Last week, I sent the following letter via email to several people at Home Depot, both locally and at their corporate headquarters. I also sent several copies to executives at Milliken, a company that makes carpet tile:
To Whom it May Concern:
In the fall of 2005, I purchased Milliken carpet tiles for use in my “kid bedroom”, as the kid in question was three years old and I figured between Play-Doh, nail polish, and the odd uncapped marker, it would be prudent to use a floor covering that could be replaced in sections. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to look so great. But it did, and I ended up ordering a different color for my own bedroom. A couple months later, we got around to redoing the living room. I didn’t think the carpet tiles would be the best choice for this area, as the room is fairly large and we had a long hallway and the area around the front door to do as well. The salesman at Home Depot assured us that not only was the carpet tile a great choice, it would hold up well to the traffic by the front door.
The salesman was wrong.
When the carpet tile was delivered, we noticed right away that each piece curled up at the edges. We called Home Depot but were told that it was just shipped with the cartons on their side, not flat as they should have been, and in the cold weather had molded that way. We were assured that if we brought the carpet into the house (it was delivered to our garage) and let it sit for a couple days, it would flatten out.
We wanted to send it back, but were told that since it was a special order, we were stuck. I told the person at Home Depot that I thought we got a bad run of carpet, since the other two colors we used didn’t look like this. I was told, again, that I could not send it back. Period. So we cleared the room, mopped the plywood floor twice, waited overnight for the plywood to dry, ran the vacuum over it “just to be sure”, and proceeded to lay the carpet tile.
It looked terrible.
Now, we had already used this product in two other rooms. Those rooms looked great. We didn’t think it was our technique, but we pulled it all up and started over. It didn’t help. We have a family friend who is very experienced at laying flooring of all kinds. He agreed to come over and take a look. First thing he said? “You got a bad run of carpet!” He loves Milliken carpet tile, by the way. He said it was fast and easy to install, and a product that he had recommended many times. But ours? Not so much. He checked the flooring underneath, he checked our cuts, he checked the measurements, he checked everything and advised us to replace it if we could afford to, and if not, to just tape it down. He pointed out that we had significant shedding with this carpet, something we did not experience with the other rooms.
So I contacted Home Depot about the warranty. They told me to contact the manufacturer. I contacted Milliken, who advised me to deal with Home Depot for an exchange. Home Depot reminded me that I was not eligible for an exchange since I ordered a color they do not carry in my local store. Back to Milliken with no success. We went back and forth a couple times, then I got cancer and my crappy looking carpet didn’t seem to matter. Well, guess what? I kicked cancer’s butt and now I’m back. This carpet looks terrible. It is matted, it sheds, oh, and that area by the front door that the salesman said would hold up to traffic? Yeah. He was so, so wrong about that.
So here’s the deal: my time on this planet is precious and I will not waste any more of it bouncing between Home Depot and Milliken while y’all hope I get frustrated and give up. I am sending one copy of this letter to Home Depot, and one to Milliken. Y’all can go to lunch and figure out what you want to do to resolve this and let me know. The stuff was supposed to have a ten year warranty so let me know what I need to do to claim it.
Meanwhile, in two weeks, I will post a copy of this letter and any replies, or lack thereof, on my blog. I will invite my blogger buddies to link to it, or copy it to their own blogs if they wish. It will take over cyberspace. Everyone on the planet will hear this tale. So, you know, you could come out looking like the heroes of customer service. Or you could end up being the goats. Your choice.
Oh - and so you know? The carpet in the two bedrooms still looks great. We just got a bad run for the living room. And I really, really wish you had worked with me when I first got it.
As I said, I sent this via email. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. I thought I might get ignored, or maybe someone would send us a Home Depot gift card with a couple hundred bucks on it. Happily, I was very wrong. By nine the next morning, I had two phone calls and three emails from Home Depot. I had an email from Milliken, too, but they wanted all kinds of information I did not have on hand, such as the original purchase order number and the names of everyone I spoke to in 2005. I have the receipts, somewhere, but I decided to start by calling Home Depot back. I spoke with the manager of our local store, and I am very happy to report that I received a sincere apology and I will be getting new carpet for our living room, courtesy of Home Depot. They are even going to pay for the installation. Home Depot gets an A+ for customer service this time around. It's going to benefit them a bit, too, as Walker decided to fess up that he hates our current color scheme and would really like to paint the walls, ceiling, and trim before we get the new carpet installed. I shouldn't be surprised - he did the same thing with the bathroom when we had the new tub liner installed. Funny thing is, when I asked him what he'd like to do with the living room, he said, as he always does, "Whatever you like, honey, is fine with me." Which, apparently, isn't quite true, as I'm the one who chose the current decor. Sigh. At any rate, I'll be posting progress pictures as we go, and all our supplies will be purchased at Home Depot. Because we love them.