Thursday, April 14, 2011

Weatherseal - Receiving the Hard-Sell

We had a strange experience this week with a double-glazing company called Weatherseal. I took a telephone call from one of their sales people, which suggested that the company were looking for a showhome in my postcode. They were looking for a property to take 'before' and 'after' photos of, to demonstrate how their products could revitalise a house. In exchange for using the house in their advertising, they would do the whole job completely free. This sounded too good to be true, so I checked with the telephone sales-person, asking one specific question: "Do you get told if your home has been selected for the promotion before you agree to the installation or not?" The answer I was given was that, someone would call round, assess the property for its advertising potential, and if it was the most suitable one in the area, authorise free installation, and that this would all be agreed without paying a penny.

It sounded too good to be true because of course it was.

On the evening the person was supposed to call, he appeared two hours later than agreed. He understood that he couldn't go into measure windows in the kids bedrooms while they were being put to bed and that the measuring couldn't proceed. His boss on the phone thought otherwise, and put us under pressure to 'wait until they were sleeping' and then go in and begin. It's the school holidays, and they weren't even going to bed until nine-ish! Clearly these salesmen are being driven, and are under inordinate pressure from HQ.

The following night the assessor re-appeared. Bright, friendly, articulate and only 15 minutes late, he came - not to assess the property for its advertising potential taking "about an hour" of our time as promised; but to subject us to over two hours of intensely high-pressure selling. The experience was almost surreal.

The salesman was obviously highly trained, and engaged us in this ludicrous piece of theatre, involving a spurious company history lesson designed to build trust; a guide to the market designed to discredit the competition; mysterious rituals with meaningless (but important-sounding) code numbers to make the potential customer feel like a lucky winner; asking us to sign pointless pieces of paper saying we had understood the presentation, so to get us warmed-up for signing a real-contract. The pressure to take up their credit-plan was extremely strong too - and at times highly misleading. While the salesman was keen to suggest that a huge discount would be applied to the bill just for taking up the credit-plan, and to talk about the potentially low monthly repayment figures, he was far from forthcoming about the total-repayment sum should you use the full ten-years to repay! Likewise his figures for interest did not relate to the amount it would actually cost us for the job he had just measured up for - but simply interest 'per thousand pounds borrowed'. Likewise we were never told whether the interest rates were fixed, or flexible! This was rushed through at enormous speed, followed with the invitation we (unwisely) took, to sign to say we were happy with the presentation. The truth was, we were still digesting it, when the pen and the form were pressed into our hands.

All this comes to the inevitable climax of the sky-high bonkers price, which you get to chew on for a few minutes while he rehearses for the umpteenth-time the benefits of the Argon-filled glass-units and multi-point locking system.... Then comes the call from HQ with the 'good news' about the code number which slashes thousands off the price..... all so predictable. Yet - even as we were wise to what was happening, we felt the huge psychological pressures being brought to bear on us.

When we repeated, and repeated, and repeated that under no circumstances would we be signing a contract as big as this on the night - the salesman refused to accept this answer. He questioned, asked all manner of intrusive questions which we had to repeatedly refuse to answer, questioned again, kept offering to wait outside in the car until we had talked it though. Embarrassingly he just would not let go, despite us asking for the space to cook our tea and deal with the kids! The pressure to sign was then upped with the usual line about these deals only being on offer tonight, and that if we didn't sign now he wouldn't be able to give us the amazing deal we had just seen. When we explained that we would never sign a deal this big on the spur of the moment, he phoned his boss - who then tried to (very assertively) run through the presentation with me again on the phone! Can you imagine?!

I got the impression that the salesman himself was a decent guy, being driven by an unbelievably ruthless company, to operate in a way which stretched the definitions of reasonable, ethical practice to its tolerances! Whether any of it was actually illegal or not, I do not know.

Thankfully we are not weak, vulnerable, elderly or unable to withstand this kind of bombardment - and eventually he left. I had the chance to Google this company and see if this kind of thing goes on regularly - and indeed it does. I also discovered that they are a repeat offender in violating the rules on tele-marketing and in fact should not have been calling me at all!

Their windows look quite good. They seemed strong, warm, secure, and looked fine. The question is this: would I want to do business with a company that (i) violated my TPS registration and illegally cold-called me, (ii) tricked their way into my home under false pretences, (iii) outstayed their welcome by taking double the promised time, (iv) put us under undue psychological pressure, (v) tried to get us to sign up to a credit-scheme without adequate time to consider its terms in detail or compare it with other products, (vi) placed us under pressure to hastily conclude a deal with them for the windows without allowing us time to weigh our options (vii) subjected us to highly-polished theatre and ritual all designed to psychologically manipulate us towards parting with cash? Er,....

