I’ve been working on a number of problems related to materials that I ordered from Texas and later shipped to Panama. For the most part, I’ve had fairly good luck with the majority of items I have purchased, especially given the number of pieces I ultimately shipped overseas.
It’s no surprise to run into problems when so many things have to go right in order to have shipment leave one country and land at your doorstep in another a few thousand kilometers away. For example, I’ve had a number of items go missing from my container when it was held for ransom on the docks in Panama by the customs officials. Everything had to be removed, inspected and then re-packed into the same container. Things can go missing and it’s not a surprise when they do. So I have to replace a few new light fixtures, a couple of shelving units and a chair. One would think if you were going to steal a chair you would try to get both chairs as they are a matching pair. In my case, it appears one chair is enough. This is Panama and nothing has to make any sense.
I’ve also had problems with missing granite counter tops that did not make the container in Texas, so problems can happen on the other end, not just Panama. I’m working on resolving that problem now with the supplier and I’m hopeful we can come to a happy resolution.
At the moment, I’m working on the Blanco Carrara marble that I ordered from Emser Tile in Texas for the entire powder room. All of it arrived in good condition but not all of the tile is Blanco (white) Carrara. This may not make much of a difference to most people but in my case, I ordered White Carrara for good reason and it has to be all White Carrara for this room. It’s easy to confuse white marble for White Carrara marble. There are certainly Carrara look-a-likes or people who may try to sell you Carrara marble that is white but quarried from some other country. The reality is there is only one Carrara marble and it comes from the Pyrenees in Carrara, Italy. It might look similar but if it’s not from Carrara it’s not Carrara. End of story.
Update: Today, I travelled to the local importer of Italian Marble and Granite called Bordignon. I spoke with the owner who is Italian and travels to Italy a few times a year to buy product. He spent a considerable amount of time explaining the differences in Carrara marble and he also stated that they have other types of Carrara marble. It appears that the product that was shipped to me matches perfectly with a marble called Calacatta Carrara which has warmer undertones of beige and light yellow. This is exactly what was shipped to me, not the Blanco Carrara that I ordered. You can see the difference in this photo:
The photo below shows the same sample up against the warmer Calacutta Carrara marble and you can see it matches the warmer Carrara perfectly:
In my case, I received an order of Carrara tile that was simply labeled as “white marble” and sold to me as Blanco Carrara. The true color of Blanco Carrara is white with streaks of grey to black and combinations of both. It does not have any other colors and it certainly does not have warm undertones. The white is usually a cooler white when it appears without any grey or black and there are variations in color from white to grey with streaks of black like these photos:
If you look at the last photo of Carrara tiles you can see the difference between the old product and the replacement that I reordered from the same company. The small 1×1 inch marble tile has colors of light yellowish beige color in them and the larger 2×2 tiles are correct in color. Further investigation with Emser tile states that the marble came from India where their supplier supposedly originated tile from Carrara Italy. What’s your opinion?
Emser Tile has agreed to refund my money if I get the tile back to them – That leaves me with another problem; The cost of the shipping the product back from Panama is equal to the price of the tiles. Certainly a good move on Emser’s part knowing that it’s unlikely that I will pay for the shipping costs. Bottom line, these are not Blanco Carrara tiles. They don’t match any of the rest of the shipment that came along with this order from Emser Tile and I have now confirmed with another importer of Carrara marble that the product I received from Emser is not Blanco Carrara. As far as I’m concerned, Emser is playing nice knowing that I’m not going to spend the money and it won’t cost them anything. I intend to take them to task and will report anything new as it become available.
Update June 28, 2012: Emser has refunded half my cost and let me keep the original order of marble.