Sept. 25, 2012 -- The buyer of a futuristic, $73,000 glass pool table claims he's been snookered. In a complaint filed in Orange Country, Calif., superior court, the buyer alleges that the maker, Nottage Design of Australia, neglected to disclose one important fact about the table:
Play on it with anything but specially-coated, custom-made balls, and you scratch the glass.
Brant Martin, a Dallas attorney representing the buyer (identified in the suit only as Desert Beach, an LLC) says his client learned this fact the hard way: He bought a $73,000 custom G-1 glass-top table for home use, played on it with "a standard set of pool balls, the kind that might be found in any pool hall," and discovered to his horror that this left the table "scuffed, scratched, damaged—essentially destroyed."
The suit says shipping materials that accompanied the table included a sealed envelope with an inconspicuous notation saying that the balls shipped by Nottage were specially made for use with the table—but that this amounted to the "hiding" of so material a warning.
The buyer feels an injustice has been done, says Martin. The complaint seeks $219,000 in damages. Nottage, asked for comment by ABC News, did not respond.
Nottage's website describes the table's glass surface as protected by Vitrik, a proprietary coating "which allows the balls to roll silently at a near identical rate to a standard cloth table… It's highly durable, completely non-toxic and is transparent." The site says the custom balls it sells are coated with a special finish "compatible" with Vitrik. "Please only use these balls," it advises.
Martin says this warning was added only after his client ruined his table and complained to the company. Prior to that, his client alleges, Nottage's website left buyers with the impression they could play with standard pool balls.
The suit claims that at the time the buyer researched and negotiated his purchase, Nottage never once mentioned that its tables could only be used with its own specially-coated balls.
Jesse Rothberg, store manager at Blatt Billiards in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, says he is familiar with the G-1 glass table, which he first saw at a trade show in Las Vegas. He's also seen a copy of the lawsuit.
The table, he says, "didn't look very viable" to him. "I shot a couple of balls on it, because it was there for the exhibit. We all had the same reaction: nothing spectacular. I wasn't thrilled with the action or the balls."
Blatt, in business since 1923, sells traditional slate-topped, fabric-covered models. In the pantheon of pricey pool tables, what could $73,000 buy you?
"Something pretty spectacular," says Rothberg—a nice antique. Then again, you could get what's in the store's front window: A one-of-a-kind gothic job in teak. Price: $250,000.
Expensive, true; but you play on it with regular old balls.