Do You Make Your Customers Feel Like It’s All Their Fault?

We had a water leak from our dishwasher at home in 2013.
The water that leaked caused damage to the kitchen floorboards, and occurred at a time that my son was studying for his year 11 exams.

So I don’t know if you’ve ever had to do this, but what you need to do when this happens is you need to move out of your home for a period of time and go and live in an apartment while the flooring people repair your floor.
Like move out for a week or more.

From a big house, to a small apartment….

Part of the preparation before you leave is that you need to get everything off of your floor, because they need to strip back and re-stain the whole floor, which means kitchen, dining room, hallways and even two closets including one underneath the staircase.

Everything else inside of your house needs to be covered to protect it from the sawdust generated in the polishing process.

And there is always plenty of sawdust….

It is not a small job.

Now here’s the kicker….

The flooring company told us that in repairing the damaged area, if the damaged boards were replaced, the new boards might not match up with the rest of the floor. They suggested that as an alternative, they could sand the curved and cupped boards and re-stain, and all would match up and be good. They suggested that these curved boards had dried out and that sanding them would give a good result.

Now I’m not a floorboard expert, so I have to take my advice from those with more knowledge than me….

So I thought, if they recommend it to be appropriate, then it must be the way to go.

Well it was not….

The boards in question continued to curl and cup after the floor repair had been completed, indicating that the moisture problem that caused the initial damage had not been addressed fully.

And so now, three years later, we have the same boards with the same problem.

So, as we noticed this damage re-occurring, we called the floorboard guy, who never returned our calls.

In desperation, we contacted the insurer, who also failed to act with any speed.

After two years, finally an inspector from the flooring company comes, and takes a look and tells me we have elevated moisture levels in our floor, indicating a fresh incident.

But the dishwasher has never been used since the initial incident…

Because the dishwasher needs to be replaced.

So what’s the rub?

Well, the insurance company, and the floorer, say that if it was poor workmanship, then we should have contacted them sooner, and not left it two years.

But we did, and our calls were not immediately returned.

Now I contest, that sadly, other life events get in the way as well, and so the floor issue took a back seat.

My son’s final year of school, and exams, followed in 2014 straight after the floor being repaired. I wasn’t prepared to uproot him to an apartment during this crucial study year.

Also in that year, 2014, I experienced some significant workplace harassment from the new owners at my dental office, which needed me to seek treatment and make significant health related career decisions. A little bit more important than the flooring…

Along with those, my arthritic shoulder packed it in in 2013 and the replacement of that joint needed to be planned, and was planned, for June 2015.

So the floor kind of took second place for a number of reasons. But try telling that to the insurer….

But to the insurer and the builder, it was not their problem.

In dentistry, when patients seek my opinion, they want things fixed, and fixed once.

They want the best result, not the second best result.

I’m not a floorer, so when the floorer talks me out of one way of fixing and into another, then I’m thinking that the way that he recommends will give a lasting result.

It did not.

What we got from the floorer was poor diagnosis of the cause of the water problem, and over exaggeration of the result of their recommended course of action.
If I did that in dentistry then I’d have a question to answer to my board.

What gets me, is the insurer makes me feel like I’m the bad guy.

I’m just the schmuck who took the floor guy’s advice.

I don’t have a degree in flooring.

I rely on being given best advice.

But for both the insurer and the floor guy to tell me:

“Well you signed off on the work”

Well, I don’t know anything about flooring, just like most of my patients don’t know anything about dentistry.

What does this all mean?

It seems ridiculous to be giving uneducated people the decision making on things they know very little about.

I don’t do it in dentistry.

My feeling is that we have moisture left behind under the boards, or we have another source of moisture that the building company and the floorers failed to locate because they underdiagnosed and went for the quick fix.

The insurer keeps telling me that it’s my fault, for delaying reporting the new damage.

I don’t like the way the insurer is making me feel that I’m trying to make it all one original claim, as if I’m pulling a swifty on them.

To me the floor has never been right, so to be told that “You signed off on it” and that “you chose not to have the floorboards replaced”, is tantamount to bullying.

The behaviour of the representatives of the insurance company have yelled at my wife and hung up the phone on her, and have promised to return my calls and yet failed to do so.

The inspector for the flooring company never got back to us on his findings, either.

All the while I’ve been made to feel like I’m behaving like a lying criminal.

On the only claim I’ve ever made on building and contents with two houses over a thirty-five-year period.

Call that Customer Service?

I don’t think so….

It’s customer harassment.


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