The most trusted and popular consumer complaints website
Explore your opportunities! Create an account or Sign In

Permaseal Basement Systems / Fraudulent business practices

1 513 Rogers St.Downers Grove, IL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 630-512-0002

This is a letter we sent to Permaseal which details our complaints. Thank you.

June 11, 2008
210 S. Nolton Ave.
Willow Springs, IL 60480

Roy Spencer
Permaseal Basement Systems
513 Rogers St.
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Re: Fraudulent and unlawful business practices by Permaseal in the installation of waterproofing system on 4/16/08
Notice: This letter was written before I found out that you refused to pay the plumbing bill. Why you think we would lie about this leak is beyond me. I have included the response that I sent to the BBB regarding that claim. I am so sorry it has come to this, because I have nothing against your system or the crew who installed it.
June 10, 2008

Dear Mr. Spencer,

I think you should know that we have filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General’s office regarding fraudulent and unlawful business practices by Permaseal Waterproofing. The complaint lists Bill Nicholson as the employee perpetrating the fraud.

As a Permaseal Estimator, Mr. Nicholson had us unnecessarily spend $5200. to replace an entire already-existing Permaseal waterproofing system when there was only one area that was leaking. The Estimator told us we had clay drain tiles and that it was likely impossible to find clay tiles to replace the clogged one. He said that, in fact, no one was even making clay drain tiles any more. Both these facts are untrue. Clay drain tiles are still made and repairs can be made. See the web sites below.

We should have been suspicious from the very beginning. We told him that Permaseal installed the system we presently had. He vehemently denied that Permaseal could have installed it, until I showed him the original bill.

On top of this we found out, after our entire basement perimeter had been trenched, that the drain tiles that were taken out were, in fact, not even made of clay!!!, as Mr. Nicholson told us they were. When I mentioned this to a member of the installation crew, Spencer (are you this Spencer?), he said that Mr. Nicholson did not list the drain tiles as being made of clay. My son and the Willow Springs Building Superintendent both are aware of the fact that Mr. Nicholson told us we had clay tiles.

Another lie Mr. Nicholson told us was that we had to install an additional sump pump because the water needed to go out to the back yard because of the codes. I said I did not understand this because we were replacing an already-existing system, not installing a new one. He insisted that we were installing a new system and that as soon as he goes for a permit the Building Superintendent will refuse to give him a permit if he does not put the drain out to the back yard. I spoke with the Building Superintendent and he told me that whatever law was in effect when the first system was first installed would be in effect now. We would be grandfathered-in. The biggest lie here is that a Building Permit was never even applied for.

On top of all this, after the crew left, my husband discovered a leak in the basement sink drain. Right from the start, before installation began, we asked if that drain needed to be disconnected and were told it was not necessary. Your “Inspector” said that if we had any trouble, to be sure to call him, which we did. This was on Friday and he said he would get back to us the next day. We did not hear from him, so we let things slide over the weekend. He never returned our call anyhow. In fact, no one ever returned our calls. Finally, my husband said someone called from your Customer Service Department and said Permaseal would not pay for any repairs to the pipe because we had no proof that Permaseal was responsible. How ridiculous!!!

That was absolutely the last straw. It was after this incident that we decided to take action. I’m sure you have heard from the Better Business Bureau by now.

P.S. Subsequent to this letter and a BBB complaint, we were sent $250. for the plumbing repairs. They still admit no responsibility for anything. Money is not our primary concern. We just don’t want anyone else to be fooled by this company. Consumer Beware!!!

Virginia and Ralph Kriho The vast majority of blocked drain-tile repairs calls for the excavation and replacement of the clogged section. Call a basement waterproofing company or foundation contractor and ask them to dig up the clogged portion of the perimeter drain and replace it. Clay or iron tile systems may be "snaked" or "rooted" out to remove clogging if access is available.
Schlatters, Inc
16179 W 500 S
Francesville, IN [protected]
Products Description:
Manufactures clay drain tile; wholesales agricultural machinery & equipment; machine shop, jobbing & repair services; wholesales general construction machinery & equipment

100 W. Main St.
Haviland, OH 45851
Product Description:
Manufactures clay drain tile

June 11, 2008

Better Business Bureau
Attention: Diana Mendez

Re: Complaint # [protected]

Dear Ms Mendez,

Thank you for your patience on the phone this morning. Needless to say, I was quite upset with the response from Permaseal. I would like this case reopened.

If what the company alleges i. e., that the leak was already present before they started work, why is it no one mentioned this fact to us? I can’t believe they would proceed without notifying us of the problem, lest (as has happened) they be accused of making the leak.

