Since last Wednesday most of my days (excluding Sunday) have been taken up with trying to resolve a problem with a new lobby carpet. It was ordered from a very reputable Tayside family furnishing store some time ago and fitting was arranged for last Wednesday.
My lobby is long and I knew beforehand that a join in the carpet would be required. When the estimator had measured up I explained where I wanted the join, (it was exactly where it was in the old carpet): I paid the deposit requested and thought no more about it.
That's not exactly true because a few weeks beforehand the shop telephoned to ask when I was paying the balance because it was required before the work was done. I was slightly taken aback by this request but decided, as I'd purchased a few items from the store over the years, that nothing could go wrong.
Throughout my lifetime I've found optimism doesn't always pay, so the evening before what should have been a straight forward event, I took a couple of photographs of the old carpet, mainly because it had served me well. By pure chance the join in it is highly visible because I'd lifted it there to fix a loose floor board earlier in the day.
The fitters kindly lifted the old carpet and started laying the new one. Immediately I noticed the first half stopped just one inch past a doorway. When I mentioned it was around 15" short they checked their measurements and said they were fitting as per the estimator's plan, although he had not recorded a doorway in that part of the lobby.
That's when the problems started. So far there have been 23 emails and numerous telephone calls between the Broughty Ferry store (which includes their head office), thir Perth store (where the carpet was purchased) and myself. I do have a (temporary) carpet because on fitting day I was told they would be unable to replace it for at least two weeks because the fitters' diary was fully booked and if I didn't let them proceed with fitting the carpet sent, then I would be without floor covering for at least that time.
Since then I've heard every excuse in the book - and some. The MD's office will not respond to a request to meet even though I was continually told last week that he was the one giving the instructions. The estimator has been back, remeasured and told me he 'doesn't remember' any conversation about where the join should be and as it's placed one inch to the side of the door surround that is acceptable in carpet laying.
On Saturday the senior salesman emailed me to say he would be discussing the issue with the store boss when he returned from holiday yesterday. Unsurprisingly, yesterday I had another email from him to say it will now be Wednesday because the store manager doesn't return until today and today is his own day off.
You're getting the picture aren't you?
I haven't been idle though and have contacted the local CAB for advice. (In this area Trading Standards only deal with criminal cases I was told. When I said it was criminal they had my money and have not fulfilled their contract I was told it was a small claims court matter and not a criminal one). The CAB said I have done what they would have recommended. I knew that because I was a CAB volunteer many years ago and was trained in consumer issues, but I wanted the store's name officially recorded.
The crux of the matter is the estimator's word against mine. He's not going to admit he's made an error and I'm going to settle for nothing less than a carpet with the join placed where it was wanted. I foresee an offer of a small refund coming my way this week - another stalling tactic because they know that would be unacceptable.
The carpet was expensive. I decided to buy the best I could afford in the hope that it lasted my lifetime. The attitude of the store has certainly knocked a few weeks if not months off that, but I refuse to be bullied and intend to do a sit-in at the store's head office if the matter's not resolved by the end of this week. Many years ago I did a successful sit-in at a large Shropshire store when a table I bought fell to pieces the day it was delivered, so I have the experience. Must dust off the picnic box, prepare enough food and drink for a long day and remember a table cloth - surely there will be a convenient table in a furnishing store - and I won't forget the serviettes. I will include a china cup and saucer for my tea of course.
Now that I've bored you with my floor covering problem how about this to increase your blood pressure? What kind of parent buys a 12-year-old one of these? Apple quote the price 'from £499' and Apple don't allow their products to be sold below their recommended manufacturer's price.