I see that consumer discussion boards are deeply divided about this company. Some people report terrible experiences - others will not have a word said against them. I am in no position to generalise about the company, I simply relate my experience. Let the reader decide!

37 comments:

ozzy said...

had exactly the same problem today had to order the salesman out of the house he also called me a liar his parting words were f--- you I know nothing about this company only that I willnever deal with them

ozzy said...

had exactly the same problem today had to order the salesman out of the house he also called me a liar his parting words were f--- you I know nothing about this company only that I willnever deal with them

Anonymous said...

I always try and get at least two quotes and fatefully asked to get a quote from Weatherseal. When the sales pitch started I inwardly groaned and called a halt to proceedings 5 mins in after he told me the 10 point locking feature THREE times in that time!
I said I was spending no more than £6-700 for 3 small windows and he had a fit lol A unethical company who will rip off the vulnerable by using an agressive and lofty attitude that would give a Kirby salesman a run for his money haha. REMEMBER YOU ARE THE BUYER AND THE BOSS

Anonymous said...

Had the same sales call and when I questioned the transparency of their sales process and the fact that it was a "cash refund" that was not mentioned in the initial call the sales person was very defensive and eventually hung up on me after informing me that the sales technique is successful for them. I found the call misleading and feel a number of vulnerable people may be caught out by their sales process.

ArgyEll said...

They called me on my mobile number from a call centre in South Africa, telling me the usual one about looking for showhomes in the area, blah blah blah.
Shady practices included:
- Phoning me on my mobile, and revealing that they know my postcode. I have given NOBODY permission to share that information, so they are shamelessly using a dodgy database
- Asking if they could call me back on a land line (presumably because this would allow them to say I had opted in to calls from them, and thus get round my TPS registration
- When I asked at the start of the call if it was a sales call, the agent said absolutely not. When challenged later, he claimed it wasn't a sales call, they were just asking if I wanted to replace my windows. This is the flimsiest attempt to pass off a sales call as market research that I have ever seen
- The agent said he was in South Africa, where I understand Weatherseal do have call centres, but the number that came up on my mobile was an 0161 (Manchester) number. When called back this number goes straight to unobtainable, so it is to all intents and purposes bogus.

Weatherseal operate a freephone number 0800 041041. It is free to call from a land line, so if you have a spare moment and wish to waste some of their time and money, why not give them a call?

Anonymous said...

im based in dumbarton and have just received a call from weatherseal stating that 12 people in this area are being chosen for free windows and door replacement i told the girl that i was recording our conversation which i am legally entitled to do as long as i let the person know i thinsomething should be done against the way in which these companies conduct their sales

billc said...

had the same problem ourselves salesman turned up around 6pm, we had been told the same story about appearing in a magazine, he then told us it would cost £7000 to fit all of the windows,in small print and on finance the windows would be £14,000!!at this point we refused to go any further, the salesman then lit up a cigarette my husband told him to leave right away, over the next few days we received numerous amounts of calls until we threatened to report them.

Anonymous said...

Loved your blog.

Shame I only came across it 15 mins before the Weatherseal rep turned up. As the presentation unfolded, it was like they had used your blog as the script...

While the bits about the product seemed to tell me it was a quality product, the majority of the pitch was around finding me the right price, not the right product.

I felt sorry for the sales girl - luckily not a bloke, as I had visions of having to go upstairs to my "burglars welcoming kit", pulling out the bat, and huckling them physically off the premises...

So, moral of the story is... don't deal with Weatherseal.

Anonymous said...

9No need to bore you with all the details, however beware the latest scam from Weatherseal. The orig £10k quote failed to impress my 80-year-old Mum. Fortunately I answered her phone a few days later as a gruff geezer shouted at me, 'don't worry about the quote, this is the factory, we're a lot cheaper. Mmmm No thanks I said. What do you mean, you've no heard...Sorry, your still Weatherseal, I explained and therefore I'm not interested. Don't shout at me, he growled and put the fone down on me. That's a result !

Peter McMullen said...

My mother was bullied into accepting a quote from this company. She is 81 and has cataracts. She signed for a front door and 2 small side windows, for the outrageous price of £3087 (3 other companies have since quoted at £1200 each!) Not only that but she was put on finance, something she did not understand or agree to, bringing the cost up to £5k.
By passing the payments on to Barclays Finance, Weathers(t)eal have ensured that mum cannot refuse to pay because, in theory, BF have accepted the deal in good faith. However when questioned about the validity of the deal. Barclays just threatened to have her house black-listed if payments were not made.
This is a cartel between a pair of sharks, who are intent to defraud old people of their savings. I intend to publically embarrass both companies until they hang their heads in shame.
Sue me you bastards if you dare - I'd love to get you into a court!

