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Consumer product issue with Pella windows

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  • Consumer product issue with Pella windows

    We recently replaced all of our interior windows at our home with Pella windows, through our local Lowe's. There have been a number of issues. The biggest one is this: In our dining room, we ordered a custom-made "Architect Series" window through Lowes from Pella. This is an arch-top, gothic-style window that is 10 feet high and 6 feet across. It is made of wood - it is quite a sight - and it cost us over $6000. Well, when they installed it, I immediately noticed how the inside of the trim of the window, and the window panes - both of which are stained - are rough when you run your hand across. It's as if the job wasn't completed. It should have been sanded a minimum of one more time and possibly twice, then finished again, to get a furniture-like finish. The Architect Series is supposed to be the best of the best by Pella, and we paid for that. The Lowe's representative that sold us the window agrees that it is not acceptable.

    Additionally, the window is supposed to have a 3-inch wide trim piece - stained - that surrounds the window. Well, they shipped the top half of the trim, but not the bottom half, so we had to order a bottom half, and of COURSE that doesn't match the upper trim, because it was done on a different day, with a different piece of wood, and slightly different shade of stain.

    A Pella rep was supposed to call me but did not - Lowe's said they are "backed up". (And if their workmanship is like this, I can certainly see why). So Lowe's called Pella again, and I'm still awaiting their response. Lowe's said "I'm not sure what they can do." I called Pella, and they said "your installer should have noted the damage...we can't help you...you'll have to go through Lowe's."

    Wait a second...we just spent $6000 on this window and it should be 100 percent RIGHT. Why am I the one holding the bag here, when I wrote a check for this window the first week of May, waited for 3 months, now another month waiting for them to come look at it, and who knows how long until they actually DO something? I did what I was supposed to do ....pay big bucks for this window and wait for it to be made!

    I did charge this on my credit card, and I am considering disputing the charge if I don't get movement soon. Are there other remedies out there? To me, this is big bucks, almost attorney worthy. I don't see how it's fair that I pay all this money and then just have to settle for a slip-shod product.

    Thoughts?
    How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

  • #2
    I'll give you the little I can from the perspective I've got with a sister-in-law who has worked the specialty/contractor desk for years at Home Depot... #1 Biggest thing: DO NOT LET IT GO. You can and (eventually) will get it resolved...it's just a pain to work out because you are required to work through Lowes as an intermediary, and to Pella, you & the rep you're working with are just yet another problem, so you can get in line. Which brings me to #2, which is almost as important: DON'T BLAME THE LOWES REP -- he's only a go-between with the company, and had nothing to do with the unacceptable workmanship from Pella. DO try to always work with the same rep at Lowes (get their name & direct number, and ask for them when you call/stop by. Also, check in regularly (1-2x weekly) just to check the progress. In these cases, the squeaky wheel definitely gets the grease...but the angry/offensive wheel gets slow-rolled (see #2 above), and often pushed off to a very busy manager (I'm sure you can imagine how much that'll help).

    Desirably, you would have noted the problems when they tried to install, and refused delivery. That's the simplest & fastest way to get traction. Otherwise, you just have to let the issue work its way through the system. The reps that are put at the specialty/contractor desk are almost always the store's best, most experienced customer service reps, for exactly the reasons you're seeing. Give it time, and they WILL get it worked out for you. You can ask if a store or district/regional manager would be able to weigh in with Pella, and sometimes that can help. But most of the time, it's just a waiting game. You have a 100% valid warranty claim, so you're going to eventually get it honored. Pella will just drag its feet with it, because any follow-up/warranty work will eat heavily into their profits on your purchase.

    You can ask a lawyer to draft up a letter to Pella insisting that the company honor its warranty & correct the shoddy workmanship... But you need to be careful there, because it can easily backfire & the contractor often comes back with its own lawyers, and now all of a sudden you've added whole teams of extra middle-men.

    Bottom line: Be patient, be calm, and be persistent.

