Unbiased Carpet Buying Information for Homeowners
Buying Carpet From Lowe's, Home Depot, Empire Today or Costco?
2021 Alan Fletcher - Consumer Advocate - Expert Carpet Advisor
What Homeowners Need to Know... Before Signing the Check!
Don't Fall For Their Relentless TV Ads and Free Carpet Installation Specials! The Carpet Professor Reveals Honest Carpet Buying information for homeowners. Learn the Real Truth about Choosing New Carpet wisely, How to quickly spot common retail Carpet Scams and make Smarter Carpet Choices!
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 or flooring. 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 crack at making more money from your purchase by convincing you to agree to unnecessary add-ons and bogus upgrades.
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.
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 advertised deals are designed to attract unsuspecting homeowners who would like to save money but don't know how to go about it. Unfortunately, these four conglomerates are heavy-hitters with deep pockets and have only one thing in mind: Making huge profits.
Both Lowe's and Home Depot have been spending millions on advertising to lure-in unsuspecting homeowners by giving away free "basic" carpet installation. They make up a portion of the free installation costs with increased carpet and padding charges. Then they increase the add-on charges for anything and everything that is considered beyond their limited definition of a "basic" carpet installation.
Their so-called "free" carpet installation you saw on TV may not end up being totally free once their sub-contracted measurers and installers get a real good look inside your home. It's highly likely there will be numerous extra fees & charges tacked-on to your final bill.
Final Bill? Yes, while they always require that you pay UPFRONT and IN FULL for the whole carpet job before they will place your carpet order, the final bill comes on the day of installation when the independent installer determines that your job requires extra things like - hours of extra floor prep, old carpet and padding removal or dump fees, new flooring transitions, custom upholstery work for stairs, additional labor for moving furniture, removing and replacing damaged tackless strips, Nailing down a squeaky subfloor, repairing rotten wood from hidden water damage or any other extra fee for labor and supplies that they deem beyond their limited definition of a "basic" carpet installation. Yikes!
These extras can easily add up to hundreds for extra fees & charges that you were not warned about.
As Gomer Pyle would say... Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
What about Home Depot's Low-Price Guarantee?
They say 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 to substantiate a claim because they use private labels on all their carpet samples.
They change the name 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. In the end... You Lose.
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 measuring method".
Does that mean they add another 5, 10 or 15% of material to the total? You may never know for sure, but basically they want to make darn sure there is MORE THAN ENOUGH carpet to work with so they never have to worry about running short of carpet and padding for your home. Yet it still happens...
Over-measuring translates into you paying for a lot more for new carpet & pad then you might actually need. Adding just an extra 10 yards of material to your order could easily add $250 to your total cost of your job. Ouch!
Empire Today likes to attract customers by airing repetitive TV ads featuring unbelievable sales offers with 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. Know this...
These are just a few questions that you need solid answers to before you should commit yourself to buying from any shop-at-home flooring retailer.
All these 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.
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 that independent contracted salesperson. If you can't get a remedy from any of these sources you may have to file a claim in small claims court, but against who? Headaches.
Costco members may be shown a small display with a rack full of miniature carpet samples or brochures. (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 salesperson will bring samples to your home and be happy to write up your order and arrange for installation.
While they may carry some good quality carpet, 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 color names to thwart you. You would need to take their carpet samples with you into other local carpet stores to try to compare both samples side by side. It's definitely not easy to do, and is time consuming.
I've spent over 30-years in the carpet business and my father was a mill rep for 35 years. I know what I am talking about. 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 here in America.
My Best Advice...
I suggest you visit several locally-owned flooring retailers near you, get several FREE estimates and be sure visit a carpet store that I recommend if you can. You decide for yourself who to buy from when you place your options side by side, and consider everything. When it's all said and done, I think you will agree that my preferred dealers are the most knowledgeable, most reliable and most reputable!
I bet you 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 my free List of Recommended Carpet Dealers (don't forget to print up my free Coupon and Carpet Shopping Form so you can get up to $100 off your new carpet!) There's a lot more you need to learn before you head out to shop for new carpet.
It's hard to find a reputable carpet store these days! That's why I have created my own special hand-picked list of carpet stores who are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. Homeowners want to know... Are there any reputable Carpet Stores Near Me?
Print My Free Coupon and Carpet Shopping Form
List of Preferred New Carpet Dealers
Recommended Carpet Cleaning Service Directory
Best Carpet Stores Near Me?
How Much Does Carpet Installation Cost
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All content is the opinion of the author.