Anonymous said...

24 Aug 12 - Had a fanny of an arse of a sales guy from weatherseal visit tonight, hard sell, got him to leave, avoid these areses.

Anonymous said...

10/10/12. We despise this company. Our faulty windows have never been repaired. An engineer was sent out as they were far from double glazed.You can hear the birds even when they are fully sealed. The engineer said the problem was the size of our vents and if we sign a disclaimer as it is now against the law to install windows without vents, they would fill them in with silicone. We refused this offer as i have never heard anything so absurd in my life. They still have a cheek to call us and ask if we want new windows fitted!!Last year we had new blinds fitted and
whilst the chap was measuring up, he said our windowsills were off by 1cm from one side to the other. Weatherseal said if we send a cheque for £90 they will rectify the problem, but not before they receive payment. If anyone out there is thinking of using this company"YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!"

Anonymous said...

Please do not use this company, The windows and door they installed 2 years ago were not properly fitted. They have been leaking all that time causing dry rot in my house which was totally renovated 6 years ago apart from the windows and door. The damage is costing me £20,000. They are refusing to do any remedial work and they will not communicate. I will have to sue them. Their parent company is My Home and after they have installed your windows they no longer answer to Weatherseal but call themselves If a Job's worth doing. If anyone has had an installation check all your seals and facings. The windows and door do not even fit but are stuck in using foam and thin bits of wood. The installation does not conform to building regulations. One window is sloping to the side by 12cm and is held in by one screw on one side and three in the other when there should be 4 brackets either side and 2 in the top and bottom. They have also used a large amount of foam to fill the gaps where the window does not fit the opening they literally glue them in. Do not buy their product. I cannot live in my house till they fix it as I cannot get a guarantee from the dry rot specialist until they install or replace the windows and door properly which at this time they have refused to do. I have engaged a solicitor to act on my behalf but at this moment have no home to live in

Anonymous said...

My wife called Weatherseal, sounds like we got the same guy. I thought the guy was a smarmy git who required a swift foot up the backside, and had nothing to do with him. Whereas, my wife thought he was the bees knees and forked out £3000 for one smallish-window. They still call us at least once a month.

Not Stupid! said...

We got a call from Weatherseal yesterday suggesting there was a government grant of £2,000 before you had to pay anything. I didn't really understand what they were talking about or believe it in the slightest, but we've got a few windows that could do with replacing so agreed they could pop in later that day to give us a quote.
Well .. pretty much the same script as you. I tried to howff him out after the measuring up, but my wife thought I was being rude and asked him in to do the sales pitch. It was as laughable as you're experience. I couldn't believe he was trying to sell us a finance scheme where we would repay over 3 times the amount we borrowed! I suggested a bank loan would make more sense, but he continued with his nonsensical rapid-fire explanation of this wonderful package with all the incentives. After well over an hour we pinned him down on a price which was a fraction of the original offer (but still extortionate). We were of course to be the 11th of 12 reference houses in the area, and then, would you believe it, he offered us the 12th house discount on top. All this after filling out a ridiculous questionnaire and pretending to speak to his boss on the phone a couple of times.
Eventually the entertainment value wore off and I went to cook the dinner .. he kind of got the message and left after halfing the offer price again. We took his number and said goodnight.
Today I got a call from Weatherseal asking what the quote was and saying she could call round and undercut that price by a lot. Sorry missus, wasted enough of my life listening to you lot!

Anonymous said...

Loser

alexoadd1 said...

Having decided to have new windows I looked around at all the companies and asked each of them to send a brochure. Everest didnt send one but have consistently tried to contact me by phone all week. Anglian HAVE sent a brochure but Weatherseal take the prize. Not only did they phone me, they told me a promotion that was currently available and that they would be in my area on Saturday would it be suitable for a representative to call and quote for the work. I agreed a time. This morning, Saturday, Weatherseal phoned three times. I could only answer the third call as I was working at the time of the other two calls. The caller seemed pleasant until he understood my husband would not be at the meeting. He then tried to make another appointment time that both of us could attend. I was furious. Gone are the days of the little women minding the home and her p's and q's until her husband returned from the world of work. I am a Director of my own company and I don't need anyone to support me while I choose to purchase any item for my home. Weatherseal I know this is part of your manifest and selling technique and I won't look upon it as discrimination towards my gender. This time. Otherwise you could have been looking at a Sex Discrimination suit. I'll quite simply take my money elsewhere.

