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.
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Should I Buy Carpet from a Big Box Store?
Buying Carpet from a Big Box home improvement store like Lowe's or Home Depot can be very tempting. They have a fair amount of carpet samples to choose from and they may be having a special sale on carpet, pad or free carpet installation sales gimmick going on right now. However...
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, if you find a carpet that you really like, you will have a hard time finding the exact same carpet at another local 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 stores.
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
You need carpet, pad and installation. You deserve 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 package it as one price for the whole job?
You buy a good quality nylon BCF carpet for $24 per yard. You buy 8-pound 7/16' Rebond padding for $5 per yard. Buy installation from a qualified carpet layer for $6 per yard including removal and haul away of the old carpet and pad. The total you are spending is $35 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". Once they measure up your home and give you their price, then it goes something like this:
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.
You see, even though you buy the carpet, pad and installation from a home improvement store, it doesn't mean they can or will help you should you ever have a problem, concern or complaint. If you have any problems with materials or labor they will simply refer you to the installer, the manufacturer or another company that supplies the materials or labor.
Once you pay for your order in full, the home improvement store doesn't have any further responsibility to make sure you are satisfied with your carpet purchase. They took their profit right off the top and are pretty much done 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?
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 carpet installation, the carpet installer does and they usually offer at least a one year warranty on labor.
You must call the installation company that provided the installers. They will try to 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 frustrating, is that each one of these other companies will try to place the blame on one of the other guys. It's a never ending cycle of denial where no one wants to accept responsibility for your problem.
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 brochure? Yikes!
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All content is the opinion of the author.