The response the crew received from my husband regarding reading of the contract may well be true, but that was not my response. I read the contract thoroughly and I asked the crew if the drain should be disconnected. I was assured that would not be necessary, because that they could go under it. At the time of this discussion, we all (myself, my husband and someone from the crew) were standing there looking at the drain at the same time and there was absolutely no leak.

This company, specifically Mr. Bill Nicholson, who calls himself the Estimator, lied to us from the very beginning. He told us repairs could not be made because we had clay tiles and no one was making clay tiles any more. Even though there was only one leak in the whole system (which was a Permaseal system), he said we had to get a whole new system installed at a cost of over $5, 000. Everything Mr. Nicholson told us was a lie. Because we are seniors, he must have thought we were easy marks.

I cannot let this person, as a representative of Permaseal, get away with this. For a further explanation of the circumstances involved in the waterproofing installation, see below for a letter I was going to send today to Permaseal. This was before I found out their response to the plumbing issue.

I think I have a very good case as far as the plumbing issue is concerned. Why didn’t they tell us they found a leak? Does it make sense not to, when they could be blamed for it?

Sort by: UpDate | Rating


  • Ve
      1st of Jul, 2008
    +1 Votes

    It is sad to see that one bad apple can spoil the whole 20 year rep that a company has established. You may well be seniors and that may excuss something but life experience should have given you some clues as to the poor advice you were given from the "expert". You had your doubts, why would you not call the company and say, "hey, I don't agree with this persons view" Is GM or Honda to blame because a tire blew or the glove compartment didn't work? Come on, sales men are sales men and that is what it is, If you are a senior then you above all should know that if it sounds like ### it probably is. A second opinoin is the way to go. I know that and I am only 37. Maybe a senoir in some circles but not really. Come on, "THEY DON"T MAKE CLAY TILE ANY MORE?" It's not the worlds fault you would have fallen for "Magic Beans"

  • Sb
      30th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    lol, on what earth do you think that messing with your perimeter drain allows you to stay grandfathered in. If you change anything about a system like then you have to comply with the current laws not the old one. Even some more indepth repairs would require you to comply with the new codes not the old ones. About the only thing you can do to a system like that without having to comply with the new regs is replacing a fitting or two, anything more than that and it likely falls under the new regs.

    As for the clay tiles. HELLO, who on the planet would not know they still make clay tiles. Some home improvement centers carry them. You can still find clay flower pots absolutely everywhere, and they still do clay tile roofing. You were just WAY to gullible, at what point do you accept at least some responsibility for being incredibly stupid and accepting everything a salesman tells you?

    You started this whole mess because of a leaky sink drain?? Come on, you got to be kidding. That is the most easy repair, certainly you don't plan on calling a plumber for a repair that probably needs 5 cents of teflon tape and a wrench. If it needs more than that then likely it was bad in the first place.

  • Ko
      28th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    i worked on basements for 10 years .clay tiles are crap the gravel they used when they installed the clay tile mabie 30 years ago is usually plugged with dirt or sand, the gravel the used has flat sides so it compacts and wont let water pass, the best way to do it is with plastic perforated drain tile and round river rock, the water can pass easily through the round gravel because it cant be compacted, never use clay tile its not perforated with holes so water can pass through it to your sump pump

  • Jb
      3rd of Sep, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I actually worked for a Basement Systems dealership until very recently and I agree that this guy was doing his job the wrong way. Everything about Basement Systems and all of its dealerships positively screams, "TRUSTWORTHY!!!". Of course it's made to look that way, but we're all taught from the second we're hired to practice it as well. And it's hammered into our very souls. It's hard not to trust one of the employees, because you usually can. It's sad to see that this guy was so desperate for the comission that he would risk his and his company's reputation for $500. While it's true that most (if not all) Basement Systems dealerships no longer carry or install clay tile, there is a life-of-the-structure transferrable warranty on every (full-perimeter) system installed. He should have recommended what they manufacture now, but not pushed as hard as he could for a complete redo. It was Permaseal's responsibility to simply service the system.

    If this were at my old dealership, that plumbing bill would have been paid - no questions asked - right out of that guy's paycheck.

    That being said, each dealership is very separate. Each is fully owned and operated by different people, and corporate has very little control over how each dealership is run. All they can do is tell owners and employees how they do things in CT and how well they've worked, and tell us we should do the same. Employees go to several training sessions a year that are held by the corporate office in Connecticut. I didn't meet many of the owners of other dealerships, including Roy Spencer (although I do know his name), but I do know that most of the owners practice Connecticut's way and strive to uphold the core values of Basement Systems: Leadership, Integrity, Responsibilty, and Innovation. I also know that, unfortunately, some do not.

