OK, we know that almost no-one does their job properly anymore, but my recent experience at Carpetright shoots right off the scale when it comes to sheer, unadulterated incompetence.
I should have seen it coming. When I first walked into their shop in Barnet two phones were ringing off the hook and no-one was making even the slightest effort to answer either of them. I was served by two sales assistants. They both quoted me completely different prices for carpet fitting and then one of them tried to convince me that the sample I’d picked out was the same as the carpet used on the floor in the shop. It clearly wasn’t. Maybe it was his first day. Perhaps he should have gone to Specsavers.
A provisional quotation was produced based on the dimensions I gave them for my flat and I was told it would be emailed to me. It wasn’t emailed to me. A few days later I rang them up and asked where the quotation was. They apologised and said that “it had to come from Head Office” and that they’d email it to me. They didn’t email it to me. I began to get the impression that Carpetright did not want to sell me a carpet at all.
After a few more days I drove back to the store in Barnet and asked them to print out the quotation. At that point I suppose I should have woken up and smelt the coffee, but for some reason I continued to give Carpetright the benefit of the doubt. I agreed to the provisional quotation and an estimator was booked to come round to the flat, measure up the rooms and produce a final quote.
I told the estimator I wanted new carpet in all the rooms except the kitchen and that I’d need the old carpet taken away and disposed of. He set off around the flat with his tape measure while telling me that some of the doors would need to be trimmed a little. “Don’t worry,” he said, “the carpet fitters will do that as they go along.” So that’s OK then.
I went ahead and ordered the carpet. Luckily, while doing this, I noticed that the estimator had forgotten to add a figure for old carpet disposal as I had requested. At this point warning bells should once again have gone off in my head. Clearly everyone at Carpetright found the process of ordering and fitting carpets extremely challenging. But like an idiot I went ahead and booked a fitter to come and finish the job.
On the big day (a Thursday) I moved as much furniture as I could out of the living room which took an hour or two. Just as I was finishing, the carpet fitter rang to tell me he was on his way but that he “didn’t have all of my carpet yet.” Sorry? He went on to tell me that while he was waiting for the large living room carpet to arrive he would start by carpeting the small bedroom. I told him that I had just moved everything INTO the small bedroom and he said sorry but I’d now have to empty that room again.
I went ahead and shifted everything I’d moved earlier back into the living room which took another hour or so. The fitter arrived with one very small piece of carpet and proceeded to put it down in the small bedroom. While he was doing this he pointed out that all the doors would have to be trimmed. I told him that Carpetright’s estimator assured me that he would do that.
“Nah, not these types of doors,” he said. “I don’t touch these type of doors. You need to book a carpenter. The estimator should have told you that.”
While digesting this disappointing news I rang Carpetright and asked why they’d sent a carpet fitter to my flat without the bulk of my carpet.
“I’m sorry,” said the manager at the store, “we don’t know where your carpet is.”
He went on to explain that my carpet was “on the van” but that they “could not locate the van”. Then he reassured me that I was not the only customer the company were “disappointing” that day because there were “lots of other customers’ carpets on that van as well”. I was far from reassured by this news.
Desperately trying not to lose my temper I told him that if he knew my carpet had not arrived on Thursday, why the hell did he not RING ME AND TELL ME so I could avoid spending all morning moving furniture back and forth.
“I’ve rung up my mate who’s a carpenter and he can come and trim your doors,” said the fitter. “He’ll be here at eight tomorrow morning.”
“But this has to be finished today,” I groaned. “I can only take one day off work.”
“Well, the chippy can’t come until tomorrow morning and I ain’t got your carpet anyway,” he said. It wasn’t his fault. He was as hacked off as I was. His time was being wasted too. I made him a cup of tea and resigned myself to the fact that I’d now have to move all the furniture back into the small bedroom and take another day off work. At the end of the day I rang Carpetright again and the manager told me that he still didn’t know where my carpet was but that “he was sure it would turn up by tomorrow.”
“I’ll ring you if it arrives in the morning,” he said. If?
The following day the carpenter arrived at nine and used an industrial sized electric saw to cut half an inch off the bottom of five doors. Then Carpetright rang.
“We’ve found your carpet!” they announced proudly. “Well done,” I said. They went on to tell me that the fitter would be with me at about 2pm as he had another job to do first. Another job??? Yes, apparently it was for one of the other customers whose carpet had also been rather carelessly misplaced the day before.
At 2.00pm the fitter’s mate turned up and began ripping out the old carpet. When the entire flat was bare floorboards and full of choking dust it suddenly occurred to me that my old carpet was now gone and the carpet fitter was still yet to arrive. This was probably the most worrying time of all. Anything now seemed possible with Carpetright. Would it be the right colour? Would there be enough carpet for the whole flat?
The fitter finally arrived at 3.00pm on Friday afternoon. By 7.00pm the carpet was down in the living room, large bedroom and hallway. The end was in sight.
“They haven’t ordered any carpet for the bathroom,” said the fitter chirpily. He showed me the plan he’d been given and the estimator had put a big red line through that room. For some reason. I rang Carpetright .
“Don’t worry,” they said, “we can get a bathroom carpet to you for next Thursday.”