First, my thanks to the professionals on this board for their time and expertise. I read this board and used your insight in my windows search and I'd like to relate my own experience in the windows game just as information.
I live in Colorado, my home was constructed in 1992, I purchased the home in 2002. Soon after the home was built, there was a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of the wood windows, a settlement was reached last year and eligible homeowners could file a claim. My 26 windows do need replacement for a variety of reasons, I filed a claim, no one knows how much each homeowner will receive, so I researched replacment windows based on my budget and any settlement award would be just extra help. I decided on vinyl windows, preferably manufactured in Colorado, low E2 glass, warm edge spacer. I researched the various windows, decided on a Milgard, did homework on what to find in a contractor. In August 2005,took bids and chose a firm which had been in business over 30 years, had AAMA certified installers, a nice building and showroom, good BBB record, sales staff was very professional, priced each window individually, the firm did five or six homes in my subdivision so I could get a close up look at their work. The price was guaranteed until spring of 2006, I talked to the sales rep in November and said I would contact him this spring to sign the contract.
January or February, we had a good cold snap and I was sick of the old windows and how cold the house was. Called the company to sign a contract, no answer. Called the salesman's cell phone, no answer. Went to the website, no website. Company apparently went out of business. And this was a company which met all the recommendations: long-term, central location, good BBB record, trained staff, portfolio. I don't know if there were consumers who put money down/signed contracts and are now stuck or if the company completed existing contracts and did an orderly shut down.
But it goes to show, you never know. I followed all the guidelines and rules but didn't sign the contract and what would have been the final result if I had? I did a new bid process for the 26 windows, went with Amerimax installed by a small firm with about 13 employees. The windows will be installed this week.