Monday, April 18, 2016

A Bad Purchase

Back in May 2010, we purchased new windows for our home. At that time, the windows were the original from 1987, and they leaked. During the winter the house was drafty and cold.

We did extensive research on window brands available, and ultimately settled on Gorell because at the time, they were listed as among the best and given high energy efficient ratings and blah blah blah.

Fast forward six years and we're ready to replace the damn things again. Most of them have already been replaced once under warranty because the glass did weird things and turned brown or the gas leaked out of the seal.

Unfortunately, Gorell went bankrupt in 2012. The company was bought out by Soft-Lite, which chose not to honor the lifetime Gorell warranty.

Instead they came up with some deal with the installer that if they sold so much of their product, they could then obtain warranty replacements. The installer refused to honor the window warranty as well, though they did (sort of) honor their free labor for 5 years portion of the agreement.

Toward the end of our five-year labor warranty with the installer, we parted with harsh words because the windows were (and are) crap and they wouldn't stand behind what they sold.

I have two windows now that look like this -

That is not screen. That is degeneration of the window glass. It has turned brown and you cannot see through it. We managed to get several replaced after Gorell went out of business but it was a trying task. It took well over a year to replace some of them, and during the time we waiting on those, others began to fail. 

Replacement windows are not cheap. We spent thousands of dollars on these. Some day soon we are going to have to do it again. These certainly aren't going to last as long as the windows we originally had on the house.

My guess is Gorell was beginning to have problems about the time we made our purchase, and we got the short end of things despite the raving reviews online in 2010. Probably about the time we received these windows, they were cutting quality because of financial issues which they obviously could not overcome.

The company that installed these windows, Southwest Sunroom and Windows, doesn't show up as a dealer for Soft-Lite anymore. The nearest dealer who comes up is in North Carolina, about 100 miles away.

The last time we tried to replace these, while still under the 5-year warranty, the installation company sent us a bill for both labor and the window. We didn't pay it and pointed out it was all still under warranty. They billed us several times and my husband had some angry phone conversations and we sent at least one letter before they stopped billing us.

If we want to replace the browned-out windows, I guess our only option would be to contact Soft-Lite and pay for them. But that is not happening. We will replace all of these windows with some other brand, at some point, and not spend any more money with a company that refused to stand behind the warranties it obtained during the bankruptcy sale.

And of course, we will use a different installer, having burnt that bridge over these horrible Gorell/Soft-Lite windows.

The drafty, cold air still comes in. It is especially apparent in the second-replaced windows, the ones made by Soft-Lite and not Gorell. They do not fit as well as the original Gorells. Of the original Gorells that did not fail (or have not so far), they seem to be okay. But I think of the 12 windows we originally replaced, about 7 of them failed, either with the gas leaking out or the window panes turning brown.

Buyer beware, is all I can say. Businesses all want one thing - your money - and they don't give a rat's ass if you are happy with the product or not. I think the installer should have stood behind the product; after all, they sold it to us. They should have offered to give us a complete set of windows of a different brand, but of course they weren't going to do that. I also think the company that bought out Gorell should have stood behind the warranty.

But we live in a world where it's all hooray for me and f&ck you, don't we? And guess where we ended up with these windows. It certainly wasn't on the "hooray for me" end.


  1. Major well known window companies are Pella, Anderson, and Jeld-Wen. Try one of these brands when you are ready to replace the windows. They have been around FOREVER. I have never heard of the brand that your purchased. Sorry they ripped you off... or at least that's what it sounds like to me. I'm so sorry..... (sad face)

  2. Sorry you got the short end of that bargain, and hope you have much better luck when you get round to replacing the replacements.


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