/ Home & Energy

Don’t fall for double glazing sales tricks

Man fitting windows

Making massive discounts may be the oldest sales trick in the book – but it’s a tactic that’s still working for the double glazing industry. Is a straightforward quote really too much to ask for?

Given the choice, would you buy a bottle of wine for £4.99, or one that was marked as ‘reduced from £12.99 to £4.99 for today only’? The answer’s obvious to you and me, which is why salesmen use this sneaky tactic to push their products, whether it’s wine or new windows.

Given the double glazing industry’s bad reputation, we wanted to see what really happens when a salesperson visits your home. So we invited 18 reps from the biggest companies to call on our undercover researchers, and recorded their sales patter. We found that 15 of the 18 quoted a high initial price only to cut it dramatically – in many cases, by half. This would clearly leave you with the impression that you’d bagged a bargain.

But have you really bagged a bargain?

Everest offered huge discounts in four out of five of its visits to our undercover researchers – if they signed up on the spot. The biggest ‘saving’ was nearly £17,000. In one of the visits from Anglian, the salesman quoted a high initial price and then admitted, ‘Obviously, you don’t pay this…’ This conversation left us wondering whether anyone pays the first quoted price at all.

The effect of these smoke and mirrors is to leave customers bewildered about what a reasonable price is. And that’s before you take into account dodgy claims about ‘government scrappage scheme’ discounts, for schemes which don’t exist.

Both Anglian and Everest bandied around government funding for discounts, but there isn’t any. So listen out for these claims as they’re a giveaway that your rep isn’t telling the truth.

How to stay savvy

The tactics used by these big firms are the oldest tricks in the book. To stay savvy, go with a firm that’s been recommended by someone you trust, and get three quotes to compare. We recently heard from a customer who’d got the big companies in to quote for his double glazing job – they knocked thousands off their initial prices. But their final quotes were still far more than he ended up paying to a small company that was recommended to him.

We’re pleased to see that a new Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme has been set up; it’s undoubtedly needed. Still, none of the big players have joined, so it’s a bit of a damp squib. Clearly, there needs to be more accountability for these dodgy sales tactics, so we’ve sent our findings to trading standards officers and asked them to investigate these firms.

Hopefully this will force these companies to understand that we’re not haggling over a bargain buy at the local market. Double glazing is a major investment, and they need to take it seriously.

Comments

Does anyone know if there is a British law which requires businesses to refund deposits taken within a specific time if the customer cancels the contract within the set cooling off period.

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Thank you Duncan. The company told me they would refund me within 28 days. I cancelled almost immediately after signing up as I felt that it was very strange to quote £35000 to do a 3 bedroom semi and then drop to £17000 and take a deposit of £8000. I then searched on the web and found this helpful article with the helpful comments. I am now paying just over £8000 for the job with more window openings and A+ glass in the bedrooms. But even this price may be a little high and they say we must not tell anyone how much we paid them.

Saw that a company called Smiths in Basildon was recommended. Wanted to say much appreciated as they did a fabulous job on the windows I ordered from them. Would recommend.

R J J says:
22 October 2016

I had a salesman come to our house to quote for our old windows and we got caught in the deal cos we had to make a decision there and then due to the promotional offer before Christmas else we would lose the offer. The salesman quoted £11k + VAT but we said that wasn’t in our budget. So he asked us how much we would be affordable. We weren’t quite prepared as we didnt have our budgets in mind due to recent renovations due to our new home. So we said it would be £6.5k but we were looking at 2 months income including deductions so we didn’t quite have that much to pay for anyway. So the salesman said he didnt have authority to bring the price down and called his marketing manager who makes all the deals. During the call, I had a doubt that he wasn’t speaking to the manager as I noticed that the phone wasnt on. I could here that the salesman said please call me back when you have finalised the offer. After some time, the salesman asked if we had range in the house as he hasn’t got a call from the manager so he called him back and there and then we heard him say “ah, so you have got the prices” and then one thing lead to the other and he came up with a figure of £6k (without VAT) which was of course in our budget range. This ofcourse included that we offered to put pictures of our old and new windows on their magazine and a sign outside our house for 2 weeks. It never occured to us at the time to ask him to put the manager on speaker or rather speak to the manager on anything as we were in full trust of the salesman’s talks. Later, when he called his finance team, we could hear their voice over the phone very loud and clear. We signed the contract anyway, in good faith, and the salesman told us in particular to keep this deal confidential (another salesman’s tricks so we dont know the other offers around when we speak to others).
After the salesman left, we made a few checks online and I came across this reviews too and it clicked!
We cancelled the order via email (although the salesman mentioned “firm order” in writing). A surveyor would be coming anyway in due time to check on a few things but since he hasn’t shown up in the last 2 day we went ahead with the cancellation.
We hope to get our deposit back (£2k) and await to see what the company replies.
We will still be looking around for other offers and would need recommendations on some of the top installers with affordable prices for our home windows and a patio door.

