After 30+ years in the business, I'm sharing my knowledge and experience with homeowners who want to choose wisely, avoid scams and get qualified installs from a reputable dealer.
"How To Choose New Flooring Like A Pro"
George & Mary's
Carpet Buying Nightmare
For several years... George and Mary had been saving up to buy the perfect carpet now that their kids were all grown up and out on their own. What was supposed to be an exciting event for George and Mary was about to turn into a costly nightmare.
When George and Mary finally decided to buy carpet from a large carpet retailer, they thought they had it all planned out perfectly. They thought they knew what they were doing.
They took their time and looked at lots of carpet samples and visited several carpet dealers before they made their final choice.
It was early April when George and Mary decided to start shopping for new carpet for their three-bedroom split-level home. Raising three kids and several pets through the years had taken its toll on their existing carpet and padding.
There were several "bad" areas around the house where their old cat had urinated and nothing they tried could remove the stains and odor. Their cat had recently passed away from old age so they thought the time was finally right to get new carpet installed.
Together they visited several carpet stores around town and finally found the perfect color and style they were looking for at the local home improvement warehouse. The total price was a bit higher than they had hoped but they were getting tired from looking at dozens of colors and styles and were eager make their final choice.
They liked the fact that the retailer was running a $199 special on installation for the whole house. Their salesperson said that it would take about three weeks for their carpet to arrive.
George and Mary's new carpet was scheduled for installation on May 5th. On the afternoon of May 4th George had his two sons come over to help him move all the furniture out of the way so the carpet could be installed the next day.
Most of the larger furniture had to be moved outside on the deck and some placed into the garage.
The threat of rain forced them to buy plastic sheeting to cover everything put outside so it wouldn't get wet. The kitchen and main bath were filled with smaller items so dinner that night was delivered pizza and in the morning breakfast would just be doughnuts and coffee.
The carpet installers were supposed to show up first thing in the morning but as of 9am they had not shown up. Finally about 10:00 am Mary decided to call the carpet store to find out what was going on.
The store manager put her on hold for a few minutes and when he returned he asked her "didn't someone call you last week? "No!" Mary replied. "Your carpet didn't get put on the truck for some reason.
Someone was supposed to call you last week and reschedule your installation. I'm very sorry" the manager told her, "The manufacturer says your carpet should arrive here by the 12th."
Now George had to move all the furniture back inside until next week. Mary had already taken today day off but now she has to schedule another day off next week too.
Next week George had to move the furniture back but again but he also had to be out of town for a few days that week so he had to move out the furniture two days before the carpet was re-scheduled to be installed.
Again he had to cover it with plastic to be sure it didn't get rained on.
The Carpet store called Mary on the 11th to say that their carpet had arrived and the installer would be out first thing in the morning. The installer finally showed up at 9:30 am with their carpet. George had already left for work by this time but Mary was very excited to finally be getting her new carpet installed.
The installer looked around the house for a few minutes and then told Mary that there would be some additional installation fees and charges.
The installation charge was only supposed to be $199 for the whole job but there were other add-ons and extras beyond the scope of their "basic" installation charge.
There was an extra charge for the stairs, tack strip replacement and transition metals, an extra fee for removing the old carpet and pad with pet stains, and removing and replacing 3 closet bi-fold doors.
The additional cost for installation would be almost $300 more than they expected. Since George was at work, Mary was forced to agree to pay for the extra charges.
The installer wanted a check before he would begin the work. Mary was not happy but went ahead and wrote the check.
The carpet installer and his two helpers began to remove the old carpet and padding. They worked so fast that dust was flying everywhere.
Mary was not very happy that she would have to dust the whole house after they were finished.
They replaced some damaged tack strip and soon the new padding was being installed.
Mary tried to stay out of their way but there were not many places she could go. She managed to get into a spot in the kitchen and sat on the coffee table and read the newspaper.
Around noon, Mary offered to go out and bring back hamburgers and drinks for the guys so they wouldn't need to leave and take a long lunch break.
