Unbiased Carpet Buying Information for Homeowners
Why Do You Recommend Locally-Owned Dealers?
Alan Fletcher - Consumer advocate since 1998
Every year, I answer thousands of carpet questions from savvy homeowners. Many homeowners say they are unhappy with the carpet they purchased from a national carpet retailer and have trouble getting any recourse with a complaint. These often include:
Homeowners write to me hoping I can help them get their carpet problems resolved. They are often upset or angry about they way they are being treated. Unfortunately for most homeowners, it's already too late and the damage has been done. When they email me they often say something like;
"Every time I call the store to ask for help they say they will call me right back... but they never do! Or they may say... "I've been calling and trying to get someone from the company to come out and take a look at my carpet problem for more than a month!"
Even if someone does show up to see what you are complaining about they may not be willing to accept any responsibility. They will likely blame you for not taking proper care of your carpet. If you have kids or pets, they may blame them for causing the problem. If you had your carpet cleaned recently, they may blame the carpet cleaning company for creating the problem. They might even blame your vacuum for being too powerful.
No matter what they say, most consumers are not prepared for the hoops they must jump through in order to get anyone to do anything about the carpet problem. It can takes months to get a remedy, if you get a remedy at all.
The Three Most Common Homeowner Carpet Complaints:
1. Bad or Poor Quality Installation
Most of the time, consumers end up having an installation problem. It's hard to get qualified installation these days, especially when you buy from a "big box" carpet retailer. They farm out all their installations to subcontractors, some good, some not so good. When carpet is installed improperly the carpet will start to wrinkle, ripple or buckle in the main walkways, on stairs and hallways. To fix the problem, the furniture needs to be moved out again and the carpet needs to be re-stretched.
Unfortunately most installation warranties expire after one year, so if you don't call and get it resolved within the first year you will have to pay to have the carpet re-stretched. Bad installation can easily cost you hundreds in repair and re-stretch fees and potentially reduce the life span of your carpet.
2. Defective Carpet
Sometimes homeowners end up with a defective carpet. Usually it is a appearance issue where the color is lighter here and darker over there. Sometimes tufts are coming loose or the backing is defective. In this case, a representative from the carpet manufacturer will need to see your carpet and determine if you qualify for any adjustment or correction. This means you might get a partial in-store credit to have a portion of the carpet replaced.
you are lucky enough to get any credit at all you may still be responsible for
paying for furniture moving and installation of the replacement carpet. Take
another day off work, move furniture around and wait around for the installers
to show up. Be
prepared: The replacement carpet may not quite match your existing carpet in
color or texture.
Low Quality Carpet
The worst thing that can go wrong is when your carpet mats down and looks horrible, especially in the main traffic lanes, hallways and on stairs. The tufts were once soft, upright and fluffy. Now they are laying down flat as a pancake and look worn out. You can clean, rake or vacuum all you want but nothing will get those tuft to stand upright again! This means you have bought a poor quality carpet, likely made from Polyester, or P.E.T. Polyester fiber, which resists stains but has poor resiliency. You may have been charged big money for cheapo carpet!
Carpets made with Polyester fibers are prone to matting and crushing of the pile and there is rarely any manufacturer warranty coverage for it. If you bought from a locally-owned carpet retailer may still be willing to help you resolve this situation, unless too much time has passed since the carpet was purchased.
4. Have You Read Your New Carpet Warranty?
It amazes me to know how few actually read the manufacturer's carpet warranty. It certainly is an eye opener! Carpet warranties are worded in such a way that it practically takes an act of congress to substantiate a valid claim. Homeowners are required to follow strict care and maintenance procedures or the warranty will be voided.
This includes periodic cleanings, proper stain removal techniques, and selecting a carpet that is suitable for your application. Simply put, you have to make sure you select a carpet that is designed to handle your level of foot traffic. If you don't, they will say you have abused your carpet and the warranty is null and void.
5. Why Buy From a "Locally Owned" Carpet Dealer?
Even if you do have a problem or concern, you won't get the runaround from a reputable, family-run carpet dealer. They can't afford to have any unsatisfied customers. These are your neighbors who have built their longstanding business and reputation based on honesty, integrity and word-of-mouth advertising. They provide first-class service and have a vested interest in your community.
They hire and train local people like you who pay their fair share of state and local taxes to help support your schools, maintain your roads and do so much more for your community.
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Most locally owned carpet dealers stand behind their products & workmanship and will help you every step of the way from start to finish to make sure you are completely satisfied with your purchase!
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All content is the opinion of the author.