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 Post subject: Replacement windows scam?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9
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At a recent concert event I dropped my name in a hat for a new sliding glass door from Milgard, from a local company. A few days later I got a call from the window company and they told me I was "The Grand Prize Winner" of the new door. They told me the prize was the new door plus installation.

The problem is that I don't have a place for this sliding door, but I do want to replace the windows in my kitchen, which are double-pane aluminum (85 vintage). So I asked if I could get credit for Milgard windows instead and was told yes. Well, the sales/design consultant stopped by, took measurements and I asked for a quote. The quote was for 5 windows, 3 sliders (46x47), 1 garden window (70x40) and a small double hung (22x35). These are all new construction windows.

I was shocked when the quote came back at $13k materials and $1400 labor. The price included a $1300 credit for the Grand Prize.

To be fair, the consultant was on vacation and the quote was passed along by a different sales person. I suppose there could have been a mistake or typo or someting. I won't be able to confirm the quote until next week.

Well, this prompted me to do a bunch of research. I had Home Depot stop by for a quote on some retrofit windows. That came to $5800 for there brand. I have decided against retrofit windows and am now considering doing the work myself. I priced the same windows at Home Depot and they came in at slightly under $2000.

I live in No Calif and the house is stucco. I have replaced two windows myself in stucco about 12 years ago and it didn't seem like that big of a job. I have not had any problems with those windows.

Any comments would be much appreciated. Am I being scammed?

Thanks, Chris


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 789
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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You should stay away from the company who awarded you their "grand prize". They are dishonest and extremely high priced.

There is nothing wrong with a company charging any price they please for their services and products, as you have the right to say no. But when a company uses deceptive sales tactics, they should be avoided at all costs, IMP.


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 Post subject: Sweepstakes
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:09 pm 
Sweepstakes have been around as long as home remodeling as a way to gather leads. Some are legitimate in the fact a real prize is drawn and the merchandise provided, however the single goal of this type of advertising, or solicitation is to find viable prospects.

The thinking is no one would sign up to win a house full of windows, siding, etc… unless they were interested in such products. The hopes are that thousands of people will sign up and at the end of the year a winner, often a 1st, 2nd & 3rd place will be picked and used as advertisement.

Meanwhile the remaining names will be solicited so an estimator can come out and get your involved with their product. If by chance you buy and are the winner, your money, up to the allotted amount will be reimbursed to you.

That is how it’s supposed to work.

What you’re describing sounds a bit shady, to say the least. Call and ask what firm is monitoring the sweepstakes, when the drawing date is, and what accounting firm is being used in the event of an audit.

My guess is they won’t have the answers to this, in which case your decision should be clear.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
Posts: 21
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You may have actually been the "winner" of the contest, but the value they placed on the door seems low. Likely, it was a low-end door without the installation cost, so $1300 would not be too far off the mark.

You have some big windows there, and I agree your price is on the high side. This is kind of like getting a new car and you want to trade in the old one. You get 50 cents for it, and they tack it on the new car so you don't get anything for it. You didn;t say what brand of window you were quoted so we don't know if you were getting top of the line stuff or something else.

As to Home Depot, when they install the windows they install Simonton brand (on the web) which is a premium window. They have a Good-better-Best range of product. When you go to the Home Depot store to buy a window, you do not pull a Simonton off the rack, you get something else. Those windows are low price, low quality made for the do-it-yourself crowd that thinks all windows are the same. So your price comparison should have told you something. You get what you pay for. The low end stuff is air filled, no warranty, metal spacers probably without any inserts to prevent heat transfer, and maybe a u factor of 38-42. Also they are generally on the shelf for new construction, and most of the time if you cut the fins off to do a retrofit, you void the warranty. Over time you will pay the difference in electricity on your AC bill.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9
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Sorry if I wasn't clear. The windows I'm being quoted for are Milgard. The windows I price compared at Home Depot were the same Milgard windows. I just got another quote from a local company for the same windows. This quote was $1920 windows/$2825 for labor. This is actually a cheaper quote than I got from Home Depot for retrofit windows. I've decided against retrofit windows however.

Chris


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9
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Based on several quotes now, I am assuming there was a mistake conveying the message to me concerning the quote. I did ask twice and the sales guy said 13k, both time. I bet it's $1300 instead for material. That's not too far off if the grand prize is factored in and is for real. It is curious this company quoted $1400 labor, while the other place quoted $2800 labor. I guess this will all be cleared up when my sales lady comes back from vacation on Monday. Clearly, if it really is $13k, I'll look elsewhere.

Chris


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 Post subject: Which Milgard
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:08 pm 
Milgard makes several types of vinyl replacement windows, unless you’re talking about the 7220 DOUBLE HUNG DUAL WINDOW: NFRC Product Line # MIL-A-196, I’d steer clear.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9
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Paneless,

I appreciate your feedback. I am getting one small doublehung, but the other windows are all horizontal sliders - and the one garden window. I guess i need to do more homework on which model numbers I am looking at.

You are the first person I've talked to that recommends against Milgard and I've had many good recomendations from contractors and others. What is your rational and what would you recommend? Consider that I live in California, in a moderate climate and am not interested in top-tier windows like Andersen (which I have in the front of my house).

Thanks, Chris


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9
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Thanks for your comments. I'm quite happy with my 16 year old Andersen's. To me the quality is obvious. I have no regrets at all with that decision I made then. I don't really want to debate top-tier windows with you. I would probably loose that debate :), plus that's not really what I'm after in this project. I'll be perfectly happy with a good quality mid-tier vinyl window, that doesn't break the bank.

