Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bait and Switch with Carpet Purchase

My Experience with this Carpet Store, below:
Update on May 5, 2013 at end of blog...

Carpet Mill Outlet - Southeast Portland - MilwaukieOR - Cached
 Rating: 4 - 1 review
Aug 29, 2011 ... 1 Review of Carpet Mill Outlet "If your budget can't support the fancy rugs you ... MilwaukieOR 97222 ... ...

**Note: By the way, I have yet to filter my Google Ads on the right. When I saw the food group chart suggesting not to eat egg yolks, just know that there's enough choline in the egg to take care of the cholesterol. Docs are scaring people w/ heart attacks, etc. in order to push their anti-cholesterol drugs. The body needs cholesterol. Just watch what sugars and kinds of fats you ingest. And Stay Away...from GMO's and processed foods. I watched the following video this morning. This family has the right idea. They also comment on climate change at the end...

First of all, I am less than excited about my cheesecake picture on the previous post. I did it hurriedly, even including the poor paper napkin, which added to the lackluster results. Regardless of the picture-of a half piece of Chocolate Cappaccino Cheesecake-just know that it was wildly delicious, and popular with everyone that got to taste it. I just would forget to photograph the lovely chocolate leaf and raspberry adorning the whipped cream on the substantial piece of cheesecake, until there was just one piece left to split and share. Alas, a hurried photo, as my promise on this blog had yet to be completed. Guilt had taken over. A couple of neighbors suggested I start a small bakery. Hmm. If I can just get the flooring in, so my life can go beyond remodeling with a house of tools and furniture, I will celebrate. Then maybe I can be in the kitchen for longer periods of time, in an organized home. After remodeling for years, I am a bit crispy on the edges, and am looking forward to a break.

I shopped for carpet for some time, at the Big Box stores w/ their Free Labor sales, and at smaller places, more focused on just flooring, etc. Because my living room in this little doublewide has a large seam, I wanted the carpet to have enough threads and height, so it wouldn't show, unlike the dirty gray indoor/outdoor carpet I was replacing. After Home Depot added all their extras, and I couldn't get some rolls of pad on Craig's List to save money, as they said they wouldn't install or insure the job unless it was their pad, I found a carpet w/ a green and cranberry fleck in it at Carpet Mill Outlet in Milwaukie, Oregon, that was really nice. The pad I installed from Home Depot on a previous house with a favorite carpet I found, was just flat and lifeless, and they seem to make their money on the pad, despite the 'free' labor.

This wonderful carpet was at Carpet Mill Outlet, in Milwaukie, Oregon, and Dean, the sales guy told me repeatedly, "I'd love the carpet." It was popular, etc. I got a sample of it, and have kept that sample, visualizing how walking barefoot on some great pad underneath would feel. It was a $14 a yard carpet, he said, and after selling the first part of the roll, Dean said I could have it for $12 a yard. Even though Depot had $6 a yard product, I just couldn't do the job with some cheap carpet and regret seeing the seam, and I had bonded to the vision of this particular cushy, better quality carpet. Emotional nesting is a mistake when you're flipping real estate, but sometimes the extra little money you spend can help sell the place quickly. People like quality.

Well, I put a deposit on the 70 yards I needed, and Dean added labor and pad, though I told him I may shop for those things, because I don't like paying through a shop, and I know where to find good deals, like men who do side jobs for $3 a yard installation, vs. $4-5, and I knew about rolls of pad, even Memory Foam that was much less than his 8# rebond product.

Well, I'm still forcing myself to function after my father's wrongful death, and trying to balance that goring sadness with staying away from cancer remission. After putting money down, $500, I thought that would 'force' me to get the painting done. As in the whole house. 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, a huge living room and dining room, and the kitchen. This in addition to developing a web counseling business and landscaping, etc. , filled my days.

I got very ill from a cigarette exposure, then spent a couple of months with the results of an electrical job that went bad, waiting for the electrician to come and fix it, a daughter had some legal troubles and was pregnant, etc. The painting was just not getting done, and I was really uncomfortable waiting too long, with $500 of my money in a company that could fold, like so many are doing.

I also have never remodeled a mobile home, and wasn't sure with the elderly that live here with inside pets and smoking and wheelchairs at times, if this carpet was the right one. I finally called Dean and told him I was seriously thinking of just canceling this purchase, and waiting till I was ready to install the flooring. He told me it would cost me 25% of the job, for a 'restocking fee'. I told him he had taken money directly out of my bank account, and I had not signed any contract agreeing to that kind of fee, and wouldn't have bought anything from him if I was aware of it. I was not willing to pay any fee. No. He said he'd "ask his boss" about it when "he got in."

