Britain’s two largest double glazing companies were found to have mis-sold or misled their customers in decisions that show questionable ways sellers trick people into buying windows.
Everest and Anglian Windows have both been criticized for the tactics used to sell their windows to customers.
First, Everest falsely sold a loan for £ 12,800 to an 80-year-old stroke victim who didn’t need to borrow money to pay for the work.
To repay Everest, which offers a range of home improvement services, the customer had to pay £ 6,500 in interest at a rate of over 20% over five years for work on his own.
Anglian Windows has also been criticized for its sales tactics and told to make a misleading statement that customers could get up to 40% off its website.
Everest and Anglian Windows have both been criticized for their sales tactics
The sale by Everest was investigated by the Financial Ombudsman Service and found that the company had taken a commission of £ 2,700 from Clydesdale Financial Services to sell the product.
The ombudsman said the evidence showed the client was fragile and it didn’t appear Everest took great care in explaining the paperwork.
He felt Everest had mis-sold the deal and ordered Clydesdale to pay back the interest.
The lender finally paid the client £ 4,800 in July after two years of wrangling over the matter.
Martyn James of Revolver, the complaints handling website, told The Times: “Clearly this individual shouldn’t have been sold a fundraising deal.
“Any business that offers loans to the elderly or vulnerable should be very careful to ensure that the sales agent acts responsibly.
There are complaints that many more people, who did not come forward, were mis-sold or misled about products
Rob Cheek is angry with the way Everest treated his 80 year old father.
He found a loan of £ 12,800 that his father had taken out with Everest to get paid back.
He said the seller told him it was a way to spread the cost, but he didn’t need the loan which charged 20% interest.
Mr Cheek told The Times: “My father had a stroke a few years ago… it is obvious when you meet him that he would need a lot of financial help.
“I see this sale as extremely exploitative of an elderly and vulnerable person. “
After going nowhere with his complaint in Everest, Mr. Cheek took it to the Financial Services Ombudsman.
He revealed that Everest received a commission of £ 2,700 from Royal Clydesdale Services for selling the loan.
Everest, the ombudsman said, should have taken care to explain the documents to the client, but there was no evidence he had any.
He added, “With that reserve money, he probably would have been approved for a much cheaper bank loan if credit was what he was looking for.
“Overall, I have no doubts that this deal was very likely to have been mis-sold.
He ordered Clydesdale to repay £ 4,800 in interest plus additional compensation of £ 200.
Everest did not respond to a request for comment
The Ombudsman ruled against Everest
“My concern is that countless more victims of inappropriate sales fall through the cracks.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Everest entered administration earlier this year. The brand has rebooted as Everest 2020 Ltd.
That did mean, however, that anyone who bought warranty windows before June would not see their promises honored.
Everest now claims that it does not sell loans but allows customers to use the Kandoo comparison site to search for one on their own. Everest says he takes no credit for it.
An Everest spokesperson told The Times: “All payment options have been presented to the customer, including payment in cash.
“Interest charges and loan term have been fully explained. The notes show that the client took the time to think about the options.
“It would appear that Everest Ltd has underestimated the vulnerability of this customer and we apologize for any inconvenience caused. “
While Anglian Windows’ claim of up to 40% off was deemed misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority, as similar offers were available since November 2018.
His decision said, “There was no interim period between promotions in which a higher selling point was established.
“We have told Anglian Windows Ltd to make sure their future savings statements are not misleading.
Which one ?, the consumer group, has been campaigning for years on double glazing sales tactics.
In 2010, he called the massive discount claims “the book’s oldest selling trick.”
Further research by Which? shows that one in seven people who bought double glazing had suffered from problems, with pressure selling being one of the most frequent.
Which? also said that Everest and Anglian were the two worst companies with a low rating on knowledge of their sellers and value for money.
Neither company is a member of the Double Glazing Ombudsman Service which helps clients resolve disputes.
Which? concluded: “Our results show that you should consider independent marketers rather than well-known brands. “
Anglian Windows did not respond to requests for comment.