InternetLumber.com / Simon Briggs did not deliver their exotic-wood decking as agreed, described and ordered. InternetLumber.com did not correct these problems with the order satisfactorily and they are in Breach of Contract.
The problem with InternetLumber.com is not just one issue but ELEVEN DIFFERENT PROBLEMS!:
1) The salesman used deceptive selling practices by misrepresenting the product size: four-inch tongue & groove decking made of Brazilian Ipe wood.
(Deceptive Selling Practices) Verified before ordering with InternetLumber.com's salesman, what the actual width of their four inch wide ipe decking is when fit together. He said three and a half inches wide. It is actually three inches wide. This inaccuracy meant that the order could not cover the specified area, even if the product delivered had been acceptable, which it was not. The order was placed entirely based on the area the decking needed to cover, which was thoroughly discussed with the salesman before placing the order.
2)InternetLumber misrepresented their product-size, which led to their miscalculation of how much of their product was necessary to complete the project.
(Deceptive Selling Practices, Misrepresentation Issues) Figures were verified with salesman John several times before ordering. Their miscalculation made this order wrong from day one.
3)InternetLumber used Misleading/Unethical Sales Practices to distort the actual cost of using their product.
(Deceptive Selling Practices) This miscalculation distorted actual cost to buy sufficient materials from them, which made Internet Lumber's product appear more competitive then it actually is. (vs. similar products from other exotic lumber dealers available on-line)
4)InternetLumber charged a premium surcharge to mill to specification, but did not do it.
(Billing Dispute, Service Issue) The initial inquiry to salesman was How much decking is needed to cover a 26 foot 4 inch x 10 foot area, all with ten foot length pieces? Salesman advised a 15% premium surcharge to have 92 decking pieces each cut at 10 feet lengths, which was paid for but not delivered. Many of the pieces were longer/shorter than 10 feet and therefore unusable to complete this seamless deck project. InternetLumber.com sent (67) 14-foot pieces of which only 10 feet of each were usable for this project. Several of those pieces were warped and three were damaged. InternetLumber wants to count the un-usable 4 foot lengths (that had to be cut-off) as part of fulfilling the order, instead of the expected (92) 10-foot pieces only, which cost extra for the customized order.
InternetLumber determined it OK internally to send product other than the custom order placed, as evidenced by the hand written note on the second invoice: Per John OK to send 14 foot. John told me that they could not finish filling the order at that time unless they sent 14 foot lengths. He did not explain that the extra four feet on each piece which had to be cut-off, they would count toward fulfilling the order. InternetLumber.com did not deliver what was paid for. The short four-foot pieces are unusable to build a seamless ten-foot deck.
5) Internet Lumber misrepresented having enough product in stock to fill the order at the time the order was placed, as well as how long it would take to receive the order.
(Deceptive Selling Practices and Delivery Issues) It was very clearly expressed that time is of the essence with this order--before order was placed. Every assurance was made that it was in stock before the order was placed. Before ordering, InternetLumber said it would take 3-5 days to have order milled to specification and 3-4 additional days to be delivered. Customized order should have been received in 6-9 days, not 6-9 weeks. The first incomplete delivery took one month. The next shipment took an additional 3 weeks and still was not correct. InternetLumber did not deliver order as agreed, described, ordered and paid for. They sent what they had left in their warehouse, which was not sufficient.
6) InternetLumber.com never did complete the order and also sent damaged goods.
(Breach of Contract and Delivery Issues) InternetLumber.com's miscalculation of how much of their decking is needed to cover the specified area, coupled with their sending wrong decking lengths, caused there to be a severe under-delivery of pieces as custom ordered and paid for. Additionally, they sent some pieces damaged (scratched, warped and/or broken).
7) The tongue-and-groove decking pieces were not all inter-connectible and thus were substandard and unusable.
(Poor Product Quality Not Customized to Order, but charged extra for it) The purpose of tongue & groove decking is for each piece to be uniform and inter-connectible. The pieces sent first had the groove cut in the middle but the pieces received later were grooved off-center. While the additional pieces were connectible with each other, the tongues of later shipment did not match up correctly with the grooves in the pieces from the first delivery. Is the decking connection groove normally cut exactly in the middle or off-center? No one could tell by what they sent--both different ways in 2 shipments.
8) Communication is extremely difficult with this company.
(Customer Service Issues) Several emails inquiring about the uncompleted order were not returned. InternetLumber.com's policy posted on their website is, We respond to all communications within one business day. A telephone inquiry as to why emails went unanswered, was answered with, the email system is down. Email inquiries which were sent to (email@example.com) were not returned as 'undeliverable' however, signifying that they were received. Also InternetLumber's automatically generated email was sent back stating Your email has been received and will be replied to as quickly as possible. Thank you InternetLumber.com
Typical phone calls to InternetLumber.com consisted of being 'on-hold' for extremely long periods of time. After being 'on hold' for an extremely long time, their telephone recording announces a choice to leave a message or continue to hold. It does not usually actually allow an opportunity to leave a message however. Usually, the only way to communicate with InternetLumber was to sit on hold for combined untold hours. When able to leave a telephone message, at least twice expected return calls did not come.
9) InternetLumber lied to me six different times about when the order would be received.
(Delivery and Dishonesty Issues) Apparently InternetLumber is OK with its employees lying to customers repeatedly and telling unsatisfied customers anything they can think of to cover-up their incompetence. (See Timeline below for delivery issues details)
10) The deck could not be built as desired with the product InternetLumber.com shipped.
(Contract Dispute, Product Quality Issues) Decking had to be purchased elsewhere at great expense. The ultimate in customer dissatisfaction.