  • In
      27th of Sep, 2009
    -3 Votes

    Trust in Roy - I don't think so!

  • In
      27th of Sep, 2009
    -3 Votes

    Prema-Seal is crumbling form the top down over 65 complaints with the BBB in the last 3 years and over 35 in the last year!!! And still with an A+ rating with the BBB! Hmmm you think because Roy Spencer is on the executive board might have something to do with that? Seams to me if Perma-Seal really cared about their customers complaints like this simply would be handled quickly and with customer satisfaction in mind! Shame Roy is blowing 30 years of building a great company in such a short time!

  • Ve
      9th of Jan, 2010
    +3 Votes

    I have had work done by Perma Seal and my experience was quite different. I could not have asked for a more professional well orginized organization. The sales man was very informative along with the book. The price was cheaper than 3 of the 4 other competitors I had look at my issue. I learned more in the hour and half it took to write up and look at my basement than the other 4 companies before combined hour and 15 minutes it took to look at and quote. Literially 4 companies averageing 20 minutes apiece to give me an estimate ranging from 5400 to 17300. Perma Seal came in at 6143 and finished the job at 6143 with all permits and fees included in that price. It has been 2 years and everything has worked out great! When they left everything was clean and almost exactly as they said it would be. It is sad you this experience but me and 4 of my friends and co workers have had a completely different one.

  • Ho
      11th of Mar, 2010
    -2 Votes

    Interesting enough I too have heard that anxious salesman with the company have taken the less than conservative path to repair basements. Companies headed in this direction are like many of those publicly traded companies. The interest of shareholders somehow becomes more important than the customer. That trend in America should be evident just like the Auto Industry, The banking Industry, The health industry, The real estate industry and others. Do we really need big business ethics in our homes. The home improvement industry should we really accept this? Let me just say is this the kind of company you would want in your home? Or is this the kind of company you would buy stock from?

  • In
      12th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    BBB processed a total of 76 complaints about Perma-Seal Basement Systems, Inc. in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 76 complaints closed in 36 months, 37 were closed in the last year.
    These complaints concerned :
    2 regarding Billing or Collection Issues

    1 - Failure to substantiate charges
    1 - None of the Above - Credit, Billing or Collection Complaint Issue
    5 regarding Contract Issues

    1 - Failure to honor a contract or agreement
    4 - None of the Above - Contract Complaint Issue
    8 regarding Customer Service Issues

    1 - Failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services
    2 - Inappropriate behavior by customer service personnel
    5 - None of the Above - Customer Service Complaint Issue
    1 regarding Delivery Issues

    1 - None of the Above - Delivery Complaint Issue
    8 regarding Guarantee or Warranty Issues

    1 - Disputed warranty coverage and/or terms
    2 - Failure to provide promised written warranty or guarantee
    5 - None of the Above - Guarantee or Warranty Complaint Issue
    11 regarding Product Issues

    4 - Defective, damaged, or incorrect product received
    7 - None of the Above - Product Quality Complaint Issue
    8 regarding Refund or Exchange Issues

    1 - Failure to honor promised refunds, exchanges, or credit
    3 - Failure to honor refund, exchange or credit policies
    4 - None of the Above - Refund or Exchange Complaint Issue
    8 regarding Repair Issues

    1 - Delayed completion of repair
    1 - Failure to honor a repair estimate or agreement
    2 - Improper or inferior repair
    4 - Repairs resulted in additional damage
    6 regarding Sales Practice Issues

    1 - None of the Above - Sales Complaint Issue
    1 - Sales presentation did not disclose key conditions of the offer
    1 - Sales presentation misrepresented the product
    2 - Sales presentation misrepresented the service
    1 - Sales presentation not consistent with the written agreement
    19 regarding Service Issues

  • Ge
      24th of Mar, 2010
    -1 Votes

    western springs people suck, they are the biggest bunch of whiners in the western suburbs. typically no-it-all-of nothings. Clay tiles are ancient history. Get over it. Yes you should go by the lastest codes and better. The codes are the minimum standards. There are reasons for them. As for the plumbing repair, nine times out of ten, a contractor works at a house, and guess what happens? Coincidentally, something breaks. The homeowner says "well it wasn't broke before you got here". So I suppose that the contractor is responsible for everything that goes wrong from the time they show up till the time they leave and beyond. Get a grip. If you weren't worried about the money, (like I'm sure that's true western springs), then get this, you got a sound basement for the rest of your days guaranteed! For the same cost that decent folk would have to pay. because it would just be wrong to charge a pain in the neck surcharge right?

    p.s. 65 complaints? out of thousands of customers. get the facts people!

