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Carpet "Bait and Switch" Scams

2021 by Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate



The Carpet Bait and switch scam is a simple but easy scam for most unscrupulous carpet dealers to get away with, it's where the customer orders a carpet with a certain face-weight and density, and then a lesser-grade or quality is delivered. Many carpet styles come in several grades where it is difficult to tell them apart. Most homeowners can't tell the difference between face-weights and may never know they have been scammed. 


For example, there may be three face-weights available in a certain carpet style like 38, 40 and 42 ounces. The carpet salesperson may show you the 42-ounce carpet and then deliver the 38-ounce carpet thinking you will never know the difference. The salesperson then can make more commission on the sale because the cost is less for the lower face-weight carpet.


There is only one sure-fire way to guard against this common carpet scam, and that is to keep the original carpet sample until your new carpet arrives and check them side by side when they deliver your new carpet. It's also important to have the exact name of the carpet style and specific face-weight of the carpet you ordered written down on the invoice or bill of sale. 


Some carpet dealers won't let you keep the carpet sample more than a few days, if at all. They may say that it is their only sample and they need it to show other customers who are interested in seeing it. If this is the case with your carpet dealer, you can always take the time to write down all the information on the carpet sample and compare it to the paperwork that arrives with the carpet you ordered.


If you are suspicious about their actions or think they are trying to hide information from you, then you may want to buy carpet from another dealer. 


No Two Rolls of Carpet are Exactly Alike

Just so you know, the carpet sample and the actual carpet that the manufacturer delivers to you may not be exactly the same. There can be some minor color variances and some slight differences in the feel or look of the carpet. This is normal and should be expected. Don't freak out if there are some minor differences, but if there are obvious differences in the face-weight, color or texture, you should not allow them to install the carpet until you are completely satisfied that this is the same carpet that you ordered. 



It's Easy To Forget What You Ordered!

After looking at dozens of colors many homeowners become dazed and confused. It's quite common for some homeowners to forget what color or style they ordered by the time their new carpet actually arrives. It may take several weeks for your new carpet to arrive from the mill and often times, many homeowners aren't sure what color they actually ordered. This is why it is very important to write down all the specifications about the carpet you ordered, the style name, color number, face-weight, and anything else that is shown on the label.


The same holds true for the padding you order. You need to know the type, style, thickness and density of the pad you ordered. That way there can be no confusion when the actual pad shows up to be installed. 


What if they deliver a different quality than I ordered?


Q. What happens when the carpet comes in and it does not appear to be the same type, style, weave, or loop? 

I just purchased some nylon Berber carpet. However, the weave or loop is much larger than the sample and I have concerns about the nylon pulling. I like the smaller loop. The larger looks like the yarns have been snagged or pulled. 


Alan's response:

Sometimes mistakes are made and the wrong carpet is sent out from the mill. This is not a scam, just a mishap and it is not a common occurrence. 

On the other hand, some unscrupulous carpet retailers may try to do the old "switcheroo". For example, you order a 42-ounce carpet and they deliver a 38-ounce carpet hoping you don't notice the difference. On a big job they can easily pocket hundreds by ordering a slightly lower grade than you originally selected. 


Learn About My Carpet Buying Guide


If you suspect the style or color is not quite what you ordered there may be a simple explanation. I find it is often true that homeowners forget which carpet they finally selected. After looking at hundreds of samples it can be mind boggling! If you are sure that your memory is accurate and something is just not right, then you must go on to the next step...


You need to read your carpet warranty and get your hands on the original carpet sample that you ordered from. If you have ordered carpet from a carpet retailer and the carpet does not closely match the carpet sample, you have every right to refuse the carpet. You should expect to get the same carpet quality, style and color you ordered, so contact the retailer and ask them to look into it. 


If there is a noticeable difference they should reorder the carpet and there should not be any additional cost to you. However, if the difference between the actual sample you ordered from and the carpet you actually received is within reasonable tolerances, then you may not have a valid claim. The manufacturer's warranty typically says that there may be slight variances between the carpet sample and the actual carpet that is delivered. 


You have to prove, (with the help of your carpet retailer) to the carpet manufacturer that the carpet is significantly different than the original carpet sample in order to win your claim. This can be very difficult and time consuming. This is one of those common carpet scams I discuss in my Complete Carpet Buying Guide. 




Alan's Top Ten Carpet Information Pages:


  1. The History of Carpet

  2. In-Home Carpet Scams  

  3. The Bait and Switch Scam (You are here)

  4. Measuring Scams

  5. How to Choose Carpet

  6. Determine Your Level of Foot Traffic

  7. Carpet Fibers 1 Nylon and Olefin

  8. Carpet Fibers 2  Polyester and Sorona® 

  9. Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory

  10. The Complete Carpet Buying Guide
















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Carpet Specifications    Best Carpet for Kids Dogs Cats & Pets


Free Carpet Durability Rating Chart  


HomeFloorGuide.com   Have Carpet Wrinkles? Top 10 Causes Revealed.  


Why Do Some Carpets Shed and Fuzz?     Carpet Blog    


What are Carpet Specifications and where do I find them?


What is the PAR Carpet Rating System?


Take my Carpet Foot - Traffic Test to help determine what Grade of Carpet you need.


CarpetProfessor.com    AbcCarpets.com    HowToBuyCarpet.com  


CarpetSupersite.com    HomeFloorGuide.com     Carpet Q&A






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