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Empire Today Disgracefully Dishonest - Company Responds
By -

MORAINE, OHIO -- I answered an add on Craigslist almost 2 years ago. I get a call from Empire somewhere around Mid June of 2011. I meet with the "manager" to discuss the possibility of working for them as a sub contractor. I was asked to sign countless pages of a so called "agreement", never once being shown what I was signing. I had to fill out their ridiculous forms no less than 3 separate times. Each time I would ask "What is this for"? I was told some sort of different excuse each time.

The first job I was to do for Empire, the temporary installation manager comes out to the warehouse with a blank paper with nothing more than a line for a signature. He said to me "Here you need to sign this before you start to do any work". Again I asked why, he explained it was just a technicality and that this form appears to have been lost and they need another copy of it. I loaded material to go to first job, Laminate flooring, and arriving at the job I noticed several details the sales person overlooked.

After starting to lay out the material I realized the laminate was defective. The planks/panels where not milled properly, they wear out of square and when you put the planks together it would leave uneven gaps between the planks. I called to explain this to Empire. They wanted me to continue installing the product telling me "this is typical of this product, it's fine". I refused to continue and returned to the shop to show Empire first hand how bad the material was.

There is day 1 where I invested time and was paid nothing for my time and expenses. A couple of days after that I was told they sent another crew out with the same material and they installed it, telling me that next time I have that situation to tell the customer "that is the nature of this product". Second job, I arrive at the customers house immediately seeing that the salesperson failed to accurately evaluate the scope of work. After about 2 hours of calling back and forth to Empire, they finally contacted the customer and worked out a deal for additional money to correct the salesperson's improper evaluation.

This is job #2 that nothing additional was paid to me for the extra time spent correcting their mistakes. The third job I was dispatched to, we arrive to find 3/4" hardwood glued to concrete. Which the homeowner was to have torn out himself. The customer informed us that he worked on tearing out the floor for 3 days and finally gave up. Once again I spend hours calling back and forth to Empire to try to correct this issue. Which did not only refer to the fact the floor was not taken up, but the salesperson wrote on the work order that "glue may need to be scraped up in some areas". Again another over site by the salesperson.

The installation manager tells me "do what you need to do and we will pay you very well for the extra time" and also promised me that I would be paid the following Friday as I had to spend money out of my own pocket to buy the proper leveling compound to be able to properly install their new floor. That Friday came, and no check. I was told their "policy" does not allow for a contractor to be paid outside of their "scheduled pay period" This is job #3 involving a lot of extra time, and even money out of my own pocket that I was never reimbursed for. And what little I was paid was not paid to me on time as promised.

Then the next job I was sent to I was told "We got you a real good job to help me make up for the money lost on the last few." I look at the stack of material and it is 3/4" solid Brazilian Cherry, and several buckets of glue. I informed them that "you DO NOT GLUE DOWN 3/4" SOLID WOOD!" (common knowledge/industry standard) The installation manager's response, after I asked for an in writing guarantee that I would not be charged for this job after it fails, "it is in your contract, Empire will replace it at no cost to you".

Arriving at the job site we notice that there is asbestos tile threw out the entire house. This is a type 1 asbestos that is only considered harmful if it is broken/cracked visibly degraded. In this situation the asbestos was in very poor condition and a danger to anyone in the home. I was first told "come back to the shop and get a leveling compound/patch to cover all the asbestos tile (which is acceptable if the asbestos containing material is in good shape.) Only after they realized that I was sent to the job with the incorrect flooring material (the 3/4" wood I pointed out from the very beginning) was I told to leave the job site.

The next day about noon I was called by Empire demanding that I go back out to the job site and remove the carpet so I could save the job for Empire and they would not lose this customer. I again explained the condition of the asbestos and I went on to explain that if I removed the carpet it would disturb the degraded asbestos underneath of it putting myself and the occupants of the home in real danger and the response I got was "you will only crack the tile a little bit here and there when you pull the tack strip up." I said "no I am not comfortable doing that."

