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Carpet Buying Guide

Buying carpet is the third most expensive purchase the average homeowner will make. Purchasing carpet ranks behind the purchase of a home and a new car as the most common and most expensive single purchases in dollar terms. While most purchasers carefully consider the current condition, anticipated life, anticipated repairs, the cost of maintenance, resell value etc. in the purchase of a home or new automobile, the primary decision in the purchase of new carpet typically rests with color and whether it will match the sofa or wallpaper.

For most consumers, carpeting is a blind item in which the purchase decision weighs heavily on the salesperson’s recommendations. Little does the consumer know that the salesperson may have been selling TV’s or washing machines two weeks prior. In addition, most retail carpet salespeople take the path of least resistance during the sales presentation. They tend to lead the consumer to products that other consumers have purchased in the past or they search for a product with a color line that offers the specific color that a consumer is seeking. After much deliberation as to specific color or a specific shade, the consumer plunks down a 50% down payment and waits for the happy day to arrive when the carpet is to be delivered.

When the happy day arrives, the carpet installers show up three hours late and take two days longer to install the carpet than promised. The happy day begins to sour. One month following the carpet installation, the visible seams that were supposed to disappear are still noticeable and the coffee stain beside the sofa has permanently stained the. The traffic lanes have begun to change in texture and the new owner is certain the carpet is beginning to “wear” so the retailer is called to inspect the carpet. The salesperson is now selling TV’s again, but the store manager assures that someone will be out to inspect the carpet. After four weeks have passed, no one has been out to examine the carpet, so the store manager is again called and he explains they are waiting on a factory representative to travel into the area to make the inspection. Four weeks later, the manager is again contacted and he explains that a factory rep will be in the area in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the carpet is beginning to show soiling in front of the easy chair and stains are more difficult to remove than promised. The traffic lanes are beginning to look like a wet poodle and you are certain the carpet will not last 10 years as indicated in the carpet warranty. In two weeks the factory representative shows up with the store manager to inspect the carpet. The representative inspects the carpet, listens to your complaint, but says nothing. The representative removes a few tufts of carpet and tells you he will file a report and you should get an answer within 60 days. In 60 days, a formal letter appears in the mailbox that states the carpet “wear” is within warranty guidelines, therefore the claim must be denied.

While this scenario may appear to be an exception, it is more likely the rule with a large percentage of carpet purchases. In new homes, where builder grade carpet has been used, this scenario occurs quite frequently. Often the happy new homeowner has upgraded from the builder basic carpet, but the scenario is repeated time and again.

The carpet manufacturer can not always receive blame that these incidents occur. Thousands of carpet styles are manufactured, many offer very good performance characteristics. However, most consumers purchase items that offer perceived value rather actual value. In most instances, when a consumer is given a choice between a product with obvious value and perceived value, obvious value seldom is selected. While most manufacturers would prefer that obvious quality be sold, the manufacturer must provide products based on consumer demand.

This web site has been designed to educate the consumer in the differences between perceived and actual value. It will guide them through the selection process and inform them of carpet installation traps. Fiber systems and construction will be explained in detail. It will provide insight in dealing with product claims and provide suggestions in best handling these situations. Indoor air quality, allergens, and carpet cleaning suggestions will be discussed and hopefully this handbook will become a useful reference guide in spot removal (carpet stain removal) and regular carpet care. After reviewing this web site and studying its content, the average consumer should be better informed than the average retail salesperson selling the product. While not every obstacle can be predicted, a good understanding of the product and intended performance can create real expectations rather than disappointments.

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Did you know?
Buying carpet is the third most expensive consumer purchase. The Buying Carpeting section of the Carpet Buyers Handbook addresses a number of consumer questions, when shopping for carpet. Carpet benefits, carpet myths, how to budget for carpeting, carpet cushion selection, where to buy carpet, questions to ask when buying carpeting, carpet warranty issues, and carpet color selection are each discussed in detail. For questions related to Carpet R-value, acoustics, and safety issue visit our carpet benefits tab. For carpet myths, such as Kawasaki Syndrome, carpet allergies, and carpet chemical emissions visit our Carpet Myths section. For carpet measuring for installation, visit budgeting for carpet.