Meanwhile, I was really upset, and Dean finally came back and offered a 10% restocking fee vs. the 25%, as if they could arbitrarily just make money on me, now that they had the $500. Later, as the painting dragged on, he mentioned 25% again. I told him I'd think about things.  I decided just to go ahead, but I told him I'd take a while painting, etc., that I was not moving ahead quickly. I also said I wanted to see the roll of carpet, to make sure it was what I bought. A young Depot personnel had illuminated me as a Buyer, that the samples for color on the carpet boards always showed the top grade of carpet, but that the person buying, would not be getting that. It was for color, only, though you've visualized and fallen in love with the luxurious swatch. You had to know which questions to ask, and hope there was a 'swatch' of the lessor end stuff. What a fraudulent misrepresentation.

Well, time went by, and I'd check in with Dean. He started pushing for me to get the idea they'd like to charge me storage, and they wanted to get the deal done by the end of the year. I told him money was tight, (a less quality carpet would save me about $400) and I should just get a refund, so we were in this awkward place. I started just making payments to finish out the $840 carpet bill. I talked to his carpet layer, and wasn't impressed with his attitude. He seemed angry when I asked him about his pricing, and wanted to negotiate, as I could get it done for less. He may have just had a rough day, or been in the middle of an installation. Again, I told Dean I was uncomfortable until I could see the carpet. He assured me "I'd love the carpet", and said he could have sold it numerous times. I told him maybe he should, but he wasn't going to let go of the sale. I just didn't want to end up in some Small Claims Court, and it was headed there.

After getting installation bids, and having one contractor flake out after waiting for installation for 2-3 weeks more, I finally found a young man who charged $3 a yard to lay carpet, and would match the $100 previous labor bid for the vinyl, and even charge me the same vinyl price for installing some engineered hardwood that I had been given, if I decided to go that way. He turned out to be the most honest, responsible, absolute finest installation artisan I've ever experienced.

So, the day came after vinyl installation, to get the roll of carpet. The young man called ahead, and went to get it. The large carpet roll was high up on the shelf at this huge warehouse, and had to be taken down with a Fork Lift.  This is why when I came in twice, I was unable to 'SEE' the roll of carpet. It's up too high, and there's no ladder.  

So, I was finishing up the floor prep, pulling staples, and doing last minute repairs.  When I went out to my installer's van and saw the roll, and pulled back the corner, I could instantly tell it was not the same carpet that "I bought", and got my sample. The young installer (6 years of experience) said this happens all the time. He verified the sample and the roll were different quality products. It was a way Carpet dealers make more money, he said. Most people just look at the color, and don't notice the sparse threads, probably scratching their heads, thinking they must have not remembered correctly. What a great feeling, being an adult, and being 'duped' by dishonest business people.

I asked my installer what percentage of people had this experience. He said 50%. The only ones who usually don't, are the ones paying $30 a yard for their carpet. He said about 1 in 5 get mad, but end up doing nothing. With the house torn up, sleeping on the floor, fumes of vinyl and caulking and paint, I had to get this done. Many people have taken off the day at work, etc. and are stuck with this Bait and Switch fraud. If I were to send it back, I'd just hear more blackmail about them keeping 25% of my money-this time about 25% of $840, as it was paid in full. I don't think so....

I called Dean at Carpet Mill Outlet, and when he answered the phone, he sounded like he was expecting the call, with a Cheshire cat grin in his voice.

I told him, "This is Home Depot's cheap carpet, (like the in-stock rolls) just what I didn't want, and didn't buy." I spent twice as much to get a better selling price on this house.  He insisted that they had been in business a long time, and they were 'honest'. I interrupted him, and said they weren't honest, and I knew that when they tried to get 25% of the cost of the job if I were to change my mind. I told him I'd be going to every carpet place, to verify the difference in carpet, and I'd also speak to the Attorney General's Consumer Department. What he doesn't know, is I will not only review my experience on my personal blog, but if they don't refund part of the purchase price and make this right, I will also send this review to, Better Business Bureau, and the Business Review listings on the internet. I notice they're on Angie's List, also. Consumers do have more options today because of internet visibility and accountability.