Not 15 minutes later the same guy from Empire calls me again. "We really need you to go out and save this job for us, we really got egg on our faces over this one." I again said no, to which he told me "come on and do this for us and you can put a feather in your cap and if you don't do it you will be blacklisted." To which I responded "if that's how you need it to be, fine!" and hung up. This is job #4 that I was never paid anything for the time invested (about 4 hours) loading material in and out of the customer's house and countless phone calls back and forth to Empire while stuck at the job site.

To any customer thinking about having Empire out to your home, I hope this gives you a small look behind the scenes and what goes on there. I am not looking to get millions of dollars from them, I simply want what is rightfully owed to me. They have been reported to OSHA, The Federal Trade Commission, The Bureau of Workmans Comp, The Attorney General of Ohio, and to all of the local news "trouble shooters". I will not rest until Empire is forced to close there doors!

I was never shown a "price list" their pay scale was never disclosed to me. I was asked to sign countless papers with no explanation of what they wear or why I needed to sign them. I was given an excuse for everything, lied to countless times, and not paid for my time and efforts. I was told by the general manager of this Empire location that "there are costs to doing business" and I was told every excuse as to why they could not pay me.

The office staff at this location is without a doubt the most unorganized mislead group of individuals I have ever had the misfortune of meeting. One person will tell you one thing, then the next person tell you something completely different. I urge all potential customers and/or contractors thinking of getting involved with Empire to take a good long look at not only this review but the countless others out there. They advertise in such a way as to make people believe they are saving money by using Empire, when in reality they are spending more!

Places like Empire are driving skilled trades people to work for minimum wage and introducing less skilled people into the trade due to their ridiculously low pay scales.

Company Response 1/24/2012:

We apologize if you felt you did not have a positive experience while working as an independent contractor. While we strive to create a positive atmosphere for all our contractors, misunderstandings can occur and we are happy to help address and resolve this issue.

We are confident that all work performed is in accordance with local regulations and accepted industry standards and we continuously strive to provide exceptional service for our customers.

Please feel free to contact Steven Jedras at 888-583-3000 x4345 to further discuss and resolve your concerns.

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Pushy, Unprofessional Salesman
By -

We requested a 'free estimate' from Empire Carpet to install berber rugs in our 2nd floor bedrooms and hallway. The salesman showed up on time and was friendly and personable at first. After he took the measurements we sat down at the kitchen table to look at samples. Before he went out to the car he asked me which kind of carpet I wanted. I said berber so he brought back a book for berber that contained 9 different colors and a book for plush (which is the complete opposite).

The samples only have Empire Carpet's logo on them and not the actual manufacturer's name. In the commercials and on the website, Empire claims they carry all of the popular brands but won't tell you which one is which. The salesman starts writing down a bunch of numbers on a blank sheet of paper. He starts by telling me "Here is the regular price and here is the deal I'm going to give you". The regular price was around $2000 and his price was $1600. When I asked him if "His Price" was part of the 60% deal that is always advertised on the website, he wouldn't give me a straight answer.

This was the first quote we had seen and we weren't sure if it was fair or not so we wanted to continue with seeking other estimates. He explained to us that the process is very simple. The installers will come on the day we schedule and all we have to do is hand them our credit card before they start their work... Oh and we have to cut him a $100 deposit on the spot to secure the deal and the appointment, all before anyone does any work. Is this typical? He assured us that we would get our deposit back if we cancelled within 3 days.

As soon as we said "no, we're not committing today," he flipped a switch and his nice guy salesman attitude turned hostile. He started yelling "You're going to make me drive back here again to collect my deposit?!" First off all, what makes you think I'm going to call you back after that outburst. He might have had a chance with us if he didn't have a reaction like that.

So after he started talking in circles for several minutes to get us to change our mind and he realized we weren't going to, he angrily gathered up his weak samples and stuffed my estimate in his briefcase. When I asked him for a copy of my estimate he snapped at me and said "You know what the price is, it's $1588!" And then he let himself out. He then sat in his car in my driveway for another 4 minutes thinking that I was going to run out there with a check after all that.