Richard, Derbyshire said...

My 85 year old Father has been duped by this loathsome company; we tried to cancel the door he had ordered at a cost of £3500 but just failed to catch them within the seven days grace given for doorstep selling - it was day eight! When I spoke to them, the reply was something like "Well it's your door, we can come and fit it or you can pick it up yourself" i.e. your paying for it whatever you choose. He also fell for the finance. I cannot find any paperwork for this part of the transaction and have only just realised the implication after an annual statement from Barclay's finance dropped through the door in question. Original quoted price was £3888.88. Reduction of £388.88 for taking up the finance (giving the £3500 purchase price). Original loan amount £4900 (??) Plus a £175 documentation fee. Monthly payments £108.94. Term, 10 years. Total cost £13072.80!!!! For a door!? I need to find a way to hurt this company............

Anonymous said...

On no account should anyone use this company for anything. They conned my father (in his late nineties) out of an insane sum for guttering and claimed in explanation of the huge charge that it included a 'comprehensive' guarantee; then they did a lot of shoddy work which failed within the guarantee period. When I called them about honouring the guarantee, they 'explained' that the company had re-registered under a new company name (although it is still trading as Weatherseal, and could locate the original order on its records) - and that the change of registration meant that it was no longer able to honour 10 year guarantees provided under the old company.

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience with them but I cancelled my conservatory being built because they lied to us and then tried to add on £3k on to the amount after the deal was made and Plans drawn up, the main man in Leeds - dave is his name- then began to become aggressive and abusive so I read his contract back to him about cancellations and told him because they ran me that I wasn't not liable to pay any money and that I will not be continuing my purchase. Dave then turned up at my door with 'muscle' to rectify the issue. Long story to short I now have a conservatory that doesn't do what they said it would and I have never received a penny for bein a feature home!!! One word of advise NEVER EVER EVER USE WEATHERSEAL!!!! THEY WILL RIP YOU OFF!!!!

Anonymous said...

I HAVE JUST READ YOUR BLOG RE WEATHERSEAL LITERALLY 10 MINS BEFORE
SALESMAN WAS DUE TO WALK IN MY DOOR
THANKS FOR SAVING SOME POOR SALESMAN
FROM RECEIVING THE BRUNT OF YEARS OF FRUSTRATION I HAVE BUILT UP DUE TO BAD HEALTH AND BAD TREATMENT FROM NHS. IT,S NOT ALL GOOD NEWS THOUGH AS
THEY HAVE MY TELEPHONE NUMBER AND I HAVE TO SIT THROUGH ANOTHER DIRE SCOTLAND MATCH.SO GLAD I GOOGLED WEATHERSEAL WHEN I DID.THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER REPLIED TO SOMETHING LIKE THIS.CHEERS.UXB MAN

Mickie Milne said...

Wether seal man has just left. Badgered by tele sales re this visit, but was happy to accept a quote for 2 small windows . Was assured by telesales that he would beat my cheapest quote. In actual fact he was 4 and a half times dearer than my cheapest quote. He was then able to exactly half the cost of his quote when told it was too expensive. Strangely enough the. Umber the manager called me on 3 times prior to his visit states via recorded message that the service is no longer available. Clearly no danger of me using them.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I was entrapped in his selling ploy.! My wife had just had our baby and he took advantage of that. We got conned into buying a patio door which is worse than I had previously. Be warned I didnt do my research and I suffered big time!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe after reading this blog, that this the same Weatherseal I have dealt with previously. I have had a number of products installed and cannot fault them from start to finish!

That Hideous Man said...

Well that confirms the final paragraph of my article as I wrote:

"I see that consumer discussion boards are deeply divided about this company. Some people report terrible experiences - others will not have a word said against them. I am in no position to generalise about the company, I simply relate my experience. Let the reader decide!"

Anonymous said...

Owing to being short of cash I was chuffed to land a sales job with weatherseal. The Training started yesterday. I lasted till 1pm today and walked out. What you said in the blog is EXACTLY what we were being told to say and EXACTLY how to act. I refused to be involved with anything like that (including the stuff that I know from my background was complete and total bollocks). Out of curiosity I priced one wee round window in my house (51cm across). It would have cost over £3000 for it alone. The manner we were being told to behave was, in my view, disgraceful. We were told yesterday about banned practices in selling, today we were more or less told you use them.

Anonymous said...

WHY ARE THE CONSUMERS PROTECTION NOT BANNING THEM FROM TRADING.........ARE THEY WEAKLINGS ..IN THIER OWN PROTOCOL SHIT..

