Empire Today — terrible company overall
Last year (I believe May 2007 to be exact) we decided to purchase new carpet for our entire downstairs area, our stairs leading to the upper level, the living room upstairs, and the upstairs hallway. We decided to give Empire Today a try after seeing all of the commercials. We met with the salesman (who came to our house) one night to discuss the different carpet Empire Today has to offer. We explained our needs as far as foot traffic and desired carpet life. The salesman recommended one of their higher end carpets. It was more than we wanted to spend, but based on the salesman's suggestion, we decided to go with it. We also opted for a higher end pad to help with the carpet life. He assured us that the carpet we were purchasing was a very durable carpet and would continue to look new for quite a few years.
It is now a year later and we have had nothing but issues with the carpet, the installation, the local Empire Today office, and Empire Today customer service. The installers rushed the job and left without making sure everything was correct (they needed to go out and get a beer). There is a seam that goes the length of the upstairs living room and can be seen in any lighting and from any angle. There is a hole in the carpet where it connects to the carpet in my son's room. We can literally pull the carpet up as if it was never tacked down in many places in the house, including the stairs. The carpet is uneven along the walls where they didn't cut it right or didn't tack it down right. They didn't use any border strips when going from one room to another, we actually had to pursuade them to use what few existing strips were already there) The carpet is also discoloring in many places, some places more than others. All this from what was told to us was a higher end carpet that would last and from their "professional" installers. To put the icing on the cake, we have paid in full the price of the carpet. So they have their money and we have a pile of crap.
We called the Empire Today 800 number and they put us in touch with the local office. At the local office we spoke with a Sara. Her contact number is [protected] x4086. They sent out an inspector (paid by them of course) to test our carpet and report back to them the results. During his "testing", he didn't test in the problem areas (and we pointed all of them out), but rather tested in the very few areas where there aren't any issues, mostly where there is no foot traffic or furniture. In addition, he could not perform at least one of his tests due to equipment malfunction. After he performed what tests he could, he left saying that he would send his report to the local office. We don't understand how a report could be filed when he didn't even perform all of the tests! Especially when that report is supposed to detail the findings of the testing which in turn determines what action Empire Today takes. I guess that is what to expect when the company you have an issue with pays for an "inspector" to come out. How in the world can anyone be sure that "inspector" will give a good report? However, he did file the report.
We received a call from the local office saying that they would replace the padding only on the stairs and would perform "power stretching" for the rest of the carpet. According to them, power stretching "should help with the wear and make the carpet stand back up". Also, they claim that it should help with the very visible seam. Of course they are not giving any guarantee that it will stand back up or with the seam, leaving us with the same worn and discolored carpet that we have the issue with. After many calls the local office agreed to replace the carpet on the stairs only, but that the rest of the house would still be power stretched. We continued to ask them why their "higher end" carpet would wear like this. They didn't give us any straight answers.
We decided to contact the 800 number again. I spoke with a customer service manager who then referred me to the "office of the President". I believe she is the President over this market. Who knows, she could be president of sanitation. Her name is Helen Brown and her contact info is [protected] x7782. I explained the situation to her and told her that we were not interested in getting the same carpet from Empire Today since our experience with the carpet was that it didn't last and that it was far from what we would consider "higher end". Plus, it is our understanding that the installers that did such a poor job for us are still employed with the company! So basically we were offered more sub-par carpet to be more than likely installed by the same terrible installers that did such a bad job in the first place. We told her that we wanted nothing less than at least a refund of the installation cost and partial refund of the carpet cost if not a full refund all together considering we purchased carpet based on the salesman's suggestion and we don't feel that the carpet we purchased is as good as the salesman claimed it to be. I mean come on, it's only been a year and the carpet looks this bad, as if it's been here for 5 years! I also told her that I am ready to file a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau against the local office as well as the Empire Today corporation as a whole. She said she would look into the issue and get back to me the next day. She did contact me the next day, however she only offered the same resolution that the local office did, to replace the carpet and pad on the stairs only and power stretch the rest of the carpet. So that tells me that she didn't listen to a single word I said to her the previous day and just passed on the same pitiful "resolution" that the local office gave to us. She also stated that we needed to have the carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year. So that to me means spending more money to fix their carpet issue. All in all, we feel that Empire Today doesn't care about their customer since they don't want to resolve this to our satisfaction. They want to give us the same poor carpet (on the stairs only) that we are unhappy with and only "try" to "fix" the rest of the carpet.
At this point, we are extremely unhappy and want to warn as many people as possible to NOT do business with Empire Today! I will be filling a compliant with the Better Business Bureau. This isn't the first time we have replaced carpet in our house, but it will be the last time that we do it with carpet and services from Empire Today. With hindsight being 20/20, we should have stuck with the company that we used in the past.