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CARPET COMPLAINT

Dear Do-It Man: On about April 20, we had a bedroom carpeted with carpet from the Carpet Giant store at 1340 S. 400 West. The carpet layer did a good job of installing the carpet but he turned out to be a thief.

My husband and I were both outside while he was picking up his tools after laying the carpet. My husband had helped him tear up the old carpet and had left his hammer in the room. We couldn't find the hammer after the carpet layer left so we thought he must have picked it up by mistake.However, about five days later I went into the closet he had carpeted to get my Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner that I kept on a shelf in a box. It was missing.

I know that carpet layer took my vacuum because no one else had been in the room or our house except him, my husband and me.

The next day we went to Carpet Giant in Salt Lake and told them about it. They said they couldn't do anything about it and they had fired the carpet layer.

I said, "Surely you must have some kind of insurance on your carpet layers to protect your customers in an event like this." She said they didn't.

What can we do about this? My husband had to buy a new hammer ($19) and my vacuum (about $50) was brand new and had only been used twice. My son gave it to me for my birthday in March.

I think Carpet Giant should be responsible for this loss or contact the carpet layer. He lives at a motel in Salt Lake.

- Residents of Grantsville. Dear Residents: Carpet Giant says you called it about six weeks after your carpet was installed. It told you the installer had not worked for the store for over five weeks but it assured you that it is insured for such things and would be glad to adjust the price of the job to cover the missing items.

However, the store says that to date you have withheld $179.43 from your payment and the store feels it is unfair to withhold an extra $110 for a $69 loss.

The store says there is no proof the installer took the items but in the interest of good business relations, it was willing to do what it considered was more than fair.

We phoned you after we read the store's response to your complaint. We wondered why you hadwithheld payment. You told us you had paid $179.44 (half the bill) when you ordered the carpet. You were supposed to pay the balance ($179.43) when the carpet was installed.

You said you were withholding the balance for two reasons. First, to cover the cost of the missing items; second, you were dissatisfied with the store's service.

You told us the installer arrived with a roll of carpet that was short of what was needed to do the job. You had intended to have the bedroom and bathroom carpeted. The installer had enough carpet to do the bedroom.

Later, another installer came with a piece of carpet that was supposed to be big enough to do the bathroom but he would have had to make numerous seams. You told him that was unacceptable.

"That's why they didn't get their money," you told us.

You had vinyl flooring put in the bathroom, instead.

We called the store after speaking with you. It said the roll sent by the mill was two feet short. It ordered an extra piece of carpet for your bathroom. However, it said it had no idea you didn't want the carpet until it phoned you and found out you had already installed vinyl.

The store says the value of the carpet you were shorted was about $30. And it feels strongly that the installer did not steal your hammer or vacuum. However, in the interest of customer relations, it has written off the balance of your bill.