/ Home & Energy

Need new double glazing? Who would you trust to install it?

Only 7% of Which? members trust double glazing companies. Not that surprising when they’re renowned for dubious selling techniques, and steep price drops are a familiar part of the sales patter.

But building regulations mean we don’t really have a choice but to install double glazing when windows need replacing.

So when you’re shopping for new windows, should you trust the big names like Anglian and Everest, or should you go for a smaller, less well-known local firm?

Independent double glazers do better

Our latest satisfaction survey of double glazing companies found that that independent traders perform better and might even be cheaper.

The four big national companies (Anglian, Everest, Safestyle and Zenith Staybrite) are apparently leaving customers less satisfied than those who went with an independent double glazing company. As one Which? member said:

‘Local firms rely on word of mouth for their reputation and in a small town they cannot afford to let this slip.’

Local firms could be cheaper too

And, while you might assume you could get a better deal using a large firm, that’s not necessarily the case.

We sent a price questionnaire to Which? Local recommended double glazing traders to get the average prices you should expect to pay for different double glazing jobs.

We also sent the same questionnaire to Anglian, Everest, Safestyle and Zenith Staybrite. Both Everest and Safestyle declined to share their prices, with Everest telling us, ‘It’s no secret that we charge a premium price for our products’.

Anglian and Zenith both provided their prices, but we found that these were typically higher than those quoted by the independent traders who responded.

Problems getting double glazing

What’s more, those using local independents are also less likely to experience problems. Of those members who used local firms, around two thirds didn’t have a problem. But this figure fell to just over half for those who went with one of the big four companies.

The most common problems were: delivering the wrong parts, scratched glass, windows not fitting properly, installation taking longer than planned and installers causing damage to a property’s interior. Each of these problems were nearly always more common with the big four.

So, if you’re planning to get new double glazing, will our research influence whether you go for an independent or a big name? And if you’ve recently had windows fitted, who did you go with and how did they do?

WatchdogUK101 says:
25 November 2014

Local independent firms, aka family owned and/or family run, words that should strike absolute terror in the heart of potential customers, are far less willing to put right damage and/or faults – everything that is wrong will either be “within industry standards” or the fault of the customer!

Lynchy says:
26 November 2014

Bit of a sweeping statement. Local Independent businesses rely on word of mouth and reputation. If they kept creating unhappy customers the work would soon dry up. Unless perhaps you live in a densely populated area of total strangers like London where they can spread out their bad work.

My father in law creates Stone overlay driveways (Stonebond) and his customers buy him gifts and give him cards as he takes care to always do a great job. Everyone knows a good tradesman and a bad tradesman.

I suspect a lot of bad tradesman who’s work dries up sign up to large corporations like Anglian as sub contractors. Although on the flip side there must be lots of good Anglian installers/sub contractors too otherwise they would go bust.

But that’s the luck of the draw. At least with a local independent you know the individuals reptutation not just a brand name.

Anglian manager (nice guy) met me and we went over the work done on my house last week (had whole house double glazed) and agreed it is not acceptable. Sadly I have to have same contractors come and put it right. But I made sure the manager who works for Anglian will be there to oversee their work. Most important thing I did was witheld payment until I am happy was the work, otherwise I doubt I would have seen them again.

try working for them and you will see why problems exist
the actual nett cost of a window is generally 5% of retail list
never buy from the sales man even if they call the manager,all part of the script, you will, if you wait until next day get a call and a better offer
fensa registered and ? what it stands for is FENestration Self Assessment basically when you join the fensa club and pay your £7.50 a month subs you can then pass your own work.
Tip, get a local good carpenter to measure up purchase from a large manufacterer

your will need a certificate when selling your property so go to your local councils building control dept get the job surveyed by a proper surveyor who will issue a cert. if you used a time served chippie no problems and a large saving on cost .
Will mean a search online for a manufacturer and if it,s not just one window be ok
My best quote £3850.. completed for £ 1215 plus surveyor at£160.. and to same specification

