A few years ago, Justin had workers from Lowe’s come install carpet in his house. After the warranty on the work had expired, the carpet began to stretch out in high-traffic areas. Even though he’s not a professional carpet installer, Justin does have extensive experience with walking on floors, and knows that’s not how it’s supposed to work. He researched possible causes, learned that it was due to an installation error, and tried to get Lowe’s to admit their mistake and fix the problem. Here is the exciting plot twist: they did.
In Late 2008 I bought a home and one of the very first improvements we made was to install new carpet across the entire house, which was done January 2009 through Lowes. Mid-2011, well past Lowes’ warranty, we began to notice folds and looseness in the carpet in various locations, usually in the heavy traffic areas. I began to do research on possible causes, and the primary reason was that the carpet was not stretched using a power-stretching device. Additional research led me to information regarding standardized instructions to carpet installers. From those instructions, and from other websites, it was indicated that power-stretching is absolutely mandatory when installing new carpet. This had not been done with my carpet.
Lowes’ initial response to my complaint was to send out an independent inspection company to ascertain the state of the carpet, which went smoothly. The inspector showed me how, when lifting a section of carpet that it fell slowly into place, instead of snapping down quickly like it should. Although he could give no official comment about his report and what would happen next, he did say to me “Unofficially…that ain’t right.” Eventually Lowes contacted me about the inspection and said the inspection company denied the claim!!! I said that was not possible, that the inspector gave me every indication there was something wrong. The rep backtracked a bit and said the reason for the denial was that it was out of warranty (suggesting Lowes was denying the claim, not that the inspector found nothing wrong). I explained to the rep that Lowes had failed to install the carpet to correct specification in the first place, and that was unacceptable. But at the time, they did not seem like they would budge on the issue.
I was willing to take this all the way to small claims court. I discovered not power-stretching might have also voided the manufacturer’s warranty, which some could argue should require Lowes to pay for entirely new carpet and installation. If I had to go to smalls claims I would have pursued that, but I didn’t want to go to that extreme. As an intermediate step, I opened a Better Business Bureau ticket. That seemed to soften Lowes a bit; they had their rep contact me again, and asked that I allow a company come in to estimate the cost of re-stretching the carpet. Again, that part went smoothly. Today, about 2 weeks later. Lowes called me and told me they would have my carpet restretched, for free!!!
So to consumers everywhere, I say: Don’t take it lying down! Fight the good fight! And in today’s questionable business ethics all around, always research the important purchases to know what’s expected, especially when it comes to things you yourself aren’t knowledgable about. That’s when you are most vulnerable. Thanks to experiences like these, both personal and told through Consumerist, I’ve become a much more diligent consumer.