Pottery Barn Picks Up Stinky Rug, Brings New One For Free

Have you ever heard of latex decay? Apparently, it’s a problem that plagues area rugs from Pottery Barn manufactured during a certain period. It happened to Victoria, and a simple call to the company got her a replacement rug costing $100 more than the one she already had. Not only was there no charge to her, but since Victoria doesn’t have a car, Pottery Barn paid for UPS pickup of the old rug and delivery of the new one. Lovely.

I bought an area rug from Pottery Barn in the winter of 2005. My living room subsequently had something of a rubber smell to it, but I blamed the cheap (not Pottery Barn) pad that I had under the rug rather than the rug itself. My sister apparently had the same problem with her PB Kids rug that was purchased around the same time, and blamed other new stuff in her daughter’s room — until she had a rug cleaner come in and he recognized the odor immediately and pointed out that older PB rugs have a latex decay issue. She brought the rug back to her PB kids store and they exchanged it without issue.

I had bought my rug online (and live in a city without a car, so bringing it back to the store wouldn’t be easy). So I called PB customer service. The very nice rep that I talked to, Robin, had definitely heard of the problem before. She said that the defect was not harmful, just annoying, and she offered to replace the rug. She was able to look up my original order and purchase price. I called back the next day and told her what rug I would like in exchange. It cost $100 more than my original rug. She put through the order immediately with no charges or shipping fee, and told me to call when it arrived so she could arrange for UPS to pick up the defective rug.

The new rug arrived a few days later, and unfortunately it wasn’t the color I thought it was and didn’t match our furniture. I figured I’d be in charge of paying shipping for the return, so I stopped by the local PB store to see if they could take it back. If they could, I figure I could somehow make the trek rather than paying shipping. I emailed Robin to see if this would work with my order — I received an email in reply that UPS could come tomorrow to pick up both rugs, and the new new one (that *was* more along my color scheme) would be shipped shortly.

I’m incredibly pleased. Not only was the original exchange process harmless, but it was above and beyond for PB to exchange the rug I’ve had for several years for one of greater value, and to pay for the exchange shipping of the rug that just didn’t work in my living room. They’ve definitely earned my loyalty!

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  1. Dallas_shopper says:

    Great customer service, if not an entirely satisfactory product. Hopefully your new rug won’t have the same issue!

  2. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Did they upgrade teh kitteh as well?

  3. Marike says:

    Pottery Barn (well, in my experience PB Kids) has excellent customer service. I had purchased some items for my son’s bathroom in the store but I was missing the matching soap dispenser. Eventually, it went on sale and I bought it online with some other items. The dispenser, despite being well packaged, arrived bent. I was hesitant about trying to bend it back and fix it because I didn’t want to break it and end up not getting a refund. I called PB and the CS rep called the nearest store to me to see if they had one in stock as it was now out of stock online. They didn’t have one either, so she refunded me and let me keep the dispenser and wished me luck with bending the nozzle back into place lol. In addition to the refund, they also sent me a 20% off coupon.

  4. c!tizen says:

    Hmmm… If only “The Dude” would have bought his rug from Pottery Barn.

  5. Lenudan says:

    Was surprised to see this – we had the exact same issue with a large area rug we purchased from Pottery Barn just last year. We purchased it in 2005 and after about 4 years we began to notice a certain ‘funk’ in the room – took us awhile to figure out it was emanating from the rug.
    Same deal for us – although instead of replacing the rug we opted for a $550 in store credit which was also usable at Williams and Sonoma. So now that old gnarly rug is now atop of the line food processor!
    We were quite pleased with their prompt service. Will be going back to buy more based solely on this experience.

  6. HogwartsProfessor says:

    That’s awesome customer service.

    I’ve heard of this because when I bought my older house, it had carpet in the living room and back bedroom, and the rubber pad under the bedroom carpet had it. It stunk. When I took out the carpet and pad, it went away. I didn’t want it to stain the hardwood floor underneath.

  7. mamacat49 says:

    I had that happen with a rug from Costco. They took it back after 3 yrs and I got a full refund. After researching it, it’s NOT uncommon, but the rug manufacturers don’t want to talk about it. So, it’s braided rugs for me (no backing at all).

    • missdona says:

      Re: Braided Rugs. You can also get a hand-made rug or 100% wool rug (machine made), they’re made on a loom. They wont have backing and wont put out the VOCs that nylon or latex will. Hand made rugs will have a stitched edge and machine made rugs will have a tape binding, but none of them will have a backing.

  8. dwb says:

    I love Pottery Barn customer service. I’ve never had a problem like this, but the way I’m treated by them keeps me coming back.

  9. hills says:

    I’m 1-1 with PB customer service… couch was late and they gave me a gift card – win! The clerk ordered the wrong type of headboard attachment for the frame & they wouldn’t pay for return shipping or shipping for the replacement – lose!

  10. CapZap says:

    Kudos to Pottery Barn for superb service. That’s a lesson in itself.
    The problem appears to be poorly made latex adhesive. See this for a good explanation: http://www.atticmag.com/janes-rug-articles/sniff-test-for-tufted-rugs/