Couple calls 12, gets new floor after problems with company's installation

Couple calls 12, gets new floor after problems with company's installation
Empire Today removes old floor
Empire Today removes old floor

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Empire Today has kept its promise to make it right for an unhappy customer who called 12 On Your Side for help.

Phillip Hickman and his wife Christy did not expect their new, $4,000 vinyl floors to bubble two weeks after installation. When the floors did and "Empire Today" refused to redo them, Hickman and his wife called 12.

It all fell into place after NBC12's Diane Walker spoke with the corporate marketing director. The next day, Empire Today had a plan to meet with the customer, see the problem, clear up any confusion and the decision was made to give them a brand new floor.

The problems Hickman pointed out are spots where the flooring is bubbled up in several places. He says he showed Empire Today's installer six months ago, when deformities began to appear in his beautiful floors just two weeks after installation.

Hickman says Empire Today claimed there was a pre-existing leak from his dishwasher that ruined the vinyl flooring, but Hickman blames the installer - who had to fit about six inches of vinyl underneath the dishwasher.

Hickman says if there was a preexisting problem, it would have been listed on the paperwork - and it wasn't.

"They pried up on the dishwasher, on that little plastic elbow. It's plastic, and they did a hairline crack in it, and that's when it started seeping," said Hickman. "It never leaked before. It was six months old, practically brand new."

He says the installer told him in August he would have to pay to get another floor.

"When I mentioned about taking them to small claims court, the guy said, 'go ahead. Do what you got to do.' You all were the next ones I called."

When 12 On Your Side first called Empire Today, we were told: "Our guys aren't plumbers. We want our customers happy. Send us what you have."

The next day, the couple got a phone call setting the resolution in motion. Hickman is glad he called 12 for help.

"They're going to tear the whole floor up. Redo the wood, the linoleum, and the warranty is going to start from the day it's installed. Without Diane Walker, without her help and following through with this, I don't think they would have helped unless she actually got involved."

After our report, a crew showed up two days later at Phillip Hickman's home and removed the flooring. In addition to fresh floors, the Hickmans got a brand new warranty that starts right now, instead of retroactively.

The new flooring show no signs of bubbling and no uneven surfaces - just smooth, resilient vinyl flooring. Philip Hickman says he's happy now and glad he called 12 for help.

"To be honest, if I would not have called 12 On Your Side, it probably would have gone to court by now. Diane, she was a real big help."

Empire Today's crew focused on fixing any flaws in the sub-floor before rolling out the final product. Problem areas the homeowner showed us are all smoothed out now. Empire Today even conducted a moisture test.

"We want all of our customers to enjoy their beautiful new flooring," said Empire Today General Manager Kenneth Edmond. "In this situation, we understand the dishwasher caused the undue moisture. However, we will honor our agreement. Again, ultimately we want to make sure that they enjoy their beautiful new flooring."

Empire Today brought in a sensor to measure moisture and took additional steps to ensure a proper installation.

"I feel a lot better now," said Hickman. "Where they're putting the seam is different from where they put it the last time. So if anything does get on the floor, it's no chance of it getting under the linoleum.

"I'm glad I did call 12 On Your Side. Like I said, I got results."

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