Owens Corning Basement System

calebmanSeptember 18, 2007

Owens Corning Basement Finishing System

This communication is being offered, publicly, to WARN anyone considering the purchase of an Owens Corning basement. The information provided is completely accurate because it is coming from several sales people trained in the unethical selling practices of the Owens Corning Corporation and franchisees. Jim Worden from Owens Corning Corporation said that the sales presentation used by the franchisees was created at the corporate headquarters. Jim Wordens phone number is: 419-248-6881. He did say that some of the lies being taught to new sales people, by the Lisle franchise, were not acceptable and that he was going to make sure that the franchisee owner, Stephen Brooks, would be notified. The practices are still being used in training and in the sales process. It seems that Mr. Worden is good at attempting to pacify but doesnÂt really care how Owens Corning customers are treated or if they are lied to. Stephen Brooks is located at: (are you ready for this) 2050 Integrity Dr. South, Columbus, Ohio 43209 and his phone number is: 614-737-9000 and the fax is: 614-737-9001. Scott Stolzenburg is the sales manger at: 2200 Ogden Ave., Lisle, Illinois 60532 and his phone number is: 630-963-4600 and the fax is: 630-963-4480.

Here is a list of lies in the sales process:

1. Owens Corning Basement Finishing System franchisee does not retain their own construction crews. (We were actually trained to tell customers that they were all the caliber of Bob Villa.) One of the sales persons in our training class goes to church with an independent contractor that installs the Owens Corning Basements and he is an independent; that is how we found out that we were lied to.

2. That all the sales personnel or as they call them: Certified Basement Designers are certified. Our certification amounted to our woefully inadequate training and taking a test which we were given the answers to so that we could pass the test; I still have my copy of the test answers.

3. When prospects are being lined up for an appointment they are told that the price is good for a year. Little does the prospect know that the only price that is good for a year is the super inflated list price not any of the discounted prices.

4. We were trained to slightly overcharge because that is a win for the sales person. It also makes up for any items forgotten by the sales person. If the sales person was actually trained how to price a basement then you wouldnÂt have to overcharge. Gary one of the seasoned sales reps told me that the sales manager, Jim, was notorious for overpricing jobs by thousands of dollars which was supposed to be a no-no. Jim is taking a sales managers position in another state so how much of a no-no could it be?

