Double Glazing and your legal rights when you buy Windows
At Bahama, over and above all of your legal we include –the unique insurance-backed Network VEKA 10 year guarantee which means that you are fully covered no matter whatever befalls us or our suppliers. Click here for details. We are the only company in High Wycombe and the local areas of Bucks that offers this protection to you – and it's free to you! Over the years we have done a LOT of work repairing the faulty work done by numerous companies in High Wycombe and beyond. As a result we have come to know the law and, as a service, we would like to offer this knowledge to you.
The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
The most important law that protects you when you buy double glazing and windows is the Supply of Goods and Services Act which ensures that any windows installation should:
be 'as described' - e.g. what you ordered
be done using 'reasonable care and skill' and
the windows should be made with materials that are both ' fit for their purpose' and 'of satisfactory quality'
When any company installs double glazing that fails to meet these conditions, it is breached its contract. This means you have a legal right to have the windows repaired or replaced. (The double glazing company decides on which.)
The double glazing company also has to ensure that the repair or replacement is carried out 'within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience'.
The Contract for Windows, Double glazing, Conservatories etc)
Even after you have signed a contract (in your own home) you have seven days to cancel it and change your mind (Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008). The window installation company must your rights to you in writing – and your seven days grace period does do not start until this has been done. Cancelling your contract automatically cancels any finance agreement that the double glazing company arranges has arranged for.
However if you have asked for the windows to be installed before the seven days are up it means you have waived your cancellation rights and in this situation the double Glazing company must put the new agreement in writing.
WARNING: If you make the contract on the trader's premises you have no automatic right to cancel and you must check the contract. Whether you still have the right to cancel the contract and whether you forfeit any money depend entirely on the contract.
If you pay for your double glazing by a credit cards
Under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 applies even if you don't have to pay for all of the work on your card – e.g. if you simply use it to pay the deposit. The same act applies if the double glazing company has arranged a finance agreement to pay for the work, though not if you take out a bank loan.
In any of these cases the credit company is equally liable with the double glazing company for any breaches of contract.
Under the act you are covered for misrepresentation in case the double glazing salesman makes a promise about the product or service that is not turn. Additionally you are covered if the double glazing company goes out of business before finishing the job, in which case you should claim the cost of finishing it from the credit card provider. Contract must be for more than £100, but less than £30,000.
Arbitration of disputes
There are various organisations that can help you resolve a dispute.
If the company is a member of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF, then the federation provides a conciliation and arbitration service for its members and claims that 95% of cases are resolved this way. The remainder are referred to an independent arbitration scheme..
Other options include the Glazing Ombudsman (TGO) and the Double Glazing and Conservatory Quality Assurance Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS).
How should you resolve problems with a double glazing company?
Act quickly: contact the double glazing installer as soon as you know there is a problem. Back up any phone call with a letter that sets out the problem and any agreed solutions. Be sure to include any dates and that have been agreed.
Ultimatum: if the double glazing company has done nothing to fix the problem after the deadline, send the installer a final ultimatum letter. Include that if they doesn't fix the problem within a short deadline, you will get someone else to do it and claim back the cost from them - through courts if necessary.
Evidence of problems: if the double glazing company refuses to do the work or fails to respond, get quotes for fixing the problem. Before any work is started make sure you have a detailed report of the problems, complete with photographs. This will be needed as evidence if the claim goes to court.
The Courts : when the work is done, write to the original double glazing company with a claim for any money you spent, and state exactly what work was done. If they do not pay, you will have to start court proceedings – usually via your local small claims court.
If the amount involved is less than the small claims limit (£10,000 in England and Wales and £3,000 in Scotland and Northern Ireland), you can make your claim via small claims court, if it is larger, you will probably need a solicitor to help.