Shiver Me Tin, Er…

The tin ceiling arrived the other day, uh, days. Rather a surprise, particularly since one huge box of it was just suddenly out there on the porch one evening (glad I looked up there cuz the UPS driver didn’t ring, according to the person inside). Thing is, one side of it had been banged, despite the “fragile” warnings, and the edges of the stuff inside were creased. Another thing is, there was supposed to be another box of it. When I checked the UPS site, I got the news that the second box had been rescheduled due to nobody being available to sign, which is silly because the first box was never signed for, but I dally with the devil on this.

So the next day the second box did miraculously appear, along with a box full of noxious chemicals that are going to save my windows, with again no attempt at notification or signature-getting. Again, the box was a bit battered and again the contents were a bit creased.

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So, having paid a heap of money for this stuff, despite getting a 10% discount during a sale, I felt obliged to point out the damage and see whether I could get new pieces sent. In all, 9 of the 22 2×4′ panels were bent, and about a half-dozen of the cornice pieces were crunched, and one of the panels was scratched up. So, as you can see, we took pics and sat down to write out an inquiry to the company.

But as I was looking over the pieces again and writing out the e-mail, I started to wonder whether I could just bend back the banged edges. I bent some back, and the damage was just barely detectable. Then I wondered how much of a trial the process of complaining to UPS and getting replacements was going to be. But I wrote the e-mail with pics attached and called it a night.

Today about 11 a.m. I got a call at my office from the tin company. The rep was very polite but matter-of-fact, and we talked about the damage and my options. He said he had looked over my photos and seen the damage and wanted to let me know that he might have a different perspective from mine. He inquired about where the damage was, and verified that it was only at the edges, and then he told me that in his view that damage was not very bad and easily fixed. And he told me how I could bend it back and reshape it with a rubber mallet, and he verified again that it was just at the edges, and we talked about the various options. I let him know that I had wondered the night before whether the damage on my pieces was really all that bad, so I was pleased to hear his view. Then I talked a bit about how I was rather surprised and upset for the boxes to just suddenly show up, and not at the same time. I suspect that’s a large part of why I was fixated on the damage.

So I’m recording this mostly to say that I’m pleased with the customer service with this company. Of course, they’d rather I didn’t make them send new pieces. But I really do not think the rep I spoke with was sweet-talking me out of what I deserve, but instead explaining to me the reality of shipping and installing this product. That guy and I talked it over tonight and looked at the ceiling layout and how much tile we might end up cutting off, and we agree that we’re good.

I must say that particularly in contrast to another tin ceiling company I dealt with while getting samples, this one is aces. The other company responded to my e-mail about damage by not responding. When I inquired a week later, I got a snooty reply that suggested the delay was my fault for not sending pictures. When I sent pictures and asked about a refund, I got a query about whether I was going to buy more product. And when I sent a civil but very clear request for a refund, I got another attitude-filled retort about it taking time to process a credit refund. I had wanted to give my business to this company because they’re from my hometown, but the way they dealt with me made that impossible.

So it’ll be many months before we actually install the tin ceiling. But now I’ve got the parts. The only disappointing bit of info I learned from the man at the cool company was that I’m advised to paint the ceiling, even though I bought the prepainted white panels. He said it was likely the finish would get marred in installation, and using the touchup paint was like putting nail polish on a Cadillac. We’ll just have to see if we can do a flawless install—stay tuned!

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