5. The sales presentation has 9 steps and is designed to close the sale on the one and only visit from the sales person. Here are the steps of the sales process the Owens Corning way: 1. Warm-up  make friends with the prospect. (Prospects have a hard time saying no to their friend.) 2. Design  go over what the customer would like designed for their basement and then tell them why they need to change it for the homes sales ability down the road. (The reality is that if bathrooms and walls can be eliminated then the sales person has a better chance of selling the job because it will be cheaper. The customer goes upstairs while the basement is designed and priced. 3. Company  make the prospect feel that all contractors are scum and that the only company that can be trusted is Owens Corning. (This is really humorous since they donÂt even have their own construction crews so they hire scumbag contractors just like the rest of us idiots) 4. Investment  during this stage the prospect is to be made to believe that the Owens Corning basement is a better investment than a traditional basement because it is Owens Corning. I even had the sales manager, Scott, tell me I should have told the prospect, which I didnÂt sell, that some realtors even put a sign under the Home for Sale sign that says: Owens Corning Basement, which he told me he made up but sounded good. The reality is that a finished basement, whether traditional or Owens Corning, will increase the value of the home the same amount. Where the problem comes in is that if you pay an inflated price for your basement, with Owens Corning, your return on investment will not be as great and to sell your home you may have to increase the price of your home, to try and recover the cost of the Owens Corning basement, to a high enough point that you canÂt sell your home or you end up lowering the price and take a loss. 5. Product  The goal here is to scare the living daylights out of you that you and your whole family will die of mold! Or that your home will be a tear down and you will lose your whole investment because insurance companies do not cover homes for mold anymore. The reality is that mold is very bad and can kill you but the chances of you being affected that adversely by mold is remote at best. The proof sources of mold contamination that the sales people were to use never specified that the mold started in the basement of the affected homes. The main goal of the product step is to get people to never want to use traditional materials in their basement finishing project ever. The Lifetime Transferable Warranty was actually only good for 15 years and the product is mold resistant not mold preventive. We never saw any kind of a warranty for workmanship or the product. I tested my sample panel by putting it in water and the fabric peeled off. 6. Pre-close this is the pre-close: Folks because each home is unique, we do not make anything before we get an order. It sounds to me like this project is something you will eventually do, if not now sometime in the near future, is that right? (Wait for customerÂs response.) Seeing itÂs not a matter of if youÂll do this projectÂbut whenÂlet me show you how to save a lot of money by considering it now. (Do not hesitate) Let me ask you, if I can show you a way to save a lot of money, come up with a price or even a monthly investment that fits into your budgetÂwould there be any reason, other than affordability, why you folks wouldnÂt want to get the project started while I am here? If the sales person doesnÂt sell the job at the first appointment then they donÂt get paid a penny for their efforts. The sales process isnÂt over because then the recovery program kicks in, which is explained below. 7. Price & Payment  this is the point in the presentation when you show the prospects the drawing and take your time telling them each item that they are getting with their basement. (They are trying to justify their pricing) Now the sales person turns over the drawing and shows the customer the price. This is the point when as a sales person I always had 911 dialed and ready to push send because almost everyone that sees the price just about has a heart attack. We were trained to tell them that they needed to keep an open mind because we had some great discounts to offer them. The discounts are: The Showcase Discount which is 15% off of the list or retail price and a 1% rebate on showcase referrals. The next discount is the flexible installation price which is a 10% discount off of the showcase price. The flexible installation is used every week and each sales person is given a new flexible installation letter at the Monday morning sales meeting. We were trained to act like Columbo and bumble around saying that they have this new incentive that just started and is available on a first come first serve basis; just one more lie. If the prospect doesnÂt want to purchase at this point the sales person is to call the sales manager, Scott, and let him know what a great community the prospects live in and how huge their basement project is and that they are excited to be showcase customers and that they can be flexible with their installation date and that they would never even consider putting traditional materials in their basement. Then you tell Scott that the prospects really want the basement but it sounds to you that the project costs a little more than they can afford to spend at this time. He then graciously offers another 5% discount off of the Flexible discount and a 2% referral fee from all sales made from any referrals including the showcase sales. If the customer says no then once the sales person is outside with the prospect and the prospect thinks that the last 4 hours he spent in hell is over the sales person is to ask what the real reason is that they didnÂt purchase the Owens Corning basement (HELLO IT IS JUST WHAT WE SAID IT IS TOO BLOODY EXPENSIVE!!!). Then the sales person can offer the deal to the prospect for the retail cost times .67 which is called a loss sale close because there just isnÂt anything left to discount. One of the seasoned sales rep, Tom, was really good at spending 4 hours in a persons home and coming as close as possible to getting thrown out and then going through this process at the door. Now if you thought that WAS THE BEST THAT THEY COULD DO you were wrong. At some point in the near future a gentleman by the name of Bill, from the recovery department, will call you and let you know that the inept sales person measured incorrectly and that the prospect was over charged. Now Bill can get the cost down to the retail cost times .62 and if you read the web sites that speak about what people finally ended up paying for their Owens Corning basement they could get it down to $28 per square foot which is still less than the factor of .62. The original sales person makes nothing on this sale and I am sure the sales managers all make the same as usual. The franchisee from the Lisle, Illinois franchise must be a bigger pig than other franchisees in other parts of the country. I was even told by the seasoned rep, Gary, that the assistant sales manager, Jim, had found out that you could get an Owens Corning basement for $20 per square foot in other parts of the country. 8. Close  this is where you go in for the kill and remind the prospect of all their positive answers given earlier in the presentation that closes all the escape hatches so that the only honest thing the prospect can do is purchase. If they donÂt they are liars and all customers are slippery liars and canÂt be trusted. 9. Button Up  the goal is to keep the order because the prospect has 3 days in which they can cancel so if the sales person doesnÂt do a good button up then the new customer may come to their senses and cancel.