I became obsessed with the experience and searched the internet to find that hundreds of people around the country had the same experience. How is this company rated A+ with the BBB? I've read other reviews about people who have actually used Empire and the installation quality had a lot of issues too.

I ended up going with a local flooring company and the salesman took the time to explain to me that since I'm putting carpet down for the first time (over hardwood) that I would need to shave the bottom of my closet and bedroom doors because of the padding and carpet will elevate the floor making them difficult to close. He also explained the difference of going with carpet that comes off a smaller roll which means I'd have seams that could come apart over time vs. a larger roll where I'd be paying for more due to a lot of waste.

I will always stick with local small businesses in the future and will gladly pay an extra couple of hundred dollars if I have to, to know that my money is going to an honest hard working professional.

Company Response 12/21/2010:

Thank you for bringing your sales experience to our attention. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. We are dedicated to service and satisfaction; please contact us at 800-588-2300 to assist you.

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Free estimate! Beware, nothing in life is free!!
By -

FLORIDA -- So I set up an appointment for a FREE estimate on carpet and installation The scheduled time window was from 3 to 5 pm. The salesperson came at about 4:30. He looked around, took some measurements and asked some questions. He went to his car and brought in 4 samples. That's it. When I asked about price he steered clear of answering. When I asked about manufactures, again he avoided answering. I knew only one of the samples was near what I could afford. Still he quoted two. I asked about the manufacturer and price, again he danced around answering the questions. Finally I get a quote. That's what I was waiting for. Still no manufacturer.

Then he proceeds to tell me that it's a free estimate, but for his time because he did come out here... He saw my face, slightly appalled I imagine, and said "let me start over. Forget I said that." Like I am really going to forget that he said that. He wanted a fifty dollar deposit. But all I wanted was an estimate. I rushed out the door to make it to my new house on time, assuming he may have done the same. I don't live there yet, because I need Carpet, so I didn't have a way to do a deposit. He goes outside to call his boss. Of course I eavesdropped the best I could without getting up.

He comes back in and says his boss will let me do it with no deposit and knocked $261 off estimate. Why not give me that price to begin with? I'm still a little confused as to why I needed to place a deposit on estimated work, while I planned on still looking around. Then it comes, what day do you want to install it? I was placing an order. Since "I am not ready to decide yet" was not an acceptable, I let him proceed. If he wants to waste my time, I can waste his. It's now 6 pm. I'm hungry, I had errands to still do and I'm falling behind schedule. I decided to let him do whatever he was trying to do.

As I read the paper, I find after 3 days, I am in a binding contract that if I do cancel I am responsible to pay 15% of the estimated price. I had him write on the contract that I can cancel without penalty anytime before the day of installation. Still I proceeded. After all the paper work was done and he was collecting his 4 samples and briefcase I asked again who is the manufacturer? "Oh, I don't know." wow. I looked at him..."Let me look it up." Finally "SHAW."

When I went home and researched the carpet he pushed my way and nowhere does it say the KEEPSAKE II is a Shaw carpet. In fact I can't find it anywhere. Needless to say I cancelled the VERY NEXT DAY. All it cost me was a few minutes on the phone and a postage stamp. If only my estimate was that simple.

Company Response 10/13/2010:

Thank you for bringing your sales experience to our attention. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. We are dedicated to service and satisfaction; please contact us at 800-588-2300 to assist you.

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Some "Inside" Information About Empire Carpet
By -

There are some important things that consumers should understand about Empire Carpets' business plan. First, almost none of the people you interact with are actual employees of the company. Generally, people understand that the installers are contractors. Did you know that the sales reps are contractors too? Every sales representative is a 1099 employee that is required to set up a personal corporation within 60 days of employment. And, of course, the sales reps earn 100% commission with no other compensation.

