Friday, March 08, 2013

De - selecting* carpet

Thinking about the Charles E. Young School project the other day reminded me that many schools are going back to hard floors. But what really caused carpet to topple in popularity is another question. The carpet industry has some old problems that are hard to live down. I believe they're paying for them now.

Bad business practices have finally caught up with them. Shoddy installation is the worst offender. **Failure to power stretch caused seams to peak. In our service company in Indy we've seen bad installation jobs that have puckering ridges an inch high and up to eight inches wide running down the middle of a room. Some of these were caused by poor underlayment and its installation. They not only look bad, they can cause trip and fall accidents.

Both CRI installation standards and CFI's educational programs can't seem to find a cure for laziness and dishonesty. A few years ago, I paid full price at a local store for a big name brand and had new carpet put all through my home. The carpet looked nice, but I wasn't there when they put it down and within two years, every seam had peaked. They just kicked it in. When I went to complain, the retailer was out of business, so I had no recourse.

On the sales side, delivery schedules gone awry and warranty papers not being delivered have caused consumer discontent with carpet retailers. Product substitution, a variation of bait and switch, offends carpet buyers and should be a crime. But the worst culprit is the retailer who takes a deposit after filing bankruptcy and does not deliver the carpet. That really makes people angry and there have been many of these cases during this protracted recession.

Mills that produced fiber blends for economy rather than performance have left many ugly memories for the consumer. And they don't forget or forgive readily. Carpet makers' greedy preoccupation with the CRI's SOA program has attempted to profit from the sale of equipment and chemicals. Consumer complaints don't involve equipment, chemicals or methods used by professional cleaners. This fact causes me to doubt the validity of their testing program.

In cleaning and maintenance, bait and switch advertisers have caused more ill feelings toward carpet than any other cleaning related complaint. Consumers will stop "De - selecting" carpet when the whole industry starts treating them right and when cleaning industry associations finally tackle bait and switch advertisers.

* A term coined by CRI to explain the fall in carpet sales.

** Complaints found and researched in one year: Installation - 314, Sales - 253, Cleaning - 131. Professional cleaners' complaints were about bait and switch advertisers. Not one that I found mentioned a cleaning chemical, cleaning machine or cleaning method.

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