These are most of the lies and dishonest sales tactics that we can remember. It begs the question that if the Owens Corning product is so good why does it need to be sold in such a corrupt and quick manner?

We were duped into believing the lies and didnÂt even realize how many lies we had been told until we ran into people that knew about the distortions and lies and enlightened us to the truth. We were made to believe that there are no other products on the market that can compete with Owens Corning and that just isnÂt true; there are a lot of products and companies.

Check out these web sites:



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.....they should have an O & C forum. The same details are mentioned again and again and again...worse than buying a car!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 1:53PM
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one other thing, for those who have the $$$$$$ the OC might be for you. Me I am struggling just to get my walls painted and a dropped ceiling in. I wonder how good/bad it might look if I made my own 4 X 8 pannels out of 4 X 8 X 2" thick pinkboard with maybe a 4 X 8 sheet of beed board liquid nailed to it...or something similar. Couldn't one fashin cleats out of 2 X 4s affixed to the floor and ceiling , about 2.5 inches from the wall and then just pop the panel in. You could likely put some baseboard over the bottom cleat and the top could be covered by a dropped ceiling. You could get them out if necesary sinse they are merley resting against the foundation walls. You would have to fashion something to cover the seams every 4 feet I guess. Still the cost might be what, $30 - $40 a panel installed! There is of course the issue of what to do with wall outlets I guess. Still it could be a poor man's OC system but for 1/20 the price!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 2:21PM
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The O/C system looks like garbage. It reminds me of an office cubicle from the early 90's.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 10:52PM
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West Michigan Basements Is now the dealer for Impressive Basements on the west side of the state. After looking into OC, Impressive and a couple of others, we're going with Impressive. The biggest issue I had with each going in were the seams, Impressive had the best results. The West Michigan/Impressive rep was in and out in no time with no pressure to sign today and on top of that they beat the others buy 10k and 12k. It was nice after the beating I took from the others. The other big thing is the lifetime manufacturers warranty.
Definately do your homework and dig in for a battle when you have some of these companies come for an estimate.
Here's the website for West Michigan for those interested www.westmichiganbasements.com
Happy hunting

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 10:59AM
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Having had a OC System installed, I can assure you that the original post is quite accurate. However, I think the main point of the OC System is being missed in nearly all posts.

The OC sales pitch is no diff than the same old "in home" sales pitch used for replacement windows, siding, vacuums, etc, that has been used for years. Why do companies continue to use it? IT WORKS because of pressure-of-the-moment and an ill-informed customer. I don't like it either, but my salesman knew right away that I knew his game and was very educated on his product and his pitch. In this day and age, shame on ANYONE who does not educate themselves ahead of time and prepare themselves for the pitch. You have only yourself to blame for being "astounded" by a large upfront price tag or a 2-hour sales pitch. This is how home sales have been done by successful companies for years and years(unfortunately).

Now, the OC System is about 2X-3X more expensive than a drywall remodel, and 3X-4X more expensive than the do-it-yourselfer. It is also targeted at busy, professional people who can afford it. I have a demanding, yet rewarding job, that does not afford me time to remodel myself. Weekends, they are for my kid's time. So, I purchased the OC System and I absolutely LOVE IT! I've done the drywall route before, and there was NO way I was going to put drywall in a humid environment with my families allergy and asthma issues. No, the OC System does not guarantee to eliminate mold (who can?), but it is a huge step up over ANY commercially available drywall, greenboard or any product that claims to be used in basements. Read the fine print - NO COMPANY advises to use there product in those environments, even though some are designed FOR those environments.

