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Window Consumer Buying Guide

Take a look at our Window Consumer Buying Guide to learn about the ways window companies will try to rip you off.


3 Ways That Window Companies Will Rip You Off!

1. Bait & Switch Advertising
– those $189 windows
See Rule #5

2. Charging too much – $1000 for a window?
See Rule #6

3. High Pressure Tactics
“to sign contract today”
See Rule #4


Learning about these deceptive (and possibly illegal) sales techniques could save you thousands of dollars on the purchase of vinyl replacement windows. Read all about it in our exclusive report:  This report is here, nothing to download or order.  We don’t want your contact information.  Just keep reading hear.  Thank you.


The Truth About Replacement Windows: Window Consumer Buying Guide.

We Reveal The Dirty Little Secrets The Other Window Companies Don’t Want You To Know Learn how to avoid mistakes and rip-offs that could cost you thousands of dollars. Congratulations on taking the time to get educated about buying replacement windows. Because you are making this effort, you are now in the top 5% of consumers when it comes to knowing what to look for, and what to watch out for, when it comes to buying replacement windows.

We are always amazed at the number of people who don’t have a clue about what they are buying, or even what they are looking at, when it comes to replacement windows. They simply assume that the salesman knows what he is talking about and is giving them the best advice and the best price and the best value. That is a very dangerous assumption.

Windows & Salespeople

There are a lot of good windows out there, but unfortunately, there are also a lot of bad windows out there. Same goes for the salespeople. There are a lot of good, knowledgeable salespeople who will look out for your best interests. There are also a lot of ignorant salespeople who are only interested in their commissions and don’t care a whole lot about you or your home or what kind of a product that you get.

Window Dealers

The absolute worst part of the whole business is the bad window company. We are talking about the dealer who is selling the windows to you. We are talking about unscrupulous companies that intentionally mislead you to the point of virtually lying about their products and prices. We are talking about companies that train their salespeople to rip you off! And believe me, it happens more than you can imagine!

Now, don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of good, honest window companies out there who will do a good job for you. We want to warn you about the bad ones, the window companies that will lie to you and set out to rip you off to get unfair profits from you.

Our Purpose

Our goal is to educate you. We want to teach you what to look for in a good window and a good window company. And we want to warn you about what to watch out for. We will reveal to you the secrets that some window companies use to rip you off, like bait and switch advertising, and so-called special deals that are designed to take advantage of you.

A Lifetime of Enjoyment!

If you can get the right window installed by the right company you will enjoy a lifetime of benefits from your new replacement windows.  You will also gain enormous curb appeal, for those of you whom might be trying to sell your home.

Make no mistake about it: windows are a great investment! They are –

  • beautiful

  • maintenance-free

  • energy-efficient

  • add value to your home

  • increase curb appeal

So, sit back and enjoy this information and learn all about replacement windows. The information in this booklet can save you thousands of dollars, and lots of headaches, on the purchase of replacement windows.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #1:

Never buy anything from the first person who walks through the door. Plan on getting a couple of estimates. Get two at a minimum,but three would be better.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that you get two or three estimates before you make a buying decision. The Bureau will even give you a list of qualified members in good standing to get estimates from. By getting a list from the Bureau, you already know who has a good performance record and who does not. This is better than just going through the Yellow Pages because anyone can advertise in the Yellow Pages without even proving that they know what they are doing.
One word of caution: do not get too many estimates. We have seen customers get six and seven estimates and they only wind up getting confused by too much information and they can not remember who told them what.

Note:  The Better Business Bureau requires a company to be in operation for 1 year before they can sign up.  There is also a fee for membership and to be listed as “Accredited”.  Baxter windows will be an Accredited member with the BBB by the end of September 2014.  We can already be found there now.

Another popular consumer advocate web site is Angie’s List.  (Baxter Windows uses Angie’s List and carries a well earned “A” rating).   Baxter Windows obtains approximately 60% of our business from Angie’s List.  They are a members only site and there is a small cost for a consumer to join of about $30 per year.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #2:

Get referrals. Ask your friends what company they used and were happy with.

Word of mouth referrals (Angie’s List methodology) are one of the best ways to find out about a company and the job that they can do. You trust your friends and you know they will tell you the truth about their experiences, good or bad. Fact is they have “been there – done that.” Your friends have been through the actual experience of dealing with a company and they can, and will, tell you one of two things: use that company, or don’t use that company. There is rarely any middle ground.

