Defective travertine installed, legal recourse

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Old 10-23-08, 11:26 AM
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Defective travertine installed, legal recourse

We recently installed travertine flooring. After 3/4's of the floor was installed we notice etching in the flooring. I complained to the floor company who advised me to hire a certified floor inspector to determine if the flooring imperfections were a result of a manufacturer defect. If so, they would pay for the inspector and to repair the floor. Now they are telling me that the installer should have noticed the imperfections when installing the floor and in doing so he accepts responsibility for the floor. I tried to explain to them that the imperfections are only noticeable when natural light hits it and it was impossible for him to see while installing. They never informed us verbally or in writing that we were required to hire a licensed floor installer. Our installer is not licensed but the certified floor inspector reported IT IS a manufacture defect and noted in his report that the defects in the flooring are not a result of installation. What recourse do we have?
 
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Old 10-23-08, 12:46 PM
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The guy that sold you the stone, needs a good legal letter of intent. Sent signature required certified mail.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 01:17 PM
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Thank you for your response but not sure I follow. What do you mean when you say he needs a legal letter of intent. Can you elaborate? Thanks!
 
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Old 10-23-08, 01:39 PM
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I think what Carpets is saying is that, depending on the amount involved, that you need to have a lawyer draft a letter of intent to sue for recovery of damages. You might be able to do it yourself with the correct wording. Or many places have Paralegals who work cheaper than lawyers.

He's a Certified inspector and has probably dealt with these kind of issues.

I don't think any sort of install issues or licensing would even affect the claim, since these are surface defects, not cracking or similar. And your Inspector has already noted they are not install issues.

Plenty of work gets done after dark or with artificial lighting. And the problems get corrected when found.

No kind of Flooring guy here, but I've read lots of similar posts, so I'm a pretty good interpreter...lol
 
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Old 10-23-08, 02:09 PM
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Thanks for clarifying! The information is helpful.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 03:51 PM
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Now they are telling me that the installer should have noticed the imperfections when installing the floor and in doing so he accepts responsibility for the floor.
I learned this lesson many many years ago, but it stuck in my head and seems like yesterday. The installer is responsible for inspecting the material before he installs it. Making a case otherwise will be difficult. The retailer who sold you the tile will take the position that a "licensed professional" would have noticed the problem before the tile was set. I'd be inclined to agree with that position as well. What are the qualifications of the contractor that you hired?

Our installer is not licensed but the certified floor inspector reported IT IS a manufacture defect and noted in his report that the defects in the flooring are not a result of installation.
The inspector stated that it was not a result of installation, however your contractor did not do a proper inspection of the tile before he installed it.

I'd be having my lawyer send the contractor a letter also. Sorry for your troubles.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 05:28 PM
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How is the installer to know, that the tiles in question is defective or not. Did he have the sample to see the defect, or did he think that is the style and look of the tile chosen. The installer is sent out to install the tile, not inspect it for flaws, that is the job of the retail sales. The installer is most likely not employed by the retailer, but a separate business hired by the retailer to install what the retailer gives him to install, which goes back to the retailer being incharge of inspecting the tiles before they leave his business.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 07:22 PM
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Carpets

The way I read this, the installer was hired direct by Linda, and had nothing to do with the retailer.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 07:49 PM
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That puts the ball in her court as the one responsible for inspecting the tiles, and returning them to where they were purchased, for a refund or exchange.
 
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Old 10-24-08, 09:31 AM
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Thanks guys! It is my understanding that it is "implied" in the industry that an installer is responsible once he installs the floor, However, the imperfections were not noticeable to the installer. It is only noticeable when the natural light comes through our living room window. The imperfections are all over but you can really only see it by the window. Initially, it appeared as though the floor was dirty. Once the floor was installed I cleaned it and then realized that the flaws are permanent.
 
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Old 10-24-08, 10:44 AM
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It is my understanding that it is "implied" in the industry that an installer is responsible once he installs the floor
I never heard that before! That would mean anyone that does COM work would always be responsible for materials on any job they do. Don't think there would be too many people around willing to do work for anyone if this were the case. Yes, they would be responsible for damaging a product, but not someone else's selection.
Since the installer had nothing to do with selecting or purchasing them, how can he be responsible? Makes no sense. The place you bought them from is the only one responsible.
There seems to be some kind of reluctance on your part to doing anything towards the retailer, so there must be a reason for that, that you're not telling us. You sound like you're trying to get your money refunded thru the installer and that isn't fair.
Sorry, don't mean to step on your toes, but I'm telling it the way I'm reading it.
 
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Old 10-24-08, 12:19 PM
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Since the installer had nothing to do with selecting or purchasing them, how can he be responsible? Makes no sense.
However the installer installed the tile and should have noticed that the face of the tile was etched. It is the installers responsiblity to inspect the material before it is installed and discuss any issues with the homeowner and retailer. If the installer had the proper credentials perhaps he would have noticed the issue and worked it out with the homeowner and retailer before installation. I think there is more than meets the eye here. A retailer and an installer with no connection between the two makes for problems. Just wondering if this installer was the low bidder and that might have been his only qualification?

