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January 15, 2008


Not only are they pushy, but you lose any benefits of replacing the windows when it is done improperly. While two state attorney general's are investigating them, I cannot believe they are still allowed to prey on the elderly. Here is a related blog article about how to properly shop for replacement windows: http://www.betterlivingshow.org/blog.choosing-energy-efficient-replacement-windows.htm

I worked for penquin in their vancouver, WA branch as an installer for five years. It was definitly an experience I will never forget. I wish I could say that they were all happy times, but unfortunately, it was a time when I witnessed some of the worst corporate corruption ever heard of. I mean, we all know how the tactics of places like Wal-Mart and Monsanto are less than kind. But this was firsthand experience. I didn't work around sales much and tried my best to avoid them at the jobsite or office. So I can't tell you a lot about their sales tactics. Usually, they were the worst experience to the homeowner, but many of them were liked. I'm here to tell you about the things that would happen during install. From my experience there, I can tell you that about 85 percent of the time, there was at least one damaged window that we were expected to install. Always without the homeowners knowlegde. We were told many times by management that "if you can hide it, install it". This damage would include cracks in the frame, scratches or defects in the glass, ordered the wrong size or not triple pane, or other defects in the product. We were also required to cover up rotten sills or sheathing or anything else that would have costly to deal with. Drug use is also especially rampant at this particular branch. Mainly marijuana. And I'll be honest, I know because I smoked at work myself many times. Almost all crews (not all) smoke pot on the way to the job, on the way home, and sometimes at your house in the truck. I'll admit, it's not a very responsible thing to do while your working, (especially with power tools and other peoples property) but we all do stupid crap. Just remember this: if your windows are being installed by the vancouver branch, your installer is most likely stoned. Probably the most shocking thing about this is that this behavior is well known by management. In fact, one of the inspectors there was a huge pothead. This just isn't the behavior you would expect from a professional company. And wait, there's still more. I will give you one specific example of how slimy they could be. Me and two other installers were installing six windows for an elderly couple. It was a one day job that should have two. So after rushing through the install it came time for the paperwork. Now, at this point the lead installer goes over maintenance and operation, condensation, NFRC (national fenestration rating council)and payment method. This particular method of payment was cash. The only problem here was that the total owed that we had was 1500 dollars more expensive than their copy showed. It took about an hour to figure out what happened. Their copy of the contract had an addendum that was written by the sales rep that stated that penguin would pay for the sales tax, which coincodentaly was 1500 dollars. Our copy had no such addendum. After a few phone calls we placed to the office, we finally had the full story. The sales MANAGER returned to the house after the first sales rep had left and got the homeowner to sign a new contract. This new contract was convenientely without the sales tax addendum. The husband informed us that the manager (Mr. Roberts) told him that his (the husband) signature was not showing up well on our copy. So he got him to sign a new contract. Now, I'm not sure about this one, but it is possible he signed a blank contract. We were never able to make that clear with him. I don't think he even really understood what was really the problem, (like I said, they were elderly) but his wife sure did. She was in tears and very upset. We were told by management that they had to pay the sales tax. And they did. This is just one story of many of how greedy these people can be. I am not a disgruntled worker. I left there on good terms. But I thought I should say my part. Unfortunatley, I didn't have time to put any info on their take on safety. Let me just say this. IT SUCKS.

I am amazed at just how many fake comments made by Penguin employees are on this board. You morons are so obvious.

I worked there for about a week & after I saw what those sleazy sales managers BEAT INTO the 20 or so innocent, unsuspecting new hires each month. Out of 10 people in my traning class, 4 made it through(2 weeks). Most of them were good people, just victimized and used by promises of fake riches.

Penguin, West Coast, & all these other shady companies that do business this way will soon be weeded out by our attorney general.

I work for a real window company now, Window World, look us up. That should be good for business.

Penguin safety tips:
1. You don't need any fall gear. (Besides, we won't give you time to set it up)
2. Why don't the two of you go ahead and install that 400 pound bay window by yourselves. We don't think it's cost effective to send help.
3.You don't need a new saw. That one you have with the frayed cord works just fine.
4. We're gonna have to require you to comply with lead based paint removal laws. But we're not gonna train everyone on it, give you time to set up the gear, or even provide you with all the gear you need.

5.Don't worry about the carcinogens you work with. You can count on us not being there for you when you get cancer.
6. What do you need a new ladder for? That one you got with the loose rungs looks fine to me.
6. Please refer to the manual for all other safety negligence tips.

Wow is all I'm going to say because as I have read the good and bad reviews. I've noticed that some of the bad commentaries talk about products that penguin doesn't carry or complain about their windows being dark. So for the record they don’t do double pane windows or French doors with issues being the sales force and price.
I had the penguin windows come out and our sales pitch wasn't four hours more like 1.5 hours. I also had the windows measured not once but twice with the installer making the second measurements along with notes about it needed.
When we bought the house the owner didn't maintain it properly and we have done quite a bit of the deferred maintenance that comes with owning a neglected older home. This deferred maintenance includes vinyl windows previously installed that were not installed correctly to the point that two of them leak a tremendous amount of water when it rains along with an old aluminum slider installed backwards.
So I went with a product that is only triple pane, no french doors, no double paned windows that are custom fit to the openings of my house where I don't have to have standard stock that doesn't fit put in. Was it expensive, yes it was. Will I be living here for more than two or three years? Yes, I will. Are they contractors or company employees? They are company employees, so while I'm sure that Anderson, Pella and Milgard are all nice quality windows (I won't tell you which ones weren't installed incorrectly). So in essence, you get what you paid for, poor quality and installation.
Now I do not work for them, I do not have family working for them nor do I care if I did.