And trust their judgment. If your friends are happy with the job a company did for them, give that company special consideration. On the other hand, if your friends had problems with a particular company, forget about them and find someone else.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #3:

Regardless of how you find out about a company, be sure to check them out. You can call the Better Business Bureau or join Angie’s List.
No matter how you do it – DO IT! Find out who you are dealing with.

I have heard people say that the Better Business Bureau does not do much. We disagree! The Bureau may not be able to do anything about someone ripping you off after the fact, but they sure can warn you about a company’s track record of bad behavior ahead of time. The Bureau is a collection house where reports and complaints are stored. If a company has a history of doing bad work or ripping people off, they can warn you about that and you can get your estimates from someone else.
If you even think there is a problem with a company’s history of performance, talk to someone else! Why would you waste your time taking a chance on a company that has had problems before? Find a company that has a clean record.  There are a lot of good companies out there.


If you get referrals, you already have references. But if you get the name of a company from some other source and you are considering working with that company, be sure to ask for references from that company. And don’t settle for any old reference, any company can get a job right every now and then, and the reference could be old. Get the names of the last couple of jobs the company completed. You want to know how the company is performing now, not a year ago.

AND CALL THEM! Don’t be lazy about this. References can be a gold mine of information, but only if you do the work to get that information. And you want that information! You are getting ready to make a major investment and you want to make the most informed decision that you can. Checking references can be as simple as making a phone call to a company’s previous customers. Make the calls!

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #4:

You cannot buy a window for only “$189, Any Size, Installed”. This is called “bait and switch” advertising
and it is illegal.

You see ads everywhere that say you can buy a window for $189. This is simply not true. A complete window installation will cost a whole lot more. This is called “bait and switch” advertising. They “bait” you with a low advertised price, then “switch” you to a higher price when they give you the estimate.

This is such a big problem that Window World has been at odds with the Better Business Bureau. According to an article in Replacement Magazine, the Better Business Bureau wanted Window World to stop advertising the price of $189 because it was misleading. Window World made the decision to withdraw from the Better Business Bureau, rather than stop using their bait and switch ads. The headquarters of Window World in North Carolina was not a member of the BBB for a long period of time.

The $189 price is misleading because it represents only a partial window installation, it is not a complete job.

The $189 price is only the window set into the opening. It does not include the vinyl trim wrap that covers the gaps around the window to keep the wind and rain from coming in around the window.  Window World charges extra for that trim, even though you must have it for a complete window installation.

The $189 price does not include the Energy Star glass that saves you money on your heating and cooling bills. Window World charges extra for that glass, even though you must have that glass to have an energy- efficient window.

The $189 price does not include removing the old storm windows so the old windows can be removed, they will charge you extra for that. They will even charge extra to haul away the old windows and the trash.

By the time they charge you for everything that you must have to get a complete window installation, the real price is almost $400! And that is for their cheapest window!  The add is also not “Any Size”.  This price is for their smallest window, up to a combined width + height of 101 inches.  That is why the Better Business Bureau has a problem with Window World’s advertised price of $189 and, at one point, gave Window World a rating of “Unsatisfactory.”

If they Lie about a price just to get into your house; what else will they lie about?

Window Consumer Buying Guide Rule #5:

You don’t have to pay $1000 for one window. High prices like that are a rip-off
and should be illegal.

Believe it or not, there are companies that will try to convince you that their windows are worth $1000 – $1600 each. We are not kidding. They will actually have the nerve to say that – to your face! This is ridiculous! There is not a window manufactured anywhere that costs that much. And companies that are trying to charge high prices like that are simply trying to rip you off! We don’t know how else to say it. It happens every day and it is wrong.

Here is what they do: the company will send a highly trained commission salesperson into your home to give you a free estimate. Their goal is to conduct a 2–3 hour long “dog & pony” show to try to convince you that they have the greatest window in the universe.

Another goal is to wear you down and make you so tired that you will sign a contract just to get it over with.

They want to convince you that they have the best window in the universe so they can justify their price. After 2–3 hours of demonstrating their window, they will tell you that the windows cost only $1200 – $1600 each! Really!

BUT! They will give you a huge discount – usually 25% – because…
-they need a “model home” in your neighborhood.
-they want to put a job sign in your front yard.
-they have a special sale going on.
-you are special people.
-it is Tuesday.

THERE IS ONLY ONE CATCH! You have to sign a contract TODAY!
This special offer will not be available tomorrow. Or ever again.
Today only! They will not only have the nerve to say that, they are specially trained to say it with a straight face!

With this huge discount, you can get the windows for only $1000 each!

REFER BACK TO RULE#4. Never sign a contract if the special offer is available “today only.”
Never. Not ever.

RULE #6: Window Consumer Buying Guide

Get all the details.