In my opinion, Linda should be pursuing the installer and the retailer.
 
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Old 10-24-08, 12:36 PM
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Well in my biz, if a homeowner buys fabric and brings it to me to make curtains out of, they will sign a COM policy to free me of any responsibility if there's problems with the fabric. I would not have time to inspect yards and yards of fabric if I didn't have anything to do with purchasing it. If I did notice something BEFORE I started work on them, of course I would say something and leave it to them, but if I didn't notice until well into the job, I would not feel responsible. Why should I?
Then, if I hire an installer to hang them after I make them, and there's any defects in the fabric, why should he/she be responsible for the fabric after he/she hangs it?
Maybe it's different in the flooring world, but it seems to me the responsibility should be with the homeowner and whoever they bought it from.
 
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Old 10-24-08, 12:47 PM
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Shadeladie, I am trying to go after the retailer. They are the ones trying to blame the defect on us and the installer. The retailer is giving me a very hard time. They requested I get a certified floor inspector and if the inspector determined it is a manufaturer defect they would pay for the inspector and fix the floor. Well, the inspector concluded that it is a manufacturer defect and also noted that it was not a result of installation and went as far as reporting that the defects were not visible to the installer. I forwarded his report to the retailer but now they are coming up with all these other excuses and clearly not wanting to fix it now. I'm definitely not trying to go after the installer, he had nothing to do with it.
 
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Old 10-24-08, 01:50 PM
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As an installer I try to stay out of the pick up and delivery part of the installation. If I pick up the tile and there is a problem with shading then I get put in the middle between the homeowner and the store. That is nothing but a pure waste of my time and since my time is money who is paying me for it? If the tile is delivered by the store they should have inspected it for breakage and making sure it is what the customer ordered. Many store samples are old and what the customer orders may not be the same shade as what is delivered, much like paint or wallpaper. That part of it is between the store and the customer for approval and acceptance. A defect that can only be seen in a certain light or from a certain vantage point is not on the installer. Some glazing defects dont show up at all until the grout has been applied. If something out of the ordinary is noticed by the installer then it should be brought to the attention of the customer, and as HJ said, because of low price it may be that the installer was incapable of communicating or that his boss felt it was not enough of an issue to be brought up.
 
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Old 10-24-08, 02:17 PM
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OK, at any rate, you really need to do as Carpets says and get out a letter ASAP. Sometimes a legal letter is all it takes to get some action.
 
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Old 10-25-08, 07:51 AM
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There are a lot of deals on seconds sold to the public. I as an installer and I didn't supply the tiles, I install it, as that is what my client picked out and bought from another source. I have no idea if they bought seconds or first run tiles. I install what they present to me. Like said above, I'm not going to get in the middle of that.

It is up to all involved before you hand the product to the installer. Once installed it cannot be taken back. That is where this retailer has you. He is right. He needs his tile back so he can send it back to the manufacturer, before he can replace it or give you your money back.

It was up to you to OK the tiles before they were installed. The installer has no idea what you purchased, so he is going to install what you give him.
 
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Old 10-28-08, 06:15 PM
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I think you are getting the disclaimer on a box of tile mixed up with your situation.

most tile boxes say: "Disclaimer: Tiles are handmade so variations in color and texture are to be expected. All tiles should be inspected before installation, as no adjustment will be made after installation"
 
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Old 10-28-08, 06:25 PM
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All tiles should be inspected before installation, as no adjustment will be made after installation
Aha somebody reads this stuff. Yep seen that blurb many times before.
 
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Old 10-28-08, 06:32 PM
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Defective travertine installed, legal recourse

If you bought the tile and just hired a labor contractor (not a real contractor), the problems are on you to prove.

With installation problems and the following performance, you should go after the labor contractor.

Since you bought and supplied the tile to the labor contractor, you are responsible to approve the materials you supplied from an appearance/acceptibility standpoint.

If the tile is substandard it will be between you and the retailer/supplier to work out.

The retailer gave you good instructions, but may not have done it clear enough it or soon enough to get involved as soon as necessary.

When you buy materials and hire labor for installation you have the entire responsibility and an inspector may protect you from yourself. - That is why there are REAL contractors that accept the responsibility.
 
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Old 11-27-08, 01:24 PM
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most tile boxes say: "Disclaimer: Tiles are handmade so variations in color and texture are to be expected. All tiles should be inspected before installation, as no adjustment will be made after installation"
Travertine is not ceramic tile. However, most natural stone suppliers will have a disclaimer on the invoice to protect themselves from lawsuits due to natural and acceptable shade variations, finish variations, etc.

As stated, correctly, by Carpets, there are many different quality standards for stone. You have: first choice, commercial quality and second quality (as rated by international stone standards) and many imported seconds, rejects, overstocks and otherwise substandard products.

Your best course of action may be to appeal to the retailers sense of reason and desire to maintain customer satisfaction. That is assuming your disapproval of the material is legitimate. What I mean is that some homeowners have unrealistic expectations. Perhaps if you had hired a professional contractor they would have informed you on what to expect. I'm not saying all would, but many of us who are in the business make education of the customer a top priority because that is the best way to ensure complete satisfaction.
 
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