Money Out the Window?


gamble_window by ercwttmnOver the holidays I took it upon myself to do a bit of remodeling at home. The standard upgrades were mandatory and of course included stainless appliances, granite counters, and a gas stove. Ironically, while I was working away a young man came knocking at the door and asked if I would be interested in purchasing new windows for my home. Considering the home has the original windows (1979) in it I thought it was certainly worth listening; the company was Penguin Windows, formerly known as Statewide Windows.

Now I had never really priced windows, since I didn’t see any broken panes or feel the wind blowing in I didn’t see the need. I did however assume that in a competitive market all would be comparably priced (one should never assume). The fellow scheduled a presentation for the next day around noon, and I was told it would last about an hour to 1.5 hours. The sales people were on time, and they were very polite. At the end of a three and a half hour presentation (I’m very patient) I was given a price of a whopping $41,000 for 17 windows and a sliding door! Obviously that comes to a little more than $2,411 per unit (installed of course).

But wait, that not all! After clarifying that I had no intention of buying windows that day, or paying such an amount for them, the price dropped by five thousand! As much as I enjoyed hearing the young lady use various “closing” tactics on me, I again said “thanks, but no thanks”. Then the age old “phone call to the manager” took place, and guess what; for that day only, they could actually bring the price down to a huge $11,000 discount, if of course they could put a sign in my yard. Suddenly I had a flash back of the day my parents were sold aluminum siding by a fast talking salesman, who of course gave them the “sign” discount.

Now during all of this my contractor was installing the gas line for the new stove, and I would occasionally notice his eyebrows rising up when he heard the prices being thrown at me. Having heard all I needed to hear I began the process of ending the presentation and after finally getting them out the door (which is no easy task) I asked my contractor what windows went for via your standard general contractor. He said even for a top-notch window with installation it should come in around $600.00 each, and the next day while at Home Depot I saw them on sale for $300.00 each (installed).

I just can’t imagine that those windows are so great they were worth an extra $2,000 each. They may indeed save you money on your heating bill (supposedly 40%), but it would take 20 years of winters to recover your investment, and that’s if you paid cash. If you go with their financing, and $300 a month plan with 7% interest, fuhget about it!

I took it upon myself to check with the Better Business Bureau (as I suggest All people do prior to entering into a contract with a company) and read this:

“The BBB processed a total of 40 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 40 complaints closed in 36 months, 14 were closed in the last year.”

Now I should mention they did have a satisfactory rating with the BBB, but personally I found an average of more than one complaint per month to be to many for my taste, and certainly at that price. Also, I’m quit sure there are many other door knocking window salespeople out there selling similar products at similar prices, using similar tactics; I’ve just not had the pleasure of listening to them.

So my suggestion to you nice people; when they come knocking on your door, pass on the 4 hour tour and 40k windows, that’s one investment you can live without. Call licensed bonded contractors and get 3 bids the old fashioned way.

Don’t throw your money out the window.

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