Our Four-Page Letter To Pacesetter
Redding, CA 96002
The estimated installation date was January 2, 2002. However, due to incorrect window specifications, the actual installation was delayed to January 11, 2002. We were disappointed, but it was still within the guaranteed time.
From the start, there were serious problems with the installation from a customer-satisfaction standpoint. First, the installers broke our coat rack, and did not leave a note or any notice that they had broken it. Second, there was absolutely no apparent cleanup done in our home. Plaster and small wood chips were scattered around the windows, and there were clipped pieces of metal trimmed from the door in the entry. Third, there was a drill bit loose near the front door that I actually stepped on with my bare foot, cutting it slightly. Fourth, there was a piece of trim at the bottom of the wall near the rear slider that was removed in order to install the slider frame, but was not nailed back when they finished. Fifth, there was a PaceSetter advertisement shoved into our front lawn, when neither my wife nor I gave any type of permission to do so. Sixth, none of the window dressings were returned to their original locations after the work was performed. Finally, the garage door and opener were not installed as promised. We were told that they needed to get a truck to bring it up from Sacramento.
I was extremely disappointed that I did not receive a timely follow up customer service call or survey in the mail asking if we were satisfied with the quality of the products and installation. Had that been done, I would have mentioned all the above points.
We did receive one call around the beginning of February asking if we had returned the paperwork signing off on the job. We told them that we had not because we were still lacking
the garage door opener and garage door that were part of the original quote. We also gave them a list of complaints, even though that wasn't the purpose of the call. That was the last time we heard from PaceSetter until February 10th, 2002.
Scott Benfield, the salesman that made the original presentation in November 2001, came by our house on Sunday, February 10th, 2002 to listen to our complaints and tell us the status of our garage door and garage door opener order. He listened to our complaints, and told us he would call the next morning. Before he left, he offered to give us a quote on blinds we had expressed interest in the day the windows were being installed. He spent 10-20 minutes calculating how much the blinds would cost (using measurements they made to do the windows), and told us that he could "give" them to us for more than $1000, which included a supposed discount for our bad experiences with the company thus far. Since that was more than twice as much as the most expensive blinds we could find, we declined to purchase what he offered. Unsurprisingly, the call promised for next morning meant to resolve our problems with PaceSetter never came.
On February 12th, 2002 I called the Redding office and obtained Scott's cell phone number. I then called Scott, and he told me that he had forgotten to call me, but that he did give our complaints to his "supervisor". He also gave a new excuse for why the garage door and opener were delayed. He said that the opener and door weren't installed because they needed to get an installer trained to do garage doors and openers in Redding.
Fed up, I decided to call the Sacramento office of PaceSetter about the complaints on February 12th, 2002. The Manager I was told I needed to speak to was Tim Dravesky, and was unfortunately "out to lunch", but they helpfully promised he would call me right back when he "returned". He did not. Reeling in shock and faux disbelief, I called back the next day when the same thing happened. No call back. I called again the next day (February 14th) and would not hang up until I talked to Tim. By that point, I had decided that I was not going to deal with PaceSetter any longer, and would cancel the garage door/opener order and buy one from a more helpful, attentive, and trustworthy vendor.
Tim tried to talk me out of canceling the order, but I refused, at this point completely at odds with the manner in which PaceSetter apparently operates. When pressed, he finally gasped that he could not cancel the order and issue a refund. I would have to talk to the General Manager, Gary Kluck. Tim denied my request for Gary's direct number, but assured me Gary would call. Gary never called. I have a messaging system at home, so there is no reason that we would have missed his call had he even tried.
Monday, February 18th, I received a call from the Customer Service Manager, Ron LaVertu, from the Redding PaceSetter office attempting to set up an installation of the door and opener I had already told the state headquarters I would not accept due to the excessive delays, poor communication, and lack of customer service. I refused to set up an appointment at that time. At this point, Gary from the head office in Sacramento had still not called, so I concluded the call, still expecting him to call and verify cancellation of the portion of the order remaining, based on my clear communication of that request when I talked to Tim.
Wednesday, February 20, 2002, I received a call from Scott in the Redding office. He wanted to confirm or set up the appointment for the 25th. I told him that I had cancelled the order, but was having trouble getting people to call me back to verify that point. Given that the local office had already called, and that I had talked to Tim in the head office, who supposedly relayed my displeasure, as well as my edict to cancel the remaining order to Gary, I find it VERY hard to believe that Scott didn't already know I was canceling the order due to poor service and communication.
During the same call, Scott finally wheezed that I could not receive a refund of the price of the undelivered, uninstalled, and very late garage door opener and garage door because they were a "bonus" thrown in for free, and had no value to refund. This was the first time I had been told this. There was no mention of a "bonus" garage door and opener on the website, in the contract, or on the invoice. The invoice clearly states a list of all materials to be delivered and installed and an aggregate price for ALL products listed, with no mention of a bonus, freebie, giveaway, or good-guy incentive. I am certain this was another attempt to deceive my wife and I into taking delivery of a product we no longer wanted due to the poor service of PaceSetter.
On the morning of February 25, 2002 Dave Brown called along with Ron LaVetu. He offered to install the garage door and opener, and send us out to a complementary dinner on PaceSetter to make up for serious problems we had been having. He also estimated that we were charged about $400 for the $2000 garage door, an apparent 80% discount off their retail. We also received a free bonus of a new excuse as to why our garage door and opener were not installed on time. He said that the motor for the opener was not done. Now I'm not sure about this one, but neither of the first two excuses were anywhere near legitimate enough (Act of God, strike, etc) to invalidate the 20-days-from-estimate installation guarantee in the contract.
At this point, I am putting the notes my wife and I kept during this ordeal in order. I am also putting in writing right here what I have been telling you all for weeks: I DO NOT WANT THE DOOR AND OPENER you failed to deliver in a timely manner, as promised. The written guarantee to install the door and opener within 20 days of installation was broken. Your company and its representatives failed in every single aspect of customer service and satisfaction. Every. Single. One.
First, we want a complete breakdown of prices for everything listed on our contract. Next, we want a refund of the portion of the contract that covered the door and opener. Finally, we want reimbursement for my time chasing your uncooperative management and their lying representatives, and the work we had to do involving cleanup and installation of all our window dressings. We are willing to give you an estimate of the reasonable worth of the door portion of your quote based on installation estimates from other vendors in our area, plus an estimate of the cost of my time tracking this mess you created and the work involved in replacing our window dressings. The $400 estimate from Dave Brown is ridiculous and insulting. This deal was extremely lucrative for your company, as we have learned by seeking out others that have been burned by PaceSetter nationwide. We're willing to honor the portion of the contract actually delivered, but we will NOT accept the $400 offer on the undelivered garage door and opener. The actual worth of that door and opener, based on the inflated value of all other components of the contract, is much, much more than $400.
If you are not willing to agree to the above, we will be forced to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the California State Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Division. However, each of these organizations will receive a copy of this letter, whether or not a formal complaint is filed.
Neither my wife nor I will conduct any further business regarding this matter on the phone. That time has past. Therefore, we look forward to your written reply via certified mail.