How To Avoid Being Scammed From A Window And Door Company
In this article I will explain how you can protect yourself against window and door scams. There are several steps and research methods that you should do to ensure quality service and product prior to purchasing windows and doors. As a consumer, there are certain things to watch out for in order to shield yourself from the daily exposure of false information. This article is best applicable for the North American market place and is meant to help you qualify window and door companies.
How Old Is The Business?
First thing to watch out for are new businesses. This is not to say that you should completely disregard them, but you should keep certain things in mind. Every year window and door businesses open and close their doors. The ever growing globalization and availability of financing allow for a rather quick setup of a small business. All you need is a good credit score and an idea. When it comes to home renovations, however, you want someone who has been established for at least 5 years.
When you buy windows and doors, you also buy the company’s warranty and guarantees. This is all added in the price, but how can a 1 year old business give you a lifetime warranty on products or installation? Legally speaking they can; of course, it is their right to do so. However, from an experience point of view, they cannot. Statistics show that 80% of small businesses end their operations in the first 5 years. With such short life span expectancy, you shouldn’t be paying for any sort of warranty.
Window and door companies do not realize how saturated and competitive the market is. Furthermore, they fail to compete with larger companies simply because they cannot get the product on the same price. Manufacturers are keen to give out discounts to companies who sell more and these are businesses that have existed for awhile and gained enough experience and trust. One way of verifying the legitimacy or age of a business is through Best Business Bureau’s website. Look how far back reviews go, and see how many reviews there are.
Where Is Their Product Made?
Second, make sure what the origin of the windows and doors is. A lot of companies promote “made in Canada” or “made in USA”, just so you find out that at most one component is made there. Usually the glass is taken from Asia, the PVC (if it is a vinyl product) is made in Europe, and all you get (made in Canada) is the actual assembly of the product.
When you are being told the brand of the product, make a quick research on it. Find some information on the internet about the alleged manufacturer, pick up the phone and ask some questions. Find out where the factory is located and how big it is, ask if every component is made in your desired region and try to confirm some information about the dealer. Also, keep in mind that large window and door manufacturers barely ever sell their product to the public. They deal with distributors who often like to claim rights to the product.
Are They Outsourcing or Subcontracting?
Third, it is essential to deal with a “whole company”. This is a company that has their own installation crews, not guns for hire, and preferably manufactures the windows. The former component is very important in regards to warranties, guarantees and proper installation. If something with the installation is to go wrong, you will have to pursue the company for damages or repairs. In this sense, it is much quicker to resolve any issue if the installers work for the company, but not for themselves.
Fourth, look for financial plans. A well established windows and door company has good standing and relationships developed with financial institutions. Such a business should be able to offer you install payments on your window purchase. Make sure their financing is done through a legitimate source.
A lot of companies will guarantee you 99.9% acceptance into their finance program, and there usually is a good reason for it. The money you spent towards the interest rate would have likely been enough to purchase a new roof, maybe even manage a reasonably sized pool.
Last but not least, make sure the company at least offers you a free no obligations estimate. This usually includes a representative (sales person) coming over at your home, at a convenient for you time, to measure and price the windows. During this presentation you should also ask to see samples of the product and learn about your payment options.
Make sure the product is Energy Star rated; this means it is energy efficient and it will help you save a dollar on you overall monthly bills. Energy Rated products are also government approved, so you can have some assurance on the quality as well.
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