The following is the documentation I provided to both the BBB and AZ Register of Contractor, so they may open an investigation:
I’ll try to make brief a long story. Empire sale rep arrived at our house Dec 15. On Dec 30 we intended to using Empire but asked the sale rep to return so we may make a final decision on materials after reviewing the samples again. Citing Covid fears, he refused. He hired them anyways and he drew up the contract over the phone. He state it would be emailed to us for for an electronic signature. We were also notified the flooring was on back order and that it would take 2-3 weeks for the job to start. We were given a tentative ETA of Jan 25th for install. We never received a contract to sign electronically. We followed-up with the sale person via phone and text messages. Over a two week period we never received a single return call/text, nor did we ever obtain and/or sign a contract.
On Jan 23rd, the Friday before the week of our tentative start date, we called the main Empire number (which we had also left several messages with call center employees about obtaining the contract). We learned that our job was scheduled for Monday (Jan 25). We demanded a contract that night for us to review or for the job to be cancelled. The contract was emailed to us late Friday night, but assuming it was not going to be provided again, we didn’t check our email for it until Saturday. There was no request for an electronic signature. Instead, where my signature would have been was hand-written “OPO”. We placed calls to Empire, were referred to the local “Install Manager”, but never received a call from him.
Monday morning (Jan 25), contracted installer arrived. They demanded the balance of funds before they would start work. I refused, stating the industry standard that payment in full is not done until satisfactory conclusion of the work. I called the install manager. He stated that full payment is in the contract. Taking his word, as I had not reviewed the entire contract, I paid for the job in full, nearly $14K. Later, I did review the entire contract and learned I had been lied to. It was clearly stated on Page 12 of the contract that only payment due in full is for materials purchased and payment for the entire job was not required until “satisfactory completion”, inclining sign-off on all local permits. I also voiced concern that it did not appear that enough material was ordered. I was told it was.
Work stated Monday. By Wednesday the contracted installers were in a position to finish several of the rooms, expect Empire had not yet provided the installers the baseboards we ordered and they were unable to get an ETA from Empire as to the reason. Both the installers and I attempted to contact the Install Manager about the baseboard issue. None of our calls were returned. The installers worked Wednesday through Saturday still without baseboards. Friday evening it was clear there was not enough material ordered. Several calls were made about the issue. None of the calls were returned, this included to the workers.
On the Thursday of the first week of work 80% of our flooring could have been done, including the reinstall of our toilets, stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer, if the workers had been given the baseboards. Instead we had to wait until Monday for answers, requiring us to stay with family over the weekend; all because no baseboards had been ordered on time.
Monday the installer returned without baseboards nor the additional materials. They told me they had no answers, as Empire was not returning their calls. They left after about an hour of work without giving us any ETA when the work would be done. We were left to figure it out ourselves. About six hours later the Install Manger gave me a call. He had zero answers. He had no ETA about the baseboards, nor the additional flooring. I demanded he go to Home Depot, buy baseboards and get them installed to I could get my house back in order. They were able to secure baseboards from a local store, which were installed on Tuesday (Feb 2). I was promised a call the next day with a final ETA on the additional flooring. I received no call. I had to spend several hours on the phone between Wednesday and Friday of that week trying to get an answer. Finally, on Friday evening I received a call from the Install Manager. I was provided with a new completion date that was more than two additional week out.
On Feb 16th the installers returned with the additional flooring to finish the job. It was then that I learned that Empire had ordered the wrong material and that the baseboards still could not be finished. The flooring was finished. This included removing and reinstalling the toilet. The flooring was finished, the baseboards will were not and I was given an ETA of “sometime in March” for it completion. Twenty minutes after leaving, I used the newly reinstalled toilet and found it had not been secured and rocket about an inch forward to back. I immediately called the installer directly. He told me that it was not his problem and that I needed to contact a plumber. I started calling the main Empire number. Several hours later I finally received a call, after more than six week, by the person I originally demanded to speak with, the Market Manager for the region. She apologized for all the screw up and told me she would have a plumber sent to my house the following morning. I received call from her the next morning. She back-tracked, informed me that I would need to locate and hire a plumber on my own. At this point I was done.
I hired a plumber. He found neither of the toilets had been secured to the sewer pipe/ground. They were simply position over old and rusted out clam rings. The plumber correctly fixed both toilets at a cost of $1200. I attempted to contact the Market Manger about the issue. I received no call back as of this review.
As I write this, I sit without my job done. My order was placed on Dec 30. As of Feb 19th, baseboards still need to be installed, thus we can’t move forward with the repainting of our house which we had to cancel. I also have no solid ETA to when the job will be done. Additionally, I’m out $1200 to fix issues Empire created. Without communication, I finally disputed/cancelled the second half of the charges to Empire. We will see if that gets them moving and communicating.