I talk to a lot of people about windows. Probably too many, but that’s a story for another day. Today is a story about a reader who asked me about Simonton window complaints.
The reader was from Florida where my company doesn’t currently offer windows so I wasn’t trying to sell anything. I was just trying to be helpful. She had read some Simonton window complaints online and was concerned that she would be unhappy if she ordered Simonton windows.
As an aside, I did recently write another post about Alside window complains where we talked about how the end user of the window typically don’t know a lot about windows and will often assign the blame for an issue in the wrong place. I won’t repeat that topic, but you can find that post here.
There are several factors to consider when opinions from folks online, whether they’re “experts” or customers. One is that you can find someone in the world who is unhappy with anything. They could be giving out free Rolls Royce’s and someone would write “one star, too comfortable”. There is someone out there who really will complain about anything. Have you seen the complaints that people write about national parks? They’re hilarious.
The important factor to keep in mind is scale.
You see Simonton is a pretty big window manufacturer. They make millions of windows and probably have millions of customers. Some percentage of customers will be less than pleased with any product. That’s not unusual and it’s not very important.
Think about it this way. If Company A has 1,000,000 customers and has 100 window complaints online they have an unhappiness rate of 0.01%. You could read 100 negative reviews and think it’s bad, but I think we’d all call an unhappiness rate of 0.01% pretty good.
If Company B has 200,000 customers and has 40 window complaints they would have less than half as many window complaints online. You might be a casual googler and think that you find much less negativity about Company B so they must be better. You see less than half as many unhappy people so it would be easy to assume that Company B is better.
You don’t realize that they’re 1/5 the size.
In fact, company B has an unhappiness rate of 0.02%. That means they have twice as many unhappy customers as a percentage of the total. That is much worse, but it looks better when you’re googling. It’s tricky to navigate.
If you were to hire Company B you’d be twice as likely to be unhappy about something at the end of your project, but you’d have no way of knowing that at the beginning.
The moral of the story is that it can be very easy for a small manufacturer to look great online. That doesn’t mean they’re actually great.
Should I work with a larger company or a smaller company?
When thinking about window manufacturers I always suggest working with larger and more well established companies. I don’t recommend Simonton windows too frequently but they are an example of a large brand that has been around for a long time and likely will be around for many years to come. Even if you read some Simonton window complaints it doesn’t’ mean they’re making a bad product. It just means they’re large.
It’s very easy for small manufacturers to pop on the scene, sign up a handful of dealers, get them to write great feedback online and the window manufacturer looks great. Then they hit a financial challenge for one reason or another, they don’t have any resources and they close their doors.
Unfortunately this happens all the time and it leaves people who thought they were buying windows from a very well respected manufacturer completely out of luck with no warranty or access to replacement parts. When you see people complaining that a lifetime warranty isn’t really lifetime this is usually the cause. If the company goes belly up you have no warranty.
So, how should I decide who to work with?
The window business is challenging, that’s for sure. Every company says they’re the best and they all say that everyone else is horrible. It can feel difficult to navigate, but luckily it’s really not that hard.
I always suggest starting with a company with a good reputation and a solid track record. Then listed to what they have to suggest. Ask any questions about it, ask about options both more expensive and less expensive. When you feel like they’re offering a reasonable value that fits your needs you should buy it.
To try to help in that regard we’ve compiled a list of great companies all over the country. We may not know anyone in your neighborhood yet but it doesn’t’ hurt to ask. You can find our list of the best replacement window companies right here.