As for "the look", yes if you do not dress it up, it will look cubicle-like to a degree. However, with basic decorating the system can look beautiful. My basement is now a well decorated home theater area with adjacent gameroom. I even built a stage for my kids, complete with PA system and par-can light show. The acoustic properties of the OC System are astounding. The walls absorb sound so well that I can barely hear my kids in the basement with the music cranked and kids dancing everywhere.

My install was quoted for 2 weeks, but ultimately took 3 weeks to install. That said, I had the installer do specific framing and cut-outs that he said he had never done before. He was very proud of his work and excited about the layout when he completed. Again, it is a great addition to our home.

Bottom line, if you are strictly a "WalMart" shopper, this system is not for you, nor is it intended to be. You are paying a premium for a patented, state-of-the-art, modular, mold-resistent remodeling option for your basement. It will be installed quickly, with virtually none of the aggrevation of drywall and spackle, nor the hassles and duration of a standard contractor remodel.
Those who complain and degrade the system, probably don't have it. I have yet to meet anyone who has the system and does not appreciate it (price aside of course).

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 8:49AM
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Like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. I love my Owens Corning basement, and the installation was everthing the rep said it would be. I can build a car myself, but in no way would I expect it to be as well conceived and constructed as a professional remodel.

Any builder can build a basement that won't mold. The traditional materials are available. The reason I chose Owens Corning is because nobody we spoke to knew how, even though I did. Even then, the traditional basement doesn't have the features an Owens Corning basement does. Other non traditional basements are just poor copies. Roll the dice and take your chances. Do your homework and you'll get the lowest price.

Sounds like the original poster is a disgruntled employee who couldn't hack the in-home sales life. It's a tough way to pay the bills. We're friends with our salesman now, and we know we paid more than we could have. We're fien with it because he did exactly what he said he was going to, and we love it as much as he said we would.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 4:58PM
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I am considering the OC system and in process of doing my homework before allowing them to visit me. The initial post from a former salespeople here is certainly believable and helps prepare the me for what I would be in for.

I would like someone who has first hand experience with a house call from Corning read the following and give me their opinion on what I plan to do IF I have them come to my home to do an estimate.

I feel it would be wise to inform the sales person that I am very familiar with their hardcore selling approach and would suggest they refrains from it and stick to the explanation of the product, the process, the time, warranty and cost. Of course they would agree to this but I would expect they would still try and use their training as I get more comfortable with their show . I would also demand they not reference other products negatively as there is no one here to defend their acquisitions they make against them. Once they veer back to their sales training I would then give them a second chance to continue or cease and provide them with a copy of calebmans post and insist they get to a bottom line or they are wasting their own time and risking losing a reasonable commission. While I understand salespeople are very scripted and thats how they do their job I will not allow them to dog and pony show me.

I feel this approach would level the playing field and actually put me in a better position than the sales person and allow me to make a decision based on how I truly feel about their product and price. What do you think.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 4:25PM
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I have to laugh at the amount of time and effort that people put into letting the blogs know how mad they are that something is expensive. If your planning any major home improvement of course you should do your homework, but take it with a grain of salt. Every home I have ever lived in had something made of Owens Corning in it. I think they've been around for about a hundred years. I have a really hard time believing that a company that big would try to scam the world. Remember, it the 2% of unsatisfied people that feel the need to let the rest of the world know how uninformed we are.I guess it wasn't for them we wouldn't know how dumb we are.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 9:04PM
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Well of course it's not a "scam" it's just they are doing what every company does, try and make as much money as possible. I'm certain they have a great product and if I didn't I wouldn't be considering them. I'm most curious if their sales pressure is as intense as the original poster indicated, and do they lie as he says.
I would also like to hear from others how low they reduce their price from their original offer before a deal is made or rejected.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:15AM
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Being that more and more people today are "too busy" to do work themselves (translation: "I'm afraid to get my hands dirty"), I'm not surprised that people would spend any amount of money to have work done for them.

