How To Buy Double Glazing in the UK
Double-glazing reduces heat loss through your windows. You can save money on your heating bills. *However, it will be a long time before you save enough money equal to the cost of the windows*. If you can't afford to replace *all* your windows, choose the rooms that cost you the most money to heat.
Double-glazed windows come in a variety of sizes and styles. Check for any planning restrictions on your house due to age and location. Sometimes planning permission may be required, in the case in listed buildings and conservation areas. Also if you are converting a flat window into a bay window. Check this with the local authority.
Don't rely on the Yellow Pages or advertisements to choose a supplier. Anyone can place an advert, join a trade body, or display badges they're not entitled to.
Double Glazing Companies
Always use a reputable double galzing company that you have had independently checked out. Don't rely on the fact that you have heard of them as even some of the biggest advertisers may have had several incarnations. It's very easy in Britain to shut down one company and open up again under a similar name.
A 10% deposit is normal. A larger one is appropriate only if the work is 'bespoke' - such as unique timber window designs. Try to pay in stages according as the work in completed, and withhold the final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction. Do not go for the cheapest quotation. There's a price point below which you'll be buying rubbish. Do not try to beat the price down too much. Less professional suppliers will agree to it, but sell you short later. Get the best you can afford. Ask your supplier how long the delivery will be. Have this stipulated on your contract. Additionally ask for an estimate of how long the work will take to finish once they are on-site.
Always pay deposits by credit card, as this will afford you some level of protection under the Consumer Credit Act. If the company will accept credit cards for the whole job then that is even better. You have 30 days to make a claim with your credit-card company. You have to show how you were given bad goods or workmanship i.e. they contracted to give you X and gave you Y instead.
Check, double check and get independent advice on the contract before you sign, as some contracts are considerably more onerous than others.
The best way to avoid salesmen's traps is to be sure of what you want before the salesman arrives in order to present him with your requirements and use that as your bargaining chip. Getting a specific quote against a specific set of requirements is the only way you can be certain of getting like for like quotations and getting the best prices to compare at your leisure. Ask if your chosen double glazing installer is a member of the Glass and Glazing Federation, check for FENSA accreditation and make sure that all products carry the safety standard kite mark.
Double Glazing Company checks to carry out:
- How long have they been in the glazing business?
- Check with Companies House.
- What guarantees do they offer?
- Are they insurance backed, lifetime or limited, are they transferable?
- Membership of independent or paid for trading organisations. These could include:
- G.G.F - Glass and glazing federation
- B.P.F - British plastics federation.
- F.M.B - Federation of master builders
- Conservatory council
- Conservatory association
- Consumer protection association
- Guild of master craftsman
- E.B.C - European builders confederation
- Quality standards:
- B.B.A certification
Double Glazing Public liability insurance.
Will the fitters and the company be covered if something should go wrong? You should look for at least 2 million pounds cover and check the certification covers the people who are actually doing the work.
Product standards to check out:
- B.S.I - British standards (kitemarks), for locking, security, safety, product, glass etc.
- B.B.A - British board of Agrement
- FENSA - Document L of the building regulations.
You should make up a comparison checklist and confirm all claims independently of any sales claim or literature. The *good* contractors get work by word-of-mouth referrals from previous clients. They've plenty of work to keep them going, and so are worth waiting a few months for.
The bad ones are doing too many jobs at once, moving workers from site to site, don't supervise them properly, and thus do poor work.
Ask yourself: Has the Double Galzing Company given:
1. Full and honest information.
3. Installations locally to look at
5. The small print
6. Acceptable levels of deposits and payment terms
7. Full drawings and specification (if you don't have them prepared first).
8. Time to think!
by: T. O' Donnell
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"I am a bit worried that I have been ripped off by a double glazing company and wish I had found this site before having my whole house double glazed. My bay window is all askew and I feel draughts coming from between the frames and walls. I have had to have someone come out and adjust the back door but it is still not right. I asked for some trickle vents to be fitted but the company was not keen. I did ask them to check all the windows but that did not happen. I shall just have to keep on at them but they are not easy to deal with and it seems the company is one that has been in liquidation several times and restarted in slightly different names. My guarantee in not insured it seems."