The installer showed me the inside of the backing on the cheap carpet roll was black, and the inside of my sample is whitish gray. The difference when stepping on Memory Foam is huge. Flat with what I got. Cushy with the other carpet I had paid for.

What a waste of time going to Small Claims Court, but I am tired of the corruption in this country. No one likes getting cheated or stolen from. I made an apple pie while the installer laid the carpet, trying to work out my anger. The poor top crust stuck to the counter, and instead of patiently dusting w/ flour and fixing it, I put it on the pie and just pinched it together. The pie looked like it had a headache, when it was done. Scrunched-up dough for a forehead. A headache, just like the pie baker.

I also learned that the expensive Memory Foam now pushed by Home Depot-(mine had their name stamped on it) is not consistent from one side of the roll to the other. One side is noticeably thinner, and the other thicker. The installer said most of the installers try to use the thinner side next to the walls, and the thicker in the center of the rooms. So, does getting 50% less in the product set well with you, or basically, an inconsistent product? This stuff sells for $213 for 30 sq. yds in the roll or (6'x45' = 30 sq. yds.) .79cents a square foot or x9: $7.11a sq. yd.
You can buy it online. ;-{ If Carpet Mill Outlet makes another 50% in delivering lower quality carpets, just think how a roll of Memory Foam for $213, with 50% less on one half of the roll makes profits. The contractor cost for this roll is about $80 per roll, by the way. It is not fraudulent to make a living. What is fraudulent is to misrepresent a product by passing out better quality samples than what you'll deliver or folks have paid for, or have your carpet color cards only show the quality samples, or sell an inconsistent product w/ half the thickness.

Something I also learned about image management, is the company with bad reviews will have some good reviews written, and use those to push the bad ones on later web pages, making it look like they're a great business. This gives invalid results for unsuspecting consumers. When I asked my young installer which company he'd send people to, he couldn't tell me. He did mention one, but he sees it all. Did I mention cut and paste, as in relentless reviews until I see a refund of this fraud? Some of us are nicknamed Snarler as a kid when we've been hurt repeatedly, and strangely, though we know how to maintain adult composure, don't welcome more victimization.

PS: I paid $500 to 'hold' the carpet about a year ago, and then have had numerous setbacks, explained above, to get to installing it. They should have just refunded the money long ago, as there was no contract. To avoid court, I just kept plodding along. Dean and his company, Carpet Mill Outlet have had ONE YEAR to think about sending me the carpet I actually purchased, supposedly waiting on their huge attic storage, by the huge back delivery door of their store. Would this bait and switch misrepresentation be called premeditated? Sadly, it has become this industry. Too familiar.

I just contacted the Oregon Attorney General's Consumer's Division to file a complaint. Actually two of them. One is with Home Depot's misrepresentation and pad product. The man answering the phone, Miles, is a volunteer to direct people. He can't promise what will happen, of course. I've dealt with this department before, and they just basically refer people out, to disperse whatever energy you have left. You get a letter of who you can talk to. My prior experience was one of feeling like it wasn't about resolution, but passing the buck. 

I told him carpet is the tip of the iceberg, essentially, and I didn't want to overwhelm him, so he wasn't interested in lunch. But, I asked him why the Attorney General's office isn't right on the addition of Aspartame in Milk, without labeling, as if we don't have consumer, citizen or human rights to know what we're ingesting? Do the Government Agencies involved with this and other criminal acts, actually own us, and have the right to force medicate us with fluoride, mercury in dental amalgams, aspartame and vaccines? 

When he suggested contacting the FDA on this particular issue, I reminded him that the CEO/Agency Appointees/Government Appointees all play musical chairs, and corporate America has ensured consumers have no rights.  Organic and Health associations send in thousands of signatures on petitions to be ignored or further lied to and defrauded by voting 'errors'.  Why, I asked, are Attorney Generals all over this country not speaking out? Is it because they are afraid of being replaced or worse? Where are the people with courage and integrity, to speak up for us? Where are the leaders?

It's time to put up a Wall of Fame-like the murdered DC Madame, and Sheriff Arpaio,  and the Wall of Shame. Fill in your own blanks...