  • Pe
      6th of Apr, 2010
    +2 Votes

    Perma-Seal is a family-owned local business that serves the Chicagoland and Northern Indiana areas. Not a big conglomerate, not a franchisee, not a "dealer", and is still under the guidance of the founder/owner Roy Spencer. After being in business for over 31 years, servicing nearly 200, 000 customers and with a referral rate of over 60%, it is a company that is ethical, moral and honest. Of course, like any business, we make mistakes - but the true sign of a good company is that they stand behind their work and make it right. Should you have an unresolved issue with Perma-Seal - please do not hesitate to contact us directly at 866-837-9227. Our team is comprised of hard-working people with a great work ethic, superior training and desire to help.

  • Et
      29th of Apr, 2010
    +3 Votes

    I just had work done by Permaseal last month, and it was WONDERFUL. The guy who came for the estimate was right on time, and did a full evaluation inside and outside of the foundation (called due to a leaking basement, previous ownder tried self-fix, didn't work). During the inspection, he confirmed it was a crack, assisted in opening the wall to look at the crack from the inside, and also discovered another crack in the foundation that I had overlooked. He didn't try to oversell, and was very informative during the whole process, as I did the walk-around with him. I also asked him about sump pumps, and got a battery back up sump installed, and the whole thing was under $1500.

    The repair guys came the next week (maybe it was 2 weeks, can't remember), and they were very polite, and got the job done quickly, and it all looked very good. I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone needing work done, as they were recommended to me by friends & family with similar experiences.

  • De
      20th of May, 2010
    -1 Votes

    I've known Roy Spencer for a long time and he is not a nice man. It does not surprise me that his company has had so many complaints. Based on my personal experience with the man, he is a very petty and jealous individual who cheats on his wife.

  • In
      21st of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    Now now Delbert that's not nice in all honesty Roy is doing the best he can with what he has. And please leave Laura out of it she's doing an awesome job being his new HEAD girl! Oh where are my manors congrats to Roy on becoming the new BBB Chairman. Hmmm how long before all those complaints start disappearing... oops they already are!

  • De
      29th of Jun, 2010
    -1 Votes

    I work for perma-seal and doesnt suprise me that they will cover the mistakes that WE sometimes make. We are told what to say and do ALL THE TIME. If the job is not going work, we still have to do it anyway.Its impossible to be honest with a customer when my job is at risk.Not to mention the cheap labor thats behind all the work. Starting at 9bucks an hr.

    P.S. the reason why I still work in this [censor] company is because its hard to find a new job!!!

  • El
      2nd of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    Well, we just discovered that our backyard underground drain from the sump is not working properly. It must be collapsed or compromised. The water is dumping out of both the ice guard right next to the house and the bubbler pot out in the yard. I wish our salesman sold us the proper discharge system for our yard which would provide an effective long-term solution (more than 3 years) to directing the water away from the house! Of course to spend all that money on a system you would hope the water could dump out NOT next to the house next to the sump making it work extra hard which also drains the battery on the back-up pump in a power-outage. We weren't told about the option of using PVC piping instead of the cheaper stuff. Then again, it seems this outside work is not covered by any kind of warranty which we weren't told about either.

    I'm going to call as another posting by a Permasealer advises, and I will remain hopeful that they will want us to remain satisfied customers. I'll let you all know what happens... to be continued...

  • Rl
      28th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    Permaseal has serviced thousands of consumers so to focus on less than 100 complaints and call the company and their staff fraudulent seems unfair.

  • In
      29th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    by rljbar4

    Permaseal has serviced thousands of consumers so to focus on less than 100 complaints and call the company and their staff fraudulent seems unfair.

    Well unless your one of those complaints. but keep in mind that is only the BBB report they also have bad reports on Angies list, and other complaint boards too! and lets not forget any lawsuits that have been filled too. all I'm saying is buyer beware and be careful do your home work and find who you believe to be the best company!!! if that's perma god bless if not so be it!

  • Vm
      29th of Jul, 2010
    -1 Votes

    We also have been extremely disappointed by our PermaSeal system; it failed during the last rainfall. The water NEVER hit the sump pump. The service rep just visited and basically wrote off the issue. I have a garden hose running into the system now (the service rep's suggestion) to "see if the water will flow to the pump". However, he just left so we're on our own again.

    Here's a shot of the system failing starting to fail. within a few minutes it was a geyser.

  • Lu
      6th of Aug, 2010
    -2 Votes

    The owner of Permaseal is on the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau. Its no wonder the BBB showed no assistance to the complainer.

Post your comment