Our Nightmare Experience With The Pacesetter Corp.
This page contains a fairly detailed and comprehensive account of our dealings with the Pacesetter Corporation, and includes most documents we have relating to our Pacesetter experience. We also have a couple phone calls that were not intended for us to hear (call_work.mp3 & call_home.mp3), a few pictures of our windows, and a summarized version of our story for if you're short on time.
- Top of Page
- First Contact
- The Presentation
- The Installation
- The Confusion
- Those Shifty Eyes
- Blinded By the Cost
- Ignore It
- Ignore It Some More
- Out To Dinner
- A Light In the Dark
- Break It Down
- Hangin' Tough
- The Threat
- The New Threat
- A Compromise
- The Sign Off
- What Settlement?
- Sign Away Your Life
- Those Kind Of People
- About Your Site...
- More Calls
- Warranty Service
|Pictures Of Our New Windows (Nov. 2002)|
|Work Voicemail||Home Machine|
|Note: original documents and images will open in a new window.|
When we were first contacted by the Pacesetter Corporation (via telemarketing), I had strong suspicions as to whether or not this was a legitimate and trustworthy company. After we made an appointment for the next Sunday, one of the first things I did was to search the web for information on them. Basically the only relevant result that showed up was the Pacesetter Corporation's website, on which it was stated that they were a member of the Better Business Bureau. So I went to the Better Business Bureau's website and a quick search informed me that the Pacesetter Corporation had a "Satisfactory Record". This seemed good enough, Sunday came, but Pacesetter did not. We waited around the entire day, but no one showed up or even called.
During the next week, we once again received a phone call from the Pacesetter Corporation. We told them what had happened and that we weren't interested in dealing with their company any longer. The lady on the phone apologized, and told us that if we were interested in setting up another appointment, then we would receive a significant discount off of our purchase. Knowing that everyone makes mistakes once in awhile, we agreed to another appointment, once again on Sunday.
This time someone did show up. His name was Scott. So we invited him in and went over to the couch, expecting him to start his presentation. Instead, he just started walking around the room. I thought maybe he wanted to check out our windows, but I soon discovered that he wanted to look at our computer setup and our TV/stereo set. This was making me a bit uneasy, so I directed him over to the windows so he could check those out. Shortly after that he went back to get his kit so we could begin the presentation. The presentation was fairly good, and the products seemed to be of high quality. He also mentioned about how the Pacesetter Corporation was in high standing with the Better Business Bureau. Because everything sounded good, we stated that we would most likely want to replace all eleven windows in the house. At this point there were still no prices given, and we inquired about how much more it would cost to replace our sliding patio door for the back of the house and add a new storm door for the front of the house, because with eleven windows, we knew it was already going to be expensive. He could not (or would not) give us a price, but he did say we would get a 20% manufacturer's discount for buying so much. This sounded appealing, especially since we were supposed to get another discount for the missed appointment. So after he went though the presentation of the sliding rear door and storm door and was flipping through more pages in his book, we saw a garage door and asked if they did those too. We've had been wanting to get a new one, and figured this would be as good a time as any since we were already getting discounts. It took him awhile to figure out how much everything would cost, and I mean like 20-30 minutes. I had time to wash all the dishes around the sink and take care of all my e-mails, and he still hadn't finished. Anyway, after he was done and everything was signed, he finally left. On the way out I asked if they did mini-blinds too, pointing to the three front windows. He said they did, so I asked how much, and he said that he'd give us the three blinds for the front windows for free because we bought so much stuff from him. We were happy about this, and had felt like we made the right decision.
The installers arrived on the morning of the installation, and my wife had let them in to get started. By the time I woke up, they had already had many of our existing windows removed. Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around to watch them as I had an emergency at work (those of you who read the Absolute Anime updates section know all about the hard drive crashes). On my way out, I talked briefly with the guy in charge. He told me that the garage door was still in Sacramento, and that they just needed to get a truck to bring it down. That was fine, a few more days won't hurt. I then asked if he could get us prices for blinds for the rest of the house (since they already had all the measurements). He said that he could, and he'd have someone call us about it tomorrow. So far, everything seemed to be going okay. But it was from then on that things started to go wrong.
On the night of the installation, the first thing I noticed as I arrived home was that there was a giant Pacesetter Corp. advertisement stuck in my front lawn. Isn't it illegal to advertise on private property without the owner's consent? Well, that ticked me off, but not as much as the next thing I saw. As I turned the corner, I saw my coat rack, with nothing on it, leaning against the wall. On closer inspection, I saw that the leg had been broken. I then checked the point on the wall where the coat rack was leaning to determine if it had fallen against the wall or if it had been put there. There was absolutely no mark of any kind on the wall, thus the coat rack must have been leaned gently against the wall, meaning someone broke it and put it in that position. I looked around for a note, but saw nothing, and there was no message on the phone. What I did see around the door, and the rest of the windows, was a lot of dust and drywall chips. Also, none of the blinds where hung, nor were the toppers put back. I didn't think too much of it, as they may not have finished and would just come back the next day. The next day, no one came and no one called. Nor the day after that. Nor the week after that.
