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 Post subject: Am I Getting Ripped Off on Accu-Weld Windows?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:29 pm
Posts: 4
Location: New Jersey
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I stumbled across this board today, and it seems to be a great source of information to help me make a decision about windows. Here is where I am right now:

My wife and I recently moved into a home in South Jersey which had been remodelled, but still had really old windows (double-hungs in front, sliders everywhere else). We made an appointment last Friday to get an estimate on windows and siding from a company called HomeFix, who had left a flyer on our door. I expected this to be about a 30 minute process which would give us an idea how much we would need to save to get this kind of work done. Instead, we received the 5 hour "model home" sales pitch, and were told that we needed to make a decision on the spot to get the "model home discount". Since we had already done a little research on the company before they showed up (15 years in business, BBB partner, etc.), we signed a contract with the intention of cancelling within 3 days if we changed our minds after thinking it through. Sales tactics aside, my concern is whether the windows we signed for are over-priced.

HomeFix pushed their top of the line Accu-Weld Energizer 2300 custom windows, which amounted to $9600 for 13 windows (6 double-hung, 7 sliders) of varying sizes installed, which amounts to about $700 per window. These windows feature double-strength "Z" glass, glazing, krypton gas, 100% virgin vinyl, welded sashes, foam filling, 60 year warranty (including condensation), etc. This cost also includes installation, clean-up, & 48-hour emergency service.

After running the numbers and talking to various family members who almost fell over at the price, I contacted HomeFix and told them that I couldn't afford to pay that much. The Marketing guy who pitched us told me that he really didn't have any wiggle-room on the price, but we could opt to remove some features to bring the price down. After some haggling back and forth, we opted for 12 of the Energizer windows without the foam filling in the frames, and 1 "step-down" window for the garage (which didn't need such a high-end window). This brought the total to $7500, which is about $575 per window.

Before I sign this revised contract, does anyone have any thoughts on whether this seems like a reasonable deal on these windows? Has anyone had any experience with HomeFix or the Accu-Weld line of windows? My wife and I are planning on staying in the home for the the long haul, so I don't mind paying a premium for good long-term windows - I just don't want to get completely hit over the head.

One final note - if I finance the deal through HomeFix I don't have to put any money down up front, but if I opt for cash I would need to put one-third down up front. Even if I finance the windows through the installer, I would pay them off immediately in order to avoid any interest, but I don't know if this puts me in a bad negotiating position. For example, if I pay one-third in cash, I could withhold final payment until I'm satisfied the job is done to my satisfaction, whereas financing seems like the equivalent of paying the whole thing up front.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I wanted to make sure I painted the whole picture before soliciting feedback. This whole experience is new to me, so any advice or information would be greatly appreciated!

Demian


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 3:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 11:20 am
Posts: 96
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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I wouldn't trust anyone who uses the "model home" sales pitch. That's a scam designed to get you to make a quick decision without doing your research. I'd cancel the contract and shop around a little more. If you find that the $7500 price is a good deal -- call them back and tell them you want to go with it. I guarantee they'll write the order.

PS -- Foam filled frames aren't worth $210 more let alone $2100!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 4:12 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:29 pm
Posts: 4
Location: New Jersey
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Thanks for the feedback WindDoze. From other things I've read on this site, it unfortunately sounds as if this kind of sleazy sales pitch is pretty common in the window business. I definitely never want to sit through one of those again!

Despite that, the company is one of the largest window installers in my area and seems to have a spotless record with the BBB (I haven't been able to find any unresolved complaints about them online either). At this point I'm not as concerned that they won't do a good job or stand by their warranty as much as I'm afraid they are selling me a window that isn't worth the price.

At any rate, think you're right about holding off on this contract and soliciting some competitive quotes (something I typically do with everything else that I purchase). Thanks for the advice...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 9:22 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Peoria, IL
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Sitting thru a full demo isn't such a bad thing, IF the rep is giving you a clear, concise, informed tour of the product.
Depending on the questions you ask, if you buy that day, etc, I'm usually out in about 2 hours.
5 hours is ridiculous. Still, you want to know what you're getting. What you're spending your money on.
it's funny. I ask a question in my market survey, asking; what is the one thing you fear the most about remodelling projects. The answer is ALWAYS money or installation.
Never once has anyone ever said quality of the product.
Maybe I don't even need to do a demo anymore. Just push service and price, since people don't seem to care what they're getting.
And they say people don't trust sales reps......

the other thing is this; Is there a comnpany out there that admits they don't really have 100% virgin vinyl??


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:29 pm
Posts: 4
Location: New Jersey
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Thanks for the alternate perspective HipKat. I guess I should mention that although I've referred to the sales tactic as sleazy (mostly because I didn't remotely expect to be pressured to make an on-the-spot decision about such a costly project), the actual reps were very friendly and informative. If nothing else, they educated the hell out of me on the whole window making process (and then some).

My questioning of the price rather than the quality is because the rep pretty thoroughly convinced me that he was selling a quality product. Not being given an opportunity to solicit other quotes, combined with the almost universal opinion from my circle of family/friends that good windows can be had for $300 - $350, are the factors that prompted me to seek some advice on this forum. As I mentioned earlier, I don't mind paying for quality products, but since my experience in this area is so limited, I thought it would be a good idea to see if others in this area know from experience whether these windows truly are a quality product, and whether the price seems fair. Despite being told by the Marketing rep that this was a deeply discounted price on these windows, everyone I spoke to about it thought the price sounded way too high (or that you don't really need windows that good).

At any rate, thanks for the input - I appreciate hearing from someone who is on the selling side of the game...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 12:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:04 am
Posts: 9
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Demroyer,

I just went through the very exact same thing you did. Solication sale, model home discount, blah blah, blah, and signed a contract to get the discount. Well, then I discovered this forum and read up, asked some Qs, and got 4 more quotes with a variety of windows of similar grade in the next day and a half. I cancelled the contract based on the following:

1. The quality of the window was fine, but the tactic was too pushy (none of the otherr reps use the model home tactic).

2. The price was same as others as it turns out, but only after a significant hour of negotiation and so called "deep discount".

3. The company's credential didn't check out. BBB is an OK source, but check consumer affairs, licensing board, and most important of all, referals NOT provided by the company (This one was difficult to find).

Sorry I really couldn't comment on your particular window, but if you read more and look at more windows you'd be able to educate yourself on the quality as well.

As far as friends and familys' comments: Yeah, I got the same reaction. But after doing my research, I realized what they called " good windows" are actually crap. But I didn't want to tell them that.

I am also in for the long haul, so quality product AND service matters the most to me. Take you time on this matter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 2:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 9:22 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Peoria, IL
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One thing about the BBB you should remember, a "Charter" member, means a paid member.
Once a complaint is lodged against the BBB, they send out a letter informing the company, and all they ask for is that the compnay responded.
Not the level of response, but that they made a call, wrote a letter, whatever....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:19 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:29 pm
Posts: 4
Location: New Jersey
Offline
Thanks for the feedback Ronin - it's nice to hear I'm not the only one who had this experience! After reading through these forums some more and researching Accu-Weld and HomeFix a bit more, I decided to go ahead with the new quoted rate, and signed a new contract on Friday. I'm feeling much more comfortable now than I originally was, but I have another installer providing me a quote tomorrow on a similar caliber of windows, just for comparison's sake.

As far as the comment about family reaction, you're right on the money - after looking at some of their windows (which were installed for much cheaper), they don't seem in the same league as the windows I've been looking at. Like you, I decided to keep that opinion to myelf.

Thanks again for the comments, and good luck with your own window installation...


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