Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Carpets And Parental Stupidity

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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.


Macheath said...

Best of luck with the sit-in!

At least you'll be indoors; under similar circumstances I once sat in the road in front of an electrician's van for half an hour - very damp and unconfortable!

We have constant trouble in school with these phones - not least because they attract adult thieves onto the premises. However, parents insist on giving them to their children - even supplying 'dummy' phones to give up for confiscation if necessary.

RMcGeddon said...

I bought furniture from that shop and arranged to have it delivered on my next home leave when my house would be ready. No problem they said. When I got home I had letters warning of storage fees and asking when I was wanting my furniture delivered as it was 'cluttering' up their warehouse.
I haven't used them since ( 20 years ago).

Woodsy42 said...

Why are you waiting round letting your blood pressure take the strain SR?
Issue a small claims court summons loaded up with all your incidental costs etc. - or the scottish equivalent.
Also if you paid by credit card take it up with the card company.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Good luck with the sit-in.

Many years ago I had to get money back from a shyster mail-order Hi-Fi company in London.

Give them their due - they managed to stonewall me until the afternoon of the THIRD day, before they finally understood that I wasn't going away, and issued a cheque.

Which, mirabile dictu, did not bounce.

Oldrightie said...

Woodsy's spot on, Subrosa. You can issue a small claims court order on line. Well in England you can! Relatively straight forward. Your "estimator" would have to commit perjury or at least explain why it's not as expected, plus the publicity for their incompetence would be unwelcome.

Any costs incurred would also become their liability. Go for a full refund and a new supplier.

Seems you can't do it on line but here's a starting point for you.
It would scare them witless.


English Pensioner said...

I had a similar problem with a well known carpet retailer. The carpet was an inch short when cut from the roll and poorly fitted. I had been charged so much for the carpet and separately for the fitting, and when I complained, they said that the carpet fitter was self-employed and they weren't responsible for his work They insisted that I'd given them the wrong length although the correct length was shown on my receipt. I got nowhere, and in the end, I drafted a leaflet on my computer detailing the saga, and took it to the manager and told him that I would be having a few thousand printed and was employing a couple of young lads to give one to every driver entering the car park and to put one on each car. After a long argument about trespass (it was a shared car park with other superstores) and libel (it was simply a list of facts) he caved in.
Now we use a small local shop whom I would strongly recommend to anyone, but I think that you are a bit too far away!

pa_broon74 said...


Always right to take a stand against any business, they'll try their luck in the hope people will just go away. It seems these days, all but the smallest most local business are out to empty your pockets, UK statutory law is coming out more and more on the side of big business. Its a dangerous creeping change and one that has to be stopped.

I despise iphones, they turn otherwise normal people into rude humourless zombies. Sitting in company pecking away at angry birds or endlessly texting people who aren't there while ignoring the people who are right in front of them. I'm all for smart phones, but istuff is just faddy metrosexual nonsense that we can all do with out.

Feel bad for that wee boy though, there is no excuse for that kind of thing to happen, I hope they catch the older people involved, there's probably an app for that.

JRB said...

Go for it girl.

Remember the ancient and time honoured aphorism –
Illegitimi non carborundum

There used to be a rule of thumb in retail which roughly stated, that one dissatisfied customer would influence ten other customers.
It might be worth pointing out to the store that in this the age of the www, a dissatisfied customer can now influence hundreds of other customers.
(How many hits, not just replies, has this page had ?)

It only takes a few seconds to ‘Google’ ‘furniture and carpet stores in Perth and Broughy Ferry’ to come up with the right answer.

Key bored warrior. said...

Good luck Rosie, i had a similar experience with a new door, only I had not paid the full whack. So when I dumped their fitters and their tools in to the front garden they knew it was serious.

i resist putting down deposits, and if there is no other option never more than 20%.

James Aitken said...

It might be worth looking at a cautionary article by Miles Brignall about the FIRA furniture “Ombudsman” dated 2 December 2011, which can be found on-line in the Money section of the Guardian. Best of luck.
Jim Aitken

Joe Public said...

"........it was around 15" short they .....were fitting as per the estimator's plan, although he had not recorded a doorway in that part of the lobby."

Did you retain a copy of that plan, the one that omitted the door?

If you did, I virtually proves the Estimator's skill-set in 'laying out' the carpeting left something to be desired, because an extra Door Bar etc would probably be required.

Brian said...


Apologies if I'm spouting Egg Sucking 101 at you.

Did the estimator suggest factory microseaming, sewn seams or hot glue seams for the join?

I would call a few local carpet fitters to see find out what is the industry custom and practice for the location of joins - normally where they can't be seen. Doorways are high traffic, which is why a continuous piece of carpet is preferred, failing that, as per Joe Public, a door bar.