Several weeks passed by before anyone called. When someone did call, it was a nice lady asking if we had received the paper to sign off on the job, and had we signed it yet. For a moment, I didn't even know how to respond to that. I mean, sign off on the job?! We hadn't even received our garage door yet! I am not one to get upset, so I just told her that we did have the paper, and that we did not sign off on it because we still had not received our garage door. I then told her that I had some complaints, and she was kind enough to listen to them all. I told her about the advertisement in our yard, the broken coat rack, the mess around the windows, and blinds not being put up. I also told her about several other things I found since the installation, including a drill bit left in the carpet near the front door (which I cut my foot on!), a baseboard that was removed to install the rear sliding door but wasn't tacked back in place, and little pieces of hard plastic found scattered all around the front storm door. (We also discovered, even later, that the top section of the bathroom window was obscure glass when only the bottom was supposed to be, and there was a bent nail laying in the carpet next to the dinning room window. It took us a while to make these discoveries, as we never go into these two rooms. We always use the other bathroom and eat in the living room.) I now felt confident that the Pacesetter Corporation would send someone over to correct the mistakes, have someone contact us about the status of our garage door, and compensate us for the trouble. Unfortunately, this did not happen. None of it.
Later in the week, Scott just showed up at our house. It was late in the morning, at a time when my wife has usually already left for work and I'm still sleeping. This morning, however, my wife was late for work, and when she opened the garage door she found Scott's car in our driveway. As she rushed off to work, she made an appointment with him to come over on Sunday when we were both home, At this point, neither one of us could understand why he just showed up, and why at that time. We had told him what our schedules were several times when he was at our house, mentioned many more time that the only days we have together are Sundays. We just couldn't figure it out...until I went online and started searching the newsgroups. That's when I discovered it. He was trying to talk to me alone, without my wife, because my wife is a big black woman with a strong attitude and usually does most of the talking, while I am the passive, silent type. According to all the Pacesetter Corp. stories I read on the newsgroups, this seems to be a common tactic for Pacesetter Corp. employees to use when there is a dispute. Up until now, we thought that our experience was unique, what with the Pacesetter Corporation having "no unresolved complaints" from the Better Business Bureau (the quote is from Scott, during his presentation). We couldn't tell you how relieved we were to find many others had experiences like ours, if not worse. Unfortunately, we did not learn any of this until much later. Remember, at this point we still didn't know why he just showed up, and it didn't really matter. We was just glad that we were going to get to talk with someone and get this whole thing taken care of. How naive we were...
So Sunday came, as did Scott. He listened to our complaints, and told us that he would find out what's going on and give us a 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 quoted a price that was over $1000, which included a supposed discount for the blinds and a discount for our bad experiences with the Pacesetter Corporation thus far. That price was more than twice as much as the most expensive blinds we could find elsewhere, thus we declined to purchase what he offered. Unsurprisingly, the call promised for next morning meant to resolve our problems with the Pacesetter Corporation never came.
Okay, lets just take a break here to look closer at the price Scott quoted us for adding five new blinds. Later on we find out that the blinds are from Hunter Douglas, so lets go online and find out how much it would cost us to buy the most expensive Hunter Douglas blinds available. Of course, we'll use the same measurements Scott used when he came up with his quote of over a grand. Click here to view the document. So first lets head on over to Blinds Wholesale and make our way to the section that has one inch Hunter Douglas mini-blinds. Here we find the most expensive Hunter Douglas blinds available- the Lightlines 1" Aluminum Mini Blinds Group 2.
|Hunter Douglas- Lightlines 1" Aluminum Mini Blinds Group 2|
Hmm... only $385, and Blinds Wholesale has free shipping for orders over a hundred dollars. So how could Scott have possibly calculated them to be over $1,000 with discounts?! We really should have asked him, but at the time we were so shocked that neither of us knew what to do.
On the second day that Scott didn't call, I took it upon myself to call the Redding office (as things were finally starting calm down at work) and obtain Scott's cell phone number. I then called Scott, and he told me that he had forgotten to call us, 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 the Pacesetter Corporation about my complaints. 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 this point, we had decided that we were not going to deal with the Pacesetter Corporation 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 us out of canceling the order, but we refused. When pressed, he finally gasped that he could not cancel the order and issue a refund. He said we 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. We have a messaging system at home, so there is no reason that we would have missed his call had he even tried. And what's even more amazing is that much later, when I eventually did get to talk with Gary Kluck, he told me that he never received any notice about our complaints or that he was supposed to call us back.
