A customer review of Safestyle UK windows. Should you buy them?
What it says on the tin, my honest experience of the buy and fit of Safestyle UK windows as a customer.
Since we have been renovating a lot of people have reached out on social media asking about UPVC windows, whether they should buy from a big company or independent traders, what our experience was like buying from Safestyle Uk. There seems to be a confusing polarisation between glowing recommendations and whole FB pages dedicated to disappointed (and sweary) customers – so I guess I am the double-glazing version of Switzerland. And no, this is not an AD post; I am paying (a lot) for the windows and can only comment on my experience and have no professional knowledge. What. So. Ever. No one is named linked to bad customer service and I won’t put costs online.
Looking over phone records I (not including my partner) have made over 50 calls to Safestyle UK totalling nearing 10 hours of call time. Buckle in.
Why we picked Safestyle UK double glazing.
For first-timers, look at Trustpilot rather than companies’ own feedback on websites, ask friends, etc. Look on Money Savings Expert or Check A Trade for ideas of the cost per window each year. Set your budget. I contacted Anglican, Everest and Safestyle UK the biggest double-glazing firms as it was my thinking that if we went with a national company, they would be reputable, have more product choice and be potentially more stable in terms of resources/staffing etc if impacted by Covid. (You should always use a FENSA registered double glazing company.) If you do a quote online be prepared for a hailstorm of calls the next day. Everest have only just stopped calling me, they are like the clingy ex in window terms. We went with Safestyle UK because they promised to beat competitor prices, remove old windows, offer interest-free credit and a 10-year guarantee. They do claim the top spot-on comparison websites, but either all the double-glazing companies have quality issues, or we caught Safestyle UK on a bad day…month…months.
Buying Safestyle UK windows.
To head off potential problems early, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want, that you understand what you’re paying for, get detailed information, and that you don’t feel under pressure to make a purchase quickly. The sales rep visited on the 30th of July 2021, and we purchased a total of 14 windows. She was nice and not uncomfortably pushy like some people have described. Hands up we went in ignorant and got pulled in by the ‘this is the best quote, but it is only available on the day line’. I believe that makes us panic buyers.
That said, the first quote offer was ridiculous, it almost matched the deposit we paid to buy a 4-bed house.
Me being a straight arrow didn’t think price negotiation is a thing, but it is. We paid a deposit on the day and the additional surveyor’s fee, the rest being paid via finance. Call me pessimistic but I wouldn’t advise paying fully upfront, I think if we did that no one would have been motivated to sort any problems. We had an email on the 30th stating a provisional installation of the 27/8/21 which fitted with the 4-6-week turnaround that we were told and one of the reasons we went with Safestyle UK. I was surprised that you don’t get a price breakdown of cost per window, what the fitting costs are, how much they allocate to scaffolding, etc. In retrospect, I would ask for this or at least discuss it.
The long, LONG installation process.
The first surveyor’s visit was booked promptly for the 4th of August. The gentleman visited, took measurements and said he wanted to talk to the office to discuss a couple of things. As he left, I also asked if electrical wiring outside needed shrouding to which he said no, Safestyle UK would arrange all that. So, I was left presuming the fit date still was going ahead. Then things went South. We had no contact from Safestyle UK in the coming month, so I called. And called. Whilst their reps are polite, they don’t seem to be able to action anything, so you are constantly waiting on responses from managers.
If I had a pound for every time, I got promised someone would ‘call back’ and no one did, I would have paid off the windows already.
Time was booked off work. No windows. The delay was explained for the need for a second surveyor opinion for the top floor window. I am no customer service expert but I’m pretty sure that information could have been communicated in 30 seconds rather than months. It was vaguely mentioned window designs and costs may change but no information was sent even though I requested email confirmation. Person 324 said that the survey scaffolding cost would fall to us if the top floor window could not be replaced. At no point verbally or contractually were the potential of extra charges explained to us in the sales meeting. Also, they fobbed off further delay as to being due to that the surveyor raised that the scaffolding could not be put up until nearby power lines were shrouded. I was informed this was my responsibility and got its need mansplained to me. Headslap. I refrained from shouting, ‘I KNOW, I TOLD YOU THAT YOU NEEDED THIS MONTHS AGO.’
To get power lines shrouded call your local power distribution operator- do it asap as the waitlist was months for me. It is free, they send people out; you make them tea. Grand.
Survey number two and lots of cock ups.