Before you go for your sit-in, have you written a final "or else letter" to the shop yet stating that you will lodge a Small Claim in the Sheriff's Court unless it provides what you ordered? If possible, be conciliatory and suggest a fair compromise because judges favour reasonable people taking reasonable steps to resolve disputes. If the shop turns you down that's another point in your favour. They have not moved towards a compromise.

Best Wishes

The MacPuddock. said...

What kind of parent buys a 12 year old one of these? (iphone).
Well, in Scotland very many indeed. I know because I frequently see them, as I ask for them to be put away/etc during school lessons. I agree-it is truly astonishing. Presumably Mums dads and siblings haver them too. And no,i am not sure how it can be afforded.
I also see much compulsive behaviour in relation to phones in young people.

The MacPuddock. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
subrosa said...

I've polished my high heels Macheath. Can't be looking like a frumpy pensioner. :)

Jings, I'm so out of date. Dummy phones? No wonder children don't understand the value of anything. Not that I object to them having mobiles for emergencies, but iPhones?!

subrosa said...

RM, the number of people I've spoken to in the last week who have had issues with them is unbelievable. As they say, if I knew then what I know now.

subrosa said...

Thanks Woodsy. I've sent for the small claims papers.

subrosa said...

I hope I'm as fortunate WY, but it's dreadful we have to go through such pressure in this day and age.

Honour seems to be lost these days.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link OR. I've sent for the papers today and will follow the advice on that site.

subrosa said...

EP, if I have to do a sit-in then you've suggested a super backup of leaflets which I can print off and hand out outside (should I be 'evicted'). Thanks.

subrosa said...

A smart phone and iPhone are the same to me pa_broon, except the latter is more expensive usually. I've a smart phone but can't text on it (keyboard too small) and the phone system is complex. The only thing it's good for is when the internet crashes.

Aye it's a shame the laddie had that problem but surely, out at 9pm in a park playing with his iPhone? It would have been dark and he should have been at home.

subrosa said...

This page has had over 600 hits so far JRB so I see what you mean.

I know it's not difficult to find out the name of the stores. Plain English helped. :)

subrosa said...

I've learned a lesson KBW. I don't mind deposits but the full whack before the job is completed? My stupidity.

subrosa said...

James, I've found that article in the Guardian. So far this store hasn't 'employed' anyone like that, but forewarned is forearmed. Thanks.

subrosa said...

Yes Joe I have it. Jings, I never thought of the door bar. Great point. Thanks.

subrosa said...

Brian, he said the fitters would do the seam. In previous carpets I've had the fitters have done it so it didn't concern me.

The usual standard is that joins are not at doors but as far away as possible. They've tried to skip on the carpet yet the estimator amended his prices to accommodate the extra he said that would be needed.

I'll do that. Thanks for that advice.

Will do my best to keep calm. So far my emails have been courteous - just. :)

subrosa said...

The MacPuddock, it's astonishing both Macheath and yourself have so much experience of young school children possessing these phones.

It must be a nightmare for teachers to have to cope with children taking these things into the classrooms.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

SR - If you choose to go the small claims route - and it is very effective - name the chief executive or owner of the store in your petition and continue to do so; irrespective whether they ask you or try to divert you to some lesser mortal.

Average cost for a solicitor to handle a simple claim £350, include the hearing and that jumps to £800 +.

Keep fact and reason on your side and the small claim procedure is the one aspect of law which keeps some relevance to common sense, equality of arms and justice.

subrosa said...

Thank you for your advice Crinkly. I will ensure I do that.

Jo G said...

Love stories like this where people are not taking nonsense from anyone after paying good money for a product. Gawn yersel Rosie!

I also haven't heard the word "lobby" for years so thank you for that too!

Observer said...

The lobby- fantastic. Of course a cupboard if long enough is a press.

I've got an iPhone which is very reasonable as a contract because I pay for two, one for me & one for mini-me. However mini-me is not 9 & I would never give a 9 yr old an obect that could make them the potential victim of a crime.

Jo G said...

Oh a press! I'd forgotten that one!

subrosa said...

They required payment within a certain time of the fitting. I can't go into further detail because I suspect they'll be watching us closely.

I will press on JoG. believe me.

subrosa said...

Observer, it's my lobby and will always be referred to as such. You don't need a long cupboard to be called a press here in the east.:) Any reputable Scottishbusiness would recoginise the term, but sadly I think it's becoming one of these word we"re losing.

I can't discuss iPhones because I don't have one. However my iPad is a good enough for my minimal internet experience.

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