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Avoid- dysmal customer service, unreliable, expensive and quality not that great
Sash Window Workshop
Member Name: RJLM
Sash Window Workshop
Disadvantages: Unreliable, expensive, windows very stiff
After buying a new flat, we decided to have the old windows replaced with double glazed windows & had a look at a number of companies who provide this service. As far as the brochures and the prices were concerned, all of them seemed to be pretty much the same, but we were quite impressed by the salesman who came around to have a look at the windows. He was polite, not pushy and seemed to know his stuff. Another employee of theirs came around some time later, to take precise measurements, at which point he found something else that should be repaired, which would increase the price slightly. Up to that point, the service had been rather good, and we were looking forward to receiving our new windows. We gave the company the go-ahead in mid-October, hoping that the windows could be installed before Christmas. That, unfortunately, turned out to be too optimistic. The earliest date we were offered was 31 January (which was not possible for us). We then agreed on a new date, the 10th of February. I took that day off work, to be able to let the installers in, and my wife and I both took the next day off work, as we wanted to paint one of the rooms after the windows were installed, and the different coats of paint would take time to dry.
The Problems start:
On the day before the installation date, we received a phone call alleging we had not paid the 2nd instalment (which turned out to be untrue). At 6.31 that evening (yes, 18:31!) on the day before the installation was due, or, put differently, a mere 14 hours before the agreed installation time, I received a phone call telling me that they would be unable to install the windows as agreed, as there was a problem with their workshop. Given the proximity in time between the phone call alleging non-payment and the cancellation, I had my suspicions that they were trying to shift the blame onto us.
This resulted in us effectively losing 3 days of work (the 2 days I had taken off, as well as the one day my wife had taken off work). The new installation date was the following Saturday (12th)- although this meant that we could not start painting until Saturday evening, which meant that we were unable to get the paint job finished over the weekend. As we both work, the flat was in a state of chaos & in a half-painted state for the whole of the following week; we were trying to get that done in the evenings, after work (not ideal, as it means only artificial light & very late nights). I did point this out to the Sash Window Workshop, who claimed to be "hugely apologetic" & sent a bunch of flowers, but refused point blank to provide any sort of compensation (as far as I am concerned, they should either have paid for a painter to do the job we were unable to do as planned, or compensate us for the 3 days we lost). Apparently, however, it is not their policy to provide financial compensation. Moreover, they claimed that the delay was caused by a problem with their machinery, which they felt should class as "circumstances beyond their control"- conveniently ignoring the fact that it was their machinery, in their workshop, under their control that seemed to have been the problem.
While I understand that occasionally problems can arise, I would have thought that it would be good business practice for them to anticipate that too- and not leave the manufacture of the windows until the evening before the due installation date, and certainly I would not expect anyone who wants repeat business to inform a customer of such a delay mere hours before the agreed installation time. So far, other than words & a bunch of flowers, there has been nothing forthcoming from them. Maybe it is because we had all of our windows done, so would be unlikely to give them repeat work anyway.
Although the work itself seemed reasonable at first, we still have problems with some of the windows being very stiff. Originally we thought that was something that would resolve itself after a short while, but now, almost one year later one of the windows is still so stiff that it always takes a considerable effort to open, to the extend that my wife can't actually open it herself. Another problem we only realised at a later stage was that they had not properly painted parts of the outside, leaving the external wooden portion of the frame (where it joins the windowsill) only with an undercoat, which is quite frankly shoddy.
One further criticism I have is that when their salesman came around, I pointed out that one of the reasons for wanting double glazing was to reduce the noise levels (as we live on a fairly busy road). I was assured at the time, that if the noise was just "normal traffic" (i.e. not living next to an airport or similar), then the "normal" double glazing should be sufficient. At the time I felt this was positive, as we were essentially advised to opt for the cheaper option. However, in retrospect that advice was not borne out to be good advice- the noise is still considerable now, despite having double glazing, so opting for special noise reducing glass would have been a better option. In view of the amount of money one spends on double glazing, paying a couple of hundred pounds more would not have made that much of a difference, and was what I was intending on doing before being assured that it would not really be necessary.
I would avoid this company- the way they treat their customers when things go wrong due to their own mistakes is appalling, and as far as value for money is concerned, it looks as though there are no huge differences between the different companies.
Summary: Avoid- Poor customer service, not good value for money, lack of attention to detail, bad advice
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