Thursday, March 03, 2011

Renewal by Andersen: Doin' it wrong

At the home show a couple of weeks ago, I scheduled a one-hour visit from Renewal by Andersen, a national window-replacement company. Two of our bedroom windows are original to the house (built in 1894) and very rattly and drafty. Others are newer but inefficient and hard to clean. I wanted to get an estimate on replacing them.

The sales rep showed up, looked at the windows and ran through his spiel, then wanted work up his estimate right there.

"Your hour's up and we've got somewhere to be, so just email them, OK?" we said.

Nope, can't do that, he said, sales office rules. Have to schedule another visit. But he might be able to get us the numbers in the meantime, and then we can cancel the second visit. Well, OK then.

Not only do numbers not arrive, I get a concerned call from the sales office because they've checked the property records and discovered my husband's name on the title too, when they thought it was just me. WTF?

The more I thought about this, the madder I got. So this morning I called to cancel the follow-up appointment. "Something came up and I can't be here. Can you email me the estimate?" I said.

"No, we don't work that way," said the fellow on the phone, who also made an aggrieved comment about my canceling on short notice.

Well, guess what? If you don't work that way, you don't work for me.

And now I have to start all over again.


  1. Wow.

    You should completely have told them 'you people are being jerks, I don't want you to come back to my house ever again' instead of making up an excuse.

    But I'm a polite wuss in real life too, so I would have done the same thing I'm sure. I once hid upstairs so I wouldn't have to talk to one of the salesmen when we were getting a water softener. Another *insisted* that as the wife I had to be there even if I wasn't making the decision - what kind of sexist spiel was he planning? I should have just turned around and done chores and let him try to give his pitch over that, but, like I said: wuss.

    Thanks for the warning though, our windows are a mess too, and I'm dreading the point where we can't ignore it any longer and have to make a decision.

  2. i HATE it when they give you a hard time like that.
    and WHY is it any of their business who is on listed as an owner of the property/home?
    sheesh. i hope the next place is more into the whole Good Customer Service thing than these guys were.
    let us know how it works out.

  3. I've twice tried to schedule a window appointment and they simply won't do it without my wife being there. Which she has zero interest in doing. So they're loosing my business. First window company to work just with me wins.

    I guess I understand the tactic: they want both decision makers present. But it should be something they strive for, not require. I suppose they've run the numbers and feel like they loose more business by not selling to both decision makers than they loose from those of us who refuse to work with them.

  4. I don't know if you have consulted with Kolbe: which is used primarily up here. They have high altitude models, also make double sash to spec for older home restorations.
    Not to mention I have a barn full of brand new Kolbe windows that could build three huge houses - you know me & those construction contacts...
    You may want to come have a look see. Otherwise I may end up with the finest dog facility or greenhouse west of the Mississippi. :)

  5. Thanks for the feedback. The Sergeant feels sure that they want all property owners present so they can sign on the dotted line right then and there (and presumably agree to financing, too). Which we are not going to do.

    I've since gotten recommendations for a few other places that build windows locally (which is preferred, it turns out, because of the altitude). So we'll just keep talking to people.

  6. Kitt, they're coming to my house on Saturday. The Sergeant might be on to something there! But I won't be pressured nor will I make my decision on the spot before getting estimates from other companies. And now that I know about the altitude issue, I definitely want locally made windows. Actually, I'm going to call them right now to ask them where their windows are made and cancel if it is not local. Thanks a ton!

  7. Their windows are made in Minnesota. I haven't canceled yet because I want to see their estimate anyway.

  8. ooo, this got my blood boiling... one of my major pet peeves. Just because it's your company's policy doesn't mean it has to be mine. Wow, I have to go calm down now. Maybe a mojito? Yum!

  9. Wow. Bad customer service!!

    I don't know if you've looked into it...but the big box stores sell windows too..they can custom order any size, and it's actually surprisingly reasonable.
    My brother replaced every window in his ca. 1910 house over the past few years. According to him, and my dad, it's super easy to just pop the new ones in...if you guys wanna try some DIY.
    I might replace some of the non-original windows [ca. 1940s] in my ca 1895 house.

    I'm kinda fascinated by how deep your windows are...and the sash on them. Totally different than mine. I don't see any sash stops. Maybe they were removed at one point? Supposedly back in the day, you could adjust the sash stops seasonally...loosen them and shift them out, to allow the windows to open/close freely in warm months, and tighten and shift them again the sash to keep drafts out. I would do this on mine...but the screws are totally covered in globs of paint.

    I've been looking at new windows overall lately too. I absolutely LOVE my old wavy glass, the sound of the weights clunking in the walls when I open the sashes too quickly, and the beautiful hardware....but I'd also like to free my house from it's ugly [but necessary] aluminum storms windows...and lower my winter heating bills.
    One plus side, as I always least I never have to worry about indoor air pollution :) my house "breathes" very easily ;)

  10. Another consideration is Magnetite Window coverings:
    I doubt you noticed them in Mom's house, but they cut bills by half. No worries about wind - these went through plenty of hurricanes. They are an excellent choice for windows that don't leak water, and especially windows that have a matching size nearby - so when you want to remove one, you can just stick on on top of the other. Some people set up extra magnet sets to store them elsewhere.
    We got them in the mid-80s and they still looked crystal clear when the house sold. They're easy & no one will every notice them unless they have them themselves.
    I did notice another site that looked like it hadn't been in business as long, same logo though, perhaps it's a subsidiary? No clue.

  11. As a Renewal by Andersen salesman I have to agree with Aaron Templar - our office back east strives to get both homeowners to be present but we dont insist on it and I've never been rude to any customer - our windows are the best value with the best warranty....period. When you leave a customer a price without their spouse seeing them and understanding why they are the best most people only hear the price but did'nt get to see the value so unfortunatley they are prone to buying a "cheaper " window and get what they paid for.

  12. Thanks for the feedback, Paul. Maybe the office back east needs to have a discussion with the Colorado office about the difference between "preferring" and "insisting." My husband and I had already sat through the presentation, so the explanation of the windows' high quality had already been made. Insisting that we make another appointment just to get the numbers is ludicrous. And telling me you've checked the property records implies that 1) you think I've lied or 2) you think I am incompetent.

    Titus, I'll check it out.

    Jenne, that is super-helpful! I didn't know you could refurbish old sash windows like that. There are a couple of companies here who do it, too, so we're going to investigate that more.

  13. Crazy that this is common practice - I ran into this with a roofing company, and with a husband that worked an alternate schedule from me so that we could avoid putting our kid in daycare, it was pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to both be home. And Lord knows I'm not taking vacation to get a freakin' roof estimate. So I wrote a scathing email to whatever company that was, and we took our $30K+ to a local company who was far more accomodating. (And did an amazing job.)