"Do you realise other people work hard 12-16 hours a day, and feel somewhat hard done when the money they work so hard for is spent on shoddy worksmanship and poor service? Save the sob story salesman... "
"I've been working in the D.G Industry , sales, for around eighteen months now. It carries a lot of negative press and has a bad reputation, some justified , a lot isn't. Most of us work on commission only, that's are choice. If customers did a bit more research in what they want from a company or product, we could cut out most of the rubbish cheap windows around. The "I'm getting three quotes", we hear this all the time. But what do you want ? Unless the products are to the same specification and energy ratings. The only thing you can compare is the price. Also if we just gave you the discounted price, you would have no idea what the true value of the products is. The more you by the more you save. But the customer always wants an extra discount..don't you? So if we do have to call the boss to see if it can be lowered, it's seen as a trick. Research your products and company and save us time and money, please."
"I had 6 windows installed, and a 22ft bespoke conservatory with a wakefield company.Within 2 years,I have had all the windows/sealant renewed,and still having problems.18 window panes replaced as the glazing was faulty,windows not measured right,cheap sealant used by sub-contractors,having to have it all replaced,now my conservatory roof panels have come away,awaiting again for this company to see to it.No directors of that company will talk to us,and we have been like this for 2 years.They may have a 10 yr gaurantee,but the customer does not want workers coming time and time again. I asked for my money back, but they refused,saying that they will replace what ever is going wrong.The company is too big, and not giving the customer the service you pay for. The total of my order was £22.000,and I have been left with second hand goods."
"I feel sorry for both the customers and the salespeople. On the one hand, the customer has a duty, in the absence of specific knowledge about the chosen product or service, to be suspicious and protect themself. On the other hand anyone who is serious about a career in sales (in any industry), must come to realise that you can only practice poor salesmanship for a very short time before you have to give up. It\'s too hard otherwise. The trouble is, how do you know when you have a good sales person or a bad one? I would suggest that a good salesperson will go as far as possible to communicate that you are in safe hands and weather you believe them or not they will have chosen to work for the company wich protects its customers to the very highest standards possible. All over the internet I see these comments about sales people as if they are a kind of sub-human life-form. The truth is that some of us are committed to a greater or lesser degree in any job. The thing about sales is that it requires a lot of interpersonal, organisational, self discipline skills that can only be honed over the long haul. With regards to the function of sales, just remember that not one of us, in any industry, gets paid until something gets sold by someone. "
"trouble is we all get tarred with the same brush. previous entry made the valid point that us small concerns are localTRADESMEN with areputation to keep.....which we can only do by offering fair prices for a good job. poss one reason why my company have bucked the trend with 20% increase in turnover in the last twelve months is our motto 'quality and service'. a wise salesman once told me that if you advertise as selling cheap goods you will only people that want cheap goods.... Mick WADES GLASS AND GLAZING"
"ok so i am a typical woman, i listen to the guy for hrs then check the paperwork and question any issues i have i.e. why if i am borrowing 3350 from you for windows and pay it back at 67.21 pm am i paying back 67.21 over 120mths would this not mean i am paying near double, then i get a load of stuff i dont understand and sign paperwork :(. so i have then phoned to canx the order 30 min after the guy leaves, will i get my deposit back you think as i have not given him time to put it thru? help dumb blonde :( and how do i assure they canx my order?"
