ED Magedson – Founder
Empire Today, LLC333 Northwest Avenue Northlake, Illinois United States of America
We had Empire install American Dream, Cherry Double Plank by QuickStep on 7/31/08. Our salesman, Jim, said he also had the same floor (but different color) and even though he had dogs and kids that the floor looked the same as it did the day it was installed. I had ruined the existing laminate flooring in the house by using the steam cleaner on it. It never warped but dulled the finish. The previous owners had 3 dogs and the floors didn't show any scratching. We replaced the flooring in the sunroom, kitchen, dining room, laundry room and half bath. Jim said the American Dream is scratch resistant but this floor is not scratch resistant and not water resistant as he also claimed. Each location shows scratching and warping. We originally called this company out because I wanted wood flooring to replace the already existing laminate flooring. Jim said the American Dream brand was soaked in water for at least 5 days and showed no signs of warping or any other damage. Liquid gets in between crevices and product warps right after any liquid is cleaned up right away! He also stated he has this brand in his own home and has big dogs, claiming the floor stands up to dog nails. Not only does it not stand up to dog nails, but it can't even stand up to dust under such things as laundry baskets and garbage cans.
In February the local Empire branch had their inspector come out and the result was a report of "normal wear and tear." A man named Virgil called and we were told that we could have a discount to replace the laundry room floor, which at the time had the worst scratching from laundry baskets. We did not take the offer. Since then the floor in the laundry room has also warped due to moisture from the dryer. The flooring doesn't even stand up to moisture from household humidity. We decided to initially do nothing and accept that we had bought a substandard product.
However, by August 2009 we had changed our mind about doing nothing. More scratching and more warping has occurred and we have never seen such "wear and tear" on a flooring product. On 8/27/09 I called and left a message with Virgil that I was not happy with the product and to call me so we could discuss this. He did not return my call. On 8/31/09 I called the customer service number and left a message that I did not want to pay for the flooring and was ready to file paperwork with the finance company to put a hold on the account due to this dispute. On 9/2/09 Tim called and offered to send an independent inspector out at the company's cost. I agreed, but no one called to set up an appointment. My husband talked with him in October and again agreed to an independent inspector that never called.
We filed a BBB complaint and came to no resolution. Through this process we did get an independent inspector to come out and we had over 40 spots on the floor marked where the swelling has occurred. We question the independent title since Empire contacted them and they even submitted the report through Empire. The inspector came to the conclusion that the "joint swelling results from topical moisture penetration of the joint causing the core to swell." According to a letter we received yesterday from Empire the local cause is due to "over wetting during cleaning" and they consider our complaint closed.
They are blaming us for the damage to their inferior floor that cannot even withstand cleaning, much less normal household use by a family of four!!! We were told by the salesman how to clean the laminate and not to use the steamer. He told us he cleans his American Dream floor with a mixture of water and vinegar and a flat cloth mop. Now I am being told that the swelling is caused by how I clean this floor. Again, the salesman also told us that the American Dream was soaked in water for 5 days and there was no damage to the flooring. I find damage occurs to this floor when my child spills milk at dinner and it is cleaned up immediately. This company has lied to us and now is blaming us for damage to this floor. The inspector has shown that this floor cannot even withstand cleaning. This is unacceptable. I will be filing a dispute report with GE Money on the balance of this laminate floor.
The next step with BBB is arbitration. My husband and I are afraid that the arbitrator will also be in Empire's back pocket. But this may be a risk we need to take.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/13/2009 07:48 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/empire-today-llc/northlake-illinois-60164/empire-today-llc-installed-inferior-laminate-flooring-that-gets-damaged-by-normal-routin-538781. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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