Monday, February 18th, we received a call from the Customer Service Manager, Ron LaVertu, office attempting to set up an installation of the door and opener. We don't know what amazed us more, that they didn't know we canceled the garage door or that they actually called us! Remember, this is the first call we have received from the Pacesetter Corporation since the call asking if we've signed off on the job! Anyway, we refused to set up an appointment for the installation of the door, but told them that they could still send someone over to take care of all the unfinished cleanup. They didn't. By this time we had already cleaned up some of it ourselves. We couldn't hang up everything, though, because some required a drill, which we don't presently own. Also, Gary Kluck from the head office in Sacramento had still not called. So we concluded the call, still expecting Gary to call and verify cancellation of the portion of the order remaining, based on my clear communication of that request when we talked to Tim.
A couple days later we received a call from Scott in the Redding office. He wanted to confirm or set up the appointment for the 25th. We told him the same thing we told Ron, that we had canceled the order, but was having trouble getting people to call me back to verify that point. We find it VERY hard to believe that Scott didn't already know we were canceling the order due to poor service and communication. During the same call, Scott finally wheezed that we could not receive a refund of the price of the undelivered, uninstalled, and very late garage door opener and garage door because those items were a "bonus" thrown in for free, and had no value to refund. This was the first time we 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 the Pacesetter Corporation.
On the morning of February 25, 2002 Dave Brown called along with Ron LaVertu. He offered to install the garage door and opener, and send us out to a complementary dinner on Pacesetter Corp. to make up for serious problems we had been having. He also estimated that we were charged about $400 for the $2400 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 we were not sure about this new excuse, 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. So now we're at the point where we wrote a letter to Pacesetter Corp., and sent it to the Redding office, the Sacramento office, and the National office with a return receipt request.
Gary Kluck called me at work on the Friday after we had mailed the letter. He said that he had just read the letter, and offered us $3800 for taking the garage door off the contract and for our trouble. During the conversation, he mentioned twice that we would not be able to find another company that would pay us that amount for a garage door. While we do believe that amount is accurate (as we had been researching the costs of various garage doors and installations), what he didn't mention is that any other company would not have to pay any compensation for screwing up as bad as they did. The amount he offered was slightly lower than we expected, but it at least seemed decent, and so I told him that I would discuss it with my wife and that we still want to get our cost breakdown that we requested in the letter. He said that was fine. We also set up an appointment for Monday, March 11, to have someone from the Pacesetter Corporation come out and finish cleaning up. Oh, and by the way, one thing I was paying careful attention to during the conversation was whether or not he would offer an apology. Guess what...he didn't. But at any rate, it finally looked like we were getting to the end of this whole mess.
A few days later, the National office called, saying that they got our letter and confirming that Gary Kluck called us. I told her that he did, and she casually mentioned that we would not be able to find another company that would pay us that amount for a garage door. Now this creeped me out, because not only was it the same basic statement that Gary Kluck has said, but also the wording was virtually identical! What, do they sit around practicing this stuff? Or are they reading off some "how to handle disputes" card? Also, like Gary Kluck, she didn't mention that any other company would not have to pay any compensation for screwing up as bad as they did (hey, it's my wording and I have copy/paste, so I get to use the exact same wording as I used before!). Oh yeah, and once again... no apology.
A week went by since the conversation with Gary Kluck, and yet no price breakdown arrived. We then received a call on the Friday after our last conversation. It was Barbara, from Gary Kluck's office, asking if I had discussed their proposal with my wife and had a decision. I told the nice lady that I had discussed it with my wife, and that we were still waiting for the price breakdown. I then asked if she knew if it had been mailed off yet. Her response shocked us, although at this point we had no idea why. She said that it was right there on her desk, and Gary was waiting to hear our response before having it sent out. What kind of sense does that make? None... unless there was something on the price breakdown that was not quite right. Knowing now that we would neither accept nor deny the Pacesetter Corporation's proposal until we had the price breakdown list, she said that she would get it sent out. Later in the day, Barbara called back asking if she could fax it to us, as Gary wanted to have an answer by Monday. Well, that was not going to happen, as we also were going to have some other people take a look at the price breakdown. Anyway, not being able to fax us the document, she went ahead and mailed it out.
