We are finishing our basement and are currently taking bids for some of the finish work, such as carpeting and tile. We contacted Empire Carpet (Empire Today) for an in home carpet estimate because we saw they were having a sale on Berber carpet (buy 1 room, get 2 for free). The representative arrived on time and was very polite. We sat down with the carpet samples and the first thing he said was, "I didn't bring in the Berber samples that are on sale because it's very low quality, and hey, nothing's really for free!". I was immediately suspicious.
He showed us several different samples of varying quality, all of which were 100% Olefin, or mostly Olefin. From our research we knew that nylon or wool carpeting is the best and Olefin is cheap and does not wear as well, but I picked out a few piles and colors that I liked and he went off to measure.
When he came back upstairs I asked him if we could see the sale samples that were in his car. He went to his car and retrieved the samples. One was on a card without information on the back so I asked what the material was, and he told me it was 100% Nylon. Meanwhile I lifted up the carpet flap and found underneath it said 100% Olefin. I highly doubt Empire Today even carries 100% Nylon Berber, so I'm sure he was deliberately misleading us.
I asked for a price quote for one of the sale carpets and one of the regular priced "higher quality" carpets, as well as some tile for a very small bathroom. He punched some numbers into a calculator and came back with $5200, $4800 and, $910 respectively. This seemed awfully high, and I couldn't figure out why the sale carpet which was supposed to be buy 1 room get 2 free and was of lower quality only came in $400 lower than the regular carpet-- but this was our first bid so I told him we would contact him after we received other bids. That's when things got really shady.
He really, really, wanted to make a sale that day and schedule installation. He asked what our budget was (I didn't tell him), and said we could work a "deal". He said that Empire could be competitive with other companies and he would call his manager to see if he could get the price dropped. He placed a fake phone call (he actually called his own voice mail, we could hear it) and mumbled a bunch of gibberish into the phone. Then he hung up and gave us new quotes of $3500, $2900, and $610. But if we gave him a $100 deposit and scheduled installation we could drop the price even lower! (The $3500 would go down to $2900). When I told him that I had worked with many contractors and had NEVER been asked to pay money to lock in a price, he explained it's because Empire was a big respectable business and not just an individual doing the work. He kept pushing and I finally said, "Look I'm not paying you $100 so you can either give me your best quote or we'll use the higher number when comparison shopping." That seemed to shut things down. We asked for a card and he wouldn't give us one, nor did he give us a quote in writing. He said that if we decided to go with Empire that they would have to send out someone to the measurements and quotes AGAIN. No thanks.
BTW, (((competitor's name redacted))) prices came in around $3,000K for the carpet and $400 for the tile. There are no mind games played to gain this information. We're getting two more bids from recommended contractors this week. Needless to say we will NOT be doing business with Empire and feel insulted that attempt to manipulate their customers to milk them for as much money as possible. sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company, ..plus, if you post a competitors name more than likely they will show up on search engines as a Rip-off! - - your comments on this policy are welcome. CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report. In this case we removed an alleged competitors name