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January 15, 2008

Comments

I think what is important to remember in all of this is what is to honor what is important to each person. Some people buy for price alone.

When I was younger I was a "price only" person. I have some horror stories dealing with shady tire salespeople and car stereo installers who would try to arrange "under the table deals" perhaps it was because I was young but in both cases one day jobs took multiple days and there were some other shady things going on. As I have gotten older I have really come to grasp the "get what you pay for" philosophy. I now will only get my tires done at Les Schwab and my car stereo work at Car Toy's. Why? While the price is not going to be the lowest it is a good value and I get the service and guarantee that I want.They stand behind their work without hassle. So I decided who I want to do business with now do I buy a 40,80 or 100k mile tire? Do I buy the top of the line stereo equipment or the middle? Depends on my needs and wants.

I too have been doing research and Penguin is one of the options. Penguin is obviously the Mercedes of the industry but perhaps it would be more accurate to call them a Hybrid Mercedes being that they will save you some money on your energy along the way. I am willing to pay a little extra for a company that stands behind their warranty and takes care of everything for me.

I am also considering Milgard. The final decision is how far do I want to go with this, do I want to replace all of my windows or just some windows in key areas (my bedroom always gets real cold).I'll let you know who I end up picking and if I am happy with them.

I am a former Penquin sales rep. Unlike previous comments, I left the company because I could not in good conscious practise the "used car salesman" tactics REQUIRED by Penquin, not because I was "overly aggressive". The people have a training program that actually acknowledges the appointment setting process is a fraud. The appointment setter quotes 1 to 1-1/2 hour presentation, but the training class confirms that 4 hours or more is normal. The financing options are on par with the recent house financing scams. The product is good, but WAY over priced. My conscious demanded that I quit those bastards.

I've read everything to this point. I am somewhat familiar with Penguin Windows, have a background as a specialty contractor and think there are some inconsistencies in some of the detractors statements. For one the fiberglass wood clad window is not really addressed in the Penguin presentation as it is a hybrid product combining fiberglass and wood. The Penguin presentation talks about real wood framed windows, not the cheaper hybrids. My own concern with hybrid products is the different expansion and contraction rates between "mixed" products like wood/fiberglass or vinyl/steel or vinyl/aluminum. The Penguin is using complementary materials as far as I can see so the expansion and contraction rates wouldn't seem to be a factor working against each other but instead they compliment each other. After all, windows fail because of wierd expansion and conraction differences. The other factor is the insulating value of these windows mentioned. I went just yesterday to the NFRC website (http://nfrc.org/about.aspx )and researched Milgard, Pella and Penguin which is actually under the Great Lakes Window name and called the Uniframe window. The rating on the triple pane, krypton filled window is found at toward the bottom of the page here: http://cpd.nfrc.org/pubsearch/psLineDetails.asp?CPD=GLW-N-74_8884&pagenum=7 and is pretty impressive to say the least. The tinted color on the glass is because of the low e coatings which block out UV rays that damage furniture, artwork, flooring, etc. That is important to some folks. I've done my research and it appears from third party verification this is a superior product. It is no wonder other window companies want to tear it down. When you go shopping for anything there are three things you can rarely get all at once being, high quality, superior service and low price. Penguin has two of the three nailed and from what I can tell the price is pretty much reflective of their quality and service. With what they bring to the table there is no way they could be the lowest. I'm sure you can buy something cheaper but you will also give up quality and/or service. If you can't afford the window then don't buy it. If you want quality and service then buy the window, just stop tearing up a product because you haven't really done all the research on it and/or maybe can't afford the quality. They are right about real wood windows being more expensive paricularly if they have to be custom made to fit your openings. Real wood windows come in standard sizes and they cost alot. Let me leave you with this thought. Part of Penguins thing is they doen't have a warehouse full of windows and just grab something that comes close to fitting your openings. Every window is custom measured and made to fit your opening exactly. That to me is worth extra money. I've seen hack jobs with lots of filler needed. They also don't use sub contractors and have AAMA certified and experienced installers. You probably pay a little more for highly trained installers also. But, if you were having open heart surgery tomorrow you could have it done cheaper I'm sure by some guys standing outside the hospital waiting for a surgery job to come up they could jump in on for the day or you could pay a little extra for heart surgeon. Price sometimes isn't the point at all.

Brian, great post. As for some of the others, I think Penguin reps have hijacked most of these threads. Read some of the entries - anyone who claims the Penguin sales people were in and out in less than 90 minutes are lying. People who say the windows are worth every penny are either lying, in denial or greatly deceived. How many years will it take you to make back that (fill in the number) percentage of energy savings (if they really do save as much as they say). Really - I mean figure it out, if Penguin costs you $20,000 more than the competition, how long will it take to make that up in energy savings - 40 years?