That means that the temptation to over-quote and give false promises is outrageous. Once you pay the company and the sale is final, the sales representative gets his/her commission. Because the sales representative is not an actual employee, there is little reprimand for outright lying to a customer in order to close a sale. That is why the reviews on the sales force are across the board. Some people are just unscrupulous while others actually have some sense of integrity.

In the sales rep's mind, he/she doesn't even work for Empire. And legally that is the case. The sales reps are contracted vendors who provide sales services for empire for a commission cut. Empire is legally separating itself from its own sales force. (I can only assume that customer service representatives are actual employees. I have no knowledge to the contrary.)

As for the 60% off sale: OF COURSE, the sale is only on the cheapest, poorest quality carpets they have. This is common. Does anyone really think you'll get top-of-the-line designer carpet for 60% off? The company baits you with the glossy sale offer and then the sales representative comes in to try to up-sale you on something that you really want. (I guarantee you that you don't want the sale carpet.) But understand that this is NOT just an Empire Carpet thing. All companies do this.

Now, I don't know if the 60% off is supposed to include installation as well. I highly doubt it. Chances are that it is just the materials on discount, and that may be why people are still shocked at how high the price is. Next, Empire Carpet knows that they have high prices. They tell you that you are getting a good deal because they hope you'll believe it. But this is also a common sales practice. Consumers should always comparison shop. Also, there is nothing wrong with negotiating with a company for the best price. When you are making high-priced purchases, ALWAYS negotiate.

I'm researching this company because my husband was recently hired as a sales representative and has just started training. The person that hired him told him that the biggest problem they have is sales reps lying to the customers and giving false expectations. Expectations that the company will not honor. Maybe if their sales force were actual company employees, they wouldn't have that problem. But the amount of complaints they get from fraudulent sales reps must pale in comparison to the amount of money they make from not having to pay payroll tax, health benefits, life insurance, retirement, and anything else for their employees.

All companies get complaints, but I am shocked to see the volume of complaints against this company. Customers consistently complain about quality of carpet, being over-quoted on price, feeling misled by advertising, and extremely poor customer service. I'm going to bring all of this up to my husband this evening, because he does not want to work for a company that is fraudulent in any way.

It seems like the company has left many of you with no other recourse than to actually sue them for breech of contract. That would cost more than replacing your carpets, and the headache of using the court system isn't worth it. Corporations know this. One more thing: Empire Carpets is privately held. This is unlike companies like Lowe's and Home Depot. In publicly traded companies, bad press pisses off the stock holders and stock prices drop. Private companies often have more tolerance for bad publicity.

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Poor Quality Carpet, Poor Customer Service
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

ILLINOIS -- I purchased carpet in 2008 for my 2nd floor. 1 year later the carpet showed signed of delamination and ripples. I called their 800 number and they sent someone over and said it needed to be restretched. I had it done. Over the years it has come back. I filed a claim this October, and the millions of things they requested included pictures of my vacuum, receipts for cleaning, and do I have pets, or is there high traffic in the room? I was waiting for them to ask me for a urine sample. Lo and behold they decided they will not honor the warranty for the carpet.

I have numerous jobs for them during the year that I have supplied to them, as I do home repair on an emergency basis, and to be delayed and treated this way is very poor customer service. I am better off having Home Depot to do it moving forward. Even their numbers supplied by them are not working, and you have to go through the entire call in process to get to the customer service area.

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No Follow Up
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA -- We had flooring installed and we noticed that if we went barefoot our feet would become black. I called Empire's customer service and kept getting a runaround. Finally they sent a crew over. All they did is look and photograph my feet, and conduct no other tests. They concluded that the floor was dirty.

I then called and they send over a very professional third party source that took white rags and ran them across the floor and he found black residue, not dirt on the rags. He then cleaned a few areas with acetone and still found the rags had black residue. He indicated he could give me no final results or a copy of his report because Empire was his customer. Almost a month later Janet from Empire called but I was not available. I called back an hour later and then again, but no response. I have called at least twice for four days and have not gotten a call back.

