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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Imagine getting a bill for something you’ve never bought, and when you complain, the bills and late fees just keep coming.

An elderly Leland woman has been trying to get a mess like this straightened out for months. Turns out, it was all a big misunderstanding.

“I owe a hundred and something late charges, and I’m late on my payment, and I explained I don’t have anything from Home Depot,” Rochelle Watson said.

Yet, Home Depot kept sending the 72-year-old a bill each month.

This all started in November when she filled out a credit application at Home Depot for a washer and dryer. Once she was approved, she was told the appliances would be delivered about a week later.

“The day it was supposed to be delivered I waited and never heard anything, so finally I called and asked them what time they were coming,” Watson said. “They said the washer was out of stock and it was on order, and it was going to be at least a couple of weeks before they could bring it.”

That’s when she told the person on the phone to cancel the order, but then the first bill arrived, and the phone calls started.

“I always explained that I had not got anything from Home Depot” Watson said. “I went through the whole spiel every time I talked to someone. I finally went into the Home Depot store here in Monkey Junction. They couldn’t find me in the computer. They told me to go to the other Home Depot store.”

Watson thinks Home Depot should be able to fix this issue with a simple phone call. Turns out, a simple phone call would have solved the problem.

Home Depot spokesman Craig Fishel says Home Depot was calling Watson repeatedly, but not to hound her to pay her bill.

“We were leaving her messages to talk about a refund, because it was actually the store that was calling her,” Fishel said. “The store wouldn’t call her to hassle her about credit card payment. That’s all taken care of through Citi. It’s one of those things. It’s a shame there was a miscommunication, but we’ve been trying to refund this lady for five months.”

Watson knew Home Depot called, but didn’t call them back assuming they were after her for a payment.

In the meantime, Fishel says Home Depot couldn’t just put a refund on her card without getting her approval.

“Think about it: anybody at any store having the ability to call on a random customer and say, ‘Yeah, I want to cancel this order yeah.’ We’d have to have authorization from her to do that. That’s a safeguard for the customer as well,” he said.

A customer who now has a refund and can wash her hands of these bills now that the situation has been sorted out.

Fishel says Citi MasterCard, which handles Home Depot’s credit service, is also making sure this does not affect Watson’s credit rating. Home Depot is also sending Watson a $50 gift certificate.


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