This is going to be my last post for a time on how you are getting scammed – it’s frankly a little depressing. Kinda like watching those nature shows about killer whales. Seriously how many adorable little penguins do we need to watch get eaten? Alright, we get it! You would think after millions of years of evolution the penguins would have come up with something better than being flightless and delicious….but I digress.
Today I want to talk about one of the new kid on the block in terms of flooring scams, the PRIVATE LABEL scam. A majority of flooring stores use this racket, and there are a couple of big national chains that have based their entire business model on it. Here’s how it works – a vast majority of flooring (especially carpet) is supplied from just a few key manufacturing conglomerates like Shaw, Mohawk, Armstrong, etc. A long while back the Home centers decided they wanted to get into thew flooring business. They very quickly learned that they could not compete apples to apples with retail dealers on the street. This irritated them. They went to the few key manufacturers and insisted that they “re-label” their flooring with names exclusive to them. Problem solved, happy days – they get to tell their customers they carry exclusive lines, and the outside dealers couldn’t undercut them.
The fact of the matter was the smarter dealers could still compete – they just had to identify what the product actually was and give the customer a better price, which wasn’t hard. If the situation had just settled into this scenario, private labeling wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. As it is with most things, well enough was not left alone, the sleeping dog was not allowed to lie, and…-well that’s all I can come up with. Somebody somewhere asked the fateful question “Hey! do we have to call that junk over there “Blowout special- no returns or exchanges”? What if we put it in a fancier box and call it “The Penthouse Collection”?
Let’s face it, there are a ton of retailers out there who are utilizing the private label as a selling tool to hide what it is they are actually selling you – inferior products. I don’t even need to go into so much detail here, because I don’t want to insult you with the common sense of it. Just do me a favor – when shopping for flooring be sure to ask one simple question: “Where can I go on the internet to research this product you are selling?…Besides your own website that is…”
If you can’t Google the name of the floor and come up with a bunch of different companies carrying it, How do you know what you are getting?
If the manufacturer of the product isn’t a large, nationally recognized name, How will you know the floor will perform? Who will you turn to in a warranty claim? The retailer? Okay fine – Google them, but put the word “Complaints” after their name….