Buying Carpet From Lowe's, Home Depot, Empire Today or Costco?
©2022 Alan Fletcher - Consumer Advocate
Here's what you might want to know BEFORE you write the check...
The last time I checked, all four of these Giant National Carpet Retailers use OTHER companies to facilitate their carpet sales, measuring and installation services.
That means if you ever have a carpet problem or complaint, you may have a hard time getting anyone to help you or take responsibility for making things right.
Did you know?
What does this all mean to YOU the homeowner?
With so many fingers in the pie it is not too hard to figure out that you might end up paying way too much for your new carpet. These four big national retailers each take a large chunk of the profit right off the top and then let all these other privately held companies and independent contractors have a shot at making some money from you too.
From costly Measuring Fees to needless Padding Upgrades, from Carpet Removal and Disposal fees to costly Installation add-ons, they will use every trick in the book to try to convince you to cough up more money before it's all said and done.
The Lure of a Great Sounding Deal...
Sound familiar? Get out your magnifying glass so you can read all the fine print on these great sounding offers. These great sounding deals are designed to attract unsuspecting homeowners who would like to save money but don't know how to go about doing it. Unfortunately, these four conglomerates are big players who have only one thing in mind: Making Big Profits. The board of directors must satisfy their stockholders or risk being fired, and the stockholders only care about one thing... Making Big Profits! From You!
Both Lowe's and Home Depot have been trying to lure-in unsuspecting homeowners by giving away free "basic" carpet installation. They make up a portion of the free installation costs within the carpet and padding charges. Then they increase the charges for anything and everything that is considered beyond their limited definition of a "basic" installation. Their so-called "free" carpet installation you were told about may not end up being totally free once their subcontracted installers get a good look at your home.
It's highly likely there will be numerous extra fees & charges tacked-on to your final bill. Final bill? Yes, while they do require that you pay for the whole carpet job IN FULL before they will place your carpet order.
The final bill comes on the day of installation when they determine that your job requires extra floor prep, haul away, transitions, upholstery, Stairs, additional labor, and/or materials that is considered beyond their limited definition of a "Basic" carpet installation.
This can easily add up to hundreds in extra fees and charges that you were unprepared for. Surprise!
Home Depot's Low Price Guarantee?
They say they will beat out anyone with a lower price by 10%, but according to the fine print, that's only on identical in-stock items. That's virtually impossible to substantiate because they use private labels on all their carpet samples. They change the name of their carpet styles and colors to make sure you have a difficult time comparison shopping. A low-price guarantee sure sounds good until you read the fine print.
The Big Box home improvement warehouses have been charging homeowners a measuring fee just for coming to your home and sizing you up. From what I have been told, the licensed & certified measuring specialists they contract with are required to measure your home using a special method. Does that mean they add another 5, 10 or 15% of material to the total? That's what I think, because they want to make darn sure there is plenty of carpet to work with so they don't run short during installation. That might translate into you paying for a lot more carpet and pad then you might actually need. Just an extra 10 yards of material could easily add $350 or more to the total cost of your job. Ouch!
Empire Today likes to attract customers by airing repetitive TV ads featuring great sounding sales and offering next day installation. If you call them, they will send a sales professional to your home who will show you samples and try to "close the sale" on the spot.
These are just a few critical questions that you need solid answers to before you should commit to buying from any flooring retailer. My advice? Never buy any flooring product without taking time to comparison shop and be sure to get more than one estimate.
They all use private labels on their products and use independent contractors to sell and/or install their products. If you have a complaint, you have to deal with the independent contractors directly to get a remedy. If you have a Carpet defect? You'll have to contact the carpet manufacturer. Have an installation problem? You'll have to contact the carpet installer.
Salesperson misrepresented the product you purchased? Contact the independently contracted salesperson. I don't think Empire can be held responsible for anything you purchase through their contracted salespeople. That's probably why they have a spotless A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau!
Costco members are shown a small display with a rack full of miniature carpet samples or a brochure. (Lately they have been taking the samples down) See the photo at the top of this page? If you grab their free brochure you will be provided with a phone number to call to start your in-home Carpet Consultation Process.
A well-trained sales professional will bring samples to your home and be happy to write up your order and arrange for installation. They do carry good quality carpet, but be prepared for sticker shock when you see what the total cost will be.
Again, you can't comparison shop easily because they change the carpet style names and colors to thwart you. You would need to take their carpet samples into another retail carpet store to try to compare side by side.
I've spent over 30-years in the carpet business and my father was a mill rep for 35 years. If you are in the market for new carpet or flooring of any kind, I think you should consider buying from one of the dealers that I have listed in my Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory.
It's taken me years to locate, investigate and identify these locally owned and family run businesses and I think they are the best of the best in America.
I suggest you visit several flooring retailers near you and then visit the carpet store that I recommend. You decide for yourself who to buy from. When it's all said and done, I think you will agree that my preferred dealers are the most knowledgeable, honest and reputable! You'll be treated with respect, get a fair and square deal, and get great service before, during and after the sale. See who I recommend near you!
Visit Alan's List of Recommended Carpet Dealers (don't forget to print up my free coupon so you can get up to $100 off new carpet!)
There's a lot more you need to learn before you head out to shop for new carpet.