The truth was, she just wanted to be sure they finished the job that day so she wouldn't have to take another day off from work. As the afternoon rolled on it the installers were slowing down.
It was becoming apparent that the job might not be finished today. Mary's happy attitude slowly began to fade.
About 3pm the main installer approached Mary and told her that there was not enough carpet to finish two of the bedrooms, including the master bedroom and the carpet measurements had been miscalculated.
He told her that he had already called the store and more carpet would be ordered right away.
In a few minutes, the store manager called Mary and told her that they would have to order another 15 yards of carpet in order to finish the job. He told Mary that it would be another three weeks to get it and there would be more fees and charges once the additional carpet arrived.
The manager asked Mary to approve the additional charges and authorize the additional costs with her credit card. Mary had no choice but to pay for the additional carpet needed and an additional carpet installation charge of $225 for the installers to come back out and finish the job.
By this point, Mary was very angry and frustrated, to make things worse the carpet installer leaves by 4pm and has not finished the stairs, the upper hallway and two bedrooms and said he won't be back for three weeks.
When George gets home from work he quickly learns about the day’s events and becomes quite upset too.
He tries to call the carpet store to complain but it is too late. He spends the next two hours moving furniture back into the rooms that have been completed but because the master bedroom is not done he cannot set up their king-size bed.
They end up sleeping on a double bed the guest bed in the smallest of their three bedrooms.
For the next three weeks they cannot walk around the house without shoes because of the sharp nails exposed on the tack strips in several areas where the carpet is not yet installed, including the stairs that lead to the bedrooms.
Stepping on these exposed nails barefoot would be very painful. Three weeks go by and now the problem for George and Mary gets worse.
The additional 15 yards of carpet finally arrives on time but it is not the exact same color (dye lot) as the carpet they originally ordered. This means it does not match the carpet that has already been installed.
The installer showed up and finished the job but it is obvious that the carpet is mis-matched. Mary calls the store to complain and they tell her there is nothing they can do. "It is the nature of the business" she is told. George and Mary are still unhappy with their new carpet. They feel cheated, overcharged, lied to and scammed.
They have made numerous calls to the carpet store and now they do not return their calls. George and Mary thought they knew enough to buy new carpet wisely. They thought they were doing everything right. They were wrong.
Luckily George and Mary did buy a good quality carpet and it is holding up very well. Had they ordered a different carpet their problems could be even worse. Don't become a victim of unscrupulous carpet retailers. Learn how to buy carpet wisely.
It's "Buyer Beware" in today's world, and you had better be well informed or you will be the next victim of a scam. Carpet scams are everywhere too. Believe it. I've spent 30 years in the carpet business and I know practically every carpet scam in the book.
"Consumers are often overcharged for carpets that don't last, get worthless warranties and lousy installation.
Buying the "right" new carpet for your home is becoming more difficult than ever before. Why? Because consumers are not being told the facts about carpet and how long it will last.
Many large and corporately owned carpet retailers don't tell consumers what they need to know in order to make smart carpet buying choices. They want consumers to buy on how the carpet looks and feels, not on how well it is made. Buy the wrong carpet and it won't last as long as expected.
There are five critical carpet-buying decisions that must be made 100% correctly to be sure that the carpet purchased has the capability of lasting as long as hoped or expected and be overcharged.
Here are the five basic carpet-buying factors that consumers must consider before buying new carpet:
Selecting the right materials
Choosing the right carpet and pad to meet your needs, lifestyle, budget and expectations.
How to recognize a fair deal
Comparison shopping, How to find a reputable carpet dealer.
Learn how to avoid scams
How to recognize common carpet scams and rip-offs. Where NOT to shop for carpet.
Understand carpet installation
How to determine if your carpet is installed properly. How to find a qualified carpet installer.
How to care for your carpet
Keep your manufacturers warranty in force and make sure your carpet lasts as long as possible.
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Common Carpet Questions and Answers