It is nice to know I am not alone.
I live in Canton, MI. While at a Christmas party last month, I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking of finishing my basement this year. He told me that his brother had an Owens-Corning basement installed last year and it looked really nice. So I went online that weekend and looked up the product (unfortuantely, I missed this site first time around). I requested the free demonstration and quote they advertised.
An appointment was made and the sales rep (we'll call him "K") showed up promptly at the scheduled time (1:00 pm). Upon learning that my wife was out shopping, he apologized and said he would have to leave and that Owens-Corning would not allow him to give a demonstration if only one member of the household was present. He said he could come back later that day, and since we had no other plans, I said okay.
At 7:00 that night we received a call from K saying that he was back in the area and could be here in 10 minutes. K showed up and was very polite and personable. The pitch he gave us was as described above: Heavy on the dangers of black mold which threatened to destroy the lives of middle-class Americans everywhere. A lot about the high costs of traditional drywall basements. AT 8:30 K finally showed us the product; this was an hour and 15 minutes after he walked in the door. He gave a very thorough description and was able to answer most of our questions. Then he proceeded downstairs to take his measurements for his estimate.
Then K worked with his adding machine for 15 minutes and then presented us with his estimate (in pencil on a yellow legal pad that had seen better days). My wife almost laughed out loud at the first price he presented us with which was upwards of $28,000 for less than 500 sq feet. This price did not include carpet. Right away he said that he could beat that price and he cited various factory discounts as he wrote a new number: $16,900. At this point we raised our eyebrows and said it didn't seem totally unreasonable and thanked him for the estimate. K asked if this was in our budget and I honestly told him that we had not set a budget and still needed to talk it over with each other before we commited to anything. K then told us about a number of financing options available. Again, we told him we were not prepared to discuss financing because we were not sure if we wanted to remodel right now anyway. After all, we only asked for a free estimate and that's what he provided.
At this point, K's demeanor changed. He began asking us why were holding back on him and why we couldn't see the "deal" that was looking us in the face. We told him that we made it a practice to never agree to spend money without sleeping on it for a few days and discussing it with each other. From there, K's high pressure tactics really went into overdrive as he began telling us how this price was a one time deal and we wouldn't see a quote this low again. It culminated in him saying to us, "You're obviously doing well for yourselves, and if you can afford to live in a $300K home, I can't believe something like this would break you." Rude and unprofessional.
As K was packing up to leave, he told us that it was a shame because if we had continued to hear him out, he could have told us how to save an additional $3000. He said that even if we decided a week later we wanted the product, the company COULD NOT ever again offer us a price that low after we had refused to decide during the initial demonstration (what a crock). K then left without leaving a copy of his "estimate", a pamphlet or other description of the product, or even a business card. It was 10:30 by the time he left and I never even got his last name! He had spent over 3 hours in my house and I had nothing to show for it.
The next day, I called Owens-Corning to complain. They promised that I would be contacted by the local general manager within a week. Three weeks later I called back to check the status. Eventually, the general manager (K's boss) called me back. He listed to my complaint and offered me his apologies and promised to talk to K regarding his tactics. He seemed sincere at the time, but after reading the long list of stories here, I have my doubts.
My father is a carpenter and has been in business for himself for about 15 years. I have never seen a remodeling job pitched in such a fashion and I would advise anyone considering a OCBS to get several estimates from local, licensed contracters before committing. The product is unique, but it isn't the only game in town.