Update: 4-15-13: Before I file a complaint with the Atty. General's office as the first step, I called Carpet Mill Outlet to speak to the owner. I was connected to the General Manager-Kevin Harrison, after Dean Erickson picked up the phone. Kevin wanted to know what my call was concerning when I asked him for the owner's name, which he gave as Rob, and later, with insistence, Rob Pickens. I told him after I had the owner's name, I would brief him. As I gave him a summary, including how Dean had seemed so amused when I called after finding the carpet was indeed a bait and switch, he tried to get off the phone. I told him I'd speak to the owner and let him decide what to do. I also told him perhaps Dean would be amused when he read the account on my personal blog.
The number: 503-786-3170 was the general number, and I was told by Cindy, a receptionist- when I called it, that the owner "was in a meeting". I left my name and number, and am waiting for his call. 
I called again in a couple of days to hear Rob Pickens say he hadn't known about this. To Carpet Mill's credit, Rob Pickens, the owner, is sending Kevin out on Tuesday to look at the difference in carpet. I hope we can settle this and move on with life. I just want them to make it right.

April 24-2013 Update: Carpet Mill's Manager came yesterday at 1:00 as scheduled, and though he kept insisting the carpet was what he would have expected to see, and they had only bought two rolls of it, I gave him a sample of both carpets, obviously from different rolls, and different grades of products. I asked him if someone had mistakenly been sold my carpet. He couldn't come up with anyone. I told him to let the owner decide what to do, and that I expected the carpet to be discounted. 

This morning, Kevin called to say the sample I had from the original roll must have been better quality carpet, and offered $4 a yard off the order, as a refund. They are supposed to cut the check by Friday. 

May 5, 2013. So far, I've heard the check would be cut, the accountant will be in on Friday-"So, I'll expect the check Saturday". "Oh, no, they might be in on Saturday." I say, "So, Monday?" Kevin has seemed very nervous. Perhaps one problem is him calling my cell phone vs. the home phone that I leave, for a delay in messaging, but...???
I've heard: They didn't cut the check, because they didn't know what it was for. Well, it was cut, but they're waiting for the owner's signature. It is sent. Two days later, and no check, I hear they sent it to the last address vs. the current one Kevin came to, to inspect the carpet. The check was sent back. I call and ask for the owner, and Trish sends me to Kevin, who says it will be resent. This is Portland, where it should be in my mailbox the next day. Two days max. No check two days later. I call and get Dean. Kevin will be in on Sunday, the 5th. Today. I call and tell Kevin there's no check. Did you mail it yourself, I ask. No, he didn't. The office girl did. To what address? He says the address, and falters on the lot #. 

May 2, I called the owner's voicemail after being directed to the manager, Kevin. I say I want to finish this business, and I keep hearing all kinds of stalling, and it's sounding like fraud to me. Rob Pickens calls, seems angry, tells me that I've been the most difficult customer (you mean after being blackmailed to keep the carpet order or pay 25% of the order, and then getting a different carpet, at least $4 less a square yard? How long have they been in business, anyway, if I'm the 'most difficult customer', I wonder. It's a ploy to intimidate by guilt. I'm not Catholic or Mormon, so it doesn't work.) Though I tell him Kevin said he was resending it, Rob suggests he should put a stop payment on the check, to which I see further games, and say I've told him twice, the check came back, and was resent. Do NOT put a stop payment on anything. No check two days later. 

When I call today, Sunday, I tell Kevin if I don't receive it on Monday, they can put a stop payment on the check, and I'll come in when Rob Pickens is in, so he can make a new check out to me. Kevin doesn't offer when he'll be in, only a vague 'in the afternoon'. Rob told me that Kevin is his son-in-law, and is an honest man. I'm willing to go that stretch, and hope this will be worked out soon.

Strangely, Trish is nice to me when I called on Saturday, with no check in the mail. She says she is only coming into this on the end, and anything that could go wrong, has. After having a lifetime of this crazy energy, and not wanting to attract any more, I know that mistakes happen. I believe in Win/Win. 

I am still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but tomorrow is Monday May 6th. My carpet was installed on April 13th, 2013, Saturday. 

May 12. I received the check to refund the difference in carpet products bought vs. received. I went to cash it at Wells Fargo. It costs $7.50 if you don't personally have an account at their bank, despite the check being drawn from their bank. (Bank of America charges $6,  which I learned in an earlier check-cashing experience.) I then had to go to my own bank, not accepting that kind of fee, and my bank had just closed. So, I went back the next day, hoping this was the end of this episode. I asked what a stop payment would do, and was told Wells Fargo charges about $30-35 to do that, and my bank would also charge. So far, so good. I would never do business with Carpet Mill Outlet again, or advise others to, either. 

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