photo 1
In our line of work, the old adage, “The customer is always right,” has been used to settle many complaints. This is true regardless of where you are in the floor covering chain: Manufacturing; distribution; installation; wholesale; or retail. Each link is just as important as the next.

But when all other attempts have failed, this is when an independent inspector can be called in to help. The inspector’s job is to find more information than could be had through normal channels. Claims are never easy to handle, and I take my hat off to those individuals who have chosen to work in this field. It is not easy to listen day-in and day-out to people complaining about their problems. It’s not always rosy in the claims department.

photo 2
Which leads us to the case of a rosy-red carpet turning gray three years after it was installed. The retailer, after inspecting the carpet, requested the manufacturer be brought in to take a look at the discoloration. An independent inspector was also retained, and this is what he saw(photos 1, 2, and 3).

photo 3
This is a cut-pile, topically dyed, staple yarn that magically began to change color after three years. The graying effect appears to originate from the right hand corner of the room, and gradually disappears the farther you get into the room, leaving the remaining carpet its original rose color.

Can you tell what is responsible for the graying or color loss? And who do you think is responsible? (A hint: the color change is only visible in the top 10% of the tufts.)

You make the call!

photo 4
The homeowner states that, years ago, there was a large, southern-facing sliding glass door. They simply took their time in finishing the wall around their new window. But she assures everyone that the blinds were always closed when the sun was up.

She also admits, after a little badgering, that she had a large planter, with live plants, in the corner (the round base in photos 4 and 5), but fed them only with a spray bottle twice a week.

Now, keep in mind, “The customer is always right.” Have you figured it out yet? Here is another hint: notice the color of the carpet beneath the table base; the table was moved to the left about 18 inches prior to the photo being taken. The color of the carpet beneath the base is the color it should be, as the table has sat in that same position for three years.

Here’s another hint: look at the line to the left of the planter that runs parallel to the unfinished wall (photos 4 and 5). The line is very visible, but only on the extreme right hand side of the old glass door opening. The color fades to gray as you go from right to left.

photo 5
That’s right. The vertical blinds were kept open for the life of the installation. And in this case, the customer is NOT right! The homeowner voided her warranty by subjecting the carpet to extreme ultraviolet light, or sunlight. Not to mention the fact that she sprayed plant food in the area of the planter. It is a good assumption that the spray was lofted into the room by the warm sunshine.

The homeowner chose to handle her complaint by lying to everyone who inspected her carpet. Although telling the truth may cause a bit of embarrassment, it is always best to travel that route when filing a complaint. And if the homeowner does not know the cause, then that is what he or she should say. That way, the experts called to the scene will have the correct facts to work with, and the resolution will come that much quicker.