To many homeowners, windows are somewhat intimidating. They are a sizable investment and a lot of time is spent researching and going through the process selecting the best replacement windows. It’s a serious purchase and often times homeowners are at the mercy of the replacement window companies. As with any industry, there are replacement window companies that are forthcoming and honest about their products and prices. On the other side of the coin, there are companies that stretch the truth to score a sale.
Some of the misleading ads and information is so common, it’s likely that you’ve seen it around before and never thought twice. Next time you are glancing through a magazine or sitting through a sales pitch, you can keep an ear out for the misleading information that may come your way.
Too Good To Be True Prices
This may be the most common deceptive practice in the industry. When it comes to window prices, the old saying if it’s too good to be true, it probably is, applies here. While there are different levels of windows in terms of quality and price, bottom dollar windows from a professional replacement window company is a far fetched claim. It’s possible to buy super cheap windows at big box stores, but these windows are produced in mass quantity and you install them yourself. A good quality custom made window for your home, professionally installed and covered with a reasonable warranty is worth the extra cost.
Unrealistic Warranty Terms
Sometimes it’s not so much that the warranty claims are far fetched, but more a matter of poor word choice and lack of explanation in the sales process. Lifetime warranty is a common term in a window warranty contract, but what does lifetime actually mean? Here at Window Depot, we do offer a lifetime warranty, but we try our best to be clear that lifetime means (for our company) the life of your house. For other companies, it may only mean 5-10 years.
There are other companies that do offer far fetched warranties, such as the Double Lifetime. According to the Vinyl Institute, the life of a vinyl replacement window is 20-30 years. Some companies are claiming their Double Lifetime warranty is literally double the life of the proposed lifetime by the Vinyl Institute. Therefore, these windows will supposedly last 40-60 years. Even the best quality replacement windows windows are unlikely to last that long.
Always ask to see your window warranty in writing.
False Energy Claims
A few years ago, false energy claims were running rampant in the window industry. Replacement window companies were claiming energy savings that were well beyond the scientifically-proven data. In 2012, The Federal Trade Commission stepped in and sent warning letters to 14 window companies (and one glass manufacturer) that were claiming energy savings over 30%. The FTC never claimed that the companies were breaking the law, but strongly urged them to review their marketing materials.
It is more difficult to get away with false energy advertisements in 2014, but exaggerated data could still be floating around out there. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends the RESFEN tool to calculate heating and cooling use in the home.
Bait and Switch Advertisements
This is a little bit different than just advertising prices that are too good to be true. Have you ever seen an ad for a house full of windows for $2,995? Look closer. The ‘house full of windows’ is normally limited to 8 or 10 windows. The disclaimer should be located on the ad somewhere. Another common bait and switch tactic is the ‘Any Size Window For $xxx.’ Typically, any size means it has to fit within certain dimensions to qualify. Read the fine print before you pick up the phone.