Me too! Had a canvasser come around the hood in November and signed me up for a window inspection and bid. The canvasser said the inspection and bidding process would only take 30 minutes!

Next day two fellows show up with bags of stuff. One guy was knowledgeable about windows, the other guy must either live in a rented apartment or a weekly-rate motel because he knew very little about home remodeling or windows (except his spiel). They looked at all of my windows and of course every window was bad according to them. Much the same as other posts above regarding the sales pitches thrown around. After 2.5 hours they left empty-handed. A few days later I went to the big box store and bought some cheap Arium windows and installed them myself. I saved ~$27,000 by not going with Penguin. I know the windows I did buy wont last as long as higher quality windows, but in this economy I'm just trying to maintain. Thanks for the blog, Brian.

I think this story is very classic. I too once used to be a Penguin Windows Employee. Not only do they lie to their customers, but they lie to their employees. I was lied to from the very start. Told all I would be doing was asking people if they wanted to sign up for our contest in "our stores" which they neglected to mention were not actually Penguin Windows stores, but random hardware/sports/grocery stores. I asked them several times if these people were interested in our windows when they came in, because I was not interested in being pushy or bothering people while they were shopping. At no point did they tell me that that was exactly what I would be doing. Secondly I was told the amount of people I got to sign up would not reflect on my hours, or full time status. Another lie. Within 3 weeks of not meeting my quota (which was ridiculous high and unrealistic) I was cut in hours. Every week we would have group meetings, where we would discuss our progress. NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE ever met the quota, and in tern, turn over rate was VERY high. They also made no effort to train us in any way, yet were very harsh when we did not do what they wanted. All I can really say is they had the most sleazy underhanded disgusting business practices I had ever seen. Oddly enough the windows themselves are very good. So I always wondered why they felt the need to be such pushy annoying douche bags. Needless to say I RAN AWAY as soon as I could find another job.

Here's "the rest of the story": Penguin Windows has been recognized by Guild Quality - an independent firm that conducts customer satisfaction surveys for the real estate and building industries - for its "ability to consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience." After compiling the results of over 4400 customer surveys, they have published on their website: http://www.guildquality.com/cr/Penguin-Windows/8BE42643833D6E/ as follows:

* Likely to recommend 94.5%
* Quality construction 96.6%
* Professional and Organized 97.2%
* Value 92.2%
* Work done right 94.7%
Check it out. You will learn that this company is truly interested in providing their customers a superior experience.

TIm, you've pointed to one source of information about Penguin Windows. Prospective window buyers also should Google "Penguin Windows complaints," check out Angie's List reviews, review Better Business Board complaints, and, naturally, peruse the comments on this blog post.

Here's a link to the Complaints Board site where some messages about Penguin Windows can be perused:

Most importantly, do the research. Get several bids from reputable window companies. Compare the costs and benefits of each product. And consider what the Penguin Windows sales tactics say about the company and it's product.

As I've noted before, I've found that when a company engages in high-pressure sales tactics, it's usually because their product won't sell itself -- so people have to be coerced into buying it.

If penguin windows are so freakin' great, why does the company throw thousands of dollars of them into the dumpster every day? In the five years I spent as an installer at the Vancouver branch, I have seen more waste at this company than any other. As to why they throw out perfectly good windows every day is a mystery to me. These are bone windows (windows that couldn't be installed because of misorder or factory screw up) are perfectly good and could at least be donated to Habitat for Humanity. One minute Penguin donates windows to Habitat for Humanity (rarely) and the next they throw more in the trash. And what they throw away far outweighs what they donate. I guess they figure that if they can't sell them, no one can have them. And where does that dumpster go? Straight to the landfill. Vinyl cannot be recycled and releases dioxin's into the earth despite efforts to contain landfill waste. Dioxin's from vinyl and other chemical compounds are responsible for many types of cancers. These chemicals are slowly killing the earth with a cancer epidemic where 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will have some type of cancer in their lifetime. We're filling ourselves with debris and Penguin Windows is helping.

My wife and I escaped from a trio of Penguin salesmen just last Saturday. All of the basic scams discussed previously were tried on us, including the "heat lamp scam". When I told them I'd have to think about it, their jaws dropped, and the REAL hard sell started. I would say no, not today, and they would try another tactic-over and over and over again. I finally got them to leave, then I found your blog(and many, many others) telling the truth about this company. I also found this news article about Penguin's recent financial difficulties that may cause people to rethink Penguin's lifetime guarantee: http://www.nwcn.com/news/washington/Penguin-Windows-closing-115033904.html

Penguin Windows has just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2014359734_penguin01.html

Michael, thanks for sharing the bankruptcy news. As a commenter on the story said, "couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of crooks." My feelings exactly.