Monday arrived, as did Rick, an installer for the Pacesetter Corporation, and he brought with him the price breakdown from Gary Kluck which he wanted us to sign. I immediately noticed there were things wrong with it, so I declined to sign it saying that I would have to go over it with my wife. Anyway, he seemed like a genuinely nice fellow, and didn't waste any time asking about what complaints we had and what he needed to do. By this point, we had already vacuumed up the mess around all of the windows, had picked up and disposed of several of the small plastic pieces laying around the outside of the front door, had hung four sets of blinds (with only a screwdriver!), had went out and bought a new coat rack, and had put up two toppers, so there wasn't a whole lot left to do. First thing he took care of was the baseboard, stapling it firmly back into place. He then moved on to hang up the curtains in family room, but couldn't quite figure out how to do it (even though this was the exact same person who originally took them down!). So I had to help him lay everything out and figure out how they went back up, which took about an hour. When we finally got those curtains up, he received a call on his cell phone that one of his men got cut on some glass. So he had to leave to go take him to the hospital, but we made another appointment on Thursday, March 14, for him to come back and finish.
He returned on Thursday, as promised, and finished putting up the rest of the blinds around the house. Then we sat down and discussed what was going on. I showed him the price breakdown list:
|Our price breakdown (view the original)|
|2 Picture Windows 5000||202 ui||$1,275.90|
|4 mutin bars||390 ui||358.98|
|4 Sliding Window 5000||421 ui||3926.19|
|1 Obscure glass||60 ui||127.07|
|5 Double Hung Window 5000||443 ui||4,035.51|
|1 Operating Storm Door||116 ui||526.51|
|1 Sliding Patio Door 5000||5 ft ea||1,980.60|
|3 Hunter Douglas Blinds||321 ui||499.24|
|Total without garage door & opener||12,730.00|
|Garage Door & Opener||+ 3,800.00|
|Our cost shown on the contract||$16,530.00|
The first, most obvious error on this price breakdown was the three Hunter Douglas blinds. These were not supposed to cost us anything! The second error is the charge for the mutin bars. Yes, we wanted mutin bars, as our other windows had mutin bars, but Scott didn't say anything about them costing more. There's no way we would pay extra just to have some plastic bars inside our windows. With the charge for the obscure glass, it was the same problem. Scott asked us if we wanted the bathroom window to be obscured, and we said it didn't really matter since we never use that bathroom anyway, so sure, why not. He asked if we wanted both the top and bottom obscured, or just the bottom, suggesting that having both obscured might make the window look better. Not too worried with looks in the backyard, both my wife and I both thought that we would like to leave the top one normal so that we could still see out into the backyard. Had we known there was an extra charge for obscuring the windows, we never would have had it done.
After explaining all this, he called the Sacramento Pacesetter Corp. office to get the vice president, Gary Kluck, on the phone. As it turned out, Gary Kluck was on vacation. So instead, they had the Assistant General Manager, Gerry Anderson, call us back within a few minutes. The conversation I had with him was so frustrating that I had almost raised my voice in anger, something I have not done in over ten years. During the conversation, he made many statements that did not make much sense. For one thing, he told me that we were really getting a $7,323 deduction, not just $3,800, because of the 40% taken off at the time we signed the contract. What?! Neither of the two 20% discounts had anything to do with the garage door and opener, nor did they have anything to do with our subsequent problems with the Pacesetter Corporation. Another thing he said was that the prices listed on the price breakdown where not the prices that we paid, but were the prices that the Pacesetter Corporation paid. If that was true, then why do they add up to exactly to what we were supposed to pay?! Continuing this trend of nonsense, he also stated that the Pacesetter Corporation did not break our contract, stating the following phrase (in bold) from a paragraph in our contract:
Installation of the goods described above is estimated to commence on or about January 2nd, 2002. The installation of the above goods is projected to be substantially completed within 1-4 days thereafter. Substantial commencement of work shall mean the delivery of substantially all products to the work site and the initial furnishing of labor for installation. I have informed you that failure without lawful excuse to substantially commence work within twenty (20) days from said approximate date is a violation of the Contractor's License Law. However, installation is subject to production scheduling, weather conditions and related factors, and you agree that any delay due to one of these factors will be excused.
Keep in mind here that the actual installation did not take place until January 11, and it wasn't until February 12 that we had received a new excuse after we called them. It had been way over twenty days from even the actual installation date, and the excuse that they needed to have someone show them how to install a garage door still didn't fall into the categories of production scheduling or weather conditions. Now, after all this, Gerry Anderson insisted that we either accept the $3,800 that the Pacesetter Corporation is offering, or else they will still hold to the original contract.
I was shocked. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. After hearing this, I couldn't even think straight anymore, so I concluded the call with him, and just sat there spinning the conversation around in my head wondering what the hell is going on here. It's not like we are trying to take the company for an obscene amount of money. We are not trying to push this just to see how much money we can get. All we want is what is fair. That's it. That's all. Nothing more.
Today we received a new letter from the Pacesetter Corporation, and we are in the process of writing a response. We will talk more about the letter once our response is finished. There are, however, two points that we would like to point out. The first is that the letter contains one "sentence" that literally does not make sense. It's at the top of the second page, and looks like the sentence may have been messed up as if it was in the middle of being re-worded.