11) Hiring of a complaint representative returned only excuses by uncooperative management.
(Inadequate Refund Practices) While reviewing 2007, this big rip-off was too much to forget about. A representative was hired in Jan 2008, to handle these complaints. This consumer representative made several attempts over time to work with Internet Lumber's owner, Simon Briggs, and/or manager Jerry Little, regarding these issues. Manager Jerry Little's response to this complaint is summarized and each point made by InternetLumber is refuted below.
Below is InternetLumber's complaint responses in quotation marks and (Why this answer is obviously inadequate) in parentheses:
We have no record of complaints (This is a response to a complaint!)
Consumer should have rejected shipment. (Shipments were made without describing product or quantity on either of the invoices for verification. Second delivery was made in absence of receiving party, despite requested call-ahead notification before delivery. Speed of actual delivery gave little time to notice all issues. Both shipments had complaints filed at time of delivery with shipping company.)
Complained too late. (Complaints began 2 weeks after order placed and continue through the present.)
Didn't return materials. (InternetLumber was unwilling to discuss any return arrangement when contacted nor did they offer any opportunity to do so. As InternetLumber knows, lumber is not something easily 'returned'.)
The materials are designed to fit. (Yes, tongue-and-groove decking is designed to fit--in theory. However Internet Lumber's mill did a very poor groove cut on a significant part of what they shipped, making them un-connectable. Most likely what was sent was a "mistake-cut" order laying around the warehouse, because they stated they did not have enough product to finish fulfilling the order after the first shipment was sent.)
President & Owner Simon Briggs was notified this complaint would be on the internet and was given ample time to discuss this. President Simon Briggs has not responded to date.
TIMELINE of EVENTS REGARDING TRANSACTION:
Fri April 13, 2007
Initiated contact with InternetLumber.com by speaking with both salesmen Jordan and John.
Mon April 16
Explain to John that 'time is of the essence' with this order and will not order unless it will be delivered exactly how and when needed. After confirming all details from conversation of April 13 with John, including that order is in stock and needs only customized size cutting before shipment. Place customized order and pay for it in-full. Representative promises the custom order will be definitely delivered within 6-9 days.
(Original Delivery Promise: by or on Wed April 25, 2007)
Wed April 25
Order did not arrived as promised. Call to find out where order is. Begin endless hours and hours of attempting communication to get order completed. Most of this time spent placed on-hold. While on hold, occasional 'teaser' message says to leave a message, which is not possible with inept system.
Th April 26
Wait 'on-hold' forever, trying to inquire as to where order is. InternetLumber.com representative says to expect a call the next day.
Fri April 27
Do not receive expected call. Must call them at the end of the day. John apologizes and promises custom order will be received before Fri May 4, 2007.
(Second Delivery Promise: by Fri May 4, 2007)
Th May 3
Call to verify status of the order, expecting it will be delivered the next day as promised. Representative says it won't be arriving as promised by Fri, but instead order will be shipped by then.
Fri May 4
Call to check that order was shipped as promised--it was not. John tells me to expect a new delivery date between Mon May 7 - Wed May 9.
(Third Delivery Promise: by Wed May 9, 2007)
Wed May 9
Product still has not arrived yet. Call again to find what is going on. John says order has been shipped and will be delivered by Mon May 14 at latest.
(Fourth Delivery Promise: by Mon May 14)
Fri May 11
Call Estes, the shipping company, to track order. Learn shipment is parked in Memphis, Tenn.
Mon May 14
Order not delivered yet but InternetLumber says it should arrive anytime.
Wed May 16
Delivery arrives, HOWEVER the CUSTOMIZED ORDER IS GROSSLY INACCURATE. Much less decking shipped than expected. Product description missing from invoice. Some pieces scratched or warped. Noted damage on delivery invoice with driver.
Fri May 18
Realize there was not nearly enough decking sent to finish the deck. Contact InternetLumber.com to complete the rest of order.
Mon May 21-Fri May 25
Call every-other-day to get undelivered merchandise. Spend unreal amounts of time 'on hold' -- like almost every time they are called. InternetLumber promises remainder of order will be shipped by Fri May 25.
(Fifth Delivery Promise: Fri May 25)
Fri June 1
Internet Lumber says order is shipped. Told that they sent everything they had in stock in their warehouse, until they receive next shipment from Brazil. (Brazilian order was not yet placed.) Shipping time of 3-4 days places expected delivery date at Mon June 4 or Tue June 5.
(Sixth Delivery Promise: by Tue June 5)
Tue June 5
Order has not arrived. Call to check on order once again.
Th June 7
Second shipment arrives. HOWEVER the grooves which inter-connect the pieces with each other are cut differently than first shipment: The pieces from the 2 different shipments don't fit together properly and are therefore unusable. Some pieces are scratched, warped, one board even broken in half. Damaged goods report made with Estes immediately (delivery company).
Fri June 8
Leave message on InternetLumber.com's answering machine that there are still problems with order and to return my call.
Mon June 11
Do not receive return call from my message. Can not fathom calling to be put on hold anymore at that time, especially knowing there was none of this decking in their warehouse.
After over Seven Weeks(!) of being "on hold" constantly for countless hours, delay after delay, numerous broken promises, and no solution in sight, patience with InternetLumber.com ends. Usable replacement decking must be purchased elsewhere!
Worst consumer experience ever, especially when spending $$ amount of this size. (Over $2,400) Drastically cheated and deceived by InternetLumber.com!
Telephone numbers connected with InternetLumber.com:
Deck Lumber Rip-Off!
Kansas City, Missouri