Thank God, or Tao, for Oregon's "Buyer's Right to Cancel" law.
It just saved us from a pushy Penguin Windows salesman, who somehow talked us into signing a contract for some vastly overpriced (though seemingly high-quality) replacement windows.
I wasn't going to mention the company's name in this buyer beware post. But after reading a bunch of comments from people who had remarkably similar bad sales experiences, I decided to say it like it is:
Penguin Windows engages in annoyingly high-pressure sales tactics.
Which, unfortunately, are pretty damn effective. Laurel and I generally are resistant to salesman B.S. But the guy who spent over four hours in our house last Saturday was good. Real good.
Yes, I said four hours. When Laurel called Penguin to get an estimate she was told that this would take an hour to an hour and a half.
I only wish. When Jay (not his real name) arrived promptly at 11 a.m., I figured I'd be back to my usual Saturday activities, like a nap, by early in the afternoon.
Nope. Jay had a seemingly endless series of sales pitches that he unveiled both before and after he measured our windows.
We saw frame samples from Penguin and other companies. We had the temperature in various spots in our living room measured by a nifty laser pointing device (I learned that our dog's exterior is about 80 degrees, while Laurel is considerably cooler). We watched a heat lamp experiment where Jay showed how much radiation passed through several types of single, double, and triple-pane windows.
In the end I was getting both really hungry and bored. And we weren't sold on the Penguin Windows, which struck us as (1) wildly expensive, and (2) vinyl'ly unsuited for our almost all-wood interior.
So Jay smoothly shifted away from an estimate to replace all of our ancient aluminum-framed windows, to just those downstairs. That reduced the cost considerably. We thought it might be OK to try five windows as an experiment.
I won't bother to describe all of Jay's sales tactics, many of which were irritating. They're described in the litany of complaints from other people, which are headed by titles such as:
Don't waste your time…LIES AND BROKEN PROMISES…sleazy is too kind of a word…BUYER'S BEWARE! LIES! LIES! LIES!...STAY AWAY RUN AWAY AND HIDE…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RIP OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...I just kicked the sales weasel out of my house…Stay away Run run run…Terrible windows and service
One comment came from a guy who used to work for Statewide (now called Penguin Windows).
I used to work for statewide and I agree that it's a S***ty company. Not only are the people high pressure but the atmosphere in the office is high pressure. If you didn't get a certain number of people scheduling appointments each week they would first verbally warn you, then write you up the next week and then they would fire your a** for being "incompetent" if you didn't meet the quota of appointments three weeks in a row. I worked for the Vancouver division for a few months and I will never do that again. Apparently they have been in the same territory for up to five years in some places, which is just stupid for the marketing tactics that they use. I would warn you to stay clear of these people. The next time you see someone in a baby blue shirt with a clipboard heading your way do the smart thing and turn tail and RUN! Dealing with this company is not worth the hassle. Cheers!
Over the weekend we came to our senses. I emailed Penguin Windows and told them we'd changed our mind, but might consider having just one window installed as a test. Laurel also left a message for Jay, who we talked to on Monday.
He said that it wouldn't be possible for us to get a single window. Jay wanted to meet with us again today, and to bring his boss along. We figured, why not? Wouldn't hurt to talk some more – so long as it wasn't for anywhere near four hours.
But today Laurel checked out some other window options. She realized that our woody home would look much better with wood-clad frames. She phoned Jay and told him he'd almost certainly be wasting his time if he came out, that we were strongly leaning toward cancelling our contract for the downstairs windows.
However, Jay insisted on coming out. Which, he did, promptly at 6:00 pm this evening (I'll have to give him this; he's punctual).
This time it just took us about 45 minutes to get Jay out the door. He was exceedingly reluctant to take "no" for an answer. We had him outnumbered (his boss didn't show up) and we both rank pretty high on an assertiveness scale.
Yet there were moments when our cancellation resolve started to weaken a bit in the face of Jay's relentless rear-guard Save the Sale manipulation techniques. Emotionally he went from cheery, to determined, to grumpy, to sadly put upon, to (thankfully!) resigned to his non-sales fate.
Someone single, lonely, elderly, and/or eager to please could easily have fallen prey to the slick Penguin Windows sales tactics. Jay reminded me of car salesman as they were several decades ago, complete with "Let me talk to my supervisor and see if he's willing to give you the discount that I want to offer."
Give me a break. We got several thousand dollars off of our estimate for being willing to have Penguin Windows put a sign at the end of our driveway when they did the work (which, now, they never will). That's just one of the many Penguin gimmicks.
Tomorrow the "Buyer's Right to Cancel" is being mailed to Penguin Windows, comfortably before the three business day deadline, and by registered mail.
The horror stories I read (along with some positive comments) make me feel good about escaping from the Penguin's clutches. We'll end up saving a lot of money when we go with another window company.
And we won't have rewarded obnoxious sales tactics.