Hi all, we’ve published a new debate about double glazers: “How do you choose double glazers you can trust?” – join in here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/good-local-double-glazing-companies-trusted-traders/

defeated says:
15 January 2015

I had had very good service from Anglian some years ago and wanted a job done promptly so I went with them because sometimes local firms, although very good, have to juggle jobs and your job can take a while to be finished. It turned out to be a huge mistake and it has wiped out my savings. I ordered replacement rooftrim. They put it up over rotten wood . They are supposed to alert you to this but did not until the end when a fitter offered to get a mate to fix the last little bit for cash. At court they said I knew about the wood but it was an untruth. I asked for proof that they had told me but was not supported in my request. Their rep said he was at my house when the fitters told me . I challenged him and he was reduced to saying ‘I was there but you did not see me’ ! That was allowed. The judge (as expected) found for them because they put the stuff up and that is all they said they would do. Fit for purpose does not seem to matter, I have lost over £10k and a year of my life through them – not to mention, now, the will to live. Corporations rule.

Cherries says:
19 July 2016

Really sorry to hear about this, defeated. Yes, they do tell lies. I’m currently being sued by Anglian for the cost of a conservatory that did not comply with our agreement. I was willing to negotiate, but despite admitting fault – initially at least – they wouldn’t budge. I have to say that I’ve been completely taken aback by their willingness to lie and by the hostile and aggressive stance adopted by their solicitor. What a pity the solicitors’ regulation authority doesn’t seem to be interested in investigating her misconduct.

L Miles says:
1 February 2015

Suffice it to say that my list of complaints about our £20k Anglian windows/door installation covered 6 pages, very poor workmanship and one of the installers even asked me extra, in cash, to install the door he had trouble with! My biggest beef is re the garage door, admittedly out of warranty at the time of complaint, but the problems of poor installation which eventually came to a head were very basic faults of engineering which I have had to patch up myself. I did receive a visit from an Anglian rep after complaining who agreed 100% with all my criticisms but these were rejected out of hand by his Head Office who insisted I’d have to pay for any repairs, in spite of the mess they’d made of the job. As for getting through to an Area Manager, forget it, you HAVE to go through their Customer Services Dept.

Ambrose says:
23 March 2015

I can only sympathise we have had over 6 months of hell with Anglian . For a two date fit . Seven fitters have been to site. In operant .The fitting was atrocious ,they placed windows out of plumb out of centre completely unsealed and used internal caulking to place external trims which just pealed off . They did not support the front bay which caused the upper walls to crack and , the bedroom walls were damaged. They came back to do remedial work. To the glazing on several occasions. But did further damage and in the case of the bay’s made it worse and cracked the patio door frame . Apart from the manager nearly all the fitters lied and in one case deliberately covered up a serious structural defect, ie they did not place supports to hold up the bay .To the managers credit he employed a very good contractor to repair the initial building defects I employed a fenestration engineer to give an independent report for the likely court case , he has discovered the glazing is not as specified and around 25 % of the units are not gas filled . I have kicked Anglian off the job and having their windows replaced by a local company in fact today I have a full photographic record . Had I not been a surveyor myself they would have got away with this .
I have contacted trading standards and I emplore anyone who has a complaint about this company to do similar through the consumer advice service. If you require further info please send a private message .

Hi I’d be very interested in learning how you did this as we have a similar problem with Safestyle, I hope you see this message and thanks.

Lesley says:
10 February 2016

i am interested in what you say Ambrose as we currently have problem with Zenith going on for last 2 years with numerous fitting attempts and now they trying to take us to court to pay the second £6k, which we not happy about as each time they come there are more different problems and now not even convinced units are gas filled or are the right glass. how do we get that checked please so we can prove our case?

Nick Dardalis says:
23 February 2015

[Hi Nick, this comment has been removed. I’m sorry to say, Which? does not allow promotional activity from other companies. This is so we can maintain our independence. All the best, Mods]

Ah yes but the mistake you made in removing that earlier comment was that Nick was promoting an independent and impartial site to help consumers – exactly like yours? James.

AnglianReviewer says:
25 March 2015

Too many problems to write about, I’ve christened my home Faulty Towers
Weeping cat flaps, seeping doors, water ingress under windows, potentially dangerous electrical installation, lies, incompetence……………

Richard says:
20 May 2015

I have just had 13 windows and a pair of French doors fitted by Anglian. These were some 20% dearer than a reputable local firm but we were assured that as they manufactured all the components themselves their quality control would ensure we got a superior product – we didn’t!

