Protect Yourself from These Common Carpet Scams

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated November 24, 2021
A bright living room with a gray carpet
John Keeble/Moment via Getty Images

Don’t be fooled by the ol’ bait-and-switch or over-measuring carpet scams

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Whether you're craving a thorough carpet cleaning, or dreaming of new carpet for your entire home, hiring a carpeting contractor is the most efficient way to make your rug reverie a reality. While most carpeting companies are honest, fair, and reliable, there are a few bad apples who will take advantage of your trust in order to make a quick buck. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from common carpet scams, from spotting red flags to hammering out a solid contract with the carpeting company.

Common Carpet Scam Red Flags

In your search for carpeting pros, keep these warning signs in mind. If a company puts up any red flags, it’s best to decline their services and push forward in your search. Thankfully, there are far more reputable carpeting companies than there are scammers.

Bait-and-Switch

This is one of the most common scams across most industries, and it can happen to homeowners who are purchasing, installing, or even cleaning carpets. In a bait-and-switch scenario, a salesperson will offer an incredible rate for installing or cleaning carpets, but when the carpet specialist arrives at your home, they quote a higher rate.

One of the best ways to spot the bait is understanding the cost of carpet installation and the cost of carpet cleaning. Carpet installation, including materials, typically costs about $4 to $11 per square foot. High-end carpeting materials can cost upward of $20 per square foot, and labor is about $0.50 to $1 per square foot. If a salesperson pitches the benefits of carpet protection to wick away stains, expect a quote for an extra $0.10 to $0.12 per square foot to add this feature.

Carpet cleaning costs $75 to $125 per room, or around $0.25 to $0.50 per square foot. Be wary of companies that offer much lower prices, as these might be scams.

If you are quoted a low price upfront, that doesn’t necessarily constitute a scam. Some companies may offer new client rates to encourage you to hire them again in the future or refer friends. Ask for the quote in writing with an itemized list of what the price includes.

Swapping in Cheaper Materials

You walk into a carpet showroom and fall in love with a perfectly soft greige sample. You order it, but when the carpet arrives at your door, it looks dull and feels rough. This common scam encourages you to spend a higher price on nicer carpet. Then, an untrustworthy company sends a low-quality, less expensive option, hoping you won’t notice and pocketing the difference.

Again, the key to avoiding this scam is to have a proof of purchase in writing. Ask for an itemized receipt with the full name of the carpet, including any serial numbers, brand name, material, and amount, to make sure you get the exact carpet you order.

Over-Measuring

Another warning sign is when the company sends someone to measure your space for the amount of carpet you need, but they fudge the numbers. For example, the employee measures your bedroom at 140 square feet, when the actual square footage is 132. If the carpet is $10 per square foot, you’re spending an extra $80 in this scenario. The overpaid amount will really add up if you're carpeting multiple rooms—no thank you!

Purchasing the right amount of carpeting can be confusing, which is why this scam works. Rolls of carpet are usually 12 feet, 13.5 feet, or 15 feet, so keep this in mind when measuring. Ask the installer how they calculated the amount required. It’s smart to add one foot to the length measurement of the room for wiggle room, but be wary of installers who add anywhere from 5% to 30% more to the actual measurement.

Questions to Ask a Carpet Contractor

Close-up of a worker measuring while installing new carpet
Liudmila Chernetska/ iStock via Getty Images

There are many questions to ask carpet contractors before you hire them. Many of these questions can help weed out any unreliable ones.

  • Can I have an itemized receipt with everything included in the final cost? Written proof of purchase can help you confirm that you received the correct carpet material and that there are no hidden fees for additional items, such as padding.

  • Can I have an itemized receipt with everything included in the final cost? Written proof of purchase can help you confirm that you received the correct carpet material and that there are no hidden fees for additional items, such as padding.

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and/or insured? A trustworthy carpeting company will make sure the installers are bonded and insured in order to protect the employees as well as your family and property.

  • How long have you been in business? While you can certainly find great contractors at newer companies, a company that has been in business for decades should have plenty of positive reviews and repeat customers that are happy with their work and customer service.

  • Can you explain the warranty terms? Carpet warranties can vary and may be confusing. For example, a wear warranty will cover fiber loss, but it might not cover fading. Ask for the warranty terms for both the product and installation, and as always, get those terms in writing. Note that issues such as botched carpet cleaning may void a warranty, too.

  • Can you provide three references? Ask the carpet installers or carpet cleaning company for at least three references. They should be more than happy to share the contact information for satisfied clients. Ask the contractor’s references questions about the quality of the job, the timeline, the price, and communication with the company.

  • What is the timeline for this project? Get an estimated timeline in writing from the contractor. While the amount of time can vary, expect carpet installation in an average, single-family home to take about one or two days.

  • What are your communication preferences? You always want to be able to contact your contractor in case you have questions, concerns, or an emergency. Ask the company for a preferred method of communication and about how long it takes them to respond.

What to Look for in a Contract

Always make sure to work with the carpet company to create a contract with agreeable terms for both parties. A trustworthy carpeting company will not work without a contract, which is designed to protect both the company and the customer. Before you sign the contract, look for the following elements to make sure it’s ethical.

  • Cost plus what is included in the total

  • Estimated timeline

  • Safety precautions

  • Arrival time

  • Warranty information

  • Payment timeline and terms

  • Scope of services

With a few precautions, you can make sure you’re working with an ethical local carpet contractor. Knowing the laws and your contract through due diligence, you can avoid any costly scams. Thankfully, most carpet specialists won’t try to pull the wool over your eyes. They will be happy to answer your questions and make sure the work is completed to your satisfaction.

You can search for trustworthy pros with Angi. All professionals in Angi’s system are vetted, so you can feel comfortable working with them.

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