WASHINGTON — As the old expression goes, “You get what you pay for.” And a local consumer group that’s evaluated area hardware stores finds that paying more might mean you’ll get better advice.

“Home Depot and Lowe’s both scored really poorly on our surveys of their costumers for things like advice and promptness.” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Checkbook.org. “Lowe’s does get higher ratings than Home Depot, but both stores scored dreadfully low on this measure.”

Home Depot received “superior” ratings for quality of advice from 20 percent of its surveyed customers, while 38 percent of Lowe’s customers rated quality of advice as “superior.” Meanwhile, Strosniders of Bethesda and a number of independent area stores were rated “superior” by more than 80 percent of surveyed customers.

Big chains crush competition on prices

Home Depot and Lowe’s beat all the independent stores and other chains’ average…