We purchased $700 worth of ceramic tile from Arizona Tile based on showroom samples of Kalbudor Sultan Beige we picked up from 3 different locations in the Phoenix metropolitan area. This effort was performed in order to understand the total range of variation that can be expected with regard to shading both within a tile, and from dye lot to dye lot. The driving factor that predicated this effort was based on the fact that a label appears on the reverse side of the sample tile indicating slight shade variations is inherent to the material.
The purchase was made through a general contractor that was hired to do the work. After partial laying of the tile, it was noted by the owners that the field tile was significantly different then the delivered trim tile and that the field tile also was significantly different than the 3 samples procured from the various showrooms. In addition, there appeared to be a significant amount of tiles that exhibited surface defects.
We originally contacted both our contractor and the Arizona Tile (Bell Rd) store. We discussed the issue with the Manager (Christian) who turned the issue over to Dave Cobos, Sales Representative for review. A discussion with Dave Cobos followed in which we requested a home visit for review. Rather than a visit, we were asked to take a sample of the as received tile to the Bell Rd. store. That sample was received at the store on 8/19.
A follow up call was made by Dave Cobos on the 24th reporting that the received tile was within standard variability and that no exchange or compensation would be forthcoming. It was also stated that a 25% restocking fee would be charged for any unused tile. I made a visit to the warehouse order desk and a discussion was held with Rick Collins (Operations Manager). Mr. Collins reported that he had not seen the received tile and that the disposition to not replace was most likely based on comparing the tile lot date of the received tile to the material currently in the warehouse. It was reported to Mr. Collins that the received tile was significantly different from the 2 sample lots currently in the warehouse inventory and the discussion was tabled until the following day when samples could be brought in.
On Wednesday, 8/25, a return visit was made to the order desk area with 4 samples of received field tile, 1 piece of trim, and the 3 showroom samples from various Arizona Tile stores throughout the valley. The 4 as received samples were compared to the warehouse inventory and the aforementioned showroom samples. All samples matched within acceptable standard shading variation with the exception of the as received field samples. The as received field samples appeared significantly darker in the background colors and there was no color fusing or blending of the vein like features that gave the tile a natural stone appearance. Mr. Collins responded that he would review the issue with the President and asked if I could leave samples of the field tile.
A phone call was received later that day from Mr. Collins and a time was set to exchange the used tile as well as the remaining unused material for replacement.
It is clear that Arizona Tile failed to deliver a product that was even remotely close to the showroom samples, despite any stretch of the imagination regarding shade/color variability. The received tiles were numerous shades darker in color and at least 10-12% of them exhibited glazing defects in the form of surface black spotting. Two of these type samples left with Mr. Collins reflect these defects.
The project is now several weeks behind schedule and has now incurred cost overruns due to the difficulties encountered with Arizona Tile. The only possible way to rectify this is to hold Arizona Tile financially responsible for the labor incurred in tile placement and subsequent removal. The following itemized billing covers the amount incurred.
2 days labor of General Contractor + helper $500.00
Labor of tile removal by owner (16 hours) $109.00
It is our belief that the effort to secure tile samples from 3 different locations constituted the total range of shade variation possible and that Arizona Tile has delivered second quality tile that is not representative of what is displayed in their showrooms. The Arizona Tile material "picker" did not make the effort to match the trim tile to the field tile, thus making the delivered material unusable despite any arguments over shade variation. The delivered material exhibited a 10 - 12% failure rate for surface defects. In addition, the disposition to not replace the defective tile appears to be based on not viewing the received tile sample. This action further delayed the project and caused severe scheduling problems with the general contractor not to mention several unnecessary trips to the corporate offices.
We have proposed what we feel is a very equitable solution to this issue by documenting the compensation due as a function of Arizona Tile's poor performance and subsequent handling of this problem. The response to this request for financial reimbursement has been negative and therefore we have chosen to file with the "Bad" Business Bureau for assistance.