Buyer beware: A valuable lesson

We had a horrible experience with Carpet Exchange and learned a

very valuable lesson that is worth passing on …

Back in 1994 we bought a carpet from the Carpet Exchange located

in Bellevue.

From the very first day I knew there was something seriously

wrong with the carpet. It stained so badly it was disgusting. It was unraveling

at every seam.

By four months we were complaining to the manager, Rick

Johnson. For three years he told me he was sending somebody out to look at the

carpet, or he was working on the problem, or he was sorry, he lost my

letter. I believed him _ I teach kindergarten, for Pete sakes!

The salesman who sold us the carpet that was so perfect for our

house (he said), told us the carpet was guaranteed for stains for five years

and wear for 10 years. As it got closer to the five-year deadline and

nobody even came out to look at the carpet, I started putting more pressure on

the manager and even the corporate office.

I finally sent everything to the Better Business Bureau and the

Attorney General's office. The Attorney General's office suggested that I

take Carpet Exchange to Small Claims Court. I lost in court. The reason I

lost was because the manager, under oath, denied that he ever talked to me

before 1998. I had no documentation from that first visit in 1994.

I had thought I had a good case because I had a business card from

that first visit signed by the assistant manager, but the judge disallowed it

because there was no date on it from the Carpet Exchange. I thought the

card that belonged to a man who worked there, and had just left, would be

recognized as the date. The judge said no.

The lesson to be learned from all of this is that if you have a

problem, no matter how small, get documentation the first time you go in to

complain and keep all correspondence with the company. Also, get a written

copy of the warranty when you purchase the product.

We believed the salesman when he told us the carpet had a five-year

guarantee for stains and 10 years for wear. Apparently, our carpet had a

one-year guarantee that nobody knew about and we weren't told about until the

manager, four years after the fact, said there was nothing he could do

because we were past the deadline _ Surprise! We were complaining within

four months, but it was the manager's word against ours.

Rick Johnson, the manager, told me that I was the first customer

that had ever complained about them. He said that Carpet Exchange

always pleased their customers.

We still don't know why we were chosen to be that one customer, but

on the chance that he was wrong, if you have had a problem with Carpet

Exchange, call the Better Business Bureau and report them. Their ads

say "We sell it, we install it, and we guarantee it." They sure didn't for us.

Kathleen Dolphin Stensland


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