I was working from home last week (live in the Portland metro area) and a Penguin canvasser came by and asked if I'd be interested in getting quotes for our 2 aluminum (double-paned, but not insulated) sliding glass doors. I hemmed and hawed, but eventually said ok, especially when he said the sales reps probably wouldn't even look at the windows, since I told him they were only 4 years old, with some being less than 1 year old (whole house had been remodeled). Again, he commented that it'd likely be closer to the 60 minutes than 90, so I thought, well I need an estimate on those doors anyway, so why not?

Well, that 60-90 minutes turned into 3 1/2 hours of sales tactics. As with many of the entires here, we were tag-teamed, having two sales reps visit us. One of the reps was the stereotypical sleazy used-car salesman, while the other seemed technical and more honest (and in fact was a nice guy, unlike the first). The first guy (sleazy one) kept saying things like our windows were the worst he's seen in his 6 years as a rep, blah, blah blah. Really, our 4 year-old Milgard windows are the worst you've seen - boy you must be working in some ritzy areas then, aren't you? He spewed so many half-truths, that I stopped really listening to him. At one point he was telling me how FHLMC and FNMA do business - which I thought was funny, since I had been a compliance auditor for a mortgage bank and was well familiar with FHLMC and FNMA rules. Once I told him that, he knew he lost his perceived "edge" and changed the subject again to how my window seals had failed. Well, after the heat lamp demonstration (during which he got really annoyed each time the nice sales rep interrupted him with other information (giving more insight into the sleazy one's real character) the sleazy salesman had to leave. Boo hoo - don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Not only were we glad to see him go, but we thought the presentation, now 2 1/2 hours might almost be done. Well the other guy had to go through his song and dance and fill out the "Investment Review" as their quote is called, he showed us our discounts, and sign today discounts, etc. All said and done, he even resigned the fact that we weren't going to do all the windows, so he broke it down to just the sliders. But at $4k a piece, I said something to the effect that I can't afford to save that much in energy savings. He was very polite and didn't rant and rave when we said no. If he'd been the only one, our experience would have been better, but still not something I'd wish anyone to go through.

In my optinon, here are the Penguin Window pros and cons.
Pros - 1) good quality windows. 2) I liked the idea that their installers were trained and did it all what sounded like the "right" way.

Cons - 1) way overpriced, 2) dishonest sales practices (at least by one of our visiting reps), 3) canvasser's (and documentation) initial lie telling me it's only a 60-90 minute presentation. 4) Penguin is just sales arm of larger corporation that owns the window manufacturer (Great Lakes Windows - I think in Toledo, OH).

Well the good news is that (supposedly) we will get a $25 gas card for my trouble, so between my wife and I, we each made about $3 an hour last Saturday :-)

I have some penquin windows that I've had for 5 years now (they were still Statewide at the time). I got their sales pitch for the entire house, but opted for replacing the two bad windows (moisture between panes) I had. They were too expensive, but I got one stained glass window over my front door that I love, and it was worth every penny. The other "triple paned" window has had some problems with allignment. After 5 years and a company name change, they are still honoring the lifetime warranty and coming to fix it. I will not get the rest of my windows through them though.

My wife and I had no problems with the sales people who came to our house from Penguin. Of course my wife entered a contest to try and win windows, yeah...okay. Anyhow, it was a guy/gal team and the gal was certainly a distraction. Low cut top with breasts popping out sitting there while the guy did all the talking. Of course she let out the typical air-head giggle when he tried cracking a joke; but all in all she was a show piece (after all, sex sells) for any man (or lesbian) of the house.

Long story short, we were sold on $14k worth of windows and new sliding rear door. Sure, it was spendy, but in the end we are pleased with our experience; especially the installers. Very nice and experienced. So far things look great and it has kept a lot of the summer heat out of the house.

Moral of the story, it depends on where you live, the kind of house you have, and the nature under which the local branch of the company - or any company for that matter - is run will dictate the kind of experience you will have with "door to door salesman/women."

Troy

Hello - I am a new person in this forum. I have done my own research on penguin Windows. I can't beleive what I am hearing.

First thing is First:The estimate was several tens of thousands of dollars less than Penguin" "Penguin doesn’t offer a wood clad option. Plus, their frames are vinyl (with a fiberglass insert, I believe).

Several people have stated that penguin Windows are VINYL- This is a LIE. Penguin windows happen to be made of PVC , the same stuff that PVC piping is made out of. That is why plumbers are starting to use pvc tubing instead of copper, because it is non-conductive. PVC does not bend or warp over time. It never fades or discolers either. Vinyl does.

