windows select problems, lawsuit, what is going on

Windows Select – SCANDAL in Wisconsin, or not?

If you’re in Wisconsin you may have heard of a potential scandal involving a window company called Windows Select. It even sounds like the Green Bay Packers are involved. Let’s find out what’s going on.

For starters, this article from a local new outlet covers the issues pretty clearly. The accusations are that this company took deposits from hundreds of customers and is unable to pay their bills. This would potentially put them at risk of bankruptcy which would make their customers pretty nervous.

Lets start at the beginning

It seems the owner of Windows Select, Justin Kiswardi, had been involved in the Universal Windows Direct location in West Allis that had gone out of business. Here’s another article outlining some of the difficulties there.

Once that location had closed Justin opened Windows Select which also offers similar products and services.

It seems things started strong, but that didn’t last.

Problems at Windows Select

According to the article listed above Windows Select has received 66 BBB complaints in the last 12 months. That’s not ideal. It also says the owner of the company had previously been sentenced to three years in jail in Ohio for financial crimes. I’m a firm believer in rehabilitation, but it seems like there may be a pattern here.

They say that many customers report paying deposits for windows that were never ordered. If that’s the case it could be that the company is using deposits from one customer to pay for windows for another which is a tricky position to be in.

Are the delays from manufacturing?

Here’s a pretty unusual thing. It seems that the manufacturer Windows Select was using posted a negative google review about them.

Here it is:

Google reviews about Windows Select.

The claim there is that Windows Select was blaming the delays on manufacturing. The manufacturer says they’re making the windows but not shipping them because of unpaid invoices. That’s not a great sign.

Why are the Greenbay Packers involved?

Well, it seems that the company was advertising with the Packers. They were offering things like free tickets when you get a quote for windows. It’s relatively common for home improvement companies to advertise with sports teams so that’s not a problem.

The companies pay the sports teams for the advertising. In this case it seems the company didn’t pay the advertising bills and the Packers have now cut ties with them. Again, not a great sign.

What’s happening now?

Towards the end of that article they mention that the company was setting up at a home and pet show in Kenosha just a few weeks ago. That would mean they’re still looking for new customers.

Finally, they do mention that the owner of the company denied most of these claims and offered to provide info that would explain things, but never did.

If anyone out there has any more info on this situation please let us know. We’ll be happy to update this page as more info becomes available.

What should you do if you think I’m wrong about something?

That’s easy, just post a comment below and let us know. It’s always my objective to share facts as I know them to be true and my opinions. If you think I’ve missed the mark on anything I would LOVE to hear from you. Please post a comment and I may follow up by email too. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to the site!

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That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country including two in Wisconsin. There’s no better way to get new windows.

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Comments

13 responses to “Windows Select – SCANDAL in Wisconsin, or not?”

  1. Jake Avatar
    Jake

    This is a huge deal here in Wisconsin. Hundreds of customers have been taken advantage of. Unfortunately, my mom is one of those who got taken advantage of.

    She signed to replace all her windows in October of 2021. The sales rep told her the maximum it would take for installation would be six to eight weeks. However, he then wrote 16 weeks for the install date on the contract just to be safe he said. My mom then had to transfer funds in order to write the check for the 50% deposit. She told her sales rep she would start the transfer asap. She got it started the next day and then called the sales rep saying it started but she wouldn’t actually have access to that money in her checking account for several days as transferring money from one financial institution to another can take a few days. The sales rep still insisted on coming over the next day to pick up a check from her. Which he did and my mom was very hesitant. However, he kept telling her that they do this all the time where they have customers post-date checks and promised her it wouldn’t be cashed until the date written on the check. Well, she woke up the next morning to find her checking account completely drained with an overdraft. Window Select cashed that check via a mobile banking app as soon as they got it in their hands.

    My mom called the sales rep as she was pretty pissed off over this. He then acted very surprised and said he specifically told them not to cash it until the date written on the check. He called his manager and then called my mom back. He claims his manager thought the date on the check was for that same exact day…. yet didn’t the sales rep claim he told them not to cash it? Something isn’t adding up here or somebody isn’t being honest.

