• Report:  #1446

Complaint Review: Arizona Tile - Phoenix Arizona

Reported By:
- phoenix, az,

Arizona Tile
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.
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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

Total $609.00

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.

3 Updates & Rebuttals


I was right in pursuing my complaint and Arizona Tile

#2Author of original report

Sat, January 10, 2004

As the original writer of this complaint I was surprised at seeing a response nearly 4 years after the original problem. I would like to address Doug in Scottsdale, who apparently thinks he did in fact "Write the Book" on Tile. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback and second guess something that you have never seen, but the fact of the matter is, I was right in pursuing my complaint and Arizona Tile did in fact replace all of the tile due to a huge variation in dye lot and defects that were burned into the surface during firing. T heir tile does come with a sticker that says "slight" variations are possible and since you said you have never seen that before, I would be happy to mail you a label for you to look at. The tile job has been complete for a couple of years now and was done at the original cost quoted meaning that the tile layer recognized that he also failed to notice the dye and defect problem. I still wouldn't buy from Arizona Tile and recommend that the consumer watch everything about the installation. It's sad that the trade industry needs to be babysat like this but it's a fact of life when new construction and remodeling is booming. It's slap it down and go on to the next job mentality


PREVENTION, I have developed and used specific consumer check sheets

#3Consumer Suggestion

Fri, January 09, 2004

I am a flooring profesional in iowa. In the past I have seen similar misunderstandings. In order to minimize these things I have developed and used specific consumer check sheets where I have specific conversation on specific areas where facts and accuracy are important. especialy where dye lots etc are concerned. I find the public lacking in knowledge on such things and in need of a good amount of time in educating. Having them read and sign stresses the importance. Further it sounds to me like the "defects" might have been an occasional part of the petina of the tile. This changes appearance and adds to the mood or feel of the product. Also I wonder if the installer was working out of 3 or more boxes at one time to even out the shading differential. I dont see a failure in service here, but a lack of understanding. I spend alot of time with my customers and am very detailed. I dont think you can give them too much information on the potential purchase.


Understanding Shade (Die lot) Variation

#4Consumer Comment

Mon, December 23, 2002

I am a certified tile consultant and I've "wrote the book" on ceramic tile shade variation, meaning that I developed the international guidelines for "intentional" shade variation. I was dissapointed to read this "Rip-Off Report" regarding Arizona Tile and felt that the consumer has not been completely forthcoming in their comments. Allow me to elaborate on the consumers comments. First, the consumer started off by stating that they were well aware that there are two different types of variation: 1. Die lot to die lot ("shade" variation) 2. Shade variation within the tile (piece to piece variation) Second, the customer stated that there WAS a shade variation information label on the tile. The consumer said that it indicated "slight variations is inherent...". I personally have never heard of any distributor using the word "slight" and I would love to see this label. The label that I have from Arizona Tile clearly states that "samples represent the average run of tile only and are not guaranteed to match the current shipment". Furthermore, Arizona Tile has additional labels that they put on specific tiles that make statements such as: "Piece to piece shading is inherent in this tile" and if there is a cause for concern "View multiple pieces.." Third. When the tile was being set, the consumer states that "the trim tile was different than the field tile and the field tile was different than the sample". It seems to me that this is exactly what the label stated, this is precisely what Arizona Tile was attempting to communicate, and this is what the consumer previously stated that they understood about shade variation i.e. that die lots WILL differ and there will be shading WITHIN a run of tile. Fourth. Securing samples from "Three different locations" is meaningless. Typically, tile from within a distributors system is a "hub and spoke" method, meaning that tile comes into a single source and is distributed to the branches. To collect tile from multiple branches makes no sense whatsoever, especially when the samples labelled "samples match the average run only and are not guaranteed to match the current shipment" right on the each tile. Fifth. Arizona Tile is a distributor, not a manufacturer. In regards to the "picker" not matching the trim to the tile, that is an impossibility. The trim is a different "die-lot" and is subject to the same characteristics as is outlined on the label. All trim WILL vary in color because it isn't manufactured at the same time or on the same production lines. Arizona Tile, as a distributor, does not have control over this process, but makes every attempt to communicate this shade variation characteristic to the customer. Sixth. As far as "defects" are concerned, you must be able to see the "defect" from three feet above the floor and in about six seconds per square foot. If they are truly visible defects, then the installer has the onus of responsibility to sort through the tiles and NOT install them. First quality tile is up to 5% visible defects. If there really is 10%-15% defects, then I would recommmend taking the defects back to Arizona tile for replacement. Finally, to attempt to hold Arizona Tile responsible for $600 labor on a $700 purchase sounds unreasonable. THe consumer admitted that they understood shade variation, they were not completely honest about the statements on the shade variation label, and they are asking an for an unreasonable settlement. Based on the information given by the consumer, it seems that at the most, Arizona Tile would be responsible to replace only the defective tiles and can not be held liable for labor.

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