Internet Flooring Sales

glennsfcApril 10, 2011

If, you are going to purchase flooring products from an internet vendor, then you run the real risk of not getting much in the way of customer service should you have trouble with the product. We hear this way too often on this site, as well as from some manufacturers who say that internet sales will not come with warranty protection.

You can sometimes lower the cost of materials, even when you factor in the cost of shipping. But, you should ask yourself what are you saving in the long run? Is the lower overall cost a reasonable tradeoff for sacrificing warranty protection?

Some in our industry are of the opinion that warranties are more valuable to the manufacturer, than they are to the consumer. The argument is that the warranty is essentially a marketing tool for the maker and seller and actually 'protects' the maker and seller somewhat, because they are documents that limit what claims are acceptable regarding a product's performance.

Of course, not all purchases from a brick and mortar store absolutely come with service of sales in the future. That all depends on how reputable the firm is and how long they have been in business at a particular location. Anyone can set up business selling 'widgets' and not have any idea what the product, how it is installed or how to file a warranty claim...or even if they'd bother. However, since they are usually 'right around the corner', it is much easier for a consumer to communicate with the seller and you have a much better chance at getting a positive resolution of a complaint. And, finally, you have more of the law on your side, than you do when purchasing from an internet seller. Your local brick and mortar store may even be situated in the same town you're from, if not the same county, but probably the same state.

It's your money...purchase with caution.

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We purchased our floor tile, back splash tile and wood flooring for our family room on line at three different dealers on line. Not one problem, ordered, delivered and installed. The Kitchen tile was half the price of local retailers with a flat rate shipping of $100 for 500 sq feet.
No Tax same goes for the others most being about 30 percent cheaper.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:28AM
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No tax is illegal so you know. You have an obligation by law to pay it and the states are currently working on stopping this disaster. Also way never gave the dealer a chance other than use their samples to make selections. If you would have had a problem or if that wood ever gives you a are cooked..but hey your happy and that's all that counts. Good Luck with future on line purchases. online dealer beats my store unless...and I say unless.......the customer doesn't give me a chance...Good Luck..

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:05AM
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The State of New York is just one taxing authority that is working to collect sales taxes owed to the state by its residents who have made large purchases from other states and paid no sales tax.

Every state that has a sales tax collection code loses when residents make large purchases and pay no sales tax on the goods. And those that pay cash to businesses to avoid sales tax collection run the risk of being assessed a penalty with interest if caught in sales tax avoidance.

Your responsibility as a consumer and a state resident is to pay over to your state the sales tax that would have been collected, if you had purchased those goods in your state. It gets a little complicated in cases where those goods are incorporated into a project that meets the requirements of a capital improvement to real estate, but that is why we employ accountants to attend to tax matters.

Does anyone remember "Sam Goody" electronics company? The principal went to prison for his sales tax avoidance scheme.

Good luck out there.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:54AM
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Nice to hear from retail floor dealers...

The local dealer asked a price of 750 per sq ft for our kitchen tile and we paid 3.70 per sq ft on line..

lets face all of the dealers get their tile from the same places as retail or on line dealers.

Thanks for the tax advice..

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 2:14PM
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These kind of shoppers are a definite challenge for the retailer. I used to work a family business showroom and I can tell you that I got real good at discovering who was just there to shop samples and pick my brain.

The sample programs offered to brick and mortar retail stores ought to be darn near free these days. Retailers are "agents" of the manufacturer and get no commissions from them, except what we used to call "spiffs" or "incentives" for closing sales of their products. Yet, they provide a showroom where a manufacturers products can be seen for free.

I wonder?...what laws or agreements might be violated if a retailer charged admission to its showroom and considered the advice of its staff to be billable consultation?

I am so glad I am mostly out of retailing.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:34PM
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Yes..right now we show over 25 varieties of hardwood. We sell to approximately 1 out of 20 hardwood recordable clients. many times they will not even allow us to quote. We have negotiated prices with all manufacturers except one that we can compete with legitimate internet stores. Many are not legitimate and not recognized at all by the manufacturer. We discount them as they are not recognized as 1st quality. We had a manufacturer in today demanding a change or we will be throwing out there display which I paid 2000 dollars for in January. The internet is selling it for just below my cost and offering free shipping. I was assured today that if a consumer buys on the internet for that company the consumer will get zero customer service should there ever be an issue, but internet buying customers wont believe that Until they get burnt. This sounds terrible but I cant wait til one of these customers have the gall to ask us to look at an issue when it was purchased through the internet after they used my gallery as a window shopping testimonial.When this stuff is shipped common carrier, there are problems and lots of them. If the consumer would just give a retailer the opportunity to try to match the deal. If it is cash and carry, and you are paid up front, there is no such thing as a bad profit. We will run as little as a 15 margin on cash and carry internet competition. It will change some day or all they will be looking at is Lowes and HD samples and they will be private labeled. then they will not be able to shop it. many retailers are just too stupid to fight the manufacturers against the internet. I will fight it with manufacturers until the day I die. I just want to be able to compete with it...but a regular consumer wont even give us a chance. Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:53PM
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Sometimes when the manufacturer or distributor won't listen to reason, then all we can do is what you have said, "throw out their display." We did that with a few products that the manufacturer and distributor wouldn't back. It was satisfying to see the silly look on the reps face the next time he came by the showroom. I know the reps have a tough time making a living on commissions, but they must service the's their job!

Unfortunately, many manufacturers will ship a sample to an internet customer as a means to close a sale, so displays of their products in brick and mortar showrooms aren't as essential as they once were. I need to see all of what is offered up front and personal when making product selections of anything I might want to purchase. For some others, that may not be true.

That fact that we pay for these displays should give us the right to negotiate a deal that gives us pricing so we can compete with internet vendors.

Are you in with a buying group?...i.e. Shaw, Mohawk, or other? You sound like an independent.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 8:58AM
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Big Shaw Store, but we support Mohawk a lot also. We carry 25 manufacturers of hardwood, but are currently shrinking that. Hardwood is so difficult to sell anymore. Everyone wants, but wants it for nothing and service just has no meaning like it did even a couple of years ago. Just signed on for the hgtv flooring brand simply for the protection. just shy of 30 thousand smackers. Thats what the internet is forcing retailers to do. What a pity it is but that is society today. Uncommitted, hostile, and fickle as hell. So we must carry products exclusive to us if you want to win a deal on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 11:31PM
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Most customers believe that wood is wood is wood. All ceramic tile is the same. All carpet is the same. People don't know how to reconize the difference and most stores like Lumber Liquidators, Lowes and Home Depot use that to their advantage. Online retailers also know this.

Most of the time I feel sorry for the customers who are being taken-in. Then sometime I don't......One thing that will NEVER change is "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR".

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 9:42AM
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I agree 100% and most consumers do not want to be educated either. They just think you are educating them to what you want them to buy...and it's so wrong. You do get what you pay for and hey...there are some products with great value...but only independents are able to realize the ones as they have the experience...but customers have to listen and trust once in a while. We have some products that blow my mind as the value is way off the scale compared to other products from the same manufacturer. Many times a customer just thinks they know it all and think we are just trying to make a sale. It'll never change I dont believe. Happy Easter

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 9:07PM
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