    After that situation, I started combing through the contract with a closer eye. I noticed Window Select failed to ever sign it. Their sales rep never signed the contract. He also never checked the box for which line of windows my mom was purchasing through them. There was no info on the deal my mom was supposed to be getting. Which was their BOGO window deal. My mom then called her sales rep to ask where the BOGO window deal was included. He told her in the initial in-home meeting that he doesn’t believe in charging anyone more than $975 per window. My mom was replacing 20 windows plus a big sliding patio door/window. Her total amount on the contract was over $20,000 so clearly, there must not be any free windows in here. The sales rep told her how they do it is their windows actually cost $2,000 per window for a vinyl double-hung window and then they just chop the price of each window in half. She asked to have this itemized showing proof she actually got any free windows like they were advertising. The sales rep told her he could do that and would drop it off in her mailbox which never happened.

    Fast forward 3 weeks after signing the contract. At this point a lot of things have gone south very fast. My mom does not feel comfortable moving forward with Window Select at this point. She called to cancel her contract. She first got transferred to an employee by the name of Nick who told her she could cancel but she would just have to pay the 15% cancellation fee. After that phone call her phone rang within seconds and the person who called her was Ray Muldrew. Ray identified himself as the owner and CEO of Window Select when he called my mom. My mom brought up how the contract wasn’t signed. Ray said that didn’t matter as he could just make an amended contract and sign it and it would be totally ok. She then said they cashed her check when they promised they wouldn’t. He told her he can cash a check whenever he wants to and that he isn’t responsible for what his sales reps say to customers (this one made me laugh). My mom then brought up how it wasn’t even checked which line of windows she ordered on the contract as they had their premium line and then I’m assuming a lower-grade window line. His response to that was it doesn’t matter because they are using old contracts and they no longer sell the other window. So he pretty much had an answer for everything. Eventually, he started to get rude to my mom and proceeded to turn everything on her as if it was all her fault. He told her the only problem is that she is just a remorseful buyer. My mom then mentioned she would be seeking legal advice and Ray told her if she took any legal action against them he would make sure she ended up owing them $30,000 if not more. He then ended the call by saying she wasn’t allowed to cancel her contract because he already put her order in. This call was at the very beginning of November and that’s the last time she ever heard from anybody at Window Select.

    I guess Window Select has now hired a third-party firm to help them resolve their business issues. This company is called Cogent Analytics out of North Carolina. My mom sent a letter of cancellation in April or May when the local news started reporting on this story. Through the help of DATCP, she managed to get it in writing from Cogent Analytics that her contract with Window Select is canceled and her refund of $10,000+would be scheduled as a priority. Well, it is now going on four months since she was told that and has not received a refund. Now Cogent Analytics is doing the same thing Window Select did to my mom and the majority of their other customers. Simply ignore them and don’t communicate at all. My mom has emailed 2-3 times questioning her refund status throughout these past 4 months and nobody responds to her at all. Yet Cogent claims Justin Kiswardy is working hard every day to do the right thing. Well if he truly was then there would be no issue in refunding my mom. Clearly, her money was misappropriated if she never got windows and she can’t be refunded within a reasonable amount of time.

    Not sure if you have been watching the latest news regarding Window Select but there are now quite a few lawsuits against them if you look in the Wisconsin circuit court system. Their manufacturer Climate Solutions recently filed a lawsuit against them for 1.2 million.

    I truly hope justice will be served for Justin Kiswardy, Christi Russell, and Ray Muldrew. From my understanding, all three of them worked at Universal Windows Direct in Ohio and then all 3 of them came here to start Window Select. Justin already has a criminal past that involves stealing a large sum of money. Unfortunately most if not all of the customers who are victims of Window Select will most likely never see their money again. However, Brown County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Window Select for theft by contractor. The FBI is also assisting/doing their own investigation into the scheme he was running with Greensky.

    It’s funny because another local contracting company was using the same exact scheme with Greensky where they would mark that all the work was completed before it even started to get access to all of the funds right away. That company stole over a million from customers by doing that. They currently are going through a federal trial for multiple counts of various forms of fraud for doing that with Greensky. So for me if customers don’t get their money back then hopefully we get the satisfaction to know justice was actually served in this situation. There are hundreds of customers who were victims of this. Then let alone the amount of money they owe other businesses as well is just insane.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar
      thewindowdog

      I’m sorry to hear your mom got stuck in this. Unfortunately this sort of thing happens on a smaller scale with some frequency. I would think the money is probably gone, but it’s always possible that she may see something one day. If she does please let us know as I’m sure there are a lot of other people out there also dealing with this issue.

      I wonder what will end up happening with Greensky. That may prove to be an interesting story. If they’re releasing the funds to the contractor before the projects are completed I would think they’d be in a pickle. My company doesn’t work with Greensky because the fees were pretty high. The home improvement financing programs that we do work with are very strict on that sort of thing. I’ve always had the impression that they’d quit working with a contractor who was not following the rules very closely.

