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Carpet Scams and Tricks

Posted: 01 JUL 2002
Every industry has them. And in the carpet industry, we have a lot of them - those "less than respectable" people selling the product. There are more than a few scams, tricks and deceptions that take place in this industry. There are probably many that we don't even know about. But we will make you aware of the ones we do know.
Bait and Switch

The carpet industry practically invented this one. If you haven't heard of this scam, you probably live on another planet. So for all of you aliens from another world, here's how it works.

All carpet manufacturers have sample books or "deck boards" as they are referred to. These books may have one large carpet sample on the front, and all of the colors in smaller samples inside the book. Some books may have two, three or even four large samples on the front.

When there is more than one sample on the front of the book, each one is usually a different thickness or "quality". Usually these qualities differ only in thickness, and sometimes there is not much difference that you can see or feel. But there is always a difference in cost.

The scam is simple. Let's say a carpet sample book has three samples on the front - A, B and C. C is the thickest one. You are so excited about buying your new carpet that you don't thoroughly read the contract. What happened is, you picked out C. The salesman wrote B on the contract, but charged you for C. He was fully aware of what he was doing.

Or, he will write C on the contract, but send out B, gambling that you probably won't notice the difference.

It gets even worse when you add in the fact that many carpet retailers, including the biggest ones, private label the carpet styles, so it is impossible for you to shop the price or to really know exactly what you are getting. Ever try to shop the price of a mattress? If you have, then you know exactly what we are talking about.
Over Measuring

This is one of the most widely used scams in the carpet industry. The salesman measures the area to be carpeted. He shows you this big thick plush carpet and tells you he can give it to you for only $10.00 per square yard, installed over a padding so thick, you 'll be able to sell your bed and sleep on the floor.

He then tells you that you have 160 square yards, and the total job will cost you $1600, complete. You tell him you will get some other prices and you will get back to him. You go around shopping, only to find that all the carpets that resemble the carpet he's showed you are $15 or more per square yard, and you think he must be giving you a great deal!

In actuality, you only have 80 square yards. He's really charging you $20 per square yard.

We are exaggerating slightly. It's unlikely that someone would tell you that you have twice as many yards as you really do, but you get the general idea of how it works. In most cases, if you end up buying carpet from one of these crooks, they will not write the total quantity on the contract, so that if you ever discover their scam in the future, they can simply deny what they sold you. You can avoid this situation by simply getting two or three different people to measure the area or to find a measuring service and have them do it.