and color selection at Lowe's. Since she does most of the
interior painting, it is her call. Sorry Sherwin. Sorry Benjamin.)
I don't want to get into a pissing contest here about who said what...But
please see my comments made in reply.
My shopping elsewhere comment is a response to a post by Lee Michaels.
It was NOT a comment on the original poster!
I understand your point. Home Depot's credit inquiries were a routine
Again, I ask you re-read a previous post of mine. I made the point that the
newspaper article fails to identify who at Home Depot (Borg) the plaintiff
Neither is there any mention of a Better Business Bureau contact or
is there record of any police department involvement at any location. My
Home Depot may have been a factor in the problem. They may have been the
problem. However, with the lack of information in the Times article, there
is not sufficient information for a reasonable person to state the Borg
screwed up. (The track record of jury awards in this country does not
impress me.) Folks are very quick to verbally tar and feather the Borg. I
apologize if my response to Mr. Michaels led you to believe I was responding
to the original poster
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