Burak says:
27 February 2017

What was the name of the company ?

R J J says:
16 November 2017

DG solutions

just put me off buying after reading this.

I have just been stung for a porch I didn’t want. The company phone up and said they would give me a quote that would last 12 months I told them I wasn’t planning on buying but they could give me a quote. The salesman came round and quoted £6k for the porch. I said that is well above what I could afford. He asked me what my budget was. For some reason I said £2.5k. He phoned up his manager and I heard the conversation and the manager said he could go down to £4k. Again I refused. Eventually the salesman said I could have the porch for £3250 if I agreed to it there and then. For some reason I agreed. Signed the paperwork (without reading it) handed over my debit card so a £500 deposit could be taken over the phone and they arranged for a surveyor to visit the following day at midday.

About 10 minutes after the salesman left I immediately regretted the decision. I felt sick and not at all excited about getting a replacement porch. It was more money than I have ever spent before. I read the back of the paperwork and it said I could only cancel before the surveyor arrived and only in writing to their offices or by email. There was no email address provided. I found an email address on their website and sent off an email. I phoned first thing in the morning informing them I wanted to cancel. No mention was made of the deposit and I didn’t expect they would give it back so I phoned my bank up to try and cancel the transaction.

The bank had no record of a £500 transaction. Instead the window company had took the full amount of £3250. I am now waiting for the bank to reverse the transaction but I’m not holding out any hope.

Somehow I got talked into buying a replacement porch mainly because he convinced me I could only get that price if I accepted it there and then even though on the phone they told me that their quotes would last 12 months.

I was phone up by the salesman after I’d phoned to cancel and he was aggrieved at me having wasted his time (I only wanted a quote and said on the phone I wouldn’t be buying yet!) and said I couldn’t cancel. My research led me to believe that I should have been given a 14 day cooling off period (this was never mentioned by the salesman and wasn’t in the contract) the salesman said it doesn’t apply to windows. The contract did say I could cancel before the surveyor came out which I did but the salesman tried to convince me that it was too late as he (the salesman) had measured up already (he had to measure up to give the quote)

I have learnt my lesson (even though I have advised other people not to fall for these tricks) and feel pretty stupid now and really upset that I may have lost £3250 a sum I cannot afford to lose especially as I have recently been made redundant.

Dave H says:
26 April 2018

How have you lost £3,250?! You’re getting goods (i.e. a porch) in exchange for your payment! In all honesty £3,250 is a minimal amount for a porch, I really can’t see how much more money you could have saved. Also you pay for quality, and as you are not paying a lot I can only think the quality or the service from this company is sub-par

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What do you think about some of the apparent comparison sites that claim they can save you money? I recently used http://www.double-glazing-prices.com and I was happy. But my friend had a terrible experience with one of these sites. Are their claims true?

I’ve used a comparison site and it came back with 3 double glazing companies in my area and showed some reviews which I thought was helpful. It didn’t seem to really show any independent installers though. But I went through their quote thing and it was like designing my windows, then the company contacted me a couple hours later.. was pretty good overall, but the problem I have with these kinds of sites is that it doesn’t let you compare multiple at the same time, you have to keep going through the process, so not sure if I was saving money or not.

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Some of these stories are awful, sadly there are far too many of them. More companies should be run ethically, we would never use a salesman or use pressure sales. An elderly family member was maybe interested in getting her door changed at some point in the future. We told her that yes, it would need replacing in the next few years but it wasn’t urgent. Then a company cold called her, she is an elderly lady living alone, the salesman sold her a new door and new windows there and then and took a deposit. She admits she felt pressured into it as she didn’t want to upset the man and the deal he gave her was just fake offers & deductions but she felt time pressured. It started off at something like £40k for windows and doors haha Pride stopped her from trying to cancel and we have had to go out and fix the shoddy job they did. It’s sickening how they can use these tactics.

Has anyone come across this – we had a visit from a salesman from ‘you only fit them once’ The price went down from 20k to 11 to 9 … we insisted on a night to think about it and also to await a quote from a local company. I received a phone call from head office to say did the salesman show you both ranges of windows, premium and standard. NO I replied only one. Can we send another more experienced salesman to explain the difference and offer you a very competitive quote. HUH ….!!! I asked where are the windows made … In Wales. When my local , not pushy, guy gave me his quote of 6k I asked him where they were made and he said Wales. Question … is it the same factory ???

