Rebecca was sick of her old wall-to-wall carpet and hired Lowe’s to remove the old stuff and install some new laminate flooring and some new carpet as well.
Sadly for Rebecca, Lowe’s contractor ripped out her old carpet, realized they hadn’t ordered enough new carpet to cover her floors, then disappeared. Where did they go? Well, they’re just really busy!
I live in Appleton, Wisconsin and a Lowe’s came to town about a year ago.
After 7 years of living with horrible wall to wall carpeting, it was time for a change. Home Depot doesn’t have a great reputation so I thought Lowe’s might be the way to go.
Was I EVER wrong.
Ordering was easy and paying for laminate and carpet AND installation upfront was easy. I paid with 41 $100 bills. Yes, $4100. In cash- upfront BEFORE installation. I thought, well, they must stand behind their services if you have to pay upfront. Satisfaction guaranteed. The nightmare began the minute I was handed my receipt for $4100 in product and services from Lowe’s. The cashier actually apologized because my change came to about 8 cents. From 41 $100 bills. I pay everything in cash. I don’t do credit.
The laminate was simple, or so I thought. Pick it up a few days before installation and we are good to go. I ordered special order carpeting, which was to arrive in two weeks. Two weeks later the carpet was in and I was ready to schedule installation. Upon scheduling installation, I was told all I needed to do was pick up the laminate a few days before installation so it could adjust to the temperature of my house. The contractor would pick up the special order carpet and padding and other items.
It was Friday July 13th. I should have known not to begin my home improvement journey on Friday the 13th. I waited one hour for them to bring my laminate to me and load it in my vehicle. That was Friday. Installation was scheduled for the following Thursday, Friday and Monday. After I had already picked up the laminate the previous Friday, Monday July 16th I received a friendly voice message from Lowe’s instructing me that I was to pick up the laminate at least 48 hours prior to installation. I called back and happily explained that I had picked it up on Friday and was ready to go. They said OK and confirmed my scheduled installation. Tueday I received another friendly message from another Lowe’s employee telling me that I had to pick up my laminate blah blah blah. Same thing as the day before. I again called to tell them I had already picked it up. Wednesday, same deal as Monday and Tuesday only this time they said I had to cancel installation because I hadn’t picked up the laminate.
By now I am wondering if my installation is going to go ahead as scheduled. The contractor seems nice enough and had confirmed with me the installation time frame. Wednesday night the contractor called and said he would be slightly late on Thursday morning. OK, I told him to call before you get here. Thursday comes and my husband and I wait and wait and wait. 4pm the contractor shows up and does nothing. Tells us he will be back tomorrow and if need be, can the installation be completed on Tuesday instead of Monday. OK, seems alright since my husband works at home.
Friday comes and the laminate installation seems to be going smoothly. Monday he continues to work on the laminate. He starts to remove the carpeting from my stairway and loft area where my husband has his office. He unrolls the special order carpet and there is a major flaw, several rows of material are missing. SO we have to order more special order carpet. I see where this is going and start to get extremely upset. It’s going to be another two weeks for carpeting. Many phone calls to Lowe’s and their sub par management do nothing for me. They order new carpet and can’t do anything for me satisfaction wise until the installation is complete. So they have my $4100 in cash for partial materials and partial installation.
Three weeks later the carpet has arrived at Lowe’s, the contractor calls and asks me if it’s OK if another contractor installs the carpet as he is booked out 2 and 1/2 weeks. This is not how things work at Lowe’s. They schedule all installation. So I called Lowe’s immediately and spoke with a nice man named Sonny. He said that Lowe’s installation manager was working diligently to get another contractor scheduled. I told him that Thursday August 23rd is it. The carpet has to be installed that day. My husband and I are not taking any more time off work for this. I also informed him the laminate installation was not completed by the first contractor. The transitions were not complete and he left a bunch of stuff behind, tools and nails and other assorted items. Found a few razor blades in my loft from where he had started to remove the old carpet before we knew there was a flaw in the special order carpet.
Here I sit, waiting for Paul the installation manager to call me and tell me that my carpet will be installed August 23rd and this nightmare will be over. My husband has had to work around ripped up carpeting and exposed tack strip on the stairways since July 23rd. We haven’t been able to have anyone in the house for fear they would injure themselves using the stairs with the exposed tack strip. The first contractor couldn’t remove the carpeting without making some nice scratches in my newly painted walls. So that is another project I will have to work on. Do I get a lawyer involved? What type of compensation do I deserve for wasted days off of work and a disgusting mess of a house for a month? All the unnecessary phone calls to pick up laminate I already had? A manager at Lowe’s even admitted to my husband we could have picked up more laminate and they would have never known. Twice we could have done that, and didn’t .
Last we heard from Rebecca (August 21) she hadn’t heard back from Lowe’s about her complaint.
Obviously a lawyer would scare the contractor and (maybe) Lowe’s but lawyers aren’t free. We suggest filing a complaint with the BBB and your state’s attorney general—they just love shady contractors. You’ll also want to escalate your complaint with Lowe’s. You can do that by launching an EECB. Make sure to include the photographs that you sent to Consumerist.
Another resource is your local government. In some states there are government agencies specifically set up to deal with home improvement complaints. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has a complaint form (PDF) specifically geared towards home improvement complaints. We suggest filing a complaint and asking the department for more information about your options as a citizen of Wisconsin.
Anyone else have advice for Rebecca?