Always buy from a reputable dealer. If in doubt, contact the Better Business Bureau. Independent dealers are a good bet. They usually have a wide selection of custom goods at their disposal, plus better-grade carpet pads and qualified installers. Many also have decorators who will come into your home to help coordinate the carpet with the rest of the decor. Independent dealers also have the product knowledge to help you match the right carpet to your particular needs.
If you do check out the prices at a discount store, be sure to compare apples with apples. Many of these operations promise low, low prices but don’t always include the costs of installation, pad or tack strips in the cost. Also compare the quality of the the product you’re considering, including the pad.