Home replacement windows can be a homeowner’s dream come true, offering an improved appearance, enhanced energy efficiency, and renewed enjoyment of one’s living space.
Or, if you have an experience like Cassandra Holmes, home replacement windows can be a nightmare.
“I should have known better.” Holmes, a single mother with three small children, succumbed to the high-pressure tactics of a telemarketer pushing ‘bargain’ home replacement windows. “I said yes to get that lady off the phone more than anything.”
“This guy shows up the next day. He’s driving a truck, no sign on it or anything, and bangs on my door. ‘I’m here to measure your windows’, he says.” Holmes shook her head. “I never knew he was coming or anything. One kid’s sick, and I’ve got to leave in ten minutes to pick up the other one from soccer practice. I tell him it’s not a good time, and he gives me attitude. He told me he’d come back — but that I’d be charged for two visits.”
That extra charge was only one of many unpleasant surprises Holmes encountered. Rude, messy workmen tromping through her house, destroying her flowerbeds, and frightening the children were only half of the story: the windows themselves were the other half.
“This one doesn’t open,” Holmes said, attempting in vain to turn the handle on a casement window. “And this other one doesn’t close all the way.” The bathroom window has a small crack in it — testament to the workman’s careful style — and when Holmes asked about it, she was told “It’s the manufacturer’s problem. You’ve got to call them.”
“So I called the manufacturer.” Holmes smiled. “And I called them, and called them, and called them some more.” Despite repeated calls, Holmes never talked to a live human being. Then, to add insult to injury, the number she’d been given no longer worked. “It was like this company just vanished off the face of the earth!”
Vanished, mind you, with several thousand dollars worth of Holmes’ money. “The windows aren’t the right size, and they don’t work right. My house is draftier than ever before — I just spent more money on fuel oil than I ever did before! Sure, prices are going up, but my fuel company told me I’ve used more fuel — and that’s because with these new windows it’s impossible to keep the house warm!”
There are several valuable lessons to be learned from Holmes’ experience. “Never give in to a telemarketer!” she said. “If you want replacement windows, you should approach the window dealer, not the other way around.” Additionally, sticking with a reputable manufacturer with an established reputation, such as Pella, Alside, Harvey, Anderson, or Champion is recommended. “These guys all have their own dealers, and they have teams of trained installers who respect your house, your things, and your time,” Holmes added. “And they do the job right, so your windows open and close and don’t leak cold air!”
“For the money you spend, you might as well have it done right,” Holmes concluded. “I wish I had: now I’ve got to redo all these windows again. It’s not a job you want to do twice. Do it right the first time!”