Lowe's Slammed for Slashing Its Military Discount
The home improvement retailer is facing backlash after updating its policy for veterans.
Lowe's wants to stay in good standing with shoppers, and that's reflected in the many ways it strives to give back to the community. Last Thanksgiving, the home improvement company offered stranded travelers a chance to a win a free hotel stay, and earlier this year, Lowe's announced its Hometowns impact program to award grants for improvement projects. Now, however, the retailer is being questioned over its commitment to certain customers. Read on to learn why Lowe's is being slammed over updates to its military discount policy.
Lowe's has positioned itself as a veteran-friendly employer.
Lowe's has ongoing ties to the military. Back in 2019, the home improvement retailer announced that it had newly partnered with three military organizations: United Service Organizations (USO), American Veterans (AMVETS), and Operation FINALLY HOME.
"Lowe's commitment to the military is longstanding and partnerships with these organizations allow us to form stronger connections with the military community," Joe McFarland, U.S. Marines veteran and Lowe's executive vice president of stores, said in a statement at the time.
As a result of these partnerships, the retailer has been acknowledged for its work with veterans. In 2021, Lowe's was named AMVETS Veteran Friendly Employer of the Year.
"As a company founded by a World War II veteran, Lowe's serves as a model organization for how to hire, train, and retain those who served in our Armed Forces," AMVETS National Commander Jan Brown said in a statement.
When it comes to shoppers, however, some veterans believe Lowe's still has room for improvement.
The retailer is now facing backlash over its military discount.
National Guard veteran Sam Newman is speaking out about his experience buying a dishwasher at a Lowe's store in Mooresville, North Carolina, last fall, The Charlotte Observer reported on March 6.
When the dishwasher rang up without the 10 percent military discount Newman was expecting, he discovered that Lowe's had ended its military discount a year and a half earlier for certain items—including major appliances, according to the newspaper.
"Bird seed is on sale right now, and you still get your discount," he told The Charlotte Observer.
But Newman was most upset that Lowe's made this change without notifying members of the military, leading the veteran and his wife to write a complaint to the retailer's CEO, Marvin Ellison.
"That was embarrassing for us," the couple wrote in their letter. "Lowe's should notify all veterans before we come into your store by placing 7 large signs; 3 on the outside of your building and 4 inside showing all items not covered in your store."
Best Life reached out to Lowe's about the backlash to its military discount policy, but has not yet heard back.
Lowe's has apologized for any inconvenience to customers.
Newman is not the only shopper who has experienced this problem at Lowe's store. In the comment section for the story on Yahoo, users said they had similar experiences.
"I found out about Lowe's dropping some of the military discounts in the same way as others; at the checkout," one person wrote.
Another commented, "I found out the discount didn't work the same way. Came in to buy a whole kitchen appliance set. Then was told military discount doesn't apply to big ticket items anymore."
In response to the letter from the Newmans, a spokesman for the company said that the concerns were shared "with the appropriate departments and will be considered when evaluating potential policy and procedure revisions," The Charlotte Observer reported.
"Your comments concerning the Military Discount Policy are important to Lowe's, and we apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced due to the current policy," Jamie Adams, Lowe's executive for customer relations, wrote. "Lowe's strives to offer the lowest competitive price to all our customers every day, and Lowe's will continue to support our military, as well as other communities, through ongoing community programs and charitable giving."
The policy has been limited for some time now.
Lowe's spokeswoman Candace Gordon told The Charlotte Observer that, "as of March 2022, Lowe's updated the Everyday Military Discount to exclude select product categories, including major appliances, lumber and electrical cable/wire."
But the retailer still offers the discount "on thousands of eligible items for active-duty military, veterans and their spouses, with no annual limit on eligible purchases," Gordon added.
According to Lowe's current policy, the retailer offers a 10 percent Everyday Military Discount on most full-price items. But there are now more limitations than there were in the past.
"It cannot be applied to major appliances (including related accessories and parts), commodities (such as, but not limited to, electrical cable, electrical wire, dimensional lumber, plywood, and OSB), gift cards, previous purchases, fees, installations (sold separately or as part of a bundle comprising both product and services), or any other services (such as, but not limited to, rentals, labor, delivery, shipping, extended protection plans)," Lowe's states on its website.