Customers warned about Windsor window company by Better Business Bureau

Customers warned about Windsor window company by Better Business Bureau
Certified Windows locks office, several customers out thousands of dollars
A local window company has locked the doors, stopped answering phones and left at least a couple dozen customers unable to get their deposits back — each seemingly bilked out of thousands of dollars.

A local window company has locked the doors, stopped answering phones and left at least a couple dozen customers unable to get their deposits back — each seemingly bilked out of thousands of dollars.

The BBB said it has recently received a higher than normal volume of customer complaints about Certified Windows. The complaints range from non-delivery of ordered products to failure to respond to consumer inquiries regarding installation dates or refunds. The BBB added that these complaints are currently pending as it is waiting for a response from Certified Windows.

Windsor window company leaves customers looking in from outside

Homeowners across Windsor are complaining about Certified Windows, located in the 4800 block of Tecumseh Road East, which is no longer responding to angry customers who never received windows they purchased despite handing over deposits equivalent to 50 per cent of the price.

Another customer on the review page, Lori, said a front steel door, large front window and sliding garden door were installed but none were installed properly by Certified Windows. She added that she has been stood up by the company at least twice a month for the last six months and the repairs still are not done.

I’m pretty disgusted,” said Steve Higgins, a homeowner on the city’s east end who turned over a $3,600 deposit for seven windows in April. “I feel a company should not be able to get away with this. There should be legal ramifications.”

Leila Journeay wrote on Certified’s Facebook page seven days ago that “we are unfortunately not feeling blessed by your company serving the Windsor region seeing as you have not returned our deposit of $6,500.”

His windows were scheduled to be installed by Certified Windows in August, but the company failed to show up. New dates were scheduled by the company for installation at his home for both September and earlier this month.

But Higgins still does not have new windows, can’t get his deposit back and several company employees either have their phones shut off or are failing to return calls.

A note on the locked door of Certified Windows cites the inability to fulfill customer contracts “in a reasonable amount of time” which has led to the company remaining closed until “workable and reasonable solutions are announced.”

Laurie Charron also wrote “you are a disgusting excuse of a business person. Stealing from all of these people who just tried to do business with you.”

A call by the Star to company president Craig’ O’Brien’s cell phone just leads to a dropped call after several rings.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Western Ontario is warning the public about a Windsor window installation company.

A call to the office of Certified Windows and O’Brien’s extension at work each lead to a full mailbox voice message before the call is dropped.

Certified Windows’ office at 4897 Tecumseh Rd. E in Windsor is closed and their voice mailbox is full.

A few remnants remain in the office of Certified Windows and Doors on Tecumseh Road East on Oct. 31, 2018. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

Frank Catenacci posted on the page asking where the company’s president, Craig O’Brien, lives.

He previously held the title of president and part-ownership for a local solar panel company Certified Solar which closed up business in 2014 due to similar issues as customers of his window company are now experiencing — loss of deposits, failure to receive purchased solar panels and refusal of refunds.

The Better Business Bureau received nearly 90 complaints from all across Ontario regarding Certified Solar, primarily during the period of 2013 into early 2014 before the company closed.

Despite the troubles, O’Brien next attempted in late 2014 to open up yet another solar panel company — Easy Green Solar.

Certified Windows continued to operate relatively trouble-free during that same period. The Better Business Bureau did not begin to log any customer complaints about the company until a couple of years ago.

Certified Windows and Doors is closed but a message is posted on their office door on Oct. 31, 2018. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

The Better Business Bureau has logged and currently addressing 18 official complaints on Certified Windows — 10 in the last six months, said Linda Smith, the agency’s CEO on Wednesday.

“They are not an accredited business with us,” she said. “Currently, they have an F rating.”

Smith added there are another 12 customer complaints pending against the window company in the last month “due to delivery, refund or contract issues.”

She encourages customers making a large-scale purchase, such as windows, to always do homework first online, including the Better Business Bureau website.

“Anyone doing that right now can see this vendor may not be the place to go and you can make a more informed decision,” Smith said. “All the information (about current complaints) which I have given you is presently on our website.”

Business sign at 4897 Tecumseh Road East Oct. 31, 2018. Certfied Windows and Doors is closed, but other businesses remain open. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

She encouraged consumers to also look for a business that has the BBB’s seal of approval showing they are accredited with the agency.

Among other frustrated customers of Certified Windows is Cindy Williams of Ingersoll. She owns a handful of rental properties in Windsor and turned to Certified Windows in May where she purchased five windows and handed over a $3,000 deposit.

Williams was looking to replace windows on a home locally on Wellington Avenue where her daughter plans to live in a few months.

An installation appointment was scheduled by the company for August, but nobody showed up, Williams said. There was a second installation appointment in September which again went ignored by Certified Windows.

“We talked to them again, I asked for my deposit back and they said the week before Thanksgiving they were definitely going to show up — but they didn’t,” Williams said. “They just don’t ever show up.

“I’m very angry. I don’t have extra money to spend on nothing. The windows still need to be done, so now I have to buy them somewhere else and be out that money. It’s very disappointing.”

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning customers to not do business with a Windsor window installation company. The Siding And Window Dealers Association of Canada (SAWDAC) says the same company is under police investigation after a slew of recent complaints. 

Certified Windows has been selling window and door installation services to southwestern Ontario for 25 years, according to their Facebook page.

"Due to Green ON not providing a reasonable amount of time to satisfy our customer contracts, our office is forced to remain closed until a workable and reasonable solutions are announced," a sign on the closed front door says.

Calls to the company are directed to a voicemail box that's full. A CBC News request sent by email for comment was not returned.

Currently, the company faces 14 pending complaints — with 14 others that were closed in the last 12 months, according to BBB's western Ontario CEO Linda Smith.

"We don't know the circumstances of what is going on with that business because they haven't been responding to the recent complaints," said Smith. 

Executive director of SAWDAC, Jason Neal, said a police investigation is underway. However, Windsor Police Service would not confirm or deny if the company is under investigation.

One of the complaints to the Better Business Bureau comes from Leila Journeay, who said she's waiting on thousands of dollars after cancelling her contract within the grace period she is granted.

"Some people had started reaching out to me about it," she said. "There is a lot of people who are struggling with the windows and door issues with this company." 

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