Consumer Publications List
Buying Carpet: Avoiding
Baltimore woman had carpeting installed throughout her house. Within a year, the
carpet began to bubble and she also discovered the carpeting in her bedroom was
installed without any padding, although she had paid for it. The company refused
to correct the problems or refund her money.
carpeting may feel good under the feet, but judging from the number of
complaints the Consumer Protection Division receives each year, buying carpet
can be a headache.
Carpeting is a
long-term investment. Don't be pressured into making a quick decision.
Before you shop,
you should figure out about how much carpet you'll need. To determine the
approximate amount, multiply the room's length (in feet) by the width and divide
by nine. This will give you the number of square yards, which is how carpet is
sold. Add about 10 percent to your total to account for room irregularities.
You'll still need
to have the area measured by the seller before you sign a contract.
The next step is to
determine what kind of carpet you want to buy. Do this before you actually start
comparing prices. You should look at other people's carpet and talk to them
about it. Look at how it has worn. Does it still look good or is it worn down
and dirty despite proper cleaning. You also will want to look at sample pieces.
Most people choose
carpet by color. When selecting a color, consider the amount of foot traffic the
carpet will get. Some colors, like white, show dirt easily and are difficult to
keep clean in heavily used areas.
In addition to
color, you also need to consider density, height of pile, twist and heat
Padding is the
shock absorber for your carpet. The type you need depends on the kind of carpet
you buy. It is important not to skimp on padding quality because it helps
curtail wear and tear on the carpet. Good padding can make a carpet last longer.
Find out what type of padding is recommended for the carpet you've chosen and be
sure to try it out before you buy. Place a piece of padding under a sample of
the carpet you've chosen and walk on it.
After you decide on
the kind of carpet you want, you must decide where to buy it. A good starting
point is to look for satisfied customers. If you have a friend or relative who
recently bought carpet and was happy with the results, consider buying from the
prices is difficult because the same carpet is often sold by different retailers
under different names.
If you find a
particular carpet you like, you may be able to compare prices at various stores
by matching the style number. Although manufacturers put different names on the
carpet for different retailers, the style number would be the same from store to
However, many large
carpet chains carry their own line of carpets that aren't sold elsewhere, so you
can't compare. In that case, you'll have to find a piece of carpet you like in a
style you've chosen and get a price, then go through the selection process again
at the next store. Keep in mind that some stores include installation and
padding in their price per square yard and some don't. Get a written estimate
that includes installation and padding and compare the total cost, not the cost
per square yard.
is important to ensure that your carpet looks its best. In fact, many carpet
complaints deal with installation. Before you sign a contract to buy carpet,
find out how the store will make sure that the installation is done properly.
Some stores use their own installers and others hire installers on a piece work
Try to find a
carpet seller who uses the same installers consistently. If possible, ask for
the names of some people who purchased carpet about a year ago and call them for
a reference. (Don't rely on consumers who purchased more recently. It may take a
year to tell if the carpet is staying in place and holding up under wear.)
Find out how the
store handles installation problems. If you're not happy, will the store fix the
problem? How will they fix it and what types of problems will they fix?
Be sure to check
with the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 528-8662 to see if consumers have
filed complaints about the business before you decide to buy.
Once you have
selected carpet and decided who to buy it from, you need to have the area
measured. Don't sign a contract until this is done and the exact amount of
carpet you will be buying is determined. Request a diagram showing where the
carpet will be seamed. If you are concerned about a seam, discuss it with the
sales person or ask to speak to the installer. You may choose to purchase a bit
more carpet so you can eliminate or move a seam to a less conspicuous
You are now ready
to enter into a written contract with the carpet seller. Be sure it includes:
Make the smallest
deposit possible and consider making it with your credit card. If the carpet is
not delivered or you encounter any other problems getting your carpet installed,
you have more recourse if you paid by credit card.
Maryland Attorney General's Consumer Protection
DivisionConsumer hotline: (410) 528-8662 or 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / En español 410-230-1712 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TTY: Dial 7-1-1 or 800-735-2258