iFloor: ‘We told you we suck, so don’t complain’


When I was in college, I took my car in for some body work. You see, some idiot keyed the whole side of it when it was parked, so they had to repaint the door and fenders. When I got the car back, the damaged area looked great. But the excitement wore off quickly when I noticed all kinds of scratches on the wheels, cracks in the glass, and other damage. Outraged, I asked the dealer what was going on. He said yeah, his people did all of that, but it’s not the dealer’s fault — these things happen when you take panels off for repair. Surely I had read this in the disclaimer before I signed it, he reminded me.

Of course, this story is fictional. But a very similar thing took place when I had my floors redone by iFloor.com, and I get the feeling it’s quite common with other home improvement work. Even though I only had the floors replaced, the installers managed to put cracks in the drywall and leave glue in areas that are nowhere near the floor. When I asked if they could come touch up the areas, they said it wasn’t their responsibility. Apparently, I was supposed to sign a form, aptly titled “Great Expectations,” that detailed all the ways they would be messing up my place. Ironically, I never received any such thing.

But even if I had read and signed a document saying they might trash the place, that doesn’t make it right. In other words, telling your customers that things might go wrong doesn’t give you a license to be negligent. Too bad iFloor doesn’t understand this. So now I have to re-spackle and paint lots of areas myself, and it certainly makes me hesitant to recommend iFloor to others. Their product is very high-quality, but they burn all the bridges when the installation takes place.

Whether you’re in the home improvement business or you sell enterprise software, my advice is the same. If you want customers to sign a disclaimer so you’re not responsible if things go wrong, fine. But at least put some effort into minimizing those problems. Even if you think you’ve trained people to expect common mishaps, they’ll still be mad at you when they’re left cleaning up the mess.