Ask about other services and all the details of the complete job.

Does the company replace rotten wood and are there extra charges for that?

HINT: Rotten wood must be replaced to meet building codes and to do the job right. Many companies charge too much for this service, trying to make huge profits from it when it should be standard or at least cheap! And watch out! Far too many companies will cut corners and cover-up rotten wood even though they charge you for fixing it.

Does the company conduct a complete clean-up and haul-away the old windows and are there extra charges for that? This should be standard and included in the job.

Does the company charge extra for other things that should be standard and included in the job, such as removing old storm windows and sealing the new window with insulation and caulking?

Will the salesperson, or any company representative, show up on the day of installation, or will you be left to deal with the work crew yourself? Does the crew speak English?

Will there be any follow-up? Will the company check on the windows and installation after the job is complete?

HUGE HINT: Get everything in writing. Everything! When you get the answers to all of these questions, get those answers in writing so there will not be any misunderstandings later. Usually, the salesperson who makes all the promises will disappear after the contract is signed and you are left to deal with a work crew that doesn’t have a clue what was said and what you were promised. Protect yourself! Get those promises and all the details in writing.
RULE #7: There is good glass, bad glass, and ugly glass. Do you know the difference?
Don’t get ripped off!


A double pane window is better than a single pane of glass because two panes of glass capture a pocket of air between them and that air pocket helps to insulate against cold temperatures.


Twenty five years ago they started offering the option of putting
Argon gas between the two panes of glass to block the cold. The Argon Gas insulates better than air because it is heavier than air.


To protect against heat and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, window manufacturers can add a layer of metallic “silver” to the glass. This layer of silver, called “Low E” glass, acts like a mirror and blocks the heat from the sun and blocks the harmful ultraviolet rays that can fade and damage curtains, furniture and carpets.


Low E glass consisting of a single layer of metallic silver is called
“Hard Coat” Low E glass.

Here is the problem: when people hear the term “Low E,” they think they are getting all the protection that they need. Not true. Low E glass has been around for twenty five years and although it does work in blocking heat, it still lets a lot of heat come into the home.


The fact is we now have better options. Now we have “double” Low E glass: two layers of metallic silver. Needless to say, two layers of silver do a better job of blocking heat and UV rays than one layer.

Two layers of Low E silver is called “Soft Coat.”

We even have “triple layer” Low E as of 2013.

And a separate, fourth layer can be added for more energy efficiency, if you want. R-4 = U-.22

BOTTOM LINE: With a single layer of Low E glass, you will still feel heat coming into your home. With a double layer of Low E silver, you will not feel any heat coming into your home. It is that simple. “Soft Coat” Low E glass, or double layer Low E qualifies for the $200 Stimulus Tax Credit! Single layer Low E does not qualify!


They tell you that you are getting an energy-efficient window with Low E glass. They think that since the customer hears the term, “Low E” (a term they have heard but probably don’t understand) the customer will think they are getting the protection they need. The company uses only the cheap single layer of Low E silver. They hope that you don’t know there is a better glass available with two layers of Low E silver.

The company uses the cheap, single Low E so they can be the “lowest bidder.” They believe that the customer will always go for the cheapest price. They don’t care that they are giving the customer an inferior product.

If the customer wants the most energy-efficient window possible, they would want to have the new “double layer” of Low E glass. The double layer of Low E silver is so energy-efficient, it will save enough money on heating and cooling bills to pay for itself in just 3-5 years.
Insulation Information

Bad glass:Clear double pane glass. No Low E or Argon gas.
Insulation rating: U-.50

Ugly glass: Single layer Low E + Argon gas.
Insulation rating: U-.32*
*Does not qualify for tax credit

Good glass: Double layer Low E + Argon gas.
Insulation rating: U-.30**
**Qualifies for $200 tax credit
*Typical exterior wall has an insulation rating of R-13 / U-.08

There are several manufacturers that offer Low E glass.  Check with your power company or ask the sales rep if the windows will qualify for their power companies rebate.  If the sales rep says they do, get it in writing.   Generally, if the will, you’re ok.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #8:

Triple pane glass.

Triple pane glass is the most energy-efficient glass available, with an R-value of 8.4 and a U-value of .12.

There are some folks who want the best windows available and are willing to pay for them (they are also the most expensive.) Triple pane windows are the best, but they are not recommended for all climates of the country. If you want the best, by all means get them. Just don’t let some unscrupulous salesman talk you into spending more money than you have to.

In most areas of the country, double pane windows with a double layer of Low E silver (Soft Coat) and Argon gas is more than enough insulation to give you all the energy-efficiency you need.

