I'm not a hardwood floor expert. Worked with both saleswomen in store. Was told birch product was harder than oak and as hard as hickory. It is not.
This floor was purchased around Thanksgiving. It was installed a few weeks ago. The floor is WAY TOO EASY TO DAMAGE. I scratched it when I dragged my foot for a moment WEARING A SLIPPER. One of the contractors scratched it moving an empty plastic tool case. There are already dozens and dozens of marks where the soft bottom of my kitchen chair has dented the floor each time I sit. The contractors were careful and moved items on cardboard and also lifted items but there are large dents and gouges in the floor that would have done NO DAMAGE to an oak or hickory floor. Scratches are one thing but these dents are something different and much worse. The floor is only a couple of weeks old and there is already significant damage from what is normal living. We now live in constant fear of damaging the floor. The wood is so soft that just the weight of a wooden chair being moved dents and scratches it.
The issue is most likely misrepresentation by the salespeople. I spoke with two different installers who do not know each other and have received some guidance and facts. They both stated that birch is known to be a very soft wood and would not have sold it to us without stern warnings (they both were involved in sales at one time as well).
Here is what happened: We made it very, very, crystal clear to both saleswomen we worked with that we wanted a durable surface. We started out looking at laminate and moved on to engineered hardwood only after the first saleswoman assured us it was just as tough. We settled on a product but when we made our final decision, they didn't have enough in stock. So we were steered by the second saleswoman to the birch product that we ended up purchasing. We reiterated that we were concerned about durability, strength and scratch resistance. We described our previous floor (which was standard oak from when our last home was built in 1994) and the saleswoman assured us the product they ultimately sold us was HARDER and more durable than oak and therefore more resistant to damage and scratches. She said it was just as hard as hickory. According to both floor installers, nothing could be further from the truth. We were mislead and because we followed the direct advice of the saleswoman, we ended up with a very soft wood.
I would prefer a full floor replacement over a refund at this time because we still need a floor. However, if refund is the only solution, we would accept it provided they covered the cost of our install as well, which was in the thousands. We would prefer to choose another floor and then we expect Direct Hardwood Flooring to remove the old floor and install the new one at their complete expense (material and labor). They must also haul the old floor away. If we end up choosing a more expensive floor, we will pay the difference for material only. If I choose a less expensive floor I expect a refund of the difference.
I am open to other solutions as long as I am made whole in every way.
The store has responded to me directly and claims no responsibility and offers no help. The only thing they are offering is to send a factory representative here but only if we pay $400. The issue does not appear to be a factory defect and I feel the store is responsible. I also question the legality of demanding money before providing post sale service of any kind. Since the issue appears to be misrepresentation of the product, I believe it is a store issue first and foremost, but I will cooperate with an inspection from the factory OR the store, provided it is done at no cost to me.
From: Direct Hardwood Flooring LLC (mailto:**********************@hotmail.com)
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2016 11:15 AM
To: Better Business Bureau <************@bbb-email.org>
Subject: (SPAM) RE: BBB Complaint Case# ****** (Ref#XX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX-X-XXX)
Thank you for taking the time to speak to me this morning. As I mentioned on the phone , We attempted and are still attempting to resolve this isssue with Mrs. ********* but she refuses to follow the protocal that every flooring manufacturer goes by. We are not the manufacturer just a reseller for the manufacturer and all warranty is given by the manufacturer, if she has a quality problem we can file a claim against the manufacturer for her and the manufacturer sends out an independent inspector which works for the National wood Flooring Association to determine whether the flooring is defective or the consumer damaged the product. Our charge to start this process is $400 dollars which is fully refundable to Mrs. ********* should the inspector find the manufacterer at fault and their flooring will be replaced, but if they find that the homeowner is at fault for damaging the floor then we get charged the $400 fee from the inspector. So this is why we charge the fee. Mrs. ********* claims that the sales rep mislead her and said the flooring was harder then oak and almost as hard as hickory which is totally not true. Our sales reps are not on commission they are on salary so they have no reason to mislead our clients. We have sold to over 15,000 customers over the last 4 years and we have ZERO COMPLAINTS against our company from anyone, which shows that our company has integrity and we DO NOT MISREPRESENT our products. She admits in our email conversations that her flooring contractor moved her furniture around after the install and they are the ones that scratched her