Chris


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 Post subject: Reply
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:43 pm
Posts: 353
Location: Illinois
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dcpete

The first question is, why would you enter a contest to win a patio door when you don't have a place for one in your house? :) The next question is, did you find it a little strange that a local window company was represented at a concert? It was a sales lead generation tool for them. I know of other companies that do this very often and "Everyone" is the Grand Prize Winner!. They realize that anyone that gives their personal info obviously needs something they provide and it gives them an opportunity to get into the home. Prizes and awards can always be recouped by elevating other prices.

Paneless

Your definitions of Contractors VS Remodelers are unfounded. A remodeler is a contractor (sub or general) , and niether is better than the other by choosing one name over the other. Quite frankly, nationwide, both groups are grossly behind in building science and knowledge. If we separate the two by your descriptions, you still end up with many problems for the homeowner. The contractor knows a little about alot of the systems that comprise a home... while the remodeler knows more about a few systems and virtually nothing about how they integrate with the others. Remodeler... Contractor... heck... call them George.... the title does not define their expertise, nor their ability to provide the best solutions for a home. Only experience combined with the proper education and implementation can do this.

Sidenote: Andersen's best products are about a 6-7 on a 10 scale. It is possible to find a true "Top-tier" product at the price-pont of the other "Mid-Tier" products around. You are not buying a sticker... you are attempting to buy a solution.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9
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Quote:
The first question is, why would you enter a contest to win a patio door when you don't have a place for one in your house?


Well, we were hesitant, but they were a door and window company and we were just starting to look for windows. They said at the time that if we won, they would probably be able to work something out for windows.

Quote:
The next question is, did you find it a little strange that a local window company was represented at a concert?


I found it funny actually and a sign of the agegroup represented. There were a number of home improvement companies there. The bands were a bunch of "old-farts" and so was the audience. It was Greg Kihn, John Waite and Pat Travers. Bands out of the 70's and 80's. It was more of a concert/festival type thing outdoors.

Chris


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 Post subject: I don't think so...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:54 am 
FenEx:

Allow me to rephrase, there is a vast difference between a Contractor and a Professional Remodeler Granted finding a true professional in either category is no easy task but unlike unicorns they do exist.

I do agree with you with regards to the Remodeler knowing more; however there are trained Remodelers that are cognizant of integrating their products with an existing structure. The only time it becomes a challenge is when the Remodeler/Contractor axis is crossed wherein actual construction is involved if and when an existing opening has to be altered.

In this scenario most Remodelers that haven’t been professionally trained do fall short in a number of areas, specifically electrical, plumbing and HVAC.

As for general building knowledge, headers, supporting walls, etc... The professionally trained Remodeler should be knowledgeable enough to get the job done.

Let’s face it, were talking about replacing a window not launching the shuttle.


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 Post subject: reply
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:43 pm
Posts: 353
Location: Illinois
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Paneless

I think you are missing my point. Your definitions of a Professional remodeler and their expertise are very different from mine. When I refer to other systems in a house, I am not talking about a window remodeler knowing about structural framing if the size changes. I am referring to building science and overall home performance issues that come into play through different systems in the house being connected. For example, if you put in a house full of Schucos, and I put in a lessor product but combined it with building science tesing and approaches, I can Guaranty to outperform the energy savings provided your install by atleast 30-50% for the same or less money in almost every case. In addition to the energy savings, there would be many other advantages as well. Now if I combine the Schucos or other top performers with other building science upgrades... the results are phenominal and I can verify that I have not created other problems in the process.

The PATH task force (funded by HUD, EPA, DOE) has broken down contractors/remodelers into 3 categories. The first having good construction knowledge and basic understandings of buidling science, and then the other two are more advanced levels of refinement. You are speaking of level 1, whereas I am speaking of level 3. This information I get first hand as I sit on their Technical Advisory Panel, but it will not be available to the public for probably another 6 mos to a year (maybe more).

You are correct, we are not launching a shuttle... but we are talking about maximizing the efficiency of the nation's housing stock, protecting the environment and reducing the dependency of foreign energy. Hence... the government is VERY involved in changing the way things have been done for the past 100 years. New legislature just went to congress recently, watch the news to see how it comes out.

It is not my intention to argue with you. You actually appear to have a pretty strong working knowledge of fenestration products, no matter what name you post under. I am just saying that there is much more involved than you are aware of in the grand scheme of things. What you appear to see as "Professional" and superior, truly is compared to most of the industry. However, by the recommended national standards that are being developed and implemented... it is the baseline minimum.


Last edited by FenEx on Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:48 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9
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Turns out the outragous quote I got was a mistake. The Grand Prize was for real and I've now got a quote that is substantially lower than other quotes I've received for similar products/installation. I ended up with Milgard Classic windows and I went with True-Frame for the Garden window. The total quote came in at $3200. Sorry to have started this flame war (or at least provide the fuel for it), but it has been interesting reading. I thank everyone for helping me research this topic and come up with a sound decision.

Chris


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 Post subject: Reply
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:43 pm
Posts: 353
Location: Illinois
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Good for you dcpete!!!

You didn't start anything bad. I see one of the benefits of forums like these as a way to share all kinds of comparisons between contractors as well as homeowners. Without comparisons, someone may be thinking they are doing everything they can, but someone else might have a differnet view. It's how we all grow.

Good luck to you sir... but I have a feeling this thread will continue on for a bit... LOL.


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