The second point is about the statement made at the very end of the letter: "You signed a Deed of Trust which is filed against your home as a security." This statement sounds to us as if we are being threatened for not simply accepting the offered terms. Please, take a look at the letter for yourselves and tell us how you see it. Oh yes, and if you do read over the letter, you will notice that there is still no apology.
We had finished composing our response to their threatening on April 1, but didn't get time to mail it until today since we wanted to have it sent with a return receipt. In the letter, we basically asked for a compromise. We would ignore the completely incorrect price breakdown they sent it they would replace the top portion of our bathroom window with non-obscured glass like we had originally asked for, and have Tim and Scott write sincere apologies. We also requested a corrected price breakdown, but that was not crucial to the compromise. Oh, and we tried to explain to them why the price breakdown they sent to us was incorrect.
I received a phone call at work around 1:30pm from the Branch Sales Manager of Pacesetter Corp., Gerry Anderson, in response to our most recent letter. He readily agreed to correct our bathroom window, and said that Tim would be happy to write us a letter of apology, but that Scott would be unable to do so. How come? Because he was fired. (Or was he? Check out Scott's side of the story.) Apparently, they had to have several serious talks with him for incidents not even relation to ours. We're extremely glad to see that we were not just being paranoid about him, and that he really was a creep.
Gerry also briefly tried to explain why the price breakdown was shown as a breakdown of what it cost the Pacesetter Corporation. I mentioned that the breakdown did not show just what it cost Pacesetter Corp., because it did not show any profits. I don't think he got it, and I wasn't going push it. But if it was broken down to show what it cost Pacesetter Corp., and it equaled exactly to what we were supposed to pay, that would mean that Pacesetter Corp. broke even... exactly even... to-the-penny even... made-no-money, lost-no-money even... yeah, right.
Anyway, after we both agreed to the settlement, he mentioned that he would send the job sign off sheet with the guy who would do our bathroom window. He did not mention anything about signing a new contract, so I asked if we would have to. He told me that we would not. This would become significant later, because after we finally signed off on the job, we received our balance with the $3,800 NOT REMOVED. But we'll tell you about that later, in the What Settlement? section.
So, although we felt that this settlement was still not fair, it would still be acceptable, and better than going to court. Oh yeah, and there's one more significant aspect of the phone call we need to mention... he apologized! It's true, he actually said "I'm sorry"! Oh my, I almost broke down in tears... well, not quite, but it was good to finally hear it.
The new non-obscured window for the bathroom was installed early in the morning on April 30, 2002. The installer left the paper that we are to sign off on the job, as we said we needed to have it looked over before we would sign it. It looks like a standard sheet, as it makes no mention cost at all. Still, we will have it looked over and if it's okay, we will finally sign off on this extremely overpriced job. This website will not be coming down, however. It will remain to help others so long as we have the ability to do so.
On Thursday, May 2, we got a call from Gerry Anderson asking if we had signed off on the job. I said we had. He then asked if he could have someone come over and pick it up that day, and I said he could. Well, guess what? NOBODY CAME! That's right, and no phone call to tell us that nobody would be able to make it. The next morning I got another call from Pacesetter Corp., this time from the guy who was supposed to come over yesterday. He asked if he could come over this morning. I told him sure, but only if he came over soon because I had get to work in about an hour. He said he'd be there in about twenty minutes.
Twenty minutes went by... nothing. Thirty minutes... nothing. Forty minutes later, I could no longer wait. I needed to get my shower and head to work. Just as I was getting undressed, he shows up at the door. I hand him the paper, and he quickly inspects it to find our signatures. He then starts talking. About what? I'm not really sure. I think he mentioned that our windows looked nice and asked how they were working for us. Obviously he forgot I had to get to work. Obviously he didn't notice that I was half naked. Obviously he didn't notice me trying to close the door several times before he began to speak again. Obviously... unless it's just part of the training.
Even after signing off on the job, our problems with Pacesetter Corporation were still not over. In the mail, we received a notice from Federal Diversified Services, which is a division of Pacesetter Corporation for financing Pacesetter Corp. products. The letter detailed the amount and length of our payments... except that it was wrong. It detailed our original cost, not our cost after having the $3,800 taken off. Oh yeah, and we still have not received a correct price breakdown.
On May 28, after returning from the E3 Expo, I called Federal Diversified Services. The lady told me that in order to have the $3,800 discounted from our balance, we had to either sign a new contract or sign some kind of settlement release. Funny, Gerry Anderson made no mention of us needing to sign anything at all except for the paper signing off on the job. Funny, he specifically made it a point to call us about signing off on the job. Why didn't he mention anything about a settlement release then? Yeah, you figure it out. Anyway, the lady told me that I would have to call Gary Kluck's office (1-800-444-1284).
