How do you ensure they are not going to rip you off?
Choosing a reputable company to fit your conservatory or double glazing is probably at the forefront of your mind. How do you ensure they are not going to rip you off? Am I going to get a good deal? Will they end up going out of business and losing my deposit?
By following the advice below you can ensure that you avoid the pitfalls commonly associated with dodgy dealers in the industry.
You wouldn't shop on the high street without checking other retailers to see if you've got the best price on that new TV, would you?
Neither should you do so when buying double glazing or a conservatory. This will give you a range of prices that you should be paying. Often, consumers will speak to a salesman and be tempted to agree to the first quote without hearing the others. Bear in mind that (as with all high purchase goods such as vehicles, property etc) there are some very smooth-talking salespeople who make it seem as though you'll miss out if you don't sign up there and then. It's a widely used sales tactic called 'fear of loss', making you feel as though this one-off offer has a deadline.
Always, always seek out alternative quotes before you commit to any work starting. You inevitably won't get the best deal if you go ahead with the first quote. In addition, mentioning that you'll want to see quotes from other companies will have the effect of increasing competition, and perhaps savings of thousands of pounds from knowing that they will be competiting for your business.
When asking for quotes, be as specific as you can, and set out a detailed, clear brief for the work you require.
There are plenty of websites that allow you to compare quotes from reputable fitters, including ours:
Our free and no-obligation service can help you to find and compare quotes from vetted and accredited suppliers in areas local to you, as well as national firms, to ensure that you get the best deal for your money. By allowing the firms to compete and outbid each other, customers are often reporting savings of up to 75% by using a price comparison services such as ours.
You will be forgiven for thinking that using a large national double glazing company gives you more peace of mind than a small local company who may fly under the radar of regulations. However, this isn't always the case.
Which? researched and compared prices for similar products from both national (Anglian, Everest, Safestyle & Zenith Staybrite) and local companies, and found that the prices quoted by the larger national companies were typically higher than the small independent firms.
In addition, two thirds of consumers who used local double glazing companies did not experience any problems with the work undertaken. However, around half of all consumers had problems with the national companies.
Local companies will also be very aware of their local reputation, and will want to uphold this reputation in order to ensure word-of-mouth referrals.
Source: Which? http://bit.ly/1ILCYVh
It is a good idea to hire a fitter that belongs to an official organisation that exists to protect consumers. There are several schemes that double glazing companies can register with to allow them to self-certify that the work they undertake complies with building regulations.
These schemes were introduced by the government as an alternative to submitting an official building notice. It also bypasses the need to get the work checked by a local authority inspector, which can significantly speed up work required and reduce the cost involved in fitting new double glazing or conservatories.
Often, these organisations will offer substantial benefits to member firms and their customers.
Always check on the official website to see if the firm is a genuine member of the organisation before you sign any contract.
Once you have a list of potential double glazing or conservatory firms that you want to approach, check on each of the websites above to see if they are a member. If they're not, proceed with plenty of caution.
For a list of the schemes in operation in the industry, see the end of this document.
There may be several reasons why a company or trader advertises using their mobile phone number, typically because they are a sole-trader and they spend most of their time out of office.
However, be very wary if a trader refuses to give you their landline number. It's very easy to do a 'disappearing act' and be difficult to trace if you only have their mobile number.
Having a landline number means that the company will probably have staff on hand to deal with any queries or problems.
Some traders may try to confuse you with industry-specific jargon in order to make that deal sound much better.
Always ask the trader to explain in an easy-to-understand way. Alternatively, you can always brush up your knowledge about the jargon involved in the industry. Rogue traders will often prey on novices who don't understand terminology.
We've provided a glossary of common double glazing and conservatory fitting words and terminology at the end of this white paper, which should help you get to grips with that confusing jargon.
Accredited organisations are seeing an increasing number of firms that place logos on their websites and marketing materials designed to mislead customers into thinking that they are members of a registered scheme.
Never take a logo at face value - always check on the scheme's official website to see if they are listed as a member. All schemes will allow you to search their records to see if a member is a part of their organisation.
Knowingly using an official organisation logo without being a member is a criminal offence, and a breach of the Trade Marks Act 1994. If you suspect that a firm is misusing a logo, you can report them anonymously at www.cowboystoppers.co.uk.
Common sense prevails here. The cheapest quote may not provide you with a satisfactory final product. If you're tempted to agree to go with the cheapest quote available, always check the quality of previous work undertaken by the company, as well as ensuring they are trustworthy and contactable.
Does the double glazing company have some verifiable testimonials from previous customers? If you can't find any customers who have hired the firm in the past then this should set bells ringing in your head.
Be careful if you rely on customer testimonials on a firm's website, especially if that fantastic review can't be traced back to the original customer.
"I chose Acme Double Glazing because they were able to meet my budget and complete the work on time" - Mrs M, Shropshire
This screams fake - Mrs M in Shropshire? This could be anyone.
A good double glazing company will have physical evidence of customer testimonials, and should be able to provide them to you upon request. They may allow you to speak to previous customers (with their permission, of course), or in some cases show you physical examples of work undertaken at customer's addresses. If they can't offer you any of these, politely decline.
In terms of quality, price and value, you can't beat personal recommendations. Do you know anyone else in your family, friends or colleagues who have recently had a conservatory built or new windows fitted? Ask around. This is where you can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have revolutionised consumerism for the good. Use it to your advantage by asking your followers and friends whether they can recommend a local or national firm that they've previously used. You'll be surprised at what messages you get back - some will tell you horror stories about a trader who ripped them off, others will praise a company their friend has just used to fit four new windows.
However, never take a person's word as gospel and jump into a contract. Do a little bit of research into the recommended firm beforehand. It always pays to show a little caution before proceeding.
Had a great recommendation? Just take ten minutes to check out their website, their Facebook page (if available - to see if others have complained), and reviews websites. Google their business name and see what consumers have said.
Always write down a list of questions that you want to ask the salesperson, whether fitting new windows or a new conservatory. Salespeople in this industry can be rather 'smooth-talking' and you may find it hard to remember what you needed to ask.
Having a list of questions in advance will help you to ensure you get all the answers to your questions.
Here is a list of things you should be asking about:
Don't get just one quote for your double glazing requirements.
We work with fitters nationwide to bring you multiple quotes, helping you to save £100's on your uPVC windows.