    (Can you tell that I've had many long conversations with my SIL about all of this stuff? It's often really stressful for her as the go-between, so she vents alot to keep from stabbing people with screwdrivers)

    ETA: As with the lawyers, be careful with even threatening to dispute the CC charge when it's clearly a warranty issue. One option, however, could be to roll your CC's warranty team in, if Lowes is totally unsuccessful. Most upper-tier CC's offer warranty guarantees, and they have the leverage of controlling the money in the transaction. If they find that Pella won't honor the warranty, THEN the CC will cancel the charge. As I said above, when it's a clear warranty issue, it's best to follow the proper channels for making a warranty claim. Nuclear options tend to blow up in everyone's face.
    Last edited by kork13; 08-12-2019, 05:18 PM.
    "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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    • #3
      that's very helpful information. It would be so much easier if people just did the job right, the first time. By not doing so, they've killed their profit and cost dozens (hundreds?) of hours of PIA for a lot of people.
      How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TexasHusker View Post
        It would be so much easier if people just did the job right, the first time..
        Amen to that. This hearkens back to my thread a few weeks ago where I asked if everyone is incompetent. It seems that nobody can manage to do a job right the first time (if ever). Sorry for your troubles. I can totally sympathize.
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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        • #5
          I used to work at Home Depot, and I would witness this sort of thing all the time. Unfortunately, a lot of install work is subbed out, so the big box guys will not claim responsibility or ownership. But, fortunately for you, the last thing that they want is an unhappy customer. Especially in the day and age of social media. I've seen the store manager hand 5 figure checks to customers to "make things right" when something got royally screwed up. As Kork said, stay on them. If the store manager won't help, then ask them for the contact info for the district manager and for the corporate customer care line. Once you play that card, things will start to move in your favor. Good luck
          Brian

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          • #6
            Pella called me today and they are sending out someone on 9/12/19. Another month before someone even comes to have a look, and almost two months since the faulty window was installed. I couldn't operate my business that way, or i would no longer have a business.
            How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TexasHusker View Post

              I did charge this on my credit card, and I am considering disputing the charge if I don't get movement soon. Are there other remedies out there? To me, this is big bucks, almost attorney worthy. I don't see how it's fair that I pay all this money and then just have to settle for a slip-shod product.

              Thoughts?
              You have 60 days from the statement date to dispute a credit card charge. Sounds like you may be beyond that already.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TexasHusker View Post
                Pella called me today and they are sending out someone on 9/12/19. Another month before someone even comes to have a look, and almost two months since the faulty window was installed. I couldn't operate my business that way, or i would no longer have a business.
                Just making sure... All of the problems are purely cosmetic, correct? If that's all it is... I would honestly just make sure it gets fixed to a quality standard, and let it go... Some things just aren't worth the stress of fighting & getting upset about.

                That said, I totally agree that this company seems to be madly incompetent...
                "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                • #9
                  This won't help much but as a career contractor I would never direct purchase any products installed by Lowes, Home Depot, Menards or similar. They just get bids from whoever is cheap and pay them for the labor. The contractor they use doesn't have much interest in your satisfaction, so long as they got paid.

                  Much better off to hire a competent contractor to install replacement windows (whatever brand), let them buy the windows wherever they want, and they will assure that you get a good installation and / or come back promptly and repair anything you are dissatisfied with. Contractors have to maintain a good reputation or they won't get repeat work or referrals. Not so important for the big box stores.

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                  • #10
                    What sometimes works to get customer service issued cleared up is directly messaging the CEO. They never really like to get bad news about their companies, but a lot of the time management at these companies doesn't know whats going on at the ground level. So, if you message them, you'd be doing him a favor.

                    https://www.linkedin.com/in/timyaggi/
                    james.c.hendrickson@gmail.com
                    202.468.6043

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kork13 View Post

                      Just making sure... All of the problems are purely cosmetic, correct? If that's all it is... I would honestly just make sure it gets fixed to a quality standard, and let it go... Some things just aren't worth the stress of fighting & getting upset about.

                      That said, I totally agree that this company seems to be madly incompetent...
                      It is cosmetic in a sense, but the window is rough and unfinished, so it holds dust and feels rough to the touch. It's definitely not quality workmanship. It should feel like a piece of fine wood furniture. Smooth to the touch. And for over $6000, I'm going to insist on it. I'm good with fixing it, but it is going to take a craftsman to do it right.
                      How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

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