Defective Products and a Nightmarish Experience with Lumber Liquidators

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last updated: {php}06/09/2016-10:27:13 AM{/php}

Summary

We have purchased over $9000 worth of Bolivian Rosewood and the tools necessary for installation. After I took my time off work and finished a small room of 100 sq ft, we found out that the rest of wood was not packaged correctly and had various damages and scratches. We spent a good amount of money for genuine rosewood molding and stairnose, but it turned out to be regular cheap wood with paint. The staircase nose pieces and molding pieces were not Bolivian Rosewood although the store manager Joel Villasenor told us it was, and it was stated as such on the package label. The problems have still not been resolved, and we are stuck waiting for solutions while furniture has been moved outside, downstairs, into the garage and into other rooms to accommodate this project. The carpet has been removed and the floor has been leveled in another room, but we are unable to proceed with our work due to these troubles. Not only has this prevented work on our project but it has also affected our family business and family life.

When asked whether or not we wanted the wood we ordered shipped to our house, we declined the offer because we have an SUV that is large enough to transport the shipment. However, on our invoice, we were still charged for shipping and handling, but I didn’t notice this until much later when I took a closer look at the invoice we received. The wood was shipped to our house, but the local Lumber Liquidators store called this “a favor” when in reality, we had been charged for the service.

Overall, this experience with the Lumber Liquidators in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, has been both frustrating and quite ineffective. We feel that our needs were not met by the management there and that they did not care for the issues at hand as seen in unreturned phone calls and ineffective solutions to the many problems we have encountered. The employees are uninformed and unaware of the decisions made at headquarters and are thus not able to effectively communicate and work with us in a symbiotic manner.

Timeline

April 17, 2016

First visit to our local Lumber Liquidators in Rancho Cucamonga.

April 18, 2016

Purchased 909 sq ft of Bolivian Rosewood and T-molding, glue and staircase nose pieces, etc., at a total of $8241.64. Manager Joel Villasenor helped us with this purchase and explained that Easy-float is our local Lumber Liquidators’s new technology for easy installation. I discovered later from a call to Lumber Liquidators’s Customer Care that Easy-float was a product discontinued five years ago.

April 27, 2016

39 boxes of Hardwood flooring were delivered to our house with T-molding and some staircase nose pieces in back order. Picked up Easy-float and glue from the store.

May 7, 2016

Purchased the table saw from our local Lumber Liquidators for $272.11.

May 11, 2016

My wife went to the store and asked about the following issues listed in the table below, and Joel said he would send his installer to inspect the wood. My wife also purchased reducers for $56.10.

  Problems Joel Villasenor’s answer
1 3 boxes in the shipment were wrapped with tape I will send installers to inspect the hardwood
2 missing pieces in 1 intact box This was done to match the 909 square ft of wood we ordered
3 bad pieces (missing tongue and cracking) It is normal to have up to 10-12% of the order consist of bad pieces

open boxes:

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missing piece:

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May 12, 2016

Around 9am, I called Joel Villasenor and asked about what he told my wife. He denied that he claimed that there were missing pieces to accomodate our order and that it was normal to have a number of bad pieces of wood and proceeded to apologize for the misunderstanding. He then said he would send somebody for inspection later that day. Around 2pm, two contractors came to inspect the hardwood and took pictures with an iPad. Later in the afternoon, after I talked with Joel Villasenor on the phone, he suggested that he order a fresh batch of 909 sq ft of wood, but it wouldn’t be available until mid July. After I explained that the one room’s carpet had already been ripped off and the floor had been leveled and that I am taking time off from work for this project, he proposed the following:

  1. Return the Easy-float for a full refund even though we had already used a roll, and instead use a nail-down method for installation
  2. Exchange the 4 boxes of used wood for new ones
  3. Start our project and return any bad pieces when finished.

May 14, 2016

Bought an supposedly-new air compressor and an 18g hardwood floor nailer for a total of $438.92. When we got home, we realized that the air compressor was already open and did not have any packaging materials inside. We then returned it back to the store, but Joel Villasenor said there were no more in stock and when he plugged it in, it was working. He suggested I bring it home and start the project. In the late afternoon, after I set up everything to begin laying down the floor, I realized that the compressor did not hold the air pressure stable. I then called Joel Villasenor and his staff asking them for another compressor, so I could continue working. Joel Villasenor said he would exchange the compressors the next morning.

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May 15, 2016

I called our local Lumber Liquidators early in the morning about the new compressor. I was told that Joel Villasenor was taking the day off, so the issue could not be resolved. I have been using the old compressor ever since.

Monday of May 23, 2016

Around 9:30am,we moved 5 boxes of hardwood (Bolivian Rosewood) into my daughters’s room. After unpacking the hardwood, we realized that the wood was stacked incorrectly without any protection, and all of the pieces had scratched surfaces. Upon opening the rest of 14 boxes in our living room, we found that all of the rest had the same problem. We called our local Lumber Liquidators multiple times and spoke with Mike, another clerk, instead of Joel because he was on vacation. Mike told us that Joel was not in the store and did not want to be disturbed on vacation, but promised he would try to call and leave a message. In the afternoon, we called again and Mike said that 5 boxes were in stock and that we could exchange them with our own and continue working. After we arrived at the store with the open boxes in our SUV, we opened the “good” boxes at the loading dock and realized that all 5 boxes were packed in same way as our own with no protection and were all bad quality. Mike kept saying there was nothing he could do other than wait for Joel Villasenor to come back the next day.

