How to Avoid Common Carpet Scams
©2022 Alan Fletcher - Carpet expert and consumer advocate
Even if you have bought new carpet successfully in the past, then buying new carpet today might seem like a super easy task for you. But times have changed and buying new carpet today is not as simple as it once was, even just a few years ago. Why? There are now dozens of new ways that unscrupulous carpet retailers have figured out how to to trick you out of your hard-earned money.
But it's not just the carpet dealers you need to be worried about, it can also be the carpet salesperson or the carpet manufacturer that scams you.
How Do I Recognize a Carpet Scam?
Selecting New Carpet Wisely...
Not all carpets are created equal. Some carpets are designed for heavy traffic applications and can last for 20 years or more. Other carpets are designed for light traffic duty and might last 3 to 5 years.
You have to be sure that the Carpet and Pad you purchase is designed for your unique application. There are many varying grades of carpet and you must choose the right grade of carpet and pad if you want it to last as long as you hope.
Above is a photo of a display rack at Home Depot. Every carpet on this display is made of 100% Polyester, which is well-known for matting down in short order. They don't tell you that. These Polyester carpets are priced between $27.35 and $32.83 per yard for the carpet only. (no pad or install included).
For that price you could buy a good quality Nylon Frieze at a locally owned carpet dealer. Buying a carpet made of NYLON instead of a Polyester is a smart move, especially if you want your new carpet to last years longer and avoid the common matting and crushing of the pile that carpets made from Polyester fibers are so well known for.
The Polyester Fiber Scam
Carpet manufacturers often print up new brochures that say P.E.T. and Polyester carpets are now new and improved. They have been saying this since the 1950's and will continue to brag about the great benefits of Polyester. Let me be frank...Polyester is a lousy fiber for the making of carpet. In fact, I think polyester is the absolute worst fiber you could ever choose if you want a carpet that will stand up to heavy foot traffic, be long-lasting, durable and resist matting and crushing of the pile!
Polyester does have some good qualities... It resists fading, it resists stains, and it comes in vibrant colors and it is very soft. The problem is, the pile "mats down" in a hurry and once it does, it will NEVER return to its once like-new appearance, no matter what you do.
In other words, in medium to heavy traffic applications, it will begin to look HORRIBLE very quickly, especially on stairs, down hallways and along your main walkways! In low-traffic applications it might last a few years longer.
Some uninformed, mis-informed or slick carpet salespeople will try to convince you that the Polyester fiber is just as durable and just as resilient as a NYLON and that Polyester is now made better then they were in the recent past. This is a BIG FAT LIE! Maybe they know it, maybe they don't. Either way, don't say I didn't warn you! Want a long lasting and durable carpet? Buy NYLON!
Do not believe their claims about Polyester no matter what they say! Why? They don't stand to make as much profit from NYLON carpets. Polyester carpets are much cheaper to manufacture. Polyester carpets will mat down and look ugly in just a few short years. Especially in medium to heavy foot traffic applications, on stairs and down hallways.
Learn more What Grade of Carpet Should I Buy?
The Free Carpet Installation Scam
Sure, Home Depot and Lowe's both offer low-cost installation at $37.00 or less, but that's just for a basic install and it doesn't cover everything you likely need, so there's usually a hefty fee for the extra stuff you need beyond the "basic" installation, and then they add add on the cost of their over-priced padding.
Consumers often select a carpet for the wrong reasons. A specific color, style or low price is often the determining factor behind their final selection. This means that you need to have knowledge about carpet fibers and construction specifications. Even if you have this information you need to know how to use it to your advantage. Learn more about Carpet Specifications
Unscrupulous carpet retailers go out of their way to make it appear simple and easy to buy new carpet. They bundle up the carpet, pad and installation into one convenient package deal. They price the whole kit and caboodle by the "square foot" to make it sound very affordable. They may even offer free products, services or discounted installation to fool you into thinking you are getting a super good deal. How Much Does Carpet Cost?
Carpet Measuring Scams
Some homes are quick and easy to measure while others are more complicated and require a significant amount of time and expertise to measure up accurately. If a carpet salesperson comes to your house to measure, he/she may not be willing disclose to you exactly how much carpet you actually need.
Some carpet salespeople prefer to keep this information hidden from you so you won't use their measurements to buy carpet from another dealer down the street. Although I understand this thinking, I don't think it is right for any salesperson to hide their measuring totals from you.
If you don't know exactly how much material you need, you will have no way of properly comparing other bids or estimates. It also allows them to charge you as much as they want without you knowing the true itemized cost for each of the products and services involved in the deal.
Bad Measuring Can Cost You!
If they say you need 100 yards of carpet, then you will also be charged for 100 yards of padding and 100 yards of installation. That means if the carpet is $20 per yard, and the pad is $6 per yard, and the installation is $8 per yard, then you will be charged $34 X 100 yards = $3400
However if you actually need 91 yards of carpet then you would be charged $34 X 91 yards = $3094
This is a difference of $306.00 You could easily save this amount or more just by getting accurate measurements. This is just one of many good reasons why you need to get more than just one or two free bids/estimates. How to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps
Carpet Installation Scams
It is your job to be sure that the carpet installer is qualified and installs your carpet according to the CRI 105 installation guidelines. You cannot trust the carpet retailer to do this for you. If your carpet is not installed properly it will not last as long as it was intended, you might develop wrinkles and your warranty may be void.