But let’s talk about triple pane glass. The reason that it is so energy-efficient is because the third pane of glass creates an additional pocket of Argon gas to block the cold and adds an additional coating of Low E silver to block heat. Most triple pane windows only use Soft Coat Low E glass which, of course, is a double layer of metallic silver. So, with triple pane windows you actually four layers of Low E silver. No wonder they are so energy-efficient!

Make no mistake about it, triple pane windows are the best available on the market today. But also expect to pay for them because they are the most expensive.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE#9:

Warranties: good news and bad news.

The good news is that most manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on all parts of the window. The bad news is that they don’t offer any labor to install the free parts.

The good news is that most local window companies offer a labor warranty. The bad news is that the labor warranty is usually only for one year, then you are on your own.

The good news is that the manufacturers and their warranties are usually pretty reliable. The bad news is that the local window companies are not. Typically, the local window company switches to a different window manufacturer or goes out of business altogether, leaving the customer out in the cold (pun intended.)

HUGE HINT: Find out more about the warranties offered by the window manufacturer and how they support them. Most window manufacturers make you go through the local wholesale distributor to get service, and that is OK. But the really great manufacturers have their own service technicians locally, in town. That way, if the local window company goes out of business, the customer can still get service.

More good news: some window manufacturers even offer accidental glass breakage warranties. If your window glass gets broken, the manufacturer will give you replacement glass at no charge. The bad news is that you will have to pay the labor to replace the glass.

The good news is that some local window companies offer labor warranties to replace broken glass. The bad news is that many do not.

BOTTOM LINE: Find out who is providing your warranties and what they cover and what they do not cover. And get it all in writing. Do not take anyone’s word for it.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #10:

Never pay all the money up front.

We have heard hundreds of horror stories about homeowners paying a contractor before the job is completed (or even started) and never seeing that contractor, or their money, again. The homeowners are left with uncompleted projects or worse, with projects that were never even started.

NEVER give the contractor all the money before a project is complete.

It is standard practice for a contractor to ask for one third to one half of the money as a down payment. Nothing wrong with that. Many of the materials are special order and the contractor has to pay for them when they are ordered. The contractor also has to pay cash for any permits needed to get the job started.

But that is it! Do not give the contractor all the money before the project is complete or it may not get completed.

HERE IS THE GOLDEN RULE: He who has the money is in control.

If you give a contractor all the money up front, or before the job is complete, you have no control over that contractor. He may or may not finish the job and he will certainly do it on his own time schedule.

If you, the homeowner have half the contractor’s money, he will be much more interested in finishing the job, making you happy, and collecting his final payment.

This is information that you need to know.

But do understand that if you have done your homework and you are working with a reputable contractor, he will not ask for more than half as a down payment, and will not ask for any more money until the job is complete. Reputable contractors conduct business in a reputable manner.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #11:

Get receipts.

When paying the down payment or the balance of the contract try to pay by check or credit card, that way you will have a record of your payments. You should also get a written receipt from the contractor.

If you pay in cash be sure to get that written receipt to avoid questions later on.

Window Consumer Buying Guide RULE #12:

Be careful.

Most home improvements can cost thousands of dollars, so it is a good idea to be careful and err on the side of caution.

Use the information in this manual as a guide to getting all the facts you need to make an informed decision. Do your homework and get the answers you need to feel comfortable with your decision.

The best advice we can offer everyone is to take your time. If things don’t feel right – back off and think about it. Waiting is a lot easier than dealing with the headaches and costly mistakes of making a bad choice of contractors.


If you are careful in selecting the right windows and the right contractor, your home improvement project will give you years of benefits and enjoyment.

Good replacement windows, when installed properly, will make your home more beautiful, more comfortable, and more valuable. The added energy-efficiency of new windows can save you
20 – 30% on your heating and cooling bills, which means that your new windows will literally pay for themselves!

This Window Consumer Buying Guide was written and reprinted with permission by Roger Cawthon of American Builders, who granted us the privilege of using this guide.  We thank him for his time, effort and his voice of experience in preparing this Guide.  Roger Cawthon’s Family Owned Window Company is based in Virginia and has a vast level of professional experience, honors and achievements in window sales & replacement.



This Window Consumer Buying Guide was written and reprinted with permission by Roger Cawthon of American Builders, who granted us the privilege of using this guide.  We thank him for his time, effort and his voice of experience in preparing this Guide.  Roger Cawthon’s Family Owned Window Company is based in Virginia and has a vast level of professional experience, honors and achievements in window sales & replacement.



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