Various Other Pacesetter Corporation Experiences
Any opinions expressed in the following story are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of anyone involved in the creation or maintenance of this web site. Information presented in the message should be considered "as observed by, and to the best knowledge of, the author", and not as a statement of fact.
Thanks to Pacesetter Corp. and their attempted legal action to shut down this site, we have now started asking each author to swear, under penalty of perjury, that everything stated in their story is true. Unfortunately, we have been unable to contact this author. However, someone seems to have posted this story on the misc.consumers.house newsgroup, and thus it can now be read there.
As an ex employee of the Pacesetter Corporation, I am writing this in hope of getting the truth out to people who truly have an interest in knowing the truth about Pacesetter.
Pacesetter started in 1962 as a storm window company owned by the Shraeger Brothers in Omaha Nebraska, and has since grown into one of the largest home improvement companies in the country. As it is with all of the larger companies, their overhead makes it impossible for them to compete price wise with your local companies.
This is the reason that they use their "10 step" sales pitch in the home, and sign all documents including financial documents at the time of the sale. they are taught to "warm up" with the potential customer, to make a freind and to relax them. The salesman should walk the prospect around the house showing them all of the troubles they have with their existing product. This is meant to put fear and loss into the prospects mind. Next is the window demonstration. They have something the other companies don't have. Next is step six, getting a commitment from the homeowner to make a decision if "I can do something really special for you". This is the incentive to do business the same night. Next they show an incredibly inflated price, then start the discounts, getting responses after every price drop. This insures that they will get the most money from their sale, as they drop, they close. If you say yes early, you spend too much. They also are taught to close the sale on the first visit, as they know that if someone takes the time to shop at all, or just make a few phone calls, they will find that they are outrageously overpaying for the product. The fact is, most people do not continue to shop after they have bought, and they will continue to be able to operate in this manner as long as people are willing to allow themselves to be sold on the first visit. They also do all of the loan paperwork at the time of the sale, that way there is no recission for the loan at a later date then the sales contract recission. I do not feel that the Pacesetter Corporation acts illegally or in a malicious way, just that they are aware of what they have to do to sell at the inflated prices they charge.
Federal Diversified is owned by the same people that own Pacesetter, and most of the complaints that I used to hear from customers when I called them was about the collection practices of FDS. So not only does Pacesetter make money on the product, but the real money and value is in the portfolio of the lending branch.
Pacesetter does use high tech equipment in its telemarketing department, with auto dialers, computers, etc., and all is linked to the main offices in omaha. The company is financially sound, and has a large overhead to support.
The sales mentality is the same for most companies that do in home sales for windows and doors. Sales people will sell for what they can get, not for what is necessarily fair or practical.
Personally, I have stayed in the industry, but found a company that thinks more like I do and works to give people a fair price and quality service. Service is not something that is Pacesetters strong suit, as they are so spread out, it can take weeks for people to get decent service. In the years I worked for them I heard many complaints, but to be fair, there were literally hundreds of satisfied customers as well. If they didn't know any better, then I guess that is their concern. A few hints for those that wish to get home improvements done.
1) Always check with your states contactors board for complaints. The Better Business Bureau will give good reports as long as they get money. Always check with your contractors board.
2) Do not buy out of impulse. Check to make sure you are getting a decent deal, and be comfortable with the person that you are dealing with. Make sure they are licensed to sell in your state (especially in CA.)
3) Make sure that any company you use is properly insured and bonded. Make sure all licenses are current.
4) Get referrals that show the work that you want done. Get more than one. Check them personally, and talk to the person as well. Most companies will give you their best customers, so you should get shining examples from these people. If you hear anything bad, you are either dealing with an idiot, or their best work is less than what you want for your home.
5) If someone drops their price ridiculously, they are charging too much or just flat lying. Use common sense, and then ask the salesman, "why didn't you give me that price in the first place?"
6) Do not sign sales contracts and final loan paperwork on the same night. If they have the loan paperwork with them (not an application for funds, but an actual lending contract) then you are probably paying alot more then you should as Sears, Pacesetter, K-Designs, and others use this as they know they will not get a second chance.
7) Ask freinds that have had work done that they are happy with. Talk to their company, and then still check things out. Better safe then sorry.
Good luck to all, and I hope that this clears up a little bit of confusion. You can feel free to email me at any time if you have questions, and I will be happy to reply to you, especially for questions regarding the Pacesetter Corporation.
P.S. I am not a disgruntled ex employee. Pacesetter always treated me well, and I was paid fairly with good benefits etc. I know many of the people mentioned in some of the articles, and can say no one ever lied or decieved me in any way.
Admin's Note: This post may have been altered from the original version to remove the sender's name and e-mail. Also, it was written in all uppercase letters, so I changed the case for easier readability. Spelling and grammar have not been corrected.
And for the convenience of those in my home state of California, here's a link to the California State Contractor's Board.
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