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Late, Bullying, Salesman
By -

DELAWARE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA -- So, I made an appointment for a FREE Estimate with Empire Carpet. The appointment was scheduled for between 11 am and 1 pm, although the Salesperson did not show until closer to 2 pm. I called the office several times to see where the salesperson was and when to expect them since I had taken the morning off from work, and was sitting in an empty apartment since I do not live there yet. The company told me that the salesperson was lost, not familiar with the area, and would be there shortly.

When the Salesperson arrived - He barely got two feet in the door before he started his spiel, stating that Empire does a TON of work in that area and they have exemplary customer service. We questioned how he could do a ton of work in the area, yet be lost for over an hour and the sales person had not good answer. At some point in his drawn out speech on Empire's Award winning Customer Service, he pulled out his large black box/brief case and I thought that we were finally going to look at some carpet, but no - He proceeded to show us all of the awards Empire has won and continued to tell us how fantastic and trustworthy the company is.

Finally, we got on the topic of carpet - He asked if we were renting the property and if the decision maker was present. We explained that I was renting the unit and my dad is present because he is the contractor overseeing all of the renovations (therefore the decision maker). The Salesperson then began arguing with us, saying that the website asks that the decision maker be present for the appointment. I explained that I read and understood that portion of the website and ultimately my dad and I would be making the decision, but right now we are gathering estimates.

The salesperson then preceded to tell me that Empire pays him 350 dollars to come to make these visits and if we do not give a definitive YES or NO answer THAT DAY- Empire will not send someone back out to the home. We asked if he could write up the estimate and then we can just call and make an appointment with the installer, but the Salesperson stated that that is not how Empire operates and it cannot be done.

The Salesperson went on to explain how much of a waste of time it is for him to come out when we are not going to give him a clear YES or No that day. My dad finally interjected and told the Salesperson that he was wasting our time and asked him to leave. The salesperson huffed and puffed and made some rude comments before finally exiting the home.

I immediately called Empire and informed them of our interaction. I asked them flat out- if requiring a definitive YES or NO before giving the estimate is the company's usual practice and the representative said "No, Absolutely not." The representative asked that he put me on hold and when he returned to the line (5 minutes later) he stated that he sent my complaint to a manager and to expect a call from them soon. Still no word from them and honestly - I'm not expecting a call from the manager.

Company Response 11/08/2010:

Thank you for bringing your sales experience to our attention. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. We are dedicated to service and satisfaction; please contact us at 800-588-2300 to assist you.

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Experience with Empire Direct
StarStarStarStarStarBy -
Rating: 5/51

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -- Excellent all the way through. Salesman showed up on time, very professional and extremely knowledgeable of the product. Gave us many option on style and color. Installers were a little late due to finishing up a job from day before, but made sure to contact me and inform me so I was not just waiting. But arrived ready to work. The team was very professional. Moved all the furniture and put it back when done. I was able to watch the whole process, they never minded me asking questions. Explained the whole process. Can't wait to have the new vinyl flooring installed next.

Company Response 05/01/2015:

Thanks for sharing, Neil! We're thrilled to know you enjoyed your experience with us, and we're glad that everyone you worked with was helpful and accommodating. We hope you're enjoying the new look and feel of your home, and we look forward to working with you on future home improvement projects! Thank you. Jeanette Ramey, National Customer Service Manager

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Empire Carpet is Slimey
By -

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA -- I have a 260 sq ft room with an adjacent flight of stairs that I needed to get recarpeted and always feel vulnerable when talking to salespeople, especially, if the subject is something that I don't have too much knowledge in. I had gotten my first quote before meeting the "Empire man" and it was roughly about $600. I wanted a second opinion and was willing to splurge a couple hundred more if the price was in the range. I set up the appointment and for doing so online I received a $200 off coupon. The "salesman" did arrive on time and was quite cheery. I took him up to measure the room and stairs; he soon realized that I didn't know too much of what to expect.

It gets funny from here, because after he measured, to my shock, he said that it was 400 sq ft (completely off, because I had been worrying about the pricing and had measured/remeasured; all that on top of the first quote whose measurements matched up to mine).

