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Your Legal Rights When Buying PVCu Double Glazing

legal rights when buying new windows

It’s likely you have heard in the past of horror stories of people dealing with unscrupulous and cowboy window companies. Where they’ve either not installed the windows properly or problems have arisen after installation, but they claim no responsibility or uphold to the terms of the warranty or aftercare services they promised when the contract was sold.

Whether you have recently signed a contract for new windows, are having trouble with windows already installed or are in the process of looking for new windows, there are legal rights you should be aware of. These legal rights are in place to provide you with protection from the very moment you sign your contact.

The Rights You Have When You Need to Cancel Double Glazing

There are various factors of rights you have when it comes to buying double glazing. This includes whether the windows you buy are standard size or made to measure and whether you decided to enter into a contract or not. We have outlined scenarios that show the relationship between the right to cancel and the type of double glazing how you start a contract.

legal rights when buying new windows

Scenarios Where You Have the Legal Right to Cancel Your Contract

  • If your contract starts when you are not on the firm’s premise. For instance, if you have agreed to a contract over the phone or online, this is officially known as ‘off-premises’ contract. With this type of contract, you need to be issued a cooling off period of at least 14 days in line with the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013.
  • If the company or trader pays a visit to your property or you need to make a verbal agreement for a contract or actually sign one, you also need to be given a cooling off period of at least 14 days.
  • There are some companies who provide longer periods where you can cancel, so it is worth asking about at the time of making any agreements. If you decide to use your right towards cancelling double glazing and the finance agreement that has been arranged for you by the company, this will end automatically.

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Scenarios Where You Don’t Have the Legal Right to Cancel Your Contract

  • The sales representative or trader have spoken about the contract in your home and you have agreed to it. This technically referred to as an on-premises contract and you have no legal right to cancel it automatically.
  • You have agreed to a contract at the company or trader’s office. This is also referred to as an on-premises contract and you have no legal right to cancel it automatically.
  • You have bought windows that have been custom made or made to measure to your own specifications and again, you have no legal right to cancel it automatically.

While it’s true that signing the contract on-premises or getting double glazing made to measure or custom-made means the company or trader do not need to legally offer you the right to cancel, some of them may make it a part of their contract. So, this is worth asking the company or firm about it.

Although you will get the legal right to cancel if you sign a contract if a double glazier visits your home, you don’t need to feel pressurised to sign up for it.

how to cancel a windows contract

What Needs to Be Included In Contracts for Double Glazing?

It’s a legal requirement before you enter into a contract with a double glazier that they provide the full details regarding the contract, and that includes:

  • A full breakdown of the services and good it pertains to.
  • The complete cost, as well as all additional prices related to the work that are known before signing the contract).
  • The timeframe for when the goods and services will be provided.

windows contract exchanged

When It Needs to Be a Paper Contract and Not

If it’s an off-premises contract, the details of the contract should still be presented to you in paper form, unless you have already agreed to access an alternative, and more durable form, such as text message or email.

Although it’s true that for on-premises contracts, the double glazier is not legally obliged to provide the same level of information, everything they do include is bound by law. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to have as much of the contract in paper form as you possibly can. It is much easier to deal with and resolve issues when they arise if there is written evidence of a contract and the full details.

If, for whatever reason, you don’t feel comfortable or are dissatisfied with the contract, you should think twice about using that company for your double-glazing installation.

It is also a legal requirement that the double glazier or their representative provides you with a copy of either a confirmation of the signed contract or a copy of the contract itself before or alongside the delivery of the double glazing. At the very latest, this should occur before the work is carried out.

While it’s true with online contracts the details can be presented digitally to you before you place your order, they need to still be confirmed in a more durable form, like a text or email anytime before, but no time after the double glazing has been delivered to your property or work has begun.

A company that fails to meet those conditions is in breach of their contract and in that situation you have the full legal right to have the windows repaired or even replaced. It is up to the company in question to decide which it is willing to do, usually meaning which is cheapest.

It is also the company’s responsibility to ensure the replacement or repair is performed in a reasonable amount of time and doesn’t cause too much inconvenience.

What About Your Rights If You Have Any Problems?

Unfortunately, it may be the case that you are not completely happy with the installation of your double glazing or something bad happens. Don’t worry though, as there are laws laid out that provide protection to you.

According to what was previously The Supply of Goods and Services Act of 1982 and is now the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, any installation of double glazing should be:

  • As described and completely in line with what you ordered.
  • Made from materials that are fit for the purpose they are going to be used for and of what is described as ‘of satisfactory quality’.
  • Carried out using appropriate and reasonably skill and care.

Your Legal Rights If the Double Glazer Uses Subcontractors

If the double glazier hires subcontractors, it is also their responsibility to ensure the subcontractors work standards and actions are appropriate. As such, if the subcontractor carrying out the work on your double glazing does not use the right materials or sufficient skill and care, it is the double-glazing firm that will need organise the fixing of these problems. Which in turn means any claim you open regarding the work will be against the company themselves, not their subcontractors who carried out the work.

There is nothing wrong with subcontracting work out, especially if a company is only a small operation, or at the other end of the scale and a really big one. However, you will find that there are many companies who avoid hiring subcontracts and believe in carrying out the work themselves. This is often the sign of a better company and one you will be able to trust more, as the tradesmen working on their projects are directly hired and trained through the company.

Things to Remember When Choosing a Company

With all the above in mind, it is worth noting that you could avoid a lot of stress and hassle after signing a contract to ensure you have the best experience possible. The key is to choose the right company. That is, a company with a good reputation and standing. One whose reputation is based on the positive reviews and testimonials that have been given by past and current customers.

You should also consider how long a company has been in business before choosing them. It is highly recommended to aim to invest in the services and goods of a company with at least ten years under their belts.

However, unfortunately, the company may seem too good to be true or quickly turn on you when things don’t go their way. With the guide above, at the very least, we hope we have been able to empower you a little more regarding your legal rights. Many unscrupulous double glaziers manage to get away with their practices because they know customers are not as aware of all the legalities surrounding contracts.

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