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B.C. man said he couldn't work due to Home Depot gift card dispute

David Peters claimed $4,300 for mental distress and being unable to fulfil a business contract.
A Home Depot store in Saanich, B.C. Photo: Times Colonist

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has dismissed the case of a man who said he couldn’t work due to a dispute with Home Depot over a gift card.

David Peters told tribunal member Christopher Rivers that he tried to purchase a tool chest online from Home Depot using a $500 gift card.

Peters said Home Depot was unable to fulfil the online order and agreed to give him a refund.

However, Peters said when he went to a brick-and-mortar Home Depot to make purchases he found the gift card had not been credited.

In his claim to the tribunal, Peters claimed $500 for the value of his gift card, $30 further to an offered credit from Home Depot and $24.20 in travel expenses to and from Home Depot.

He also claimed $2,000 in damages for mental distress as well as $2,300 in damages for being unable to fulfil a business contract asserting that Home Depot prevented him from acquiring the necessary items.

Home Depot agreed to Peters being entitled to his original $500 gift card and the offered $30. It said it had already provided both.

The company took no position on the travel expenses and asked that the damages claim be dismissed.

What happened?

Peters said that, on Nov. 25, 2022, he purchased a tool chest through Home Depot’s website. He used the gift card for the $311.36 bill.

The next day, he received a series of phone calls from Home Depot saying it could not fulfil the order. Staff suggested he go a Home Depot location to complete his purchase, if he wished to continue.

During those phone calls, Home Depot undisputedly offered Peters a $30 credit for his difficulties with the online order. The company said it cancelled the online order and refunded Peters the $311.36.

However, Peters said he then went to a Home Depot location and picked up a shopping cart full of items worth about $450.

“When he attempted to check out, he found his gift card only had a balance of $188.64,” Rivers said. “This is the amount that would remain if Mr. Peters had not received the refund of $311.36.”

Home Depot employees on location did attempt to find out why the gift card didn’t have the full $500 balance but were unable to do so.

He chose not to complete the purchase another way and Home Depot employees agreed to set aside his purchases and to contact him on Nov. 28, 2022 to resolve matters.

When he didn’t hear from the store, Peters called and was told there was no gift card resolution yet.

He decided to purchase the items anyway only to find they had been returned to the shelves.

“Mr. Peters left the store without completing any purchases,” Rivers said.

Peters alleged theft and fraud under the Criminal Code of Canada, a breach of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and that the company breached the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

The tribunal member said those were issues he need not consider due to jurisdictional issues or lack of a claim.

The decision

Rivers ruled Home Depot has provided a refund through a new gift card and has paid the $30 credit.

He also ruled Peters chose to drive to the store and the company is not obligated to cover his mileage.

Rivers dismissed the claim for mental distress.

“There is no medical evidence establishing that Mr. Peters has suffered any mental consequences from the events described above,” Rivers said.

The member also dismissed the lost work claim for losing a sump pump contract.

“I find that Mr. Peters has not established that he was unable to perform the work due to the gift card issue with Home Depot,” Rivers said. “I find it was his choice not to complete his purchases with Home Depot, and that he cannot now hold them responsible for the subsequent loss of the sump pump contract.”