This Spring we placed an order for new 'Vinylbilt' windows for the entire house. We explained to Dave, the salesman, that because we were also having extensive renovations undertaken by several contractors, the timing of installation was quite important. We were advised that we could expect delivery/installation in about six weeks, with the second week of June being the target date.
When we checked in early June we were advised that it would be ten weeks rather than six. No apologies, that was just the way it was because one of the large windows required custom work; something that we would have thought would have been known by the salesman and advised to us at the time of order. The actual delivery time was not particularly important; what was important was that we be properly advised so that we could schedule our other contractors accordingly. Rose, the Manager, then advised that they would install the windows starting July 14. Relying on this we made the necessary arrangements.
A few days before the new installation date I called Rose to re-confirm. Rose's response was that the 14th was impossible as the crew was not available that week. She said that she had never suggested or confirmed that date. I then read her the email that she herself had sent to me confirming that date. This did not appear to faze her one scrap, and with her attitude of 'the customer is always wrong' she then said that I, the customer, must have not confirmed back to her, not that any such confirmation was required or requested. That contention was soon put to rest when I then read her the subsequent emails in which I had in fact confirmed back the same day, and her email back to me acknowledging receipt. So the installation was then rescheduled for July 21.
The installation team arrived on time early in the morning of the 21st. They worked really hard and they were tidy and well organized, completing the job in three days. They left the place clean and tidy. We have no complaints. They appear to have done a really good job, although of course time will tell.
A few days later we get a call from Rose requesting approval to put through the final payment on our credit card, which I did. I asked when we could expect the 'Window Wise' registration form, to which she replied that she did not know what it was and had never heard of it. Well, 'Window Wise' is a well publicized program of the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada, endorsed by Natural Resources Canada. The program independently audits and certifies member window manufacturers and installation contractors, unconditionally guaranteeing the window installation for five years. This is in addition to the warranty of the manufacturer, Vinylbilt in our case. The manufacturer's warranty of course is important, however it does not include installation which in the case of windows is most desirable. Vinybilt has the 'Window Wise' logo on its promotional material, that was provided us by Fieldstone, and is a member of the program. However to be able to register ones windows and be coverered under this warranty, the installer contractor must also be a member of the program and be certified accordingly. With Vinylbilt being certified we thought we would be covered. However Fieldstone is not so certified meaning that the guarantees of the program do not flow through to us. It was our mistake, we should have checked it out more thoroughly. Had we been more diligent and known, we would not have gone with Fieldstone but rather we would have gone with one of the other quite numerous certified Window Wise installers such as Brock, Consumers Choice, Platinum, Olympia and many others. But Fieldstone have never heard of the program.
All in all though, Fieldstone appears to have done a good job. We have no reason to doubt the effectiveness and integrity of the installation. The windows were quickly and efficiently installed, the team was clean and tidy, the windows themselves look great. However, their front office sklls could do with considerable improvement. The 'customer is wrong' attitude does not go down at all well.