Lumber Liquidators and Potential Formaldehyde Exposure: What a Customer Should Do Now

If you happened to watch or read the business section of the news in the last 48 hours, then you’re probably aware that Lumber Liquidators is finding itself in a bit of hot water over the sourcing of some of its laminate flooring products. In short, questions have been raised by journalist testing about the chemicals contained in specific laminate flooring products that the company stated met California safety specifications. The tests seem to indicate the presence of chemicals like formaldehyde are much higher than acceptable regulatory levels allowed. Given that Lumber Liquidators sourced the specific products from China has only added kerosene to the reaction fire currently causing the company’s stock to drop more than a third from previous share levels (memories of Chinese drywall product problems from a few years ago are resurfacing again).

For those who actually have bought Lumber Liquidators’ laminate flooring recently, the matter is far more than just a news story, obviously. And it likely has or will raise questions in a household about what do next. The first step is to positively confirm what laminate flooring product was actually installed and when. Ideally, a homeowner will have saved the receipt that had the details on it; the final job closing information, product SKU and detail, as well as the date of the work should be included. All of this information is needed to then pursue the second step – confirming with Lumber Liquidators if the product installed is one of those affected or in question. It may be, since many outlets are dealerships, that the office staff will respond they don’t know or have no such information that any of their products are confirmed as a problem. This likely response is already probably in place to limit legal risks. What store or contact is unable or unwilling to confirm the product in question, a customer has two choices. On the one hand he can use public information from the media so far to confirm a connection, or two he could hire a legal office to make a legal request for the same information from the company’s office.

Given that Lumber Liquidators is probably in full damage control right now, a formal response, even to a legal request, may take days or weeks. So the media may be the faster route for general confirmation of potential product issues. However, for any recovery, replacement, or mitigation of laminate flooring in question, a customer will likely need to exercise his warranty and legal rights with professional representation to get any action to occur. While a homeowner could, in theory, take out the laminate flooring immediately and replace it with a confirmed safe alternative product, that does not guarantee a recovery will include the removal and replacement costs. So some delay in remediation action may be necessary to keep in mind.

Again, for a full recovery, legal advocacy and representation is likely going to be necessary, especially if the company is realizing multiple complaints and demands at the same time.

See full 60 Minutes coverage.