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Paulus says:
30 March 2017

I have recently had Everest quote me for a full house of windows and doors. It started at £40K and finished at £25K after quantity “discounts” etc. After thinking about this for a few weeks, they called back to say that the quote was “ridiculously high” and would like the opportunity to re-quote…which we agreed to. The same very polite chap came around and explained that they have two standard of windows and that we had been quoted the Premium range. Once the Standard range had been plugged in to his computer, it dropped after applying another “end of year discount”, to £20K. He explained that the windows were exactly the same as their Premium range, but the choice of styles is restricted, the internal galvanised steel frame would be aluminium instead and there would only be a 10 year guarantee. Being that I am a Mechanical Engineer, I know that this isn’t a problem. Anyway, the point of my post is that he told me that they windows were made by Everest (not subbed-out) in Kent, not Wales. I wonder if they’ve got multiple manufacturing locations?

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I would suggest you to be comfortable because this is a loooong story and not a good one..

I already left lots of bad reviews about you, on trustpilot, facebook, google and in all the forum where Everest are mentioned because this is the only thing I can do.

Let me tell you my story:

In October 2016 I decided that I would like to have the secondary windows installed in my new flat.

I spoke with lots of companies for this job and I choose Everest because the sales seems a good man and he told me that your windows are the best one.

Everest quote was 600 pound more expensive than the other ones.

The Sales man told me that you will detract 150 from the amount that I have to pay you due to some job required for allow you to install the windows.

of course nobody knew about it but only the sales man that disappeared after I signed the contract.

At the end I was able to have 150 discount but this should have warn me about what would happened after.

I had a really bad experience from the moment they sold me the 5 secondary window till now.

The installation has been made poorly and from the moment after the installation finished. I complained about it because I still not able to open the primary windows properly.

This is going on from the first week of December 2016 till now today.
I spoke with all the team like complains, customer relations, installation team etc.

During the installation process, the engineer damage the walls and didn’t care at all and he didn’t bring the ladder so he stand on the windowsill (painted in white) and I had to painted them again.

For 7 (SEVEN!!!!) time they didn’t show up for the appointment booked and confirmed the day before.

Due to the impossibility to open properly and easily the primary windows, I didn’t touch much the secondary windows and I think I opened them 10 times to show the issue, take pictures, videos, and the springs are already broken and it’s heavy and hard to open the secondary windows: only one of 5 it’s working fine.

Really bad customer service, really bad installation team, really bad secondary windows quality.

I sent a letter to the CEO and Customer service for ask to solve the issue ASAP but even this didn’t work.

I spent 7 days at home, waiting for them instead to spend them on holiday, for this reason i requested many times to refund all my wasted time waiting for them, calls, emails etc..Still waiting for an answer.

I finally spoke with the Legal team that told me that the secondary windows are working as they supposed to do.

I requested multiple time to remove them and compensate me but this seems no possible.

Have a good day,
Clara

p.s. I have videos and pictures where you can see the really bad job done

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Mark says:
3 November 2017

What a ridiculous comment to make, what evidence do you have to prove this? I personally had a great experience with a recent Everest install. We love our new door and Triple Glazed window. The quality of the product and the installation is second to none.

anoldfart says:
20 September 2017

WHY? The webpage has a half tone main body text which could be easier to read if they actually used something with a better contrast, like black

Hi, a few tips and comments if you are planning on talking to Everest about double glazing.
1. The minimum discount you should aim for from their ‘opening bid’ is 60%, and 70% is perfectly possible (we got a bit over that).
2. When the salesman goes on about their ‘exclusive’ manufacturer, they are sort of right. Everest use Duraflex (http://www.duraflex.co.uk/about.html) but so do many other companies. Everest ‘Exclusive’ is unique to them but their standard range is pretty much off the shelf. Always good to know, especially when they offer you the Standard range if you don’t want to pay for Exclusive.
3. One of the pitches the salesman will make is that Everest have never gone bust. Again, not a lie, but ask about the fact they had to be rescued via a buyout (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/business-news/everest-sold-to-better-capital-in-25m-1232666). Puts the salesman on the backfoot.
4. Have a maximum price in mind and be prepared to walk away (or more precisely send the salesman on his way) if they are above that price. NEVER go above your maximum, and remember they are still making money at whatever price they sell to you, YOU OWE THEM NOTHING.