The first person that gave me the estimate gave me the option of different carpet textures and pricing per yard. The empire guy didn't give me any of the pricing per yard and showed me which pad was going to be used (wouldn't let me switch, because he said the yellow stain-resistant pad is the only thing that Empire is allowed to use, meanwhile, I see many other pad samples in his bag that he won't show).

He gets to writing and he has two initial quotes. One for $1400 and the other for $1600. OK... so I tell him that I have another quote and showed it to him and he scoffed at the price and tells me that the people that gave me the quote likely didn't know what they were doing, I would get poor service, and I couldn't trust them. He goes back to his writing and now gets it down to $1200 (still a shocker) and says he might be able to get it lower if I could agree the same day, but I was confident that he wasn't going to beat the first estimate so I told him that I wanted to wait and make a decision.

He says that the offer would then be at $1200. I said OK, helped him pick up his samples and helped him out to his truck. I thought the sales-con was over, but this guy was SLIMEY!! We were at the table with the first quote, the one he scoffed at, and after he leaves **ta da** it's gone!! I know he took it with him and I couldn't help but to chuckle for a good hour, because I didn't think that a salesman would stoop so low. I luckily did have the phone number of the first estimator, but really... I can't say that I would ever consider Empire after the dirty trick. All in all... Empire makes sales and they have their salesguy running numbers instead of looking at the basic cost of the project.

Company Response 09/16/2010:

Thank you for bringing your sales experience to our attention. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. We are dedicated to service and satisfaction; please contact us at 800-588-2300 so we can assist you.

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Robbed Me Blind... Literally
By -

30102, GEORGIA -- I had an in home visit from one of their salespeople and it was great. She was helpful and the price was really good. I scheduled the installation and was very excited about getting fresh new carpet for my house. The installers came on time. The crew manager was great, he answered all of my questions and was generally very friendly. He had 2 Hispanic guys working with him. They spoke no English. They finished in 3.5 hours and I was so excited. The carpet looked great. I was thoroughly satisfied. I really thought I would get to go out onto the internet and write a good review of the company. That is, until I started unpacking my stuff that I boxed up to get out of the way.

I unpacked a box and thought that there was some CD's and a DVD missing, but I wasn't sure. That prompted me to check my jewelry box that was in a box under stuff in the bathroom. When I did I was shocked to find 6 rings missing from my jewelry box. One of which was my grandmother's wedding rings (she passed away last Feb and that's all I have left of her). Those rings were on a gold chain. The chain was snapped and the rings gone. I was so upset, I was literally devastated.

I immediately called the crew manager that was at my house and told him that I had belongings missing. He was able to stop his crew. One of the men was working with him for the very first day ever. This guy handed over 2 of my rings, but nothing else.

By that time I had contacted the local police and they were at my house. Long story short, what ended up happening was the crew manager and his wife came all the way back here from the warehouse in rush hour traffic to give a statement with me to the police. It was really great of him to do that and he didn't have to do anything.
If that wasn't bad enough, Empire was notified also and they told me that someone would call me in 24 hrs. They should have made that a priority.

The lady called me the next day got information and said she would call back. She took 4 hours to do so. When she called back (after 2 msgs from me) she gave me the B. S. line of "we are going to cooperate with the police". When I asked what the company was going to do for me, she repeated that line FREAKING PARROT! She wouldn't explain anything.

I spoke with the Installation Manager here in Atlanta and he basically told me that b/c legal is involved they can't discuss it with me. They aren't doing anything to resolve the fact that I paid $1800 to be robbed! This could happen to anyone with any company. My point is that EMPIRE has no customer service to speak of. I wish I had gone with someone else even if I had to pay more money. Beware of Empire.

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Empire Carpet Rating:
Star Half star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.4 out of 5, based on 44 ratings and
100 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
Empire Carpet
333 Northwest Ave
Northlake, IL 60164
1-800-588-2300 (ph)
www.empirecarpet-flooring.com
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