Tampa woman ripped out Lumber Liquidators flooring

Tampa, Florida -- Jacquie Shabel says she knew something just wasn't right with the 59 boxes of laminate wood flooring she purchased in February from Lumber Liquidators to renovate her rental home in Tampa.

With her 5-year-old son Rhys and their 3 dogs staying at the home for renovations the California resident says she was hesitant to even have it installed.

She says, "As I walked into the living room the smell hit me. It was awful. It was this horrible, toxic, chemical smell. I got scared. I got scared of what the smell was."

Shabel says she called the Lutz store where she purchased the flooring but was reassured the smell would die down eventually so she had installers put the flooring in. She says it turned out beautiful but the smell didn't go away. In fact she says it was so overwhelming she took her family to a hotel for a few days.

After a $3,000 investment and the smell still didn't fade Shabel says she hired a demolition crew to remove every single plank to return to the store. She says, "I had to ask for my money back and he said okay we'll give you your money back. But for the installation and the demo you're going to have to talk to corporate about that."

Shabel says when they arrived at the store with the wood though the store the manager refused to refund her money saying the wood was no longer in the boxes that she'd purchased it in. After calling the corporate office they too would not issue her a refund she says.

The single mother says she hadn't seen the recent 60 Minutes report that went undercover at three Chinese factories that produce laminate flooring for Lumber Liquidators. It exposed excessive levels of the cancer causing chemical formaldehyde in the glue used to bind wood particles that make up the core of the laminated boards. 30 of the 31 boxes of the product labeled compliant were not.

Lumber Liquidators objects to the type of testing done and says it does its own testing. They stand by their product and say it's safe. Despite that they're now making free air quality testing tests available and if necessary say they will replace the flooring.

A class action suit has already been filed in California and another is in the process of being filed in Florida at Knopf Bigger law firm. Andrew Knopf says consumers can call his office if they've been impacted but he says the class action suit isn't intended to compensate people for any physical injuries or illnesses and he recommends that consumers see a doctor right away if they feel the wood could be making them sick.

Knopf also says class action lawsuits take time to resolve so aren't an easy fix if you're hoping to go that route to have your floors replaced.

Meanwhile Shabel says it's too late for her. Friday afternoon she'd hired a crew to install tile that has the same look at wood. She says of her experience with Lumber Liquidators, "My experience has been awful."

While the manager at Lumber Liquidators in Lutz did not return our phone call. A representative of a public relations firm hired to take media calls for Lumber Liquidators did call 10 News to say they are looking into Shabel's complaint.

This is the list of wood tested:

8 mm Dream Home Nirvana French Oak Laminate Flooring
8 mm Dream Home Nirvana Royal Mahogany Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Americas Mission Olive Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Poplar Forest Oak Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Antique Bamboo Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Cape Doctor Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Fumed African Ironwood Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Glacier Peak Poplar Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Golden Teak Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Handscraped Imperial Teak Laminate Flooring (SKU 10029601)
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Handscraped Imperial Teak Laminate Flooring (SKU 10023958)
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Handscraped Summer Retreat Teak Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Sandy Hills Hickory Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Tanzanian Wenge Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Warm Springs Chestnut Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James African Mahogany Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James Blacksburg Barn Board Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James Brazilian Koa Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James Cumberland Mountain Oak Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James Golden Acacia Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James Nantucket Beech Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James Oceanside Plank Bamboo Laminate Flooring
12 mm Dream Home St. James Vintner's Reserve Laminate Flooring
15 mm Dream Home St. James Sky Lakes Pine Laminate Flooring


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