I'm glad to have been part of the DIY generation.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 10:49AM
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I have seent the system and it looks terrible. It reminds me of the cubicle I sat in at my first job after college. Everything about it screams "Cheap!".

If you can get past the lousy appearance, there is nothing wrong with the system other than the exorbitant price.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 1:58AM
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Actually, my issue isn't with the basement system. It looks a hell of a lot better than anything I could have done. No, my issue was with the company contracted to put it in. These guys wanted me to be a "customer for life." They were very slippery. They left some of the workmanship sloppy and did a really bad job on my stairway.

Also, they said the floor tiles can be popped up easily if I need to get to the concrete floor. Well, I do but I can't get the tiles in the middle of the floor up. Anyone know how to do this? Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 1:51PM
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Anyone with an OC basement that paid 85.00 per sq foot? I have a copy of my mother's contract .... 29,000 for a 350 sq foot basement. I cant believe I am seeing other people say it can be brought down to 28per sq. I truly do feel that she was/is being taken advantage of with high pressure sales. She is in her mid sixties, almost had her house paid off in time for retirement, and is now in the process of remortgaging her home to pay for this. Of course, she didn't tell anyone until three months after signing.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 10:09PM
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Dana - that's a damn shame. I don't know how those people can sleep at night.

Have they actually done the work yet? If not I would be making some phone calls to get her out of that contract. Don't hesitate to tell them you are willing to get a lawyer and contact your attorney general about their sales tactics. Even if they have done the work I would be raising holy hell about this. Call your local "problem solvers" and get these people exposed.

Seriously, those people are crooks charging anyone $85/sf, and low life scum bags for taking advantage of a senior citizen.

That really pisses me off!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 8:52PM
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I was a subcontractor for Basement Experts / Owens Corning for years. Worked my but off for them.
Just a warning for those subs out there considering working for them, in the beginning they pull money from your checks as an insurance policy to make sure you guarantee your work for a year. I can understand that. But once the year passes with no call backs they are to return the money.
Its been 2 years and I still haven't seen my $700.00. Beware subs, they'll screw you the same way they do everyone else.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:48AM
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I got the Owens Corning system installed in the middle of August 2012. It looks like compacted insulation with a cloth backing glued to it. The exterior walls that were exposted to the outside (not underground) got 2 inch insultation and the other panels were 1 inch. the whole thing was done quickly by a local contractor. He did pretty good work but there are a few gaps in some of the plastic parts. He used regular drywall to do a closet. The price per square foot was about $78 which I have realized is way out of line. My wife was dieing from cancer upstairs while this was being done and the workers were very sensitive to my situation. The floor is plastic and is not easily accessed if one needs replaced. The salesman was really slick and I didn't realize I paid way too much until I started reading this blog. The admin side of this is very sleazy and they are not very upfront in helping you get a good deal. That is an understatement!
If I had to do it again, I would hire a local contractor to put in a basement using similar product and about a 1/4 of the price. I like the product but I do not like the price, the sales method or the shoddy planning. These guys are going to be found out sooner or later and this has got to stop. Let the buyer beware!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:04PM
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DON'T DO IT! I did and regret it. I just got the 'basement system' completed this summer (2012). Way too much money. Way too many lies during the sales pitch. 2 non-English speaking men (who worked their butts off) installed OC in about 2 weeks. I was told a 'team' of workers would be there. They left me with a ton of painting to do. Doors were unfinished. I have to paint them. Anything that was framed in wood was left unpainted and with dirt and mud marks all over. For all the money I paid, I should not have been left with a dirty basement. 2 panels have scuff marks on them. The electrical box was left uninsulated. They assured me they would hang pictures and TV and none was done. The electric work was done to code which was good.The borders are not even at all. Once the bill was paid it was impossible to reach them. I definitely DO NOT RECOMMEND OC basement system.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 6:47PM
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