Blog: Avoid the scary practices of cowboy fitters

Broken Wall v2What’s going to scare you the most this Halloween? Being greeted at your front door by a witch dressed all in black? Or lying awake at night worrying about which company to trust to fit your new windows?

I’m sure you’ve heard all the horror stories. Windows that don’t fit, doors that won’t open and conservatories that you wouldn’t want to sit in if your life depended on it. There are some seriously dodgy companies out there who obviously haven’t even heard of customer satisfaction, let alone won any awards for it. Yet on paper (and on the internet) they look quite trustworthy and present themselves as a bona fide company who will give you a good product and a great service for the right price.

So how can you be sure that the company you choose to give your home a makeover, won’t make off with your money, leaving you with a Halloween horror story of your own? Here are some of our top tips for checking out a double glazing company before you commit to buy anything from them:

References and recommendations

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, neighbours or family for their recommendations of local double glazing companies. You’re sure to get an honest response and it’s probably the quickest way to sort the wheat from the chaff. If you have a Facebook page dedicated to your local community, that’s also a good place to ask about companies that people have used and would recommend. If you’re talking to a company and they provide reference or testimonials, these can be useful too but it’s worth following them up to make sure they’re real!

Ask to see real examples of their work

It’s one thing seeing glossy photographs of someone’s new windows or doors in a catalogue but you can’t beat getting up-close and personal and actually seeing a company’s work for yourself. Ask them if there are some properties locally you can have a look at from the outside – or better still, if any other homeowners would be happy to show you the work they’ve had done and talk to you about their experience. If they’re confident about the quality of their product and customer service, they’ll be quite happy to arrange this for you.

Are they accredited?

For peace of mind, check if the company you’re thinking of using is accredited by any professional bodies or industry standards. At Crystal Clear, we’re probably one of the most highly accredited companies in the area and also founding members of the DGCOS scheme Double Glazing and Conservatory quality assurance Ombudsman Scheme. It’s a scheme set up to repair the bad reputation the industry was tarnished with and help professional installers differentiate themselves from the cowboys.

Do your homework

It couldn’t be easier to check if the company or individual you’re dealing with actually exists or has any County Court Judgments against them. Just enter their details onto 192.com and see what you’re dealing with. It’s a free service that could save you a pretty penny.

There’s also a really useful website which has been set up in association with FENSA called Cowboy Stoppers. It gives a few simple steps you can take to choose and buy safely:

  • Inform yourself: remember the more knowledgeable you are of the job and what it entails the better. A ‘cowboy’ can easily spot a novice and may try to confuse you with industry jargon.
  • References: A cowboy will at all costs avoid providing details of previous jobs.
  • Contract: A cowboy will inevitably try to avoid any written agreements and may maintain that a contract is not needed!
  • Cheap Deals: Cowboys may try to overwhelm you with cheap ‘one day only’ offers to make you part with cash up front.
  • VAT: A cowboy may offer you a VAT free deal for cash.
  • Timeframes: Cannot agree on timeframes or completion dates as ‘things may crop up that will change them’.
  • Opposition: They may be underhanded and put down the opposition.
  • Premises: A cowboy may provide inadequate contact details such as just a mobile number. A reputable company should provide business cards with full details, names, registered business addresses & contact numbers.
  • Start Straight Away: Good glazers or builders are rarely able to start straight away as most are in constant demand.
  • Logo mis-use: Cowboys have been known to falsely claim membership of professional bodies or trade associations, if you find that they are not members then avoid at all costs.

The easiest way to avoid the scary cowboys and get a product and service that you’re 100% happy with, is to speak to us at Crystal Clear.

Fancy a chat?

The easiest way to avoid the scary cowboys and get a product and service that you’re 100% happy with, is to speak to us at Crystal Clear. Our team at Crystal Clear would love to have a chat to you about our great range of windows, door and conservatories and the safeguards we offer as a member of DGCOS. Just give us a call on 01179 717880.