Anonymous said...

Hehehe.... had a call from them yesterday evening, but i hung up as soon as the lady said "hello i am so and so and we are conducting a survey on windows this is not a sales call" i must admit in hindsight i wish i had stayed on and arranged for them to come out and signed everything in a doctors like ineligible signature.... then let them do the work and wait till they chased me for payments then tell them they need to get payments from my landlord as i don't own house and that the signature isn't mine :)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I fell for the hard sell in January when not feeling that well - and also being a woman on her own. Bought a conservatory and windows for the entire house. Being totally ripped off by the finance department - as now refusing to pay through finance they have added £1400 to the conservatory price. They duped me into signing before it was complete and started taking the finance despite assuring me they would put on hold until completed. I have put a stop to all payments at present and am being threatened with being in arrears and having a bad credit rating. How they can call themselves "job worth doing" I will never know - sent one guy to install 4 windows - damaged walls, didn't seal them properly, and installed damaged beading. Who knows if they will withstand the weather from what I have read - and I'm still waiting for someone to return to sort problems. The product itself seems to be good quality but the workmanship and structure within the company is awful. Time will tell if I am right about the quality. An odd window which was installed last week by the conservatory team has the incorrect sill outside and a hole in the wall showing at present. No one ever answers calls or emails. The finance director called me when he knew I was on way to trading standards office - but I am definitely going there this week as I am still having finance threats and no one is returning calls re outstanding work. DO NOT USE WEATHERSEAL. Even had a guy from St Andrews Home Improvements knock on the door to see how it all went - did not let him in but told him how dreadful it was. He said he was from Penicuik and calling because Weatherseal were busy and did not have time to get round. Found out a week or so later he had knocked on my neighbours door first asking what she had seen and what had gone on during the build etc. He then proceeded to try and sell new windows to them. What was all that about??? All I know is I am now going to trading standards, am going to get an independent company to check the work and will not be handing any money over until I am satisfied - and it will not be anywhere near the original price due to all the inconvenience, damage, time, attitude, stress and threats I have had since January. PLEASE AVOID WEATHERSEAL AT ALL COSTS.

Jade Graham said...

The finance director called me when he knew I was on way to trading standards office - but I am definitely going there this week as I am still having finance threats and no one is returning calls re outstanding work Forget the Salesman

thedevilcorp said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

Four years ago I was conned by Weatherseal, with the 'Feature home scam'. All lies. I was a single Mum with two young children. Signed a contract saying exempting me from 'cooling off period' When I rang a few days later to cancel, they told me it was too late. At no time did the salesman give me information about the finance deal which came through my door later. For a bay window and French doors -£8445 cash price, total amount payable £18765 over 8 years.
This pushed me in to financial distress, and now an IVA which I am now four years in to, I have only just been able to hold on to my home.
They must be held to account for this despicable practice -especially preying on the elderly and vulnerable.

Unknown said...

Just lost 3.5 hours of my life on this company. When i told him it was just a quote he proceeded to phone his boss to speak to me. Told him i wasnt speaking to anyone and if it continued there would be no chance of a sale. Definatly wont be anyway, numbers quoted didnt add up to the 120 months. So pay back 25k in the end.

Marydoll said...

Just lost 3.5 hours of my life on this company. When i told him it was just a quote he proceeded to phone his boss to speak to me. Told him i wasnt speaking to anyone and if it continued there would be no chance of a sale. Definatly wont be anyway, numbers quoted didnt add up to the 120 months. So pay back 25k in the end.

Anonymous said...

Beware Weatherseal, Penicuik and St Helens Glass are all the same company.

Pissed off said...

We got the same crap from Penicuik.

Anonymous said...

Really worried, can’t decide if it was a good deal or not.
Just had Weatherseal rep over for a quote for French doors and a very large window. The space needs a bit of structural support, as it is a corner end wall.
Rep did not mention lintels, moving drain pipe or any of the building work involved. He did mention the ‘virgin pvc’ used and neoprene used on the Windows!!! REALLY!! VIRGIN PVC!!!
He quoted £4,000 for the job, he said was a half price offer. But other quotes from Everest and Anglian have been over £10,000.
Why such a large difference?
I did ask several times did the price include the all the building work. He said yes, but was keen to sell my the credit. Which, I was not going to take, would much prefer to pay by credit card, and clear it immediately. I get better consumer protection.
Have not signed on the dotted line, but was almost fell into the trap. Got ride of him without much fuss.
If it was a good deal then I have lost out, if it was a bad deal then I am luckily not to have taken it.