Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Help Me Howard: Bad Tile
A home improvement project goes awry when the wrong tiles are delivered. The problem: they were laid before anyone realized there was a problem. Now everyone is blaming everyone else. Can Help Me Howard figure it out? Here's Seven's Patrick Fraser.
WSVN--To some people the only thing more fun that fixing up a new house, is re-doing an old favorite.
Victoria Hanson: "We finally had enough equity in the house to do some remodeling and did that."
Victoria and Mike had lived in their home for ten years when they decided to redo the floors.
Victoria Hanson: "I liked the idea of black tile."
They shopped around and found hat they liked.
Victoria Hanson: "We got the delivery of all the black tile. All wrapped up pretty in it's plastic. No damage to it."
Victoria even opened a few of the boxes to make sure everything was ok.
The installer went to work. By the time Victoria came home he had laid enough tile for a problem to surface.
Victoria Hanson: "We were sent two different tiles. I called my installer that night around 8 o'clock and told him not to come out and finish the job."
Turns out in the boxes of black tile. The store had mixed in boxes of gray tile and no one caught it.
Victoria Hanson: "I paid for black, I ordered black, I checked in black. Your purchase order, my purchase order, my delivery pallet said I had black tile."
The tile company came out, admitted their mistake and then pointed the finger at the installer victoria had hired.
Victoria Hanson: "They're still saying it's the installers fault they should have recognized that there was a problem and should have halted the job on the first tile laid."
The installer says don't blame me. The difference between the black and gray was very minor. You take a look and decide.
Victoria Hanson: "This is a piece of black tile in the middle of it all."
Of course while all the blame him don't blame me is going on Victoria is stuck with half gray half black floor half installed and no solution in sight.
Victoria Hanson: "It's ridiculous. For 620 square feet. I'm not talking about the Biltmore hotel for crying out loud, it's my little house and I'm just trying to make it better."
But who is to blame cause its not better. To find out, Victoria called Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "Some legal issues are black and white. Some are gray. This is very gray. To be blunt, everyobdy made a mistake in this case. Everybody should have caught it. And believe it or not, in some cases the law spreads the blame to everyone involved."
The tile store told Help Me Howard they would have replaced the tile for free if it had not already been laid.
They say they have a policy posted in the store and on their receipts saying once a tile has been laid there are no refunds.
So, Howard, what should happen in a case like this?
Howard Finkelstein: "This case is not big enough to hire a lawyer and go to court. These are all well intentioned people who made minor mistakes that escalated into a mess. The best way is for them to work something out."
And in the end that is almost exactly what happened.
The store agreed to give up its profit, and sell Victoria new tile at cost to replace the tile already laid down. And, their installer agreed to install it for free.
Victoria Hanson: "We've got three kids so we have growing pains. But we figured while we're here we'll make it nice and pretty like we wanted so bring it up to date not in the 80's."
Patrick Fraser: "Bottom line when you buy something, before you walk out of the store or sign for it when its delivered, make sure its exactly what you ordered.
If its a piece of furniture that's damaged, don't accept it even if they promise to replace or repair it later, because once you accept it, getting a problem taken care of can be next to impossible.
Floored after your best laid plans are scratched? Don't slip and fall. Contact us. We'll try to deliver just what you order.
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