The person making the statement that PENGUIN Window is VINYL is either very misinformed, or an Industry sabotager working for another window company.

I am neutral in this forum , but I can't see how so much hatred comes from someone who didn't even buy the product.

.

David, you obviously have done very little research about Penguin Windows. Their product is indeed vinyl. Check out their web site:
http://www.penguinwindows.com/specs.html

Here's a quote from this Penguin Window web page:

"Not all vinyl windows are created equal. Low-grade PVC can bend, bow and discolor. That's why Penguin windows are made from high quality New Generation vinyl - the strongest, most advanced material we could find. Specially formulated uiPVC(polyvinyl chloride), New Generation vinyl withstands harsh weather and wear-and-tear better, with through-and-through color to resist the appearance of scratching and look like new for years to come."

So their windows are vinyl. They just claim it's a higher class vinyl. It should be, for the price they charge. As I've said before, we got wood clad fiberglass Milgard windows installed for many thousands of dollars cheaper.

Uh... Brian, do you see what you just wrote above ... " Specially formulated uiPVC(polyvinyl chloride), from Penguins site ..

I guess you are a little uneducated in the Industry. The above statement refers to PVC , That's PolyVinyl chloride, it's the same stuff under your kitchen sink that the water runs through. It lasts a lifetime too.

David, did you see what you just wrote, and what is on the Penguin Windows web site?:

"Vinyl." Repeat, vinyl. That isn't the same as fiberglass, is it? No, it isn't.

Our Milgard windows are fiberglass. The Penguin windows that, thankfully, we didn't get, would have been vinyl. PVC vinyl. Check out Milgard's superior product:
http://www.milgard.com/products/fiberglass-windows/

You can keep on trying to claim that Penguin Windows "vinyl" isn't really vinyl. But one thing that's crystal clear is that vinyl isn't fiberglass.

The message remains: Buyer beware with Penguin Windows. Check out the alternatives before you succumb to a high-pressure sales pitch. Get multiple estimates. Learn the facts.

Just remember if you do sign up, your paying the guy who walks in your door giving you the sales pitch 20-25% commission.

Just remember if you do sign up, your paying the guy who walks in your door giving you the sales pitch 20-25% commission.

My wife and I completed the Bidding Phase of our window replacement project this last week and ended up selecting Champion. The first company we had out to visit, however, was Penguin. As others have related, the sales tactics were high-pressure. The details would sound like a repeat of what's already been said, however, so I'll spare you all. The price of the Penguin windows was the biggest issue for us, however; they were exactly twice the price of the closest competing bid. That's just silliness.

Three other companies came out, and they averaged about half the price of Penguin. The Champion salesman was far and away the nicest, lowest-key guy of the bunch. He was the last one out. I wish he'd been first! Oh, the hours that might have been saved!

The funniest bit about the Champion sale was that, among the cross-sections of competitor's windows, the guy had a Penguin window! My first response was, "Wow, where'd you get ahold of that? Don't tell me somebody's replaced their Penguin windows with yours?" He said, "Of course not." and then proceeded to tell us about a couple he'd visited a few months ago who had just endured a five-hour stint with a Penguin salesman. Upon finally being turned away, the Penguin salesman angrily declared that he was quitting his job and proceeded to leave all of his equipment and samples behind! The couple made some effort to return the items to the man as he left, and subsequently to Penguin, but nobody every picked it up. The couple later insisted that the Champion salesman take the Penguin cross-section when he visited. Pretty funny! He said he periodically calls or emails Penguin and offers to return it, but had not been contacted.


Happy window hunting!
Aaron

Hi, I've had issues with Penguin Windows also. They've been to my door at least once a month for the past 2 years (sometimes more) I've told them that I'm not interested and they just don't get it! I found from reading some of these posts that they used to be called Statewide Windows - and back about a year ago my husband and i signed up with Statewide at Kmart to have a free window inspection (we also received a $20 gift card for Kmart- Totally not worth it!!) the ladies that came to our house were extremely high pressure and after 4 hours of making us feel guilty for not wanting to spend $14000 on 7 windows they finally left. However they think that we might change our minds and keep coming back every month to find out. I know have a new baby at home and today they rang the door bell while he was sleeping, I was so pissed! Oh and FYI i have a local glass guy give me a quote on my windows and explain why it was totally not necessary for the triple pained windows (due to the fact that it we don't have extreme weather here) my quote was less than $4000 interesting huh!! So beware of the white mini van driving through your neighbor hood that says Penguin windows on the side because a pushy sales person will be knocking on your door soon!

