FastFloors.com is the vendor through which I purchased hardwood flooring manufactured by Mannington Wood Floors. The first incident occurred when I was shopping various vendors to obtain the best possible price on the flooring for our newly constructed home. In early April, 2005, I was given a quote of $14,835.27 for 104 boxes of Blue Ridge Hickory Plank BR05NA1. (Copy attached.) The FastFloors.com representative I spoke with informed me that she was placing this quantity of the product on hold for me with their distributor, because it is popular and might sell out, resulting in a back-order situation when I needed the product. I had already received a quote at a lesser price from another vendor, but when I called them back to order, they stated that they could not obtain the product for me because someone else had already reserved it. (FastFloors.com). I called a few other vendors, and no one was able to get the product for me as quickly as I needed it, so I called FastFloors.com back the next morning and ordered the flooring. I was told that the employee who had given me the quote the day before was no longer with their company and they would not honor the price she had quoted for me. Instead, I would have to pay $15,600.00, which was $764.63 more. I had no choice at this point but to order at the higher price because I needed the wood which FastFloors.com had placed on hold the previous day.
This difference of $764.63 between the amount quoted and the amount I was charged is my first claim against FastFloors.com. This is only for my original order of 104 boxes of wood flooring.
When the wood arrived and my installers began the installation, I was at work. I received a phone call a few hours after installation began, and it was the owner of the installation company. He had called to tell me that he wanted me to leave work and take a look at the wood, because it looked terrible and he didn't want to proceed any further without my authorization. I arrived at our new home and was horrified to see that the wood was marred by big streaks of black and dark red areas; large gray areas where dead wood had been used to make planks; worm holes and other unacceptable flaws.
I have included a catalog photo of how this wood is represented by Mannington; a website image from FastFloors.com; and a photo of an actual sample board from a local retailer. None of these, nor the actual wood samples Mannington mailed to me, depict accurately what FastFloors.com insists is "normal character for hickory". I contacted Mannington, and I contacted Galleher, (which is FastFloors.com's distributor), and both told me the same. I contend that if the photos and actual samples of this product do not depict it accurately, it is fraudulent misrepresentation of the product being sold.
My installers were using glue to install the wood flooring, and I told them that the wood they had already laid would have to be removed. They returned the next morning and began prying up the installed wood with saws and crowbars. The sub-floor sustained heavy damage and had to be replaced throughout the rooms which had required removal of the installed wood. I have included receipts for new plywood sub-flooring from Home Depot, and the bill from my installer to do the necessary repairs and the necessary hand-selection of the wood acceptable to floor my home. I have also included pictures depicting the removal of the sub-floor, and its replacement. The insulation was heavily damaged with sawdust from the removal of the bad wood, but I have not included the charges for replacing this item because our contractor was kind enough to give us left-over insulation from another job and my husband installed it.
The total square footage of the actual wood flooring that had to be removed and replaced was 446 square feet, at a cost of $2744.48. This is my second claim against FastFloors.com.
Mannington does allow a customer to reject any planks prior to installation, and receive a refund, but I was not allowed to return the 446 square feet of wood that had been cut and/or installed and then removed. I would have been willing to pay for this wood if it had been advertised accurately and if I felt that it was the first quality product promised to me at time of purchase. Unfortunately, it is the belief of the installers, my contractor, myself and others I have shown the wood to that what I actually received is "cabin grade" wood, with some first quality wood mixed into the cartons. The boxes of wood I received did not have the usual Mannington logo on them, unlike other boxes of their product which I happened to see when I was picking up two of the additional orders of wood flooring at Galleher's distribution facility.
Even if that is not the case and the wood I received was indeed a first quality product, half of the wood I received looked nothing like the representations I viewed before my purchase and based my purchase decision on. I ended up actually requiring twice as much wood as I had originally ordered, because half was unacceptably marred and flawed. FastFloors.com contends that I did not receive defective wood. It may not be defective, but it is definitely not what is represented in the various ways I saw it prior to purchasing. I feel the advertising of this particular product is false and fraudulent on Mannington's part, and that at the very least, their customers should be warned that the planks have huge areas of "character" in them, so the customer isn't caught off-guard as I was. Customers should be advised that they might want to order twice as much flooring as they measure for, so that they can hand-select their planks as we had to. I was extremely lucky that I was able to obtain enough acceptable wood to finish my house without delaying our final inspection more than 4-5 days.
I have included photos of the horrible wood I received, to demonstrate how misleading the advertising of this product is by both Mannington and FastFloors.com.
My third claim is for the excess shipping I had to pay to get enough decent wood delivered to finish flooring my house. The amount charged was $678.90. I am not billing for the two trips I personally made to Galleher's warehouse to pick up wood in my own car, which cost me several hours of missed work.
My fourth claim is for $5,460.00, which is the amount of the bill from my installers to remove the bad wood, do the labor necessary to replace my sub-flooring, hand-select all of the flooring that was acceptable for installation, and re-install the 446 square feet of wood that had been removed. They also re-boxed and taped some of the 104 boxes that had to be returned to FastFloors.com via Galleher Distribution, but did not bill me for that work.
My fifth claim is for the materials cost of the new sub-flooring. A copy of the receipt from Home Depot is included, in the amount of $310.74.
The amount that I feel I should be credited in this matter is $9958.75, which is my actual cost above and beyond what this flooring should have cost me. While I feel that Mannington should eventually be responsible for these costs, I made my purchase from FastFloors.com and it is my understanding that they would need to work with Mannington on being reimbursed.
American Express denied my claim initially, and I had to pay the entire bill I have re-opened the dispute this week and they are taking a second look at this complaint.
I have been corresponding with Mannington's California customer service representative, and he states that he sees no difference between my photos and the pictures in Mannington's advertising materials. The only explanation I can think of for this is that he could be blind.
My advice would be as follows:
Do not buy this product and expect to receive the Blue Ridge Hickory Plank 5" Natural floor represented in Manninton's advertising materials without considering the following carefully.
If you want the floor in the picture, buy about 220 - 230% of the square footage calculated, and be prepared to hand-pick EVERY plank. Of course, you will need to have many thousands of extra dollars of credit available on your credit card to accomplish this. In my case, that was nearly $20,000.00. Then, make sure you have help on hand to re-pack the boxes you need to send back for credit. The planks are random lengths, so they are like puzzles to put back together. Mannington will only take back FULL boxes. If you don't fit the pieces together correctly, you won't end up with a full box. Each box weighs 46-47 pounds, so don't do this with a bad back. And make sure you have plenty of room in which to accomplish this feat. It will take you a full weekend at best for a quantity of about 100 boxes, and that's if you are lucky enough to have a couple of young teenage sons willing to help you. My boys really wanted to be out riding their skateboards and weren't too happy working on this project all weekend.
American Express wants 30 days to work on this again. I fear it's going to become necessary to sue Mannington and FastFloors.com