Our initial snagging list ran to 29 items, the majority of which were down to poor manufacturing including handles snagging the mullions, warped glass edges in the French door and poorly fitting beading. After some 5 weeks the installers returned without the glass for the French door and rectified about half the problems saying they were unable to improve on the outstanding items.

Some 4 weeks later and despite numerous calls and emails to Anglian we are still waiting for the French door and advice as to how Anglian propose to rectify matters.

Do not be fooled, the quality is not what is promised and customer service is a joke. To be told that it will all be sorted out under guarantee misses the point – they need to make more effort to get it right in the first place!

George says:
26 June 2015

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT ANGLIAN WINDOWS, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Recently my partner had Anglian to fit new doors and windows. Seemed ok, date for fitting arrived, during fitting a piece of furniture got damaged, I accept things can happen. Secondly wrong glass fitted to door.
Now having major problems getting the correct glass fitted and payment for the damage. Phone calls and emails don’t always get a response. Very poor company, not impressed at all. Customer service rubbish. Staff grumpy.

George says:
27 June 2015

Had a list of problems with Anglian including wrong window fitted, still after weeks of emails and phone calls, unable to get problems solved. Even wrote to CEO of Anglian. NEVER AGAIN.

I work for a national double glazing company and while i agree local companies appear cheaper what a consumer must be aware of is that many local companies cannot offer the same levels of customer service and many cannot offer the same quality of product.
All of the products supplied and fitted by the company i work for are genuinely a rated by the energy saving trust and made of the best quality components. What I personally recommend is that consumers research companies on sites such as the energy saving trust to get a true independent review of the product they are looking to purchase.

Thomas says:
21 August 2015

The quality of the window is the exact same . An independent can buy quality to match Anglian or Everest , Rehua make as good as if not better than Anglian profile and Everest do not extrude there own profile the buy from either profile 22 or Rehua I can’t mind which one so your talking crap about quality being better from the big nationals I have had Anglian windows very good the second time round after they was forced to rip every windows in the house out and once the new ones where fitted they was good but Rehua do a better u value window than Anglian and my girlfriend got local company to fit them to excellent standard tight fit with exact expansion gap needed unlike the big company’s who measure them short and cover with exseive trims to hide the gaps and they also never fix them to wall with proper fixings so please tell me how the big firms are better what is the quality you talk about being better please explaine ?

Matt Lee says:
23 July 2016

Do you mean Rehau??

David says:
9 December 2016

Everest have installations still in place that have been in since 1977 for double glazing. There just the ones I’m aware of. According to BFRC Everest have the highest rated double glazing in the industry (which is based on FITTING, uvalue and solar gain). According to the Metropolitan Police Everest have the best security in the industry. Everest also have the longest guarantees in the industry.
Everest have 2 factories where they make their own products including window frame.
Everest also have customers that include, yacht fitters, shop fitters, joined and WINDOW FITTERS. Why? Because they see and know the quality.

The trim is only in place to cover any required decorating and give a good frame to the window. Unless you actually rip the window out first, you can’t actually know what you are going to find. But on my mum’s property, it was clear that the frame went in behind the masonry of the house giving a great seal. On the inside the workmanship and insulation was second to non.

Regards all of the big companies, I would guess that it may depend on the quality of the individual fitter. The quality control Everest have in place is second to non. On sight checks by surveyors and post installation checks by Consultants is heart warming and reassuring.

Oh and Everest also won a High Court battle in 2004 that allows them to say that they do Fit the Best.

I am not suggesting you are biased, David, but do you have an interest to declare? You seem to have a lot of detailed knowledge of Everest that the average customer would not know.

I’d also add that the description of Everest (above) doesn’t match the reality of our experience. And they’re as unscrupulous and blatantly dishonest in their selling tactics as anyone. The product is reasonable – possibly as good as Anglian – but even on small orders they make glaring errors.

Bren McGarrity says:
26 February 2017

Yes John Ward, I wondered if he had an interest to declare. If you google Everest Facebook, look at customers posts and you’ll find him there, sticking up for Everest! As you’ll see on there, most of the negative comments have been deleted, I screen grabbed as many as I could before they disappeared. I’m in my seventies and the stress Everest has caused my husband and I has been terrible and we’re by no means the oldest to be treated so appallingly by them – and young families too. Please, Watchdog, investigate them again, they haven’t improved.

