Where to begin? My experience with Empire Flooring was far from acceptable to say the least!
To start, we had a salesman come to our house to measure and give us an estimate;
Sales pitch: I regretfully must admit that I bought-in; hook, line, and sinker. Alex really talked up the product very well and made us feel like we were getting a great deal. He also said that Smartstrand and Anso R2x are the same product. He said Smartstrand is the new name for it (found out later they are two totally different companies). I knew I was dealing with a salesman but, I did my research on costs and I thought the “ease” of the purchase and the all-inclusive (tear out, installation, & disposal) was a good deal. We agreed to a price and decided to finance through their company. However; once we began to sign paperwork, the Alex told us that he needed the down payment...which we never discussed. He said it was because they needed at least 10% of the purchase paid for installation purposes. I was caught off guard and questioned this, but I conceded because it went towards my purchase after all.
Installation (1st attempt): The installation workers showed up with a carpet that had a different style name than what was on our paperwork, although, the pattern was similar to what we ordered with the salesman. Because of the discrepancy, my wife informed the installer that she didn't think it was the right carpet because the name of the style was different than what was on our contract. He questioned her judgment and asked her if she knew what she purchased. She didn't argue back but requested he get what was stated on the contract. The installer made a call and said he had to go back to the warehouse to pick up the carpet listed on our paperwork. He also asked for her to clean out the garage so they could have room to work. He said he would call us with an update in regards to when he would be back. We didn't receive a call for the rest of the day.
Contact with salesman (Alex) and Empire: I called to express my frustrations about the installers not calling us back or following up with us to determine when they would be back. The customer service rep said he contacted the installers who said they left a message for us (no such message exists) and that they would be back the next morning. He also said a manager would call us back (ref #1-2134372591). That did not happen. I explained to the customer service rep that I wished I had looked at the many horrible reviews before making this big purchase. He acknowledged that there were a lot of bad reviews but stated that they "always try to make it right" (turned out to be a lie).
I then called Alex and he explained that there was a "glitch" in the computer system and that name on my contract was wrong. They did bring out the right carpet (the patterns were very similar), but he understood the confusion. While talking to me, he disregarded the input error of the order and focused on the installer's bad attitude. He said he couldn’t guarantee anything but that he was sure his manager would compensate us for our troubles and would send a new crew over the following day with the carpet we initially agreed upon.
Installation (2nd day): The new team of installers arrived on this day and stated they needed "Cash On Delivery" before they could start. Seriously? We had to make more phone calls and straightened that out as it was already financed. I have to say, this installation crew was friendly; however, after getting to almost 2/3 of the project completed, they said that not enough carpet was ordered! We had to make more calls and apparently there's a separation in sales and installation because they both appeared to want to blame each other. The installers had to install what they had, leave the job, and travel across town to pick up the carpet. Due to the lateness in the afternoon, we agreed for them to comeback the following morning to complete the install.
Installation (3rd day):
Installers arrived, finished the install, and left. Later that afternoon, I finally got a return phone call from a manager. She didn’t appear to initially recall the conversation we had the prior day about the shortage of carpet, but later said they sent out carpet without measuring because the cutting equipment was down. So apparently they were just sending out whatever and figuring it out later. She didn’t at all seem too concerned with our overall experience, and only said she would “talk” to all parties involved and was “sorry” for the experience. I asked about being compensated for the time we had lost due to rescheduling appointments and waiting for the completion of the project. She said she would bring it up to the other managers and would call me back on Monday (Never received that call). Huh, guess they aren’t too concerned about making it right.
Overall: I didn't feel valued as a customer. The salesman seemed to want to sell, the installers seemed to want to install, and we just wanted new carpet. We did our part in picking out the carpet and financing our purchase. The rest should have worked itself out...well, that's how it was presented to us at least. I'm one of those easy to please customers and I don't like to complain as long as I get halfway decent service. I would have to say Empire was far below my expectations and it's amazing to me that they continue to function with such dysfunctional internal communication and below average customer service. Still waiting for the manager's return phone call to happen...shows how important I am :( I would love to update my review by saying they "made it right", but I don't have much faith in that happening. I and anybody I know will not be using this company in the future. Save yourself the stress and use Lowe’s or Home Depot if you want to save money. Unless you want to take your chances with a company that states they will make it right instead of getting it right (and they can’t even deliver on that promise). Sorry Empire. You get a thumbs down…way down.
Product or Service Mentioned: Empire Today Flooring.
Reason of review: Poor customer service, problem with delivery, and order processing issue.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
I liked: 2nd installation crew.
I didn't like: Sales person tactics, Poor follow up, Internal communication, Customer service, Order processing.