A bit of advice from someone who has been in the double glazing industry for many years.
Firstly …Salesmen I would advice against using a company who employ them . They often make more on commission than the cost of your replacement glazing.
Never hand over any money to any company until the work has been completed and you are happy with the installations.
Do your homework and shop around for quotes often you will find smaller local companies will do a better window and have a higher level of workmanship than large national companies .
Be sensible if anyone offers to take 10 thousand pound off the price of their product then surely it’s too good to be true .
And its worth remembering
there are many many honest decent hardworking companies out there who take pride in what they do
so do some homework and don’t be afraid to ask questions .

as you are in the know maybe you can please tell me Zenith fitted my windows (ok price) but couldn’t fit them as sealed units due to concrete sills etc aznd so put them back through the window and then screwed them through the sides of the windows and put the front glass in. Won’t this make them inferior as they are supposed to be sealed units with argon gas in?? Or is this a sales trick? I haven’t paid yet luckily just a deposit. Thanks

Stuart says:
20 February 2018

We have spent 9 months in a mess with Everest. We started in May 2017 BY asking for a quote for a new front door and window with a small surrounding porch. The salesman came and pulled together a quote which seemed a bit high but within our ballpark so we went with it and he took a 10% deposit. Something like 8 days later the surveyor came and said – you can’t have that. This is two projects. Apparently Everest have different departments for what they call core products (Windows and doors) and conservatories (aka porches). So he did a price reduction to remove the porch and a week or so later another salesman came and quoted for the porch – and the overall price was now about £5000 more than it had been. We tried to cancel but were told we would have to pay 80% anyway as we were outside their meagre 7 day cooling off period.

So, we were never told we’d need two quotes initially – and it is our claim that we were given a misleading quote or even deliberately miss-sold. We were also not offered the chance to cancel the whole thing and get our deposit back. We were just given a price adjustment and a higher overall cost.

The first fitter who eventually came left us with a broken front wall, and left the old door and window in an insecure state. He came about 7:40 in the morning and had walked away by 8:30 after causing all that damage. No calls from Everest and it took us call after call (2 weeks of them) to get to talk to someone who finally got Everest to act and come and make good the damage done. Eventually the new products were installed but we still have £1800 we are refusing to pay. The doors don’t lock properly and Everest have been out a few times to try and fix them, but have failed. So why should we pay for an abysmal installation and all the stress they have caused. Customer service has been non-existent and our claims of miss-selling have fallen on deaf ears.

We have been in touch with the CAB over the initial quote and they have referred this to trading standards. We have also gone to the Advertising Standards Authority to refute Everest’s claim to Fit The Best when we, and a lot of reviews we have read clearly indicate they don’t. We are waiting for adjudications. And, if anyone has any ideas what else we can do – please comment!

HI we are looking for windows and doors.in the letchworth herts area …would enyone recommend.a companie…we have had a few quoats .and hard sells.were very confused

Rita, It is quite a few years ago but we had a good experience with Prestige Glazing Services in Bedford – PVC and aluminium. They supplied and fitted custom-made aluminium patio doors for us. Can’t vouch for them now but I’d say worth a visit to their showroom/factory.

We have recently received had a quote from one of the “top 3” window installers. The guy was knowledgeable and pleasant but would constantly tell us what other companies can’t/wouldn’t do rather then focus on there product which we found quite frustrating (especially when we questioned the validity of these claims) . Anyway, as in previous messages we experienced the same initial high quote ……..£198,000 !!!! yes nearly 2 hundred thousand, although its quite a big project this seemed ridiculous, then the patter started …immediately down to £90,000, then a phone call to the office and another reduction followed quickly by another, if we were willing to take part in their advert campaign and finally a further discount if we signed up there and then on the spot, which we refused (advice: ALWAYS refuse) so he then changed his tact and gave us 3 days to take up the final offer.
The very next day we had one of their competitors give us a like for like quote which followed the same pattern and came to a climax of them having to beat the previous quote which they managed by about £12,000 so we are down to £56,000 from £198,000. Then yesterday we have a phone call from the manager of the sales person wanting to come out tonight to see if there’s any more he can add as a manager!!! Lets see what happens next……

Cootos, have you tried any small local installers?

We had very high quotes from the well-known companies but found a local installer who did an excellent job at half the cost and 15 years on… no regrets.

We have a local independent company coming round this week…..to follow on from my previous post….The so called manager turned out to be another (relatively new to the company) salesman, although from the same company they were from a different region and we got an impression that he was just try to pinch the sale!!!

Has anybody used safeglaze