Anglian Home Improvements are nothing of the sort! If you value your health, wealth and time do not buy from them.
My story should act as a warning to anyone contemplating using them.

Anglian grossly overcharged my late father for a double glazed window in 2008 – ca. £1,600. Even today a joiner would charge about £400 for the window plus the cost of planning approval. He then ordered a conservatory, and after installation noticed many faults developing. He was unable to get Anglian to repair before he died. I took over in March 2013 before he died and I am still trying to get faults rectified. Anglian sent surveyors and fitters who swore blind that the roof was straight. I had a surveyor take a look, and yes the roof was was curved. Anglian did not believe me. I then used a spirit level and photographed the roof and also got a report from a joiner who confirmed the roof was not straight. The wood of the windows and frame were wet when paint was applied and so it has peeled off. In replacing the wood window frames all the glass in them was damaged. Then Anglian sent the same workmen back to replace the glass with 21 panes of scratched glass. Some scratches so deep they cannot be polished out. The workmen said the wild flowers growing on the patio were a health and safety risk and refused to work after I had said it was raining and they couldn’t do the repair work that day!
Fortunately the damaged panes were not replaced with more defective glass but still no finished repairs after 6 years. Faults include the leaking roof, peeling paint, bad silicon finishing, a broken drainpipe, rough wood on skirting board joints, a gap between wall and conservatory frame so wind howls through, water which workmen say is condensation rather than leaking! and more. My father also ordered a 2nd conservatory in 2010 which also had peeling paint and the glass was damaged during repairs and the replacement glass was in a worse state.
Note that
1) Anglian says GGF rules allow them to install glass with scratched if they can’t be seen 2 metres away. What reputable company would install scratched glass?
2) It’s impossible getting customer services to do anything. You need to go back to the area manager & email directors.
3) If you cannot use your conservatory etc. Anglian say you have not suffered material loss and won’t pay compensation.
4) Anglian will specify terms such as clearing a 2 metre path around a conservatory to enable work to go ahead which my be impossible to agree to.
5) I would recommend getting a lawyer involved early on if there are faults and be prepared to sue early on for compensation as Anglian will string things out for so long you are time barred from suing. The longer you leave it the more of your life will be wasted by Anglian.
6) Using a lawyer might cost more than getting a local joiner to fix the problems.
7) My experience of Anglian isd that they don’t reveal the truth, they blame the customer for problems such as the catch all – you haven’t maintained it properly, their contractors and employees are rude, the skill of their contractors is often below the level required for the work they are carrying out.
8) If they damage your property you will have difficulty getting it repaired without suing.
9) Anglian do not keep to timetables. One of the conservatories took over a year to install.
9) Anglian likes to have gagging clauses when they lose in court before agreeing to settlements.

Dealing with Anglian post-bereavement has been the most stressful experience I have ever had. Anglian are a wicked, evil company.

If things go wrong, GOOD LUCK!

You really have to be in the double glazing industry to realise how wrong many of these comments are, how wrong public perception of double glazing firms large and small is. However all this is totally understandable as its obvious many of these comments stem from personal experience with these firms.
It is an absolute tragedy for someone in the business to constantly read such a negative perception of double glazing firms. Please be assured this is not the case. There are over 12000 window companies in the UK and the vast majority strive to give the very best they can. Those of you that have their own businesses reading this website know you did not set up in business to take peoples money, run away with their deposits or do a bad job. It is no different for double glazing firms.

So what is the reason for the negative perception? The first thing to say is that it is not just double glazing firms. The sales process in double glazing, stone cladding, intruder alarms, soffits and fascias or any other type of home improvement product stems from these organisations employing commission only salespeople and the sales tactics employed by largely the big four. The £60K price tag somehow reduced to £15K if you buy here and now.

The double glazing industry also has some inherent issues – what other product can you go and buy anywhere you like and pay for it “when you’re happy” or “at the end of the job”? What other industry do you know whereby window companies are obliged to sell you just one window for a toilet and guarantee it for 10 years? Comparatively you walk into an Aston Martin or a Bentley showroom, you pay £100+ for a car and only get a three year warranty!