Almost all of the wood have scratches on the surface:

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Some with missing or damaged tongues:

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or cracking,

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Tuesday of May 24th, 2016

In the morning around 9:30am, I met with Joel Villasenor and stressed the problems we were having with the hardwood flooring we had ordered, and also showed him the videos of the poor quality of the wood on my iPhone. In addition, we asked if the T-molding was even Bolivian Rosewood as stated on the label and by him. He agreed that the Bolivian Rosewood we had ordered for the T-molding was not genuine. He told us there was about 400 sq ft of the hardwood in their Pomona warehouse and around 700 sq ft in their Chicago warehouse. He also said that he would confirm it was in good quality by calling and inquiring about it. Joel Villasenor said this was supposed to be their top-of-the-line product and there should be no issues with it. He said he was ashamed of this very frustrating situation. He asked me to email all the images showing the scratched wood and molding so that he could report back to the company. My phone was out of battery so I waited to come home before emailing screenshots of the videos we had taken. Once I sent the images, he confirmed that he had received them via email with an email. When I called back around noon, Mike picked up the phone and said Joel was out for banking and should be back momentarily. Around 2:30,I called again when I did not receive a call from Joel and talked with Tonya who put me on hold and then came back to tell me she had talked with Joel Villasenor, understood the situation, and would call back soon. She also understood that the staircase nose pieces and molding pieces were not Bolivian Rosewood (although Joel told it was and it was stated as such on the package label.) Neither Joel Villasenor nor Tonya called me back. At 5:14pm I called Joel Villasenor once more and he told us the molding and nose piece were made out of alternative wood and were stated and such online on their website. He admitted that he was not aware of that fact and forwarded me an email from their headquarters about the T-molding. He also said he would send a request to get the stock from Pomona and Chicago warehouses.

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May 25th, 2016

Around 11:00am I called the local store and Nick, another employee, picked up the phone and said Joel Villasenor was busy helping another customer. I told Nick to relay a message telling them to not request the wood from other stores and informing them I was going to hire a lawyer to deal with them because of all these inconveniences. I called the store later and talked to Joel to ensure the message was delivered. Joel Villasenor said he has been told and also reported this back to Tonya at Customer Care.

May 26, 2016

Received a phone call from Reginald, a customer care team leader of Lumber Liquidators around 8:30 AM in the morning. He asked for our receipts for other items bought from the local Lumber Liquidators store. He implied that we would receive some compensation for these inconviences. I told him I would email him the receipt and I would call him back after 10AM since I was running late with my 9:00 AM appointment with a lawyer.

My wife and I met with a lawyer for a consultation around 9:00 AM and went through details of the case. He made a copy of purchase contract. I then emailed him the link to this blog post.

I called Reginald back and left him a message around 10:30 AM and also emailed him the link to this blog via my wife’s yahoo email account. Reginald called back at around 1:40 PM and offered us $900 in total for the inconveniences. Considering that we paid over $9000 for the wood and tools needed to complete this project, I stressed that I was not satisfied with the offer and that I would speak to our lawyer and family about it. When I asked whether this was the most he could offer for a compensation, he said he will consult with his team and call back Sunday.

May 29th, 2016 -Sunday

Reginald called Sunday, May 29th, around 2:15 PM and said he did not have a chance to talk to his team due to Memorial Day. He stressed twice that he wouldn’t be able to help me after they received the letter from our lawyer because the issue would become a legal matter and would be out of his department’s hands. I told him we wanted a much higher compensation with high quality products and a free professional installtion since I have already wasted my personal time because of their defective products. He said that he would consult with his team and would call back after the holiday. I also told him that we were charged for shipping on the receipt emailed to us even though we said we did not require any shipping services.

June 1st, 2016 -Wed

Reginald called in the afternoon after the holiday. I told him that my wife had my lawyer hold the letter. He said he is glad that we did not send it in. I informed him again that we had been charged for shipping on the invoice although we explicitly declined the service when placing the order.

Reginald said best offer he can give is $1200. He explaind that we were charged $5.99 per sq ft for the wood instead of $6.29 and that shipping costs were included. He said he could not offer free installation since installation fees are subjective. I told him that we were willing to pay the fees for someone to come and give us an estimate for installation fees. He said he would contact their local store and call me back the next day with an update. He also mentioned that my online post was harmful towards his company, but he appreciated my efforts in exposing their flaws so that they could improve as a business. In turn, I told him I hope that what I am doing would help both Lumber Liquidators and its customers.

I was not aware that the invoice from Reginald’s email is different from what we got from the store when placing the order. When asked whether or not we wanted the wood we ordered shipped to our house, we declined the offer because we have an SUV that is large enough to transport the shipment. The manager respected this decision and thus said he wouldn’t charge us for shipping. As a result, the invoice we received in the store did not have any shipping charges. However, on our invoice from the customer care, we were charged for shipping and handling. The wood was shipped to our house, but the local Lumber Liquidators store called this “a favor”, when in reality, we had been charged for the service.

June 3, 2016 -Friday

Two installers, the same people that came here to inspect the wood before, from Alpha Express Flooring Incorporated, called 15 minutes before they stopped by to make an estimation for installation costs. The estimation was about $3300 but did not include leveling.

Reginald has not called as of June 6th, 2016…

The ordeal and mess we are dealing with…

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