PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Gulfport resident Francine Giannotti says she spent 2020 stressed out but not so much over the pandemic. She blames a coronavirus-era kitchen remodel that dragged out most of the year.
Giannotti signed a contract with Home Depot to upgrade her kitchen floors, countertops and cabinets.
"I wanted to have the kitchen remodeled for a long time," she said.
Giannotti chose Home Depot for the $15,000 job because of its good reputation and its zero-percent financing for six months.
In January 2020, she put the entire purchase on a new Home Depot credit card.
Then COVID hit, causing delays in getting the supplies needed for her job.
"It was understandable that there was a delay in shipping," Giannotti told ABC Action News. But because of the delays and some workmanship issues, the job wasn't completed until November.
She asked Home Depot to extend the zero percent interest rate. As a courtesy, the home improvement store agreed to do that. And Giannotti received an email, stating in part: "I sincerely apologize for the stress we have added…I will be confirming…that the interest was changed to 0 percent for 24 months, and all interest charges on the account have been reversed."
But Giannotti said the company never made good on that offer, so she made a "Call for Action."
We asked Home Depot about Giannotti's account, and a few weeks later, the two sides reached a confidential settlement.
A Home Depot spokesperson told ABC Action News in an email: "We strive to give our customers a great experience and appreciate the opportunity to work with Miss Giannotti to make this right."
While this story ended happily, experts advise avoiding financing non-essential items such as home upgrades or new furniture.
Bankrate's Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride says it is important to remember these long-term loans can damage your bottom line.
"It may lure you into buying something you weren't really intending on buying, or it could cause you to bite off more than you can chew," McBride said.
And if you don't pay off the balance during that low or no-interest time frame, the interest rate could skyrocket, he said, which will cause your monthly payment to increase.