Regular readers Ivy and Anthony Hancock were facing a familiar home improvement dilemma.
Getting motivated to replace the eight 30-year-old rotting windows at their Leigh Park home, and shopping around for the best deal.
Savvy shopper Ivy decided to start with the internet, where she noticed several poor reviews about a number of double glazing firms, but finally settled on Anglian Home Improvements to do the job.
She was impressed with their window security measures and ease of cleaning. The retired former post office counter clerk was proud of driving a hard bargain when she succeeded in knocking down their salesman’s initial asking price from £13,000 to £3,890.
Ivy was also impressed by their membership of the Glass and Glazing Federation, the top fenestration industry trade association, and the government’s peace of mind Trust Mark scheme.
What could possibly go wrong?
Almost two years down the line the Hancocks were sat in their lounge having lunch together when they were startled by the sound of the toughened glass in one of their replacement windows spontaneously shattering, followed by a crackling sound. The entire inner window glass had crazed over and was ready to fall out.
Mindful of the Anglian guarantee, Ivy rang their Fareham office confident the shattered window would soon be fixed.
To her amazement she was told the break was not covered by the guarantee after all. Anglian wanted a call out fee to inspect the window then quoted another £248 to replace it. Ivy thought this was a raw deal.
She said: ‘After I sent them a photograph of the window they claimed it was impact damage, then I was given the extended run-around routine and they stopped replying to my e-mails.
‘Whatever was supposed to have caused the impact would have had to take a detour through the conservatory door, through another offset door into the lounge, then a sharp left past us to cause the impact.’
But once Streetwise got on the case, Anglian resistance to replacing the window under guarantee began to crumble.
We sent Ivy’s photograph of the shattered glass to fenestration and building expert Philip Rougier who concluded their diagnosis of the damage was a little short on credibility. There was no sign of impact and the toughened glass had almost certainly stress fractured due to a manufacturing defect. We asked Anglian to comment but four days later when we didn’t receive a reply we contacted their chief executive officer Peter Mottershead in the hope of getting some action.
To their credit Anglian then moved with the speed of light.
Ivy received a personal visit from one of the firm’s senior managers who accepted the damage was not caused by an impact. He explained their Fareham office did not appear to have followed correct company procedure and head office should have handled her complaint.
Although they were careful not to admit liability, Anglian spokesperson Melanie McDonald told Streetwise: ‘As a gesture of goodwill we are prepared to replace the sealed unit free of charge. The replacement unit is already in manufacture.’
A delighted Ivy said: ‘I was getting nowhere until Streetwise took up the case. Thank you for being in our corner. Without your help they weren’t going to take any notice of us.’