The Danger of Rip-Off Window Companies
If you’re looking to spice up your home with new windows, it’s important to do your due diligence before reaching for your wallet. In an ideal world, every company and contractor would be trustworthy and reliable. However, like any other industry, the window and door manufacturing sector is plagued by a very small minority of cowboys. Also known as rip-off window companies or ‘boom and bust’ businesses, it’s of paramount importance homeowners choose a legitimate, professional business when refurbishing their home. Failing to do so can cause a multitude of issues, from poor insulation and energy efficiency to weak, easily broken window frames that can compromise the security of your property.
How what is a boom-and-bust window company? And how can homeowners identify and avoid a cowboy installer?
What is a cowboy window installer?
As the name suggests, a cowboy window installer is a rogue trader. Most often, cowboy installers carry out home improvement work, including the installation of windows and doors, without the qualifications or experience needed to ensure the task is completed to a high standard.
In some cases, cowboys will overcharge their customers as well as cause undue damage to their homes. Others will offer what seems like a bargain when in reality the actual work carried out will be done quickly, carelessly and poorly. Red flags include:
- No references – Rogue traders will not have a positive track record and as a result, will avoid providing details when it comes to previous projects.
- No contract – A cowboy will want to avoid any kind of written agreement that could get them into legal trouble and may suggest to you that a contract isn’t necessary.
- Deals too good to be true – A rip-off window company may offer you bargains that seem too good to be true, such as VAT-free deals if you pay in cash upfront.
- No legitimate premises – A reputable installer should be able to provide you with full contact details, including a registered brick-and-mortar location and contact number.
- Vague time frames – If your company is a reputable, professional business, they’ll agree on a timeframe with you from the onset. Cowboys will most likely not agree to a set time frame or deadline.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of a cowboy installer. You can safeguard your home by…
Doing background research
In the internet era, it’s quick and simple to conduct some preliminary research on your potential installer. It’s now easier than ever to obtain company information online, which can reveal financial records as well as any news articles written about the company. By simply searching for the company, it’s easy enough to shield yourself and your home from any dishonest window manufacturers.
Before reaching for your wallet, you should also check a company’s accreditations. A business must pass a series of tests and stringent quality inspections before receiving an accreditation, so typically only the best most reputable businesses with a solid track record of financial stability will be accredited.
Usually awarded by independent bodies, accreditation from a legitimate organisation demonstrates the reputation of a company and implies they are both trustworthy and reliable – FENSA even has a directory where you can check whether a company is registered and accredited by them. There’s also TrustMark, a government-endorsed scheme designed to safeguard building standards in the home improvement industry, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which regulates financial services firms and markets here in the UK. The FCA is especially relevant if you plan on financing your home improvement project, and can give you peace of mind that your chosen company can be trusted.
Reading customer reviews
Customer feedback and testimonials can inform you of any potential skeletons a business may be hiding in its closet. Reviews can also provide you with a first-hand account of the level of service you should expect. This is why it’s important to pay special attention to any testimonials you may encounter regarding your chosen business – they can provide you with specific details about their trade procedures and processes, as well as how they deal with customer complaints and feedback. For example, Majestic Designs currently has a 9.48 rating from FairTrades out of 10, with more than 3,000 independent reviews.
To avoid disappointment, there are a few important details you can clarify with some simple questions. Make sure you ask your company:
- When were you founded and how long have you been in business?
- Do you offer an insurance-backed guarantee?
- Will I pay a deposit and how much will the final cost be?
- Are your staff, including your tradespeople, fully employed?
- How long will my installation take?
- Are you FENSA-accredited?
- What energy efficiency rating is my chosen product?
- Do you have any customer testimonials and/or reviews?
- Can you engineer bespoke products to my exact specifications?
- Do you manufacture your own products?
Reputable tradespeople at Majestic Designs
In a perfect world, every business and contractor would be reputable and trustworthy. However, just like any other industry, the window and door installation section is also plagued by a small number of cowboy installers – rogue traders without the necessary expertise, experience, qualifications or accreditations. Employing a cowboy installer can result in a multitude of issues for both yourself and your home, including inadequate insulation and energy efficiency, weak, easily damaged window frames that jeopardise you’re the security of your property and of course, windows that have been poorly fitted. This is why when renovating and refurbishing your home, it is of paramount importance that you choose a reliable, trustworthy company.
For more than 21 years, the team at Majestic Designs have been improving homes across Somerset with our bespoke range of high-quality windows, doors and conservatories. Our range of products is manufactured in our state-of-the-art factories right here in Cheddar, in the heart of Somerset, and fitted by our professional, fully-employed teams of FENSA-accredited and MTC-registered lead installers.
At Majestic Designs, we use the latest technology to engineer our range of windows, doors and conservatories from only the highest quality materials. Our range of uPVC and aluminium products, including our uPVC windows, boasts an A+14 energy efficiency rating and other modern conveniences, meaning we engineer products that are resilient in the face of inclement weather, durable, long-lasting and extremely robust with modern energy-efficient features and heightened security.
If you would like any more information about our range of uPVC and aluminium products or are ready to book an at-home consultation, contact the team at Majestic Designs today. We’d be delighted to assist you with your next home project.