We contacted Empire on Thursday, October 27th, the same day we had evicted a tenant from our rental property. Needless to say the carpet in the house was beyond disgusting.
I had to work so my wife met with the salesman, Chris. We had had to move in by November 1st. My wife was under extreme stress and Chris reassured that he would take care of the situation. My wife explained to Chris that we wanted real wood flooring to increase the homes value so we could sell it in a year or two.
My wife was skeptical because the estimate did not break down the separate cost of materials, labor, etc., but Chris told her if the contract was not signed that day the project could not start until the following week. We decided to go with the contract because we had to move in the following week. The project cost was $10,900. The install was scheduled to begin on Friday, October 28th.
The install was complete and the floors looked very nice. However, the next day we noticed movement in the boards throughout the house, the stairs have hundreds of nail holes, and some of the stair boards are not level. The Empire install coordinator, Joe Bell, came out to check out these issues. Joe told my wife that the movement in the boards was due to the type of wood that was used, and there was no way to repair it.
My wife asked Joe what kind of wood was used and Joe told her it was a wood veneer, which has a very thin wood surface and that the rest of the board is a composite material. Joe explained that the veneer wood is not 100% hardwood but is used in Florida because of the high humidity. Therefore this type of wood will put us at a disadvantage when reselling the home and does not add value. Joe called the next day and told us the General Manager agreed to replace the floor but we would have to pay the difference in the cost of the wood and installation.
We had already spent more than we budgeted for and asked for a refund. Joe said he could not make this type of decision and he would talk with the General Manager of the Tampa office, Scott Heath, and call us back that afternoon. The next day was Friday and since we had not received a call back we contacted Joe. Joe told us that Scott was out of town until Monday.
After several phone calls, I finally spoke with Scott Monday evening. Scott said that Empire had done what they were contracted to do and would not terminate the contract. I asked him for contact information to the corporate customer service manager and Scott told me he would talk with Tim Sherwin, the Regional Manager, and have him call us. The next day, after waiting for a call I finally called Empire back and was eventually connected with Tim.
Tim said he had not called because he was waiting for all the details on the installation from the inspection. I explained to Tim that we were misled regarding the type of flooring used and wanted our money refunded. After some discussion back and forth, Tim became irritated and basically told me they had done what they were contracted to do, and the bottom line was he would not refund our money or terminate the contract. We asked how he could make a decision without the information from the inspection, he told us there was nothing else to discuss and gave me his phone number for our attorney.
We are going forward with legal action to since we were misled about the wood, there was no detail in the contract about the costs, and Empire did not comply with the contract regarding the type of installation, which should have been adhesive, not floating. I encourage any other dissatisfied customers to contact me to join me in legal action against Empire.
Product or Service Mentioned: Empire Today Flooring Installation.
Reason of review: Not as described/ advertised.
Monetary Loss: $10900.
Preferred solution: Full refund.