So I called, and after typing some info into the computer, the lady told me that she had to go to the other room and pull our file. I told her I needed to get in to work and asked how long it would take. She said it would take about twenty minutes, so I told her I would then stick around the house for awhile. Twenty minutes went by... nothing. Thirty minutes... nothing. Are you starting to get that feeling of deja-vu? Over an hour later I called back to find out what was going on. This time the lady who answered told me that our file was en route via mail. Mail?! What the hell?!
On June 1st, we received a mutual release form in the mail that we are supposedly supposed to sign in order to get our $3,800 credit. What? That was not part of our agreement. I specifically asked Gerry Anderson during our April 10 phone conversation if we would have to sign a new contract. He said we wouldn't, and mentioned nothing about a mutual release form. He did say that he would send along the job sign off form with the person who fix our bathroom window, and that did happen. So why didn't he send the mutual release form too?
So we looked over the mutual release form. It contained mistakes. They were minor mistakes, but they were still mistakes. That, however, is not why we refused to sign it. You see, by signing this form, we would be giving away all of our rights, including our right to complain, which is completely unacceptable. So we wrote a response letter, and on June 3 we faxed it and mailed it to the Pacesetter Corporation's Sacramento office. Along with faxing our letter, we also faxed a cover sheet which politely asked if they would send a confirmation fax to us upon receiving our fax. Nothing came.
On June 7, 2002 at 10:15 AM, we received a call from Dan Nicoln of Pacesetter Corp.'s Sacramento office. This call, however, was not in response to our letter. In fact, he had no idea about our in-depth involvement with Pacesetter Corporation. His call was some kind of polite how are things going call. Being such a long and involved story, I was not about to tell it all to someone who probably would have no power to do anything anyway. So I just told him that we were having problems with Pacesetter Corp. and that we had not received our credit for the garage door we canceled. He told me I should call 1-800-444-1284. No thank you. No more phone conversations. From now on, I need everything in writing. Everything.
It is now Saturday, June 8, and we have heard absolutely nothing from Pacesetter Corporation. We will be contacting the Attorney General's office again. We will be contacting various news companies to see if any have an interest in our story. We will be contacting lawyers in preparation for a court battle. We are sick of this deceit and are not going to take it anymore.
We visited a lawyer on Monday, June 10, and explained to him about our Pacesetter Corp. experience. After listening to our story and looking through some of our documents, he agreed to help us out. On Wednesday, June 12, we received a fax from Gerry Anderson of Pacesetter Corp. basically saying that they will not reduce our contract if we do not sign the release by June 21. On Friday, June 14, we received a call from Federal Diversified Services asking if we sent our payment, which was expected on the 6th. After briefly explaining that we were still having problems with Pacesetter Corp., she told me to call Sandy Miles (at 1-800-760-2071) in order to postpone our payments. So I called and left a message on her voice mail. Twice on Friday, once on Saturday, and twice again on Monday. On Tuesday, June 18, we had our call returned.
The call that we received, however, wasn't from Sandy, and the lady left a number and extension that was different from the one we were calling. Anyway, with Pacesetter Corp. on the line in a conference call, she left voice mail at our home and my office (I was at lunch). After her message, she did not hang up properly, and Pacesetter Corp.'s conversation about us was recorded (call_work.mp3). In short, they accused us of doing this to all companies in order to get free product. Listening to these absurd accusations about us, after how patient and calm we have been with these people, was just so infuriating that I could not return her call at that time and still remain calm. When we arrived home that evening, we found a similar call (call_home.mp3) on our machine. She called the next morning, without Pacesetter Corp. on the line, and when I explained the facts of the situation to her, she was able to postpone our payments until we get our credit.
We received a letter of resolution on Monday, July 1 from James B. Miller of the Pacesetter Corporation. We need to show it to our lawyer, but it's now Tuesday, and our lawyer, Jerrald K. Pickering from the Pickering Law Corporation in Redding, California, has still not contacted us since our initial meeting. That was over three weeks ago, and he told us then that he would call later that week. We have left messages on his voice mail, but still nothing. Supposedly he has been out of town a lot, and I understand he must be a busy man, but that does explain why he couldn't have just called us to say he was too busy to handle our case. We feel like we are receiving the same kind of treatment from him as we have been getting from the Pacesetter Corporation. We just hoping we won't need to start a www.pickeringsucks.com website.
It's now the morning of Tuesday, July 3, and we just received a call from Jerrald K. Pickering's secretary from the Pickering Law Corporation in Redding, California. She said that Mr. Pickering had been unsuccessful in contacting those "pace-people". She then said that they had a meeting to analyze their work load and determined that they did not have time to handle our case. Gee, how nice of her to tell us this... over a week after the deadline Pacesetter Corp. set for us and over three weeks after our initial meeting! Oh yeah, and she also mentioned that they still had the files we lent them and that we should come pick them up.
