Woman Recalls $18,000 Custom Flooring “Nightmare”

Imagine living in your house with all the floors ripped up, your furniture covered, and dust everywhere.

One local family has been living that way for months while fighting a national flooring chain over whether the wood flooring is defective.

"This is our living room. This is where we are supposed to entertain our guests," said Alice Arakel, who has been living like this for almost two months. "We really have no life here. It's very difficult to live with the furniture piled up around us."

NBC4 I-Team Investigations

She custom ordered Brazilian redwood from Lumber Liquidators in Monrovia in November. It cost just over $18,000. The wood arrived this spring. Installers began work in May, then they say the nightmare began.

The wood planks were different widths. Because of the width being different for each plank, they were not able to align them correctly.

Four different installers said that they couldn't finish the job.

Arakel hired a wood flooring expert who wrote a report saying, "Lumber Liquidators, the experts, sold a defective floor to a consumer with no professional knowledge or experience."

The problem he said is that the wood came from several different factories.

When Arakel returned to Lumber Liquidators with her report, she said, they "gave me the run around for days, weeks, months."

The store manager told her that the wood could not be returned.

She appealed to corporate headquarters in Virginia.

After the company inspected the wood they sent her a letter stating, "the review found that the product was within specifications and thus not a manufacturing issue."

"They said, 'Everything is fine. We have no problem. Our product is perfect. There is nothing wrong with it,'" Arakel said.

That is when Arakel called the I-Team.

After the I-Team made some calls, Lumber Liquidators apparently had a change of heart.

"Lumber Liquidators is fully refunding her purchase… paying for her inspection and will retrieve all the material at no cost," the company said in a statement.

Lumber Liquidators said the flooring was sold "as is."

However, when a product is alleged to be defective from the factory you may still have the ability to get your money back. There are also consumer agencies like the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs that can give you advice.

They can be reached at http://dcba.Lacounty.Gov/wps/portal/dca/ or 800-583-8222.

Lumber Liquidators entire statement:

"Mrs. Arakel made a large 'as is' purchase of flooring from an odd lot of our premier Brazilian Redwood line. Odd lots are heavily discounted from select grade flooring because they often contain boards that are milled differently and need to be matched before installation. This is explained clearly during the purchase process and in the installation instructions.

"Shopping for new flooring can be daunting. Pairing the right product with its application, style of the home and an experienced installer is important to achieve the best outcome. It seems Mrs. Arakel didn't fully understand the terms of her purchase. Moreover, based on our understanding of the facts, we believe that the installation of the product in Mrs. Arakel's home was not performed in accordance with the specific online instructions paired to working with an odd lot.

"However, given Mrs. Arakel's sincere intentions, we have chosen to make an exception in this case to our policy for as-is purchases. Lumber Liquidators is fully refunding her purchase, writing off the 150 square feet that were already installed, paying for her inspection and will retrieve all the material at no cost."

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