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Buying Carpet From Lowe's, Home Depot, Empire or Costco?
By Alan Fletcher - 30-year Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
Before You Sign the Check for New Carpet...
The last time I checked, all four of these Giant National Carpet Retailers use OTHER companies to facilitate their carpet sales, in-home measuring and installation services. They just sell you the carpet and take the lions share of the profits right off the top! Why do you think they require you to pay for the entire job in-full upfront?
Once they have all your money and have their profit, you may have a hard time getting anyone to help you or take responsibility for making things right. This means if you ever have a carpet problem or complaint, they are already done doing business with you. They will simply refer you to the carpet manufacturer, the carpet installation company or the padding manufacturer to seek a remedy. Of those three, it is unlikely that any will accept responsibility for you complaint. They will all blame the other guy.... Until you get tired of calling and calling...
You need to buy from an honest and reputable carpet dealer!
What Homeowners Need To 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 nationally advertised conglomerates take a large chunk of the profit right off the top and then let all the other privately held companies and independent sales contractors each have a shot at making more money from your purchase.
From costly measuring fees to needless carpet and padding upgrades, from carpet and padding removal and disposal fees to costly installation extras and add-ons, there are plenty of ways they will make you cough up a lot more money before it's all said and done.
Tempted by a Great Sounding Carpet Deal on TV?
Common Carpet / Flooring TV Advertisement Gimmicks To Avoid!
Do These Common TV Advertising Claims Sound familiar?
Before you sign your hard-earned money away on the dotted line... Get out your magnifying glass so you can read all the fine print on these great sounding offers.
These commonly advertised TV ads are designed to attract uninformed and unsuspecting homeowners who would like to save money but don't know how to go about doing it wisely.
Unfortunately, these four major carpet and flooring retail conglomerates I mentioned, advertise heavily and have only one thing in mind: Getting more of your hard earned money!
Don't fall for these TV Advertisements! You need to buy from locally owned, family run carpet and flooring retailer! Why? Because you will get a fair deal and they will stand behind their products and installation!
Don't Fall for the Whole-House Carpet Installation Gimmick!
Both Lowe's and Home Depot have been successful at luring in unsuspecting homeowners by giving away free "basic" whole house carpet installation specials.
Their TV commercials advertise free or almost free carpet and flooring installations if you buy a certain amount of flooring materials. Please don't fall for this common retail rip-off.
They make up a portion of the so-called "free" installation costs with increased carpet and padding charges. Then they increase the installation charges for anything and everything that is considered beyond their limited definition of a "basic" installation.
Their so-called "free" carpet installation that lured you in, may not end up being such a good deal once their sub-contracted measuring experts and installers get a good look at your home. They will look for, and find many other ways to charge you more and more. In the end, you are likely not getting a fair and square deal that you hoped for.
Just for fun... As Gomer Pyle would say... Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
It's very likely you will be faced with numerous extra fees & charges tacked-on to your final bill. Final bill?
Yes! They will require that you pay for the entire carpet job in full before they place your carpet order, the final bill comes on the day of installation when the installer determines that your job requires additional labor, add-ons for moving furniture, or any extra labor costs, fees or handling of materials that is considered beyond their limited definition of a "Basic" carpet installation.
This can easily add hundreds to your final bill.
Learn more about: Whole House Carpet Installation
These costly increases or extras can easily add up to hundreds you must pay for whether you know it or not!
What about Home Depot's Low-Price Guarantee?
Home Depot says they will beat any competitor's price by 10%. But according to their fine print, that's only on identical in-stock items. That makes it virtually impossible for YOU to substantiate this because they use private labels on all their carpet samples. YOU LOSE!
WHY? They change the names of all their carpet styles and colors to make it difficult (if not impossible) for you to comparison shop. A low-price guarantee sure sounds good until you read all the fine print. Do you have a magnifying glass and a lawyer to help you unravel and understand all their legal fine-print?
Home Depot and Lowe's Carpet Measuring Scam?
The Big Box home improvement warehouses like Home Depot and Lowe's have been charging homeowners a sizable measuring fee just for coming to your home to measure your needs. From what I have been told, they use an independent company who hires licensed & certified measuring specialists. These private contractors are required to measure your home using a "special method". Does that mean they automatically add another 10% to 20% of material to the total? I think so, and doing this can easily cost you hundreds more than you need to pay if you blindly trust their measurements.