By far the sales process is the way it is because double glazing like other home improvements is one business where the consumer has no idea what their new windows and doors are going to cost. Again using the car as an example, generally before you go shopping you will now how much a ford modeo will cost before you go to the showroom. Therefore the “value” of double glazing is hard to know. Is your front door quoted by Anglian, Everest and Safestyle REALLY worth £3000 but you can have it for £1500 if you buy it now? No is the answer.

As someone in the double glazing business for many years my honest and sincere advice is always shop local. Local firms DO have the better quality product, local firms DO care about after sales and local firms DO have the more honest and realistic prices.

However for balance, it is also fair to point out that Everest, Anglian, Safestyle and Zenith (the big four) all turnover over 100 million a year. So for companies to be selling windows at this turnover, with those sales tactics and too good to be true (aka false) discounts means you customers are happy to buy on this basis. Caveat Emptor of course.

So the fact remains that the double glazing business is the cause of it’s own bad reputation but please be assured the local firms are working really hard to change it for the greater good. There are countless websites that give you honest and impartial advice, but speak to any double glazing professional and they will tell you to shop local every time.

“Local firms DO have the better quality product, local firms DO care about after sales and local firms DO have the more honest and realistic prices.”

The only and I mean only thing a National has to offer is credit, I will leave it to you to decided if that’s a good thing or not. But the quote above is true, Nationals do not have better products at all, they certainly do not have better customer service. Their prices are high because they have bigger overheads and want far bigger profits.

If you are looking for double glazing then it is up to you to do some research, look into the company, see recent work, talk to past customers, check they have all the right qualifications and certifications. You can go as far as to check the products, if the company is proud of what they install you will be able to easily find out the profiles, if they have a good website you should be able to find all the information you need on there.

This applies to anything you buy to be honest! When you buy a new cooker you check the brand and spec, you check the store you want to buy from ect ect

David says:
9 December 2016

To be fair Nick, I get where you are coming from on a lot of this but thats not to say I agree with all.
Around my area, Newcastle, local companies certainly DO NOT offer anywhere near the same quality. And that includes some of the bigger local companies.
All said, I’m not bringing Safestyle into this as I would agree with you and I will say I am talking about Everest.

Having worked in the trade and seen what is out there and what goes on, I would personally say that Everest are the only company to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s.

As far as discounts go, my mum would have got more discount this week than she did when she ordered in July! That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Don’t use Anglian. My conservatory roof exploded in June and it could have killed someone. The conservatory is under warranty. Anglian refused to provide a fault report, advised me they have done me a favour by replacing the damaged unit and have stopped all communication regarding compensation for the significant damage caused. So will the other 5 panels explode? Who knows and Anglian certainly don’t care even though they know I have a child in the house and the room is open plan. Spend your money somewhere else.

I had HOME ENHANCING PLASTICS based in Staffrdshire they were terrible. They lied when they said i was having A rated rehau (a german manufacturer) I got a c rated conservatory made by a manchester firm. The glass has no kite mark. The full height wall was built with an internal wall made with thermolite breeze blocks. Even though i was to put a large tv on it. I cant put anything on it as if we drill the walk they will shatter. The windows are a cm out of square. They didnt put enough brick courses of the engineering bricks so the ground is above the damp course and the wall is going damp. The plastering was so rough i had to put paper on it originally It was to be painted They told me i would be covered by FENSA for 10 years that was a lie . Fensa does not cover conservatories. The electrics were taken off a spur in my sitting room instead of having its own circuit. The fire officer said i will be ok if i dont put to many electrical things on. The conservatory is for my office so will have heaters and pc etc on. Any way I could carry on but the message is dont use home enhancing plastics they were the most expensive and did the shabbiest job !!

I’ve just gone with Everest so fingers crossed, wish me luck will update in about 6 weeks!

Mike says:
1 March 2016

I decided on a conservatory, and asked a friend which company he had used, and he gave the name of a local company here in Suffolk, who have been in business for several decades. I have just had their guy in, and he explained the service they offered without any sales patter, or any attempt to pressure me. When I first bought the house a few years ago, I needed all the windows replacing (rotten wood) and employed a company local to me when I lived in Surrey. They did a first-class job, so I am happy to use another local company, who get a lot of their business through recommendation and word of mouth. As you say, local firms have to provide a good service to maintain their trade.