Yes.. I would avoid them.
They had good marketing and were on my short list for when we did an upgrade. We made the mistake of filling out a card at a local fair.

We got a call. (pretty sure I checked the email only box) But it was a pleasant enough chat and I made it clear we were not remodeling the one area that needed new Windows but would call them when we did. I meant that)

Then next day they call again.. I tell them to stop that if they called again I was going to never buy.

Then they called the next day again.

I told them to stop. They said it could take 72 hours. I said if I got another call I was going to complain to the state.

Do not enter their contests or EVER give them your info. They are by far the most aggressive unapologetic sales organization I have encountered since going to a Vegas time-share presentation.

Let me second, third, millionth this advice to NOT ENTER THEIR CONTESTS. I, like an idiot....did, via their website.

They called the next day to schedule a 60-90 minute presentation, which they made sound like I must allow in order to be in the contest. Actually, the contest rules say the in-home visit is not required, but I hadn't read deeply enough.

So they scheduled for Tuesday. We told the two men who showed up that my husband only had a short time and had to go to work. 60 minutes would be okay. They said they'd make it as quick as possible, and would take 'no' graciously for an answer.

They lied.

5 1/2 hours later, we FINALLY got them to leave. Every time we said no, they shifted their angle of attack and wanted to know what was holding us back, since clearly we WANT new windows (and that was and is true: we do). In fact, the first time they went outside to let us talk privately, and we went out to tell them 'Thank you, but no', the salesman deliberately "mis-heard" us and said "Excellent! Go? We'll start the paperwork now!" So we said no, we want to think about it for a few days and do research. We said we don't even buy a $150 camera without researching it first, and the tentative bid we had for the windows for our house was over $30K. They began grilling us about what was holding us back, was it a lack of trust in the company? Something we didn't like about the windows? And of course no, it wasn't any of those things. It was just a matter of not wanting to be rushed into an expensive purchase. They told us we'd lose an 11% discount (about $3400) if we didn't sign the papers TODAY.

In the end, they finally did take 'no' for an answer, but it was not gracious, and the one man was visibly angry. We had wasted his day. And he had wasted ours. My husband could not leave for work until 4pm. Trust me, it was not a good thing.

I wrote to the company to complain. As of today, 48 hours later, they have not bothered to reply.

Even if we were to win their contest, I'm not convinced I would take the prize. Because they'd no doubt want us to say how wonderful they are, and I refuse to smile, and lie.

Oh, as a follow-up:

The nametag on the salesman who came to our house said 'Russ De Vos'. Either it's the same fellow who claims above (dated May 20, 2008) that these heavy-pressure sales tactics, and multi-hour sales pitches, are not company policy and such employees don't last long.....in which case you'll have to judge for yourself whether you can believe his apology....or everybody who works for Penguin has a Russ De Vos nametag, as a sort of 'working name', to protect their real identities.

But you'll have to judge that yourself.

Tuesday, October 30. 7 days, one full business week since I sent a letter of complaint to Penguin Windows. No one has bothered to contact me yet. Good thing I haven't been holding my breath.

Dear Angela,

For "October" you mean "September."

Robert Paul Howard

I had the displeasure of listening to a salesman from PENGUIN windows. Said a rep would be out the next day to give me the experimental technology I've heard tell about in this issue. Luckily they never showed up. Anyone want a $25 voucher card for gas not authorized? October 7, 2008

Thank You Everybody :)

Wow! Thank you for posting this. I know the reputation of Statewide and I will NEVER go with them. I had no idea they were the same company as Penguin. We had the door-to-door guy come by today and we specifically asked if there would be any pressure to buy today or lose a discount or whatever. He said "definitely no." Having had the Statewide people in our home and the high-pressure tactics they had (about 5 years ago), I am NOT going with the same company. I don't care how good your product is, if you give me a "if you sign right now you get XX discount" I'm walking away. I did it with Sears, I'll do it with any company. Thank you for identifying that Statewide and Penguin are the same company. I'll be canceling that appointment tomorrow and saving myself 4 hours :)

they used to not follow code back in the day with installing and the vancouver, wa office is full of jerks and family crooks.

I see several interesting comments.
We did enter the contest, I now wish I hadn't.
The "in home meeting" didn't last that long, it ended pretty quickly after the rep called in to try to finance us and found out they couldn't. We told them from the start we just entered the contest and couldn't afford the windows... the saleswoman said no problem, they would just work up the bid and leave it with us and wouldn't submit it (but then did, tried to submit anyway).
For us:
1) Said they wouldn't push it, yet tried to call for financing.
2) Claimed they meet all Federal Codes since they install in several states.
-Note: There are no Federal Codes. Each state has it's own codes that *must* be followed in that state.
3) Claimed they installed to the IBC.
-Note, the IBC is a Commercial Code, not residential

I don't like thier method of installation either. On my house there is no trim around the windows. The siding goes up to the edge of the frame. To install the Penguin windows they tell me they will cut around the window to reveal the nailing flange, then when they install the new window they will insert a piece of trim around each window. How ugly. Creating a space around the window just to fill it with a trim piece later.