floor and also the the guys who installed their cabinets also pushed cabinets on her floor and scratched it. And further more even if she purchased hickory which is 1 1/2 times harder then oak, if she pushes furniture and appliances across her flooring it would scratch just as easily as the Birch Hardwood she purchased because its not the flooring but the finish on the floor that scratches when something is dragged across a floor. I will forward you the email converstions that I have been having with Mrs. ********* which supports everything I just described. She still refuses to give us the name of her contractor, which we clearly put on our invoices that flooring should be installed by a certified contractor. Mrs. ********* claims that the flooring contractor has no relevance in this situation, but that is totally not true. Had her flooring contractor been a licensed and insured professional contractor he would have had the knowledge and experience not to push furniture across her floor but to lift up furniture while moving it. He should have advised Mrs. ********* to put Carpet felt pads on the bottom of all her furniture, chairs, or anything that is heavy and will slide across her floor. In her email she wrote that they put her appliances on cardboard and pushed them across her floor and that scratched her floor also, well of course that will happen. The feet of appliaces are metal and most appliances weigh hundreds of pounds, the feet of the appliances will go right through the cardboard and will scratch even concrete or even metal. So of course that will scratch her floor. So now she is trying to put the blame on us for her situation because she cant hold her contractor accountable because she obviously hired someone that has no knowledge of flooring. Mrs. ********* and her contractors are responsible for the damges of her flooring, and not Direct Hardwood. I will also forward all the email conversations i had with Mrs. ********* showing that we are trying to resove this but we will not pay to replace her flooring like she wants.
DIRECT HARDWOOD FLOORING, LLC.
**** ********* *****
********* ** XXXXX
Ph: (XXX) XXX-XXXX
Fax: (XXX) XXX-XXXX
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
First off, he keeps referencing a "Mrs *********" and repeatedly uses the word she, knowing full well I'm a man. Second, and I tried to get this across to ****** that I was not going to pay a fee just to have a third party for warranty work. Nobody has ever heard of that. Third they are now denying what they absolutely told me about birch. Had I known it was softer than oak and hickory (they said birch was just as hard as hickory but that hickory was slightly harder) I would have never bought it. Why would I lie about that? Two different sales people in his store told me that and was there when one of them said those very words. In fact he went in the back to get a box to show us. They said it would last a lifetime because it could be sanded SIX times and because it was so strong and resistant to damage of ANY kind, would wouldn't be sanding it in the first 10 years anyway. It already needs a sanding. Forth, we were never told we needed licensed contractors until the last email exchange I had with *****. I now see he is using the word "certified" but North Carolina does not have any licensing or certification process. I suppose that proves even the store owner does not understand the laws and procedures. Fifth, there aren't that many scratches. My complaint from the beginning are the DENTS. All of the contractors were extremely careful. The dents from putting the stove and refrigerator back in place were done through THICK CARDBOARD. He also did not explain why it was okay for the floor do dent under the feet of my chair just because I sat in it (I weigh 235). Sixth, the offer still stands for ***** or any of his designees to come and inspect the floor but as I doubt this is a manufacturer defect, I see no need too involve them. The issue here is the store sold me the wrong product for my stated wants, needs and application. They lied, period.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I am not trying to get something for nothing. I do not want my brand new floor torn out and have to choose a new floor and then have that installed all over again. However, it might have to come to that. The store steered us to this product under false pretenses and did in fact lie about it's hardness and durability. Why would I lie about that? The parts of the floor that are not dented look fantastic. I am perfectly willing to allow the store or the manufacturer to come here and check to see what is going on but I'm not paying a ransom to do so because even if the floor is found not defective, we were still sold the wrong product. I will confer with the experts I spoke of but the store is already denying they lied so what good will an expert saying birch is a soft wood do? Direct Hardwood has already admitted it is a soft wood so why do you want an opinion they already stipulated to?
Final Business Response
Our position remains the same, the customer damaged their own floor by not being careful when moving furniture and appliances. They should assume the responsiblity for what they have done. Any/All wood dents and scratches it dosent matter on the species. They keep saying we lied but again A+ Rating that we have with the BBB and zero complaints tells the truth about our company. They have shown no proof that we misrepresented anything, they are just trying to get something for free instead of taking responsibility for what they have done.