Hi Mike. Could you let me know which company you used? I live in Suffolk and am now thinking of a local supplier. Thanks.

Pete says:
15 May 2016

Had windows replaced by Everest some years ago.
In bed the next day and could see day light under the window frame. Not good.
Man sent round and he just used foam to fill the gap . Not good.
Looking to replace windows again soon but will use a local Co.

Terry Sands says:
13 June 2016

Do not ever allow Anglian to do any work at your home. We ordered a conservatory with them in September 2014 for installation the following August. They came and did the first survey for building control in January and got the dimensions wrong. So wrong that the conservatory would not have fitted within the space available. We then heard nothing from them until I called the office 3 weeks before start date chasing them for the final survey and their reply was that they had no knowledge of our order. They sent a man round the next day to measure again, only to get it wrong again. I explained to him that we had taken time off work for the build which was due to start on Monday 24th August 2015 (in 3 weeks time) and that it had to be done within that time period, as agreed. I checked with the office again on the Thursday before the start date and they said everything was in place to start. NO-ONE TURNED UP ON MONDAY. NO PHONE CALL. NO APOLGY. We then cancelled the order after losing all faith in Anglian.

They then proceeded to take us to court for cancelling. This cost us £6945 for them to NOT to turn up and build a conservatory.

Anglian are, at best, scam merchants who have no idea of customer service, management of jobs, or business ethics.

My advice to anyone who is reading this, do not under any circumstances allow Anglian into your home and never enter into any form of contract with them.

Martin says:
10 September 2016

Everest were excellent at front end sales, support and communication. However. They installed a scratched window and when they came to replace it they swapped out the wrong one. That took 3 visits. Big folding door handle broke. They did a survey visit and the fixing visit brought the wrong part I have no idea how long it’s going to take to fix since customer service staff tell me they don’t know when the part will be in. In between the 7 past intallation vists in 12 months i have had to push and chase customer service all the way. No ‘customer’ focus at all. Stay well clear of everest! We have 13 windows to change out in near future and they won’t even get a chance to quote. Premium price is really not worth it.

Julia says:
12 November 2016

I got seven windows fitted by Everest two weeks ago. Two of the windows are faulty. One window won’t open. The other faulty window will not close and they have failed to leave a key to lock it, if it would close properly.

I believed Anglian and Everest would be the safest options. But I have not been able to get Everest to come and repair or replace the faulty windows in spite of many phone calls and now I have taken to putting everything in writing.

I want a refund for the two faulty windows so I can get another supplier to fit working windows, if Everest can’t resolve the problem

I wonder if trading standards would be able to help in these issues.

Everest did give me a false sense of security in the sales end of the purchase. I would never trust them again.

Are you on good terms with your next-door neighbour, Julia? If so get them to ask Everest for a no-obligation quote for some new windows and they will be there in a flash. Take the opportunity to invite the salesperson [who might be the same one as you had] round to your house to see the problems. I leave it to you and your neighbour to work out the scenario and the excuses but make sure no sale takes place!

Trading Standards might be able to assist because you are protected by the Consumer Rights Act and there might also have been a breach of contract. You have to go through Citizens Advice to access Trading Standards but you can look TS up on your local authority website [county councils, London borough councils or metropolitan district councils in England & Wales] – some might enable direct access.

Citizens Advice is commonly used to handle enquiries so that they can be passed on to the most relevant organisation or department for help. I had this confirmed recently when I discovered that a relative works part-time for Citizens Advice. Companies and councils adopt a similar procedure and while it is a nuisance for those who know exactly who they need to speak to, overall it is more efficient.

I have not had a great deal of success with Trading Standards and Julia might consider sending an email to the CEO email address, which might be found on this website: http://ceoemail.com
The CEO is unlikely to reply but at least you have an email rather than a web form and complaints may be treated more seriously than by contacting customer services.

Please let us know about progress, Julia. Your experience could help others.

David says:
9 December 2016

I probably shouldn’t but I’d help you get this resolved. First thing I would say is that Everest WILL fix this for you.

Get back at them, you should also have details of the Consultant who sold to you, give him a call.

Worse case scenario you GGF, glass and glazing federation (the ombudsmen).

I would like to know if thishas been resolved.