You may never know for sure if their measurements are accurate unless you get more than two or three estimates, but basically I think the big box retailers want to make darn sure there is way more than enough material to complete your job. This way, they never have to worry about running short of material during installation and they stand to make more profits by over-charging you for materials and labor. This might translate into you paying hundreds more for your new carpet & pad then you need. Just an extra 10 yards of material could easily add up to $500 or more to the total cost of your job. Ouch! In many cases I have seen cases where homeowners are over-charged by more than 30 to 40 yards when new carpet is ordered for the entire home, that is, a home of 2000 square feet or more.
Next-Day Carpet Installation Scam TV Advertisements?
Empire Today likes to attract customers by airing repetitive TV ads featuring unbelievable sales offers with next day installation as a lure. If you call them, they will send a independent sales professional to your home who will show you private labeled carpet samples and try to "close the sale" on the spot while they are in your home. Will you be getting a fair & square deal? How would you know? Did you get several estimates? Did you compare the same or similar carpet specifications side by side? What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?
Does Empire Sell Quality Carpet For a Reasonable Price?
Do you know about carpet specifications? You need to do your carpet homework before you buy. How long will certain carpet or flooring products last in your home based on Your Level of Foot Traffic?
Buyer Beware... Unscrupulous carpet retailers may be trying to sell you a low-quality Polyester carpet and try to convince you that it's just as durable as a Nylon Carpet. Learn more about Carpet Fibers
There are a few important questions that you need solid answers to before you should commit yourself to buying from any shop-at-home flooring retailer. Learn more about Carpet Specifications
Many carpet retailers all use private labels on their products and use independent contractors to measure, sell or install their products. If you have a complaint, you may have to deal directly with the independent contractors to get a remedy. Trying to get anyone to help you with your carpet complaint can be quite difficult, time consuming and frustrating.
Do You Think 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. Did the salesperson misrepresent the product you purchased? You will have to contact the independently contracted salesperson. If you can't get a remedy you may have to file a claim in small claims court.
Costco Members Who Need New Carpet
I am a Costco member myself and enjoy saving money buying the products I need and use all year long!
As you are leaving, you might notice some of their vendors have displays on the left side of the wall. They may have Heating and Air Conditioning companies, Leaf-Guard Gutters, Garage Door Replacements, Kitchen cabinets, Vacation and travel charters, Carpet and flooring products and other home improvement offers and promotions.
However, of all these great sounding deals, I myself would never buy new carpet or flooring from Costco's vendors. Why? If you take a look at their free Carpet or Flooring brochure, they list a phone number for you to call to start your in-home Carpet or Flooring Consultation Process.
Calling this phone number will put you in touch with a Shaw Flooring Design Consultant who is paid on a commission basis, and they will schedule an in-home consultation with you at your convenience. This Shaw Design Consultant, who likely does not really work for Shaw Industries, will come to your home and present you with certain carpet or flooring samples, and then will try to help you choose the right product for your specific needs. They will also measure your home and give you a free, no-obligation estimate of all the costs.
The Costco Problem: They Make It Almost Impossible To Comparison Shop
While a Shaw Flooring Design Consultant may carry some good quality carpet and flooring, be prepared for major 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 with you into other carpet stores to try to compare samples side by side. They won't leave any of the the carpet samples with you to consider for a few days, so comparison shopping to find your best deal for the exact same products is definitely not easy to do.
A Shaw Flooring Design Consultant would rather you just agreed to make your selection right now, while they are still in your home. They do not want you to comparison shop because if you were able to compare prices, you would likely find that you could find a much better deal for the exact same product elsewhere.
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 seriously consider buying from one of the locally owned dealers that I have listed in my Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory. It's taken me over 10 years to locate, verify, investigate and identify over 400 locally-owned and reputable family-run flooring businesses and I truly believe they are the best of the best here in America!
You Decide Where To Buy New Carpet!
Locally owned and reputable carpet dealers will allow to to take several carpet samples home for you to consider for a few days. It's wise to consider the appearance of colors and styles carefully in your own home's lighting both in the morning, mid-day and evening scenarios.
I suggest you visit several flooring retailers near you, get several estimates and be sure visit a carpet store that I recommend if you can. You determine for yourself who you should buy from. When it's all said and done, I think you will agree that my preferred dealers are the very knowledgeable, reliable and reputable!
You'll be treated with respect, get a fair & square deal and get great customer 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.
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