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I have this question on the DIY exchange. The focus of that question was of about the possibility of repairs to newly installed Pella windows. The (early) consensus is that the defect is non-repairable. This question is about moving forward with legal aspects.

I engaged a respected, national US home renovation company to replace 18 windows in my house with Pella Series 250 vinyl windows. One of the features emphasized by the sales person was the "seamless" nature of the frames. However on inspection of the newly installed windows I realized that every window had extremely visible (and in some cases) potentially dangerous (you could cut yourself if you weren't careful) seams.

On noticing this I immediately called my salesperson and pointed this out to him. His immediate response (with literally a zero pause, and without me even mentioning the subject) was:

Of course we'll compensate you for this

So my question is from a legal standpoint, how would you calculate reasonable compensation? Because these windows weren't bought directly from Pella, I am not able to make claims against Pella. However my thought was that, as each pane can be individually replaced, that getting a basic material cost for a single pain and multiplying it by 36 would be a goos starting point.

And finally, my sales person also said that

We would discuss the compensation after the funds had been released to his company from the finance company

I'm taking this a big red flag as it gives away my main negotiating point. Is that a valid concern?

Notes

  1. Functionally the windows are operational, and I have no complaints about the crew who did the actual installation work.

  2. I'm in New Mexico, USA and the small claims court limit is $10k, and the project cost is $25k

  3. I am not taking anything here as legal advice, I just want to geta ballpark idea or two.

Update

This answer on my DIY question has highlighted that Pella's smoothseam technology is only available on 350 series windows. However I have a 250 series sales brochure (that appears to be a version of a Pella brochure that is branded by the remodeler that I used) that highlights smoothseam and has no footnotes or anything that suggests that it is not available on 250 series windows. This seems IMHO to be pushing the situation from a quality realm into a deceptive sales process realm.

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  • Get a quote for non-"seamless" windows of similar style and function.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 19:08

1 Answer 1

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Legally speaking, compensation is related to a person doing something wrong, such as not providing the thing you contracted for, including providing a defective instance. From your description, the problem seems to be (from one perspective) that you aren't happy with with the product delivered, or (from the other perspective) that they delivered defective goods. In the former case, you apparently got what you ordered so you have no legal claim against anyone. On the other hand, if the product is actually defective (not just "economy model poor quality") then replacement or refund is the standard legal compensation.

Suppose you contracted with WindowsAreUs to provide and install replacement windows. You might sue WAU, if they did something wrong, but if it comes down to them installing the windows that you chose, they didn't do wrong by competently doing what you asked them to do. Theoretically, though, you can sue the manufacturer even if the contractor paid for the product, because you are protected by the product warranty. Under that warranty, the manufacturer has the sole option to replace or refund – if the product is defective (not if the product is badly designed). Under their warranty, disputes are submitted to binding arbitration so forget going to court – unless you did the timely opt-out.

The part that is non-obvious is whether installers WAU (or "salesman" who works for WAU) engaged in deceptive advertising. From the DIY photos, you did not get what is shown in the advertisement. Deceptive advertising is a serious matter, and complete replacement would be reasonable. There are state and federal laws prohibiting deceptive advertising, with a $45,000 penalty at the FTC level plus some about in your state. This document (very long time to download) appears to be a Pella document, which only claims that Smoothseam is available on the (apparently discontinued) 350 series. In Washington State, for example, you could sue the firm making the false claim.

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  • Thank you for that. I believe that I can process it once I read over it several more times. Currently I am not looking to sue WAU. Instead they have verbally offered me some form of monetary compensation. Given the speed that which they did this, the fact that they mentioned this concept first, and without the salesman even inspecting the goods (to my knowledge), I am rather skeptical of their motives. However could you address my second question about the timing of negotiating such compensation?
    – Peter M
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 20:32
  • Also regarding the Pella warranty, I am confused as to how this relates to the "Pella Care Guarantee", "Pella Care Promise" at the bottom of pella.com/support/warranties specifically the mention of "The product warranty for your product (shown above)."
    – Peter M
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 20:40
  • I would call my lawyer since IMO the red flag is huge. Pella offers an additional warranty, but only for installations though them or authorized agents (not WAU, it appears).
    – user6726
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 22:04
  • Can you comment on my update. This is getting worse by the minute.
    – Peter M
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 23:30
  • Their proposed course of action is "pay us and we'll refund you?" Yeah, don't do that.
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 13:13

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