We were eventually sent a letter saying that they would remove the $3,800 from our balance as per our agreement. Although our lawyer was never able to get in direct contact with anyone from Pacesetter Corp., I have suspicions that his attempts at least partially prompted this letter from James B. Miller, General Counsel.
On September 3, 2002, I received a call from Gary Kluck while at the office. He wanted to talk with me over lunch the next day, although he didn't give any indication of why. Now, I'm always very busy, and usually need to eat at the office instead of going out for lunch, but I figured I could get away for a half hour, so we set up a time and place to meet. Unfortunately, I got a lot more work dumped upon me that evening, and had to call and cancel the next morning.
When I called and told him that I needed to cancel, he finally told me what he wanted to talk about: our website. He wanted to set up another appointment, but I told him that this happens a lot and it's really hard for me to get away. He said that my company must be doing pretty well for me to be unable to get away. That sounded to me like he was letting me know that he thought I was lying about having too much work (of course, that's just my opinion of the statement, and I could be wrong). Anyway, I told him that we were doing well, but the reason I couldn't get away was because I am at present the only programmer, so that when anything comes up I have to handle it and cannot pass it off on someone else.
Instead of trying to make another appointment that I may not be able to keep, I told him that the best way to contact me is through e-mail. He then said something that I still don't understand to this day. He said that contacting me through e-mail would be difficult for him because he's out most of the day. What? It's e-mail, you can do it whenever you're at a computer. Do it at home, at the office, at the library, at a cyber-cafe, even with some of the newer cell phones. E-mail is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He was even talking to me from the Redding Pacesetter Corp. office, and I'm sure they have e-mail available there. All you need is a computer with an internet connection. I haven't heard anything from him since that call, so I don't know if he still wants to talk or what.
Written October 25, 2002:
I received another call from Gary a few weeks ago. He left a message in my voice mail at work, and still wanted to get together. Apparently he was in Redding at the time, but by the time I got the message and returned the call, the Redding office said that he had already left for Sacramento. He did give his cell number in the message, but I didn't bother calling. I had already told him that if he wanted to contact me, he should do it through e-mail.
On the evening of Tuesday, October 22, we found a message from Paul Rado(sp?) (Operations Manager for the Pacesetter Corporation) on our home answering machine. He asked if we could give him a call, so the next morning I did. He was on another line so I left a message with his secretary saying that if he wanted to contact me then he should do it through e-mail. The next evening we found another message on our machine from him. This time he said that he just wanted to chat with us for a few minutes and didn't really want to e-mail us. So he want's to chat with us, but he doesn't tell us about what and he doesn't want to put it in writing. Yeah, I don't think so. If you want to say something, you can put it in writing.
Written November 5, 2002:
Around 2:05 PM on Tuesday, November 5, 2002, I received a call at work from Paul Rado, Operations Manager for the Pacesetter Corporation. He expressed that Gary Kluck really wanted to meet with me and asked if we could set that up. I told him that I could not meet, that I was too busy, and that if Gary Kluck wanted to contact me, he could do so through email. He didn't like this. He said flat out that Gary Kluck would not email me.
All throughout the call he tried to convince me that email would not be useful. He made a note of telling me that he had worked there for something like over 20 years, and that he knew nothing could be resolved through email. I told him that they hadn't even tried it with me yet. He also emphasized that one of the presidents of Pacesetter Corp. wants to take time out of his busy schedule to meet with me and that I am refusing to even make an attempt at meeting with him. Now lets just stop right here for a second to clear something up. I have absolutely no need to talk with Gary. If Gary has something that we wants to ask or tell me, then he can do it in an email. There is nothing that he can say in person that cannot be said in an email. Period.
In the conversation, Paul also wanted to know what Pacesetter Corp. could do to make us happy customers. He asked about our Pacesetter Corp. products. I told him about not being able to get our storm door to stay open like it should, and about the glue that was not trimmed from the windows. He told us that the door closer was still under warranty and that we could just call to get a new one. He also said that the glue should have been trimmed. Anyway, I told him that there was nothing they could do to make us happy customers since they could not take back all the time and stress that we went through. I believe this is where he once again tried to get me to meet with Gary Kluck.
I did take notes on this phone call, but it's hard to take notes at the same time your having a phone conversation (which is another reason I prefer email). Anyway, that was the jist of the call. I don't know if they'll try contacting me again or not, but whatever, it doesn't matter to me. I have no need to talk with them. Paul said that Gary Kluck would not email me, and that if I didn't meet with Gary then we were at a standstill. What standstill? If you want to contact me, then use email, otherwise don't contact me. This is not a hard concept.
Well, that's our still ongoing story. If you have any comments, questions, or just want to yell at us, please feel free to contact us. Thanks for listening!