      If Greensky was getting complaints about this, and you’d think they would have been, then it seems like they would have had a responsibility to put a stop to it. I wouldn’t think it would be in their interest to condone behavior like that. It will be interesting to see how that all shakes out.

      1. Jake Avatar
        Jake

        Well you would think the money is gone if they aren’t refunding anyone yet keep claiming they want to right the ship. However, part of me wonders how the owner is managing to pay for an attorney to represent him in a lot of cases. Now it looks like he just got two other attorneys to help him out as well. Then hiring Cogent Analytics as a business consulting firm from out of state can’t be cheap by any means. That honestly baffles me. Why hire a third-party firm to resolve the ongoing business and financial issues if you got exposed for taking advantage of hundreds of customers? Even if they somehow managed to get themselves out of this very deep hole I don’t know how they would get any new customers without changing the business name as it’s been all over the news here. My thinking on that one is if Cogent is truly getting paid then that money could have been used to repay all the customers who were taken advantage of and had their hard-earned money stolen.

        So I don’t think anybody actually ever complained to Greensky about this because customers most of the time weren’t even aware the owner of Window Select was getting access to the full amount of funds from the finance company without ever starting any work. It’s funny because Window Select advertised no payments for a year or something like that. Then when the owner draws all the money out for himself it then causes the customers to start having to make monthly payments to Greensky. So more like a couple of weeks without a monthly payment.

        I think people started adding it up more when all the customers started coming together and those who did finance all had the same exact story. When we spoke with the lead case agent heading up the investigation into Window Select he told us this is exactly what the owner was doing.

        I am not sure if you are aware of it but if I recall correctly Greensky was involved in a federal case a couple of years ago. They were fined something like a couple million because the investigators found that their system enabled contractors to do these fraud schemes and Greensky did nothing to stop it. It doesn’t seem like Greensky changed their system much to prevent contractors from doing this based on the situation with Window Select. This is probably why Greensky pretty quickly is refunding any customers who financed through them and were making monthly payments without ever receiving the product they ordered. So they have to be careful since they already got in trouble once for this.

      2. Jake Avatar
        Jake

        I think customers weren’t complaining to Greensky because they kind of were unaware of what was really happening. I don’t think anybody realized the owner was getting access to the full amount from the greensky account.

        Luckily, for those customers who did finance, it seems like Greensky has been refunding them for all the monthly payments they were being forced to pay when no work ever began. Greensky has to be careful because if I recall correctly they got in trouble on the federal level just a couple of years ago. Where there was a big investigation into Greensky and they determined that Greensky’s software/system enables contractors to run these types of schemes. I believe Greensky got fined a couple million and then claimed they would improve their system so this wouldn’t happen again. Well, it seems like it’s happening again and I’m sure they don’t want to get caught up in another federal case.

    2. Sandy Redell Avatar
      Sandy Redell

      I am in the family but not blood related to Ray Muldrew. I have had several interactions with him that chilled my blood. I met him when he was 15 and after spending some time around him, I said to my son that Ray was a serial killer in the making. He was raised like a gypsy and taught to lie, cheat and steal. But the police are just going after the owner of Window Select. Not Ray. He cut a deal I heard. Telling everyone he had no idea what was going on. Trust me. He had his hand in the till too. He left the state and started up a new home improvement company. Left Wisconsin with money to burn. Actually took a private plane to Florida to go on vacation. Mister money bucks. So sorry that your mom crossed paths with him. True sociopath.

  2. Robert Avatar
    Robert

    I ordered my Windows with Windows Select in March 2022, was told they would be installed in July, then got delayed to September then November then to January 2023. The company started ignoring my emails asking for updates since now you only get an incorrect automated message so I filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Consumer Agency. I finally got a call from a customer service person that told me that she was unable to give me any kind of time frame as the Company was in the process of filing Chapter 11, and that they were waiting on “creditors” to release some money to them so that they could complete the customer orders that they had. She said if I chose to not want my windows to be installed, I was quote “Shit out of luck” as I would not get my $1800+ deposit back.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar
      thewindowdog

      Hi Robert, I’m sorry to hear that. At least it sounds like she was being honest about the status. I’d say there’s basically no chance you’re going to see windows, but if if canceling doesn’t get you any money back you might as well stay on the list and see what happens. Let us know if there’s any new info, I’m sure you’re not the only person in that situation unfortunately.

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