I just purchased my first home in May of 2010 and am looking at the end of my first year there. After going thru the summer and most of the winter I knew my windows needed replacing. Main windows in living room are just picture windows and don't open so no air circulation in the summer. One pane in back window is GONE! Other windows leaking moisture with mold and moss growing on them - they are horrible! Did a lot of research and invited the Penquiun people in. Was really impressed with the product, warranty and what they pointed out in the windows that I have (they found the missing pane and the moss and leakage). I, myself, could feel the heat loss thru the existing windows and want better. Yes, they are expensive BUT since I don't plan on selling (they'll take me out of it in a pine box)I don't want to look at replacing my windows again. None of the other manufacturer's had a warranty like Penguin or the safety features or any of the other things that the Penquin windows had. (I looked at Pella, Anderson and Milgard). Plus the fact that all the construction and trim work is included in the cost (I know they say "free" but I am not THAT naive!) And the down and payment plan works with my budget. I can't wait until they are installed. And Shawn and John were very friendly, courteous. If you are not interested in buying don't ask them in. This is their job to sell and if you want cheap you get what you pay for.

You did "research", and yet you didn't discover that they declared bankruptcy after closing all but one store? Good luck with that warranty, and I hope you actually get something installed....sometime....by someone.

Hey Kelly... Make sure you keep a good eye on the installation process because they have a tendancy to hide a lot of things from homeowners such as dry rot and previous leaking damage. Not always, but often they do. Trust me. I remember a couple of times when the management asked us to hide rot to save on the labor of fixing it. I really hope your installation goes well and you enjoy your windows, but remember that you have been warned!

Well well well. Guess who showed up at Our door today? You got it - Penguin! As soon as he told us he didn't even have a brochure but wanted to sign us up for the "inspection" I told him that was okay, that I would just check out the company online. You never saw someone get so p!$$ed off and pouty, so fast in your life. As the word "scam" neon-ed across his forehead and he said "Well obvously SHE isn't interested", I answererd "You got that right. Have a nice day."

A reputable company will have a brochure and will welcome internet research. There will be no "hard sell" or tantrum-tactics. If I hadn't been there, my elderly parents would have caved and allowed him to continue. I just feel such anger wondering how many nice, kind folks who, like my parents, don't want to "rock the boat" have fallen prey to this "company".

Penguin Windows is no longer in business. After laying off 400+ people, the corrupt former leaders of Penguin have formed a new company... DaBella Exteriors. I hear they are canvassing the Portland area heavily right now. Beware!!

Just found your blog, and I saw earlier that this company is out of business now? http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/jun/14/penguin-windows-to-shutter-operations/

That said, I had a very similar experience to many of the people here that I detailed back in 2008. http://www.staze.org/journeys-of-a-salesman/

Absolutely amazing that they made it this long. It's sad that they'll end up laying off people, but seriously, it's kind of amazing they made it so long with their apparently rampant sales tactics.

In hope' s to clear my name I am Polly Primeaux responding to a post placed on this site many years ago by a former employee that worked for penquin Windows. I was accused of sexual harassment by this employee after he decided to quit his job with the company I worked for 8 years. Many of those years I worked mainly with men as it was dominated by a males sales force. After years of successful selling I finally achieved a position as sales manager. It was a very stressful yet rewarding experience for myself and family. To my surprise after Brett R. decided to part ways with our company I was investigated about my professionalism with others I worked with. Everyone had been questioned about me and of course I was the last to know that anything was going on with regards to any investigation especially concerning me so I was very caught off guard by all of the questions but more so the false accusations. I only write this today becuase I am in the sales business still today and I don't want people thinking I'm some sort of pervert who would ever mistreat or disrespect another person in that manner. The investigation came back clean with only made up stories by a disgruntled employee trying to extort money out of the company. Don't believe everything you read as every story always has two sides and this is mine. Good luck to all who follow these post.

Who was penguin Windows bought out by for warranty reasons

We too purchased Penguin's triple pane windows for 2 sets of sliding doors in our home and we absolutely love them. They were not only beautiful but we had one set for 12 years with no problem at all. We subsequently about 5 years later purchased the doors for our second set of sliding doors. They fit perfect they looked beautiful and we were so pleased. Maybe the presentation was a bit longer than we like but I would not say we were pressured at all. We do not tolerate high pressure sales people. No means No...We too received the heat lamp test and I don't know if it was a trick or not, but one thing I DO KNOW, after installing our new doors we could feel the huge difference. Before with our double pane windows we felt the cold of winter coming, no actually blowing through the glass, but with the triple pain windows, we felt the glass and it was not cold at all and it stoped that wind chill from coming through. We would buy them again if we could for our 2nd. home. Yes they are pricy, but they are worth it if you are gong to keep your home for many years. We do not look at it so much as for saving in energy we love them because they are keeping us warm. They also keep the home cooler in the summer time so you save on the cooling bill.

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