I do agree with one of the previous commentators on here, the saleswoman I got was cute, and had a nice bit of cleavage and fairly tight slacks and heels. At least the eye candy was nice. But that's not what I buy windows for...

Saw the previous discussion on whether or not it was vinyl or PVC. Apparently it is considered both. At least every manufacturer of PVC/Vinyl windows are claiming that uiPVC (polyvinyl chloride) are also Vinyl. And there are a LOT of manufacturers that seem to be using this. Apparently it is some form of composite construction that makes it stiffer, probably what the fiberglass I reinforcement is.

Overall, If I win the $10,000 in windows plus $10,000 cash I still can't afford their product. I'd replace the worst windows I have, but I'd watch the installers like a hawk.

We bought 3 penguin windows. They were suppose to be sliding glass patio doors. What they brought out was 3 French doors. The window area was only 21" The door opening was just 20" Our other sliders had a total of 63" of glass and the door slides to 27". Almost ALL of the frame was a cheep white plastic. The door did not even fit in the opening. They had to caulk over 2" top, bottom and sides. We have filed and complaint with the BBB, Attorney General and with Penguin windows. We have stopped payment on our credit card. We told the installers to leave our other slider and called the company 6 times and emailed them pictures. They took our slider and refuse to give it back. They will not come out and remove the wrong door and told us if we touch the door all warranties are void. The frame is even cracked. I asked them what about their 100% satisfaction warranty. TRUST ME they do not warranty their doors, service or installation!!!Even if they make the mistake in their own measurements it is always the customer that pays. We are now having to go to court. Will let you know how things go.

Penguin windows doesn't sell French Doors. Only Sliding glass doors. No construction company that I have ever heard of offers a 25% Commission thats just stupid. ps if you find one please let me know I'll go work for them. Don't buy any window or door that combines wood with vinyl it will break down just after the warranty expires. Companies engineer their products to last as long as the warranty, so if you want to replace your windows every 10 years on average get something cheap. I used to install windows and I have seen if hundreds of times. Rotting wood windows or horrible self installs. You get what you pay for. No sales person is perfect, so cut them some slack, if your hungry during a presentation get a snack. Remember some people these days will go ballistic if you charge them 10 cents to much for a donut or mispell a word. I quite simply can't afford triple pane windows, but when I can I will get them from the company who I feel will stand by them. Always do your research before you call someone to your house so you can take advantage of all of the discounts you can get and know your budget and credit score. Otherwise your not going to be happy with any large purchase.

I used to work for penguin (statewide), windows are great, sales tactics are high pressure, but the product makes up for it. The pay is good 15% commission if you make quota plus random bonuses. Its a lot of hours and to much driving around for me. The pay was good but needed a change. Honestly if your looking for the best windows on the market penguin is it. You pay a premium but you get what you pay for.

From an unbiased third party window expert, you all may want to know 2 things: 1. Good window (simply Great Lakes brand), but 2. EXTREMELY! overpriced from this company. The frame is not metal reinforced and the intercept/warm edge is a midrange seal and they don't even swing in! Worth about $900 at most - installed. In short and simple this dealer ought to be ashamed of themselves for gauging people. And, will probably soon have to undergo another name change much like Pacesetter Corp. did. People, DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY!

I called Penguin windows just this morning to inquire about a sales job or maybe installation. Well after reading these comments, mostly negative ones, I think i will try to start my own window installation business, I have many friends at Oso Lumber and Milguard. These people need jobs and so do I. I just can't become a pushy car-salesman type individual just to make money. I would rather come over to your house for a coffee or beer and shoot the breeze, sooner or later we could talk about your remodeling needs and window repalacement. After reading these negative reactions it makes me wonder why people can't take a few seconds and say positive stuff, I personally feel better after I have said or wrote something nice.

the windows are guaranteed for the life of the house. That means no matter what, you will never have to spend another penny on the windows. If you are a cheap skate bargain hunter do not waste your time looking at the nicest things in life. Besides, you could just have your buddies come over and do yourself right? You get what you pay for! And if you don't like someone in your house instead of waiting out hours of the salespersons time and then writing dirty letters online, simply ask them to leave. Show a little backbone.

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