Empire Today -- Deceptive Practices - Empire Today -- Deceptive Practices [Please do not make my name or email address public]

Posted on Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 at 5:07am CDT by a66de67a

Company: Empire Today -- Deceptive Practices

Category: Other

I needed to replace the carpet in my living room and hallway, and

since a friend had recently used Empire Today, I decided to give them

a call. On May 28, 2005, one of their salesmen came to my home and

spent several hours with me and my wife showing us samples and

helping my wife decide on a color. He was on time, friendly and

courteous, and the experience seemed to go very well. The

installation was set for June 4, 2005 since the next day installation

option did not fit into our schedule. The installer arrived within a

few minutes of his scheduled time, and again he was pleasant and

professional. although he was by himself, he went right to work,

installed the carpet in a timely manner, and did a very nice job.

The problem started about 6 months later. The carpet began to show

signs of wear and matting in traffic areas, and was especially bad in

front of the sofa we normally sit on. this was a concern since the

salesman had given us assurances that this carpet would not mat and

crush, and even had a warranty against that happening. He explicitly

stated that the carpet had a 5 year warranty against matting, and

"Empire will stand behind it 100%". This was of particular concern to

us due to problems we had with our previous carpeting (see more

below). We have no children or pets, vacuum the carpet regularly, and

carpeting in other rooms several years older than this shows little

or no signs of wear.

I called Empire's customer service number, and gave the information

to the representative. I was told that I would be contacted by the

local office and given instructions about how the matter would be

handled. Several days later I received a call and was told someone

would be out tomorrow to inspect the problem. The following day 2 men

arrived to look at the carpet. One made a cursory inspection while

the other nervously kept coming in and out of the house. As they were

leaving, I asked what to expect next, and the one told me he didn't

know anything, since he was just an installer, had been asked to look

at the carpet, and knew nothing about warranty procedures. A very

bizarre experience.

Two days later, I received another call, this time from a man who

introduced himself as an independent inspector contracted by Empire

to investigate warranty claims. He arrived the folowing day, and

spent much more time and effort inspecting the carpet. He took

numerous digital photos, took yarn samples and measured the pile with

special tools. As he was leaving, I again asked what to expect. He

stated that he did not know, only that he would submit his report to

Empire, and that they would then follow up based on what he found. I

thought this odd, since he had earlier in the conversation, stated

that he was previously employed directly by Empire inspecting carpet

complaints. This raised a red flag about his objectivity, and a week

later the response from Empire stating that he found no apparent wear

answered any question I had about that objectivity. The response

included several copies of his photos, which were taken at low

resolution with little or no contrast.

The most disturbing aspect of this issue was learning that I had

purchased Mohawk carpet. This was stated in the letter from empire

dismissing my complaint. I had Mohawk carpet in my home prior to the

carpet installed by empire and I was totally dissatisfied with it.

When the salesman arrived, the first thing my wife and I did was to

show him the problems with that carpet. They included excessive wear

and matting, dye coming out of the yarn, and dry rot of the backing.

We were very clear about our unhappiness with the Mohawk carpet (not

purchased from Empire) and made this very apparent to the salesman.

We stated that we would never again have Mohawk carpet in our home. I

asked the salesman directly what brands Empire carried, and he listed

several manufacturers, and Mohawk was not one of them.

As we were looking through his samples, we continued to express

concerns about the qualities of the carpet that had been problematic

with the Mohawk. The entire time we were looking at samples, the

salesman was empathizing with us as he concealed the fact that he was

showing us Mohawk carpet samples. If I had known that we were looking

at Mohawk samples, I would have told him to find something else. If

the installer had mentioned that the carpet was Mohawk, I would have

refused to allow him to install it. Was it just a careless omission

that the brand of carpeting was not stated on the sales agreement or

that I never received a copy of the manufacturer's warranty? I don't

think so. I don't know if this type of practice is condoned or

endorsed by Empire, but it is absolutely deceptive, and possibly

fraudulent.

I have sent a letter to customer Service at Empire telling them that

I expect the Mohawk carpet to be replaced by something else. In

addition, I plan to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission

and the better Business Bureau to notify them of the deceptive and

unethical business practices used by Empire. I would urge anyone

considering the purchase of carpet to find a reputable business in

your local area and patronize them. If my experience with Empire is

representative of their practices, you will be better off avoiding

this company.


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