Update by user Oct 22, 2012
Empire has agreed to reimburse us for the amount we were overcharged, so we now have a more reasonable market price.
Original review posted by user Oct 18, 2012
We agreed to get a "free in-home estimate" from Empire for our kitchen/half-bath and carpet. The sales rep, Karen, refused to give any prices until we chose one, despite our saying we just wanted to look and wanted to compare in order to make a decision.
We chose a laminate for our kitchen/half-bath (150 sqft) and berber carpet for our upstairs (410 sqft). Karen gave us a price of $5500 and we said there was no way we could afford that and needed time to think. She refused to leave, despite our repeatedly telling her that we did not want to commit that day. She lowered the price to $3800, telling us it was a good deal and included a discount for doing both floors.
We felt unsure, but trusted her words, so we agreed. But then she raised the price again to $3977 - $2015 for the laminate and $1962 for the carpet - saying she had made a mistake. We were weary from trying to get her to leave, and signed. Later, as the floor was being installed on October 4 and 5, I looked up prices for laminate and carpet.
For a floor of our small size, every source I found (at least four) said the maximum price for a high-quality laminate (which I'm not convinced ours is), including materials, subfloor padding, labor, etc. should be between $900 and $1200. Additionally, it indicated we were paying between $500 to $600 more for carpet then it is worth. All in all, that means we are being charged between $1300 and $1700 more than the flooring actually costs, and that is at a high price estimate.
That's not to mention the supposed discount we were promised we were getting for having two floors installed. I immediately called Empire to complain, but was shuttled around their customer service for a week and a half - between my partner and I, we have called at least a dozen times and every time gotten no answers, but always a promise for another call about a "discount." After almost two weeks, they told us each today in two separate phone calls that ours was the right price, and told us materials cost vastly more than any other source indicates. I asked them how they could claim that when every independent source indicates that what they claim the materials cost is about three times as much as they were claiming, and they had no answer and again promised to call later. It is clearly a rip-off, and they are pointedly avoiding addressing the issue with us through constant delays.
It is unacceptable and fraudulent to claim that the materials installed cost double or triple or quadruple what every independent source claims they do, in fact, cost.
Such dishonesty is deplorable and I would hope that the company would be eager to rectify the situation by reducing our price to a reasonable market value, but they have indicated no such willingness. Truly unacceptable.
Product or Service Mentioned: Empire Today Installation.
Monetary Loss: $3977.