"I would suggest looking at the companies house website (http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/)to get some information about the financial health of the company. Here you can download the annual accounts. Although this document (abbreviated accounts) will not give the whole picture it will give you an indication of the worth of the company (shareholders fund figure). Clearly you may want to avoid any company that is worth only a few thousand pounds. Also, you can get documents that tell you for example, mortgage charges against the company. Some comapanies may be virtually 100% mortgaged so if things went really wrong you would be wasting your time trying to sue them. Another thing to watch out for is apparent multiple companies operating from the same address. Usually this is the same company running mutiple \'shopfronts\' on the internet. Behind the facade is the same people doing all the work, in which case ask yourself why they would want to be doing this?"
"Basically you get what you pay for, go with a good company,get a good product, get good guarantees, and good after sales service, you should expect to pay more! Go with a cheap local company, your windows will have blown seals inside 2 years, inside 5 they will have discoloured, and look awful - and your lucky if he's still around when it goes wrong. (and say "when" not "if") "
See you in 5 years
"Good information on this site. What wasn't mentioned though was the three hours of negotiation with the salesman that is required before a somewhat realistic quote can be achieved. Even then if you do not sign up immediately and tell them that you are going to obtain other quotes, they will come back with a much reduced price at a later date. They will lie through their teeth and tell you that they will get no commission on the price you are offered. It is not true. The moral is; buyer beware. This activity is usually only practised by national companies. Small independents do not seem to operate this way."
"Oh my word, customers want your time, you poor salesman, how horrific, why not just leave the customers out of this and see where you get you bunch of lying morons. "
Boo Hoo For DG Salesmen
"i wish that double glazing sales men would just give a fair, decent price in the first place, and then we would not have to shop around wasting time, and phone calls."
S R I
"Very informative article. You've laid out all the basics and we like to think of ourselves as tradesmen and not salesman. Coastline Windows"
Some good points here on both sides I have been working for Double Glazing Company’s for over 20years now, this is why I set up my own company so that I can do a good job for a fair price. We have done over 16 jobs in 6 months & would be happy if any 1 would like to contact them & see the work for them self’s. Jason (WindowAce~harrow) "
"Jesus!! what a load of moaners salesmen really are, what do you want us to do have bleeding hearts because you choose to work 12+ hours a day.. get a life and a decent job."
Boohoo for salesmen
"Salesman: What sort of mug would take the first price quoted just to save you petrol money? People have to work hard at their own jobs to feed their own kids etc so they want to check and compare prices. No-one buys windows with the view of paying your commission, they buy them because they need them and need to get the best deal possible. I got two windows and a back door recently and got quoted £5800 first, ended up with two more quotes and saved over £4000. Not particularly upset that first rep didn\'t get a huge chunk of commission to be honest. Chancer. "
a sensible person!
"Decent double glazing salesmen work their ass off for 16 hours a day plus telling people that if they want a good product for a fair price with all safety features and toughened glass, 10 year guarantee etc they will have to pay a fair price. So when these suckers pay £ 4000 and less for a housefull of substandard, windows, doors, patio doors etc and then wonder how companies cant afford to sort out any problems thats their own tight arse fault !!!!!! YOU CAN NOT GET A LOT FOR NOT A LOT !!!! IF YOU PAY CHEAP YOU PAY TWICE!!!!!!!!!! COMMON LAW OF BUSINESS STATES THIS!!!!!!"
A LOGICAL PERSON
"had double glazing put in november2007 none of the glass has the kite mark on them the glass seems very thin to me as when you push it, it moves the back door should have safety glass and also the dining window but all seems the same to me ,how can i find out if the right glass has been put in and if safety glass has gone into areas where it should have i am 64 years old im not stupid i just think i may have been took for a fool.if any one has any suggestions would be glad of any information from anyone who can help i can be contacted by e mail on firstname.lastname@example.org many thanks liz"
e d dymond
"do you realise double glazing salesmen work between 12 to 16 hours a day spending their own money on petrol to give "quotes" to people who compare nothing but prices on the off chance they may earn a meagre commission to feed their kids and then customers want time too?????? i bet you get a salary !!!"