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Should I Buy Carpet from a Home Improvement Warehouse?

By Alan Fletcher - A 30-Year Veteran of the Carpet Business and Consumer Advocate


Buying from a home improvement store can be very convenient. They have a huge amount of carpet samples to choose from and they may be having a special sale on carpet, pad or installation going on right now. 



One problem you will encounter when buying from home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot, is that they have placed private labels on all their carpet samples. They have changed all the style and color names to prevent you from being able to comparison shop at other local carpet stores. 


What this means to you is that if you find a carpet that you really like, you will have a hard time finding the exact same carpet at another carpet store.  This prevents you from determining if their prices are fair and reasonable. I consider "private labeling" a Carpet Scam. 


Chances are good that the same carpet is available at other carpet stores in your area but are selling under a different style and color name. Using private labels is how they prevent you from comparing their prices with other nearby carpet retailers. This is how they can get away with charging you more for the carpet, pad and installation. They try very hard to take away your right to shop around to find the best deal. Are their prices fair? How would you know if you are unable to comparison shop? 







One-Price Carpet Deals


Carpet, pad and installation. You want a fair price on all three. You want a fair price on carpet. You want a fair price on padding, and you want a fair price on installation. How can you be sure you are getting a fair price when they sell it as "one price for the job"??? You can't and they know this very well. 

For example: 

You buy a good quality nylon BCF carpet for $20 per yard. You buy 8-pound 7/16' rebond padding for $4 per yard. Buy installation of a qualified carpet layer for $5 per yard including removal and haul away of the old carpet and pad. The total you are spending is $29 per yard for the whole job. Times that amount by the number of square yards you need and that is the total price. You know what you are paying and that is good. You got a fair deal on all three.


Now, If you go to a home improvement store where they sell carpet, pad and install for "One Price for the whole job" then it goes like this: 


"How much is this carpet?" you ask. "$34.97 installed." says the salesperson. 

"But how much is the carpet by itself?" you ask. "We don't disclose that information. it's sold as a package deal" the salesperson replies. 


"Which padding do I get?" you ask. "It comes with the standard 7/16" padding, do you want the upgraded pad for $3 more per yard?" the salesperson replies. 


When they won't tell you how much each item costs how can you make an informed decision? They change the names, combine the pricing, and limit the amount of information you have access to. You might as well go in blindfolded with your hands tied behind your back and give them a signed blank check. Don't gamble with your carpet purchase. You don't have to!


You need to know exactly what style and grade of carpet to buy that will meet your needs and budget, get a fair and square deal on the correct padding, and be sure to have your carpet installed properly by qualified carpet installers. How do you accomplish all this? The Complete Carpet Buying Guide. But don't order yet, there's more you need to know first. 


Read on...


"I'd like to know what I'm paying for installation" you ask. "It's all included in the price. he says.

"But what if I have a problem with the installation?" you ask. 


"We have an independent company that handles all our installations. You would have to call the installation company directly and they will send out someone to take a look at the problem" says the salesperson. 


"What if I have a warranty issue with the carpet?" you ask. 


"You would need to call the carpet manufacturer about that" the salesperson replies. 


You see, even though you buy the carpet, pad and installation from a home improvement store doesn't mean they can or will help you should you have a problem, concern or complaint. Should you have any problems with materials or labor they simply refer you to the installer, the manufacturer or another company that supplies the materials or labor. 

Once installed, the home improvement store doesn't have any further responsibility to make sure you are satisfied with your carpet purchase. They made their handsome profit and they are pretty much done dealing with you beyond that. 



Why is getting a remedy so difficult? 


Home improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot, don't warranty the carpet, the carpet manufacturer does. You have to call the carpet manufacturer and they will have the final decision on whether or not you have a valid warranty claim.. Have you followed the warranty requirements to the letter? 


You'd better hope so. Have you kept the carpet cleaning receipts? Have you maintained the carpet properly? Did you buy a carpet that is capable of handling your degree of foot traffic? Did you select the correct padding thickness and density? Was the carpet installed according to the Carpet and Rug Institute guidelines for residential carpeting? The list of questions they will ask you goes on and on. 


Home improvement stores don't warranty the installation, the carpet installer does and must offer a one year warranty on his labor. You must call the company that supplies the installers to the home improvement store. They will send out the same installer to try to fix the problem. If that installer no longer works for that company, they will send out someone else to try to fix the problem. 


Home improvement stores don't warranty the pad, the padding manufacturer does. Seldom does the padding go bad or have defects, but it does happen. 


So no matter what type of problem you have, you will have to seek a remedy from one of these other companies. And what makes this even more interesting, is that each one of these other companies will try to place the blame on one of the others. It's a never ending cycle of denial where no one will accept responsibility. 


Wrinkles in your carpet? call the installer. The installer says it is a carpet defect. Call the carpet mill, they send a carpet inspector out to look. He says you used the wrong padding. Call the home improvement store and tell them that they sold you the wrong grade of pad, they may tell you that it is your responsibility to be sure that you ordered the correct padding. Now it's your fault? 


Your carpet looks horrible and they tell you that it is your fault! You should have been sure that the padding was the proper pad for the carpet you selected. It's written in the carpet manufacturers warranty, didn't you read it? You never received or read the warranty? 


Want more info? Do a Google search for carpet complaints by home improvement stores and see what you find.


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