Free Information and Sound Advice
You can't expect any retail carpet salesperson to educate you properly. First, they don't have enough time to teach you what you really need to know, and second, their advice is not always good advice. What grade of carpet should I buy?
Unscrupulous carpet salespeople will quickly know if you are a wise shopper or not. If you walk in without a clue they can easily take advantage of your lack of knowledge and sell you an overpriced carpet that does not meet your needs or goals. Read all my free articles and information to learn how to choose new carpet like a pro!
What About Carpet Warranties?
Earlier I said that carpet manufacturers can try to scam you too. Carpet warranties are one way they can do this... You should know that all carpet warranties are worded in such a way to make it almost impossible for homeowners to substantiate a valid claim when something goes wrong.
Carpet warranties are so confusing because they use wording designed to confuse and confound you. Other than the part that covers obvious manufacturing defects, most carpet warranties are not worth much at all.
Rarely do I see a carpet warranty cover anything other than an obvious manufacturing defect and even then it is quite limited and often takes some time and effort to get a remedy. Never buy a new carpet based on the warranty alone. Buy carpet based on you needs and goals. What grade of carpet should I buy?
New Carpet & Flooring is a Big Ticket Item for Homeowners.
Just like roofing, siding and replacement windows, all floorcovering is now considered to be a major re-occurring expense for homeowners. Consumers are often misinformed, mislead or overcharged when it comes to selecting appropriate flooring materials.
One main problem is that there are just too many pushy salespeople that are real good at closing the sale but have a fundamental lack of product knowledge or hands-on floorcovering experience. I think this is especially true with shop-at-home retailers like Costco or Empire Today. Many of their contracted salespeople have been known to say or do just about anything to close the sale while they are in your home. They may not care if the product they recommend is incapable of meeting your needs, budget, lifestyle or goals.
This is due to the fact that most of these salespeople are paid on commission. Commissioned salespeople make no money unless they make a sale, and their hunger to make a paycheck or their greed to make lot of money can easily cause some salespeople to sacrifice integrity. That means they may tell you exactly what you want to hear even if it is not true, just to convince you to buy from them right now!
My advice? Do not buy anything from pushy or strong-arm salespeople! They will try to wear you down! Some homeowners have a hard time saying no. So if you are not ready to buy today, or you are unsure, then you need to say no! I have been confronted by many pushy salespeople in my life and I fully understand how hard it is to say no.
To learn more about how to say "NO" to pushy salespeople click here:
Say "no thank you" and escort them to the door. Do not write them a check. Do not agree to buy no matter what they say. Tell them you need to take a few days to think about it and you want to do some comparison shopping. Tell them you want to sleep on it. Trust me on this, even if they tell you that this is a "Today Only" super special deal and is only valid for today, do not believe them!!! I guarantee you that their price will be lower tomorrow and be even lower next week! After you get them to leave, plan on getting two or three estimates from other locally owned carpet dealers.
Where to Find Carpet Specifications?
Some carpet manufacturers will not disclose their product specifications thus preventing consumers from being able to determine the grade or quality level of the carpet in question. Carpet manufacturers also allow retailers to use private labels, thus changing the name of the style and color to help prevent consumers from comparison shopping.
Then there is the problem with measuring your home for carpet. Obtaining accurate measurements is absolutely essential but only a small percentage of carpet salespeople have truly mastered it. Inaccurate measurements can easily cost a consumer hundreds more than necessary.
Some unscrupulous carpet salespeople will purposely over-measure your home in order to skim hundreds of dollars off the top of your purchase. This is a common scam and is difficult to detect or prove that it was intentional.
Read more about Carpet Specifications
How to Get Qualified Carpet Installation?
50 years ago, carpet installers were well-trained craftsmen. Not anymore! Today it is getting hard to find well trained and qualified carpet installers. Most installers today have no formal training whatsoever. They started out as a helper and within six months they bought some carpet tools and put a free advertisement up on Craigslist or in a local newspaper's service directory.
Any carpet layer's helper can buy a set of carpet tools and begin installing carpet without any formal training or apprenticeship. Many "self-proclaimed" carpet installers are untrained and unqualified to install your carpet. Most homeowners do know how to recognize a mediocre installation job from a great installation job. You end up finding out about a year or two later when the wrinkles appear. That's also when you discover that your installer has disappeared.
Poor quality installation can quickly ruin your carpet and void your carpet warranty. Larger retailers and Big-box carpet sellers have a hard time finding Qualified Carpet Installers.
Home improvement stores have had a lot of bad publicity in the past 10 years due to their poor quality installations. They are now offering low prices on their so-called "basic" carpet installations to attract customers and potentially limit their liability, but wait until you see the final bill.
What Is Basic Carpet Installation?
Consumers need to be aware of all these problems and know how to avoid them. That's why I have created this website and offer tons of free information for consumers like you ~ including , common carpet questions and answers, how to properly care for your new carpet and my free "Ask The Expert" free email advice.
Visit My Carpet Buying Q & A Pages
Read Hundreds of FREE Carpet Buying Questions & Answers!
Learn how to recognize and avoid common retail carpet sales scams, carpet installation scams, carpet buying scams, carpet measuring scams, Carpet fiber scams...