Written January 7, 2003:
Gerry Anderson called me at work on December 11, 2002 at around 1:00 PM. He kept trying to set up a date to me with me, even though I kept telling him I was too busy. He would throw out date after date, and just wouldn't take no for an answer. I kept asking why he couldn't just e-mail me. I asked specifically, if we were to meet, what would you start out by saying. He said that he'd ask what Pacesetter Corp. would have to do to get us to take down our website. Good, now take that statement, and send it in an email!
Anyway, I pretty much assumed that's why they wanted to meet, but at least he finally told me straight out. It was good to hear it. I told him that there was nothing Pacesetter Corp. could do. Not anymore. And I did not create this site to get more money or free product, I made this site to share our experience and inform people of just how Pacesetter Corp. operates (with at least some of their customers). We did a cash-out refinancing and completely paid off Pacesetter Corp., so we owe them absolutely nothing (and they can no longer threaten to take our house). They can keep calling, but as far as I'm concerned, we are done with Pacesetter Corporation.
On November 7, 2002 we filed an online service request with Pacesetter for a malfunctioning hydraulic closer on our storm door. We were not sent a replacement nor were we ever contacted beyond the email confirming our service request. But it wasn't that important so we just removed the device. Now, fast forward to September 27, 2003, almost a year later. We filed another service request, except this one was far more important than a malfunctioning hydraulic closer. You see, a few days prior I had opened our dining room double hung window, probably for the first time ever, and when I tried to close it, the window stopped about an inch from the bottom, refusing to go any further. I checked it out and didn't see anything obviously wrong, so after I tried fooling around with it for a couple days I just gave up and filed the service request.
On Wednesday, October 29, 2003, my wife received a call from Pacesetter about our malfunctioning hydraulic closer. The guy said that there was a $60 service charge to come out, and that if she wanted, they could just send the part instead. Forgetting about the window problem which I had only mentioned to her once, she agreed. Keep in mind that the weather at this time was fairly nice, so having a window that was opened just a crack wouldn't have obvious. I called back around 11 AM to find out what was going on with our window service request, and got a recording telling me to call 1-800-444-1284. The lady there took my basic info and connected me to what I assumed was the local office. I talked to Tim Dravesky (installation manager for the Sacramento office), and he said that he also saw the service report for the window problem and asked the service guy about it. He then said that the service guy was sick and had went home, and that he would let the guy know and that we would receive a call tomorrow to set something up.
For anyone who has read through our story, I don't need to tell you what didn't happen the next day. So about a week later on November 4, I called and left a message on Tim Dravesky's voice mail. I said that we had not received the call that we were supposed to get last Thursday, and asked if he would please have someone get back to us. Again, if you've read our story, I don't need to tell you what didn't happen. On November 12, after about another week, I again called the 800 number. The lady told me that she would make a note on our service request and give it directly to the installation manager. The next morning we received a call saying the service guy would be over between 11 and noon. He arrived about 11:40 AM and took a look at our window. He said that it looked like it just needed some silicon lubrication, and that he would come by around next Thursday to take care of it. He also pulled out a new hydraulic closer and put that on our storm door. The guy seemed very nice and sincere, but when Thursday, November 20th rolled around, we had yet to receive any call to set up a time, nor did anyone stop by.
It was November 26 when I once again found myself calling that 800 number. The lady said she would print out another request and give it to the installation manager ASAP and say that I called. Okay, everyone ready to place bets on whether or not we received a call that week? Well, for those of you that bet on Pacesetter thinking that they couldn't possibly screw up yet again and not call... sorry, you lose! So on December 3, 2003, I once again felt like a broken record, making my weekly call to that damned 800 number. The lady said that everyone was in an all day meeting, and that she would print yet another copy of our service request and give it once again to the installation manager for our area. Two days later, when no one had called, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
On December 11, we finally got a call from a Pacesetter customer service manager saying that someone would call us by next Friday (the 19th, not the 12th). On Tuesday, November 16, we did get a call and the service guy came out later that morning. Apparently they were so busy that they actually brought him in from out of state. He lubricated all of our double hung window, and told us that we could also do it just by picking some lubrication up at a hardware store. I had no idea. Nobody had ever mentioned that before. He also repaired a small hole in the screen of our storm door, installed a latch on our sliding screen door, and walked around the house with me, checking out all the windows and trimming away all the excess silicon caulk stuff that had been protruding since the day the windows were installed. When he was done I had to fill out some paper for the BBB records. He said that normally there is a $60 service charge, but today there was none because they had taken so long. I didn't argue, although I do remember what Scott, our sales rep, told us about service charges, which is that although the contract says they can charge for service calls, that it is really only for when they have to travel and doesn't affect people who live nearby a local office, as we do. I specifically remember that, and now I know I should have got it in writing, but at the time I had no reason not to trust Pacesetter.