Dents and damage are yours unless you catch them early
“You get what you pay for!” the saying goes.
And then there’s a slightly more modern version that we’ve come up with that we feel is more in keeping with the times: “You can get stuck with it no matter what you pay for it!”
We as consumers are all too trusting and—pardon us—far too gullible. In the old days our great grandparents purchased most of their wares directly or almost directly from the person who made the product. Now the origin is likely millions of miles away.
As real-life remodeling contractors we get the opportunity to work with hundreds of different brands in every price range.
And whatever the price, it makes no difference—the products all get handled in a similar fashion. What we have discovered is that there is not one company that can absolutely guarantee a pain-free purchase, and this includes the so-called upscale brands.
No matter how expensive they are, modern products are handled by multiple companies.
Here’s an example: A plumbing fixture may be made by a very reputable company employing extremely careful employees, or by some not so careful.
The product is boxed and turned over to the shipping department, who hires a freight company to ship the product to the distributor on the other coast. The freight company then subcontracts part of its shipment to a separate delivery service.
Finally, the distributor—an altogether separately owned organization—has its staff place the items in stock. When it is sold, other employees handle and ship the item out to a retailer. Sometimes the distributor uses its own freight team, but more often than not the company outsources the task to—you got it—a subcontractor.
Long story short, by the time you get your modern-day purchase it has been handled by at least a dozen different companies and dozens of different people. Keep in mind that not everyone loves his job.
Get the picture?
When you open the box you discover a dent and return it to the company for a replacement. This works fine when the purchase is extremely recent—the last day or so.
But what if you don’t find out about the damage until later? You could be in for it.
Here’s an example: You have decided to remodel a bathroom and you want high-end products and it will take a long time to pay for all the items you will need: sink, toilet, tub, faucets, medicine cabinet, etc. So, you purchase the items a little at a time and store them in your living room or spare bedroom.
To make sure they don’t get damaged you leave them in their shipping containers. When it comes time to do the remodel you open the boxes and discover that the medicine cabinet is crushed.
Can you take it back to the place of purchase and get a replacement four or five months after the purchase? Forget about it.
It probably won’t make a difference that the item is still in its original wrapping or that the shipping warranty is unconditional.
Our best advice, regardless of what you purchase or who you purchase it from, is to open the box before you leave the store if you can, but at least open and inspect it on the day of the purchase.
Check the entire contents (not just the outer surfaces) to ensure that every mechanical function, bend, dent and scratch is found. At this point the store still owns the damage.
And don’t be misled. We have this misconception as consumers that high-end companies have better warranties and are more service oriented. Don’t be fooled. The high-end companies have more to lose when their stuff is damaged in shipping.
You will find that these companies are not necessarily more responsible for their products than their low cost competitors.