The second survey was not carried out until the 8th of October again after empty promises of call-backs and multiple calls on my part trying to figure what was going on. A case manager at one point explained that she had not contacted us because her work phone, laptop and personal phone were all not working which from a customer service perspective is dire. There were also reported difficulties with communications between scaffolders, installation teams etc. In the end we provided two, three-story towers of scaffolding for the second survey as Safestyle UK were not clear on when they were going to put it up or when it would be removed. One person said it might just get left until installation which might be months and then meant we could not park our cars. The survey was booked for 9.30 am (again work was booked off) and the night before, past 7pm the surveyor called and said it would be 3pm the next day. He explained that Safestyle UK only contact him the night before with allocations so why Safestyle UK told me weeks before the morning time I don’t know. Credit where it is due, he was a very nice man. We got given a scaffold installation date. I rang the day before to confirm this as my eldest has additional needs so preparing him for noise is essential. This was mentioned to multiple Safestyle UK employees, and I asked it to be on the record to notify us of cancellations etc. They never did. On the 26th I called Safestyle UK at 2pm to inquire as to the arrival time– and was told it was definitely coming. Again, multiple calls and hours later, at one point being told it has arrived whilst I am standing outside trying to argue that unless I accidentally moved house and forgot, it has not… it transpired that the scaffolding order got cancelled. Hysterical sobbing.
Safestyle UK Window installation.
The installers were due 30th November so it was haphazardly arranged that they arrive, attempt to fit downstairs and then the scaffolders come on the 31st so the fitters could try and complete upstairs at a later date. As luck would have it, we came down with Covid because that would have never worked as the scaffolders again did not turn up on the 31st. Again, I called Safestyle UK, spoke to lots of people, got promised they would call me back. After a while, this does just come across as rude. Scaffolders turned up a few days later at midday under the impression that all the other dates had never been booked.
I want to be careful how I explain the installation as I feel our fitters were sound . The leaflet sent prior to installation (misprinted) explains how on the day fitters sit down with customers and set out an action plan and suggests covering furniture near the windows being replaced. We had a 3-man fitting team, there was no meeting – they just started ripping out frames as they are given such a short timeframe to complete work. They set down dust sheets and I covered furniture near windows, but rubble and dust were across cupboards, light shades, under beds. Even outside our gutters were full of debris. 1950’s wallpaper was ripped down our hallways. We were assured when we purchased the windows that after installation all that would be needed was a paint touch-up around the sills. This was not the case, there was extensive damage – not just around where the frames were removed but cracking through the wall plaster around 8 frames. We had just had 3 rooms newly plastered and redecorated. The fitters tried to repair some of the larger cracks and said we should not have been promised that there would be no damage. We have spent a small fortune attempting to redecorate, but it looks like they will need to be plastered professionally as whole boxes have moved.
One thing that does worry me is the windows seem a different thickness from the display unit from the sales meeting. On review of fitting, a window panel was damaged, and restrictors were missing from the middle floor windows. Other customer feedback is that Safestyle UK don’t fix issues swiftly, but the Gloucester team was quick to book in a time to replace this. They were the only office that rang and checked in courteously and efficiently. Three more panels also needed replacing which was completed the second week of January (when the fitter then noticed an area of broken beading in the UPVC too I have yet to hear about when that will be repaired). In between this, we had an issue with scaffolding removal. We were told by the fitters that it would be taken down the week of the 13th December, which it wasn’t and after calling Safestyle and getting told it would be remedied I was eventually told the previous 3 calls were all pretty much lies as the scaffolding team had gone home for Christmas. It wouldn’t have been too bad, except that the metal doors on each level were not fixed and bang constantly in the wind. We ended up staying elsewhere. When the scaffolding team turned up without warning on the 3rd of January and they themselves said they get many complaints about the doors.
So, what do we think of Safestyle UK?
It took over five months to have windows fit that were sold as a 4-6 week install. The delay and company organisation of the project has been a huge issue, as is the customer service – lack of communication (with us as a customer and between Safestyle’s own departments), cancelled and wrongly informed appointments which have meant missed work and stress, especially to my son. I have had to spend so much time on the phone. We have to pay out for scaffolding and are still trying to repair damage. In terms of the finished product, the windows are ok, though not the quality product I expected, I have been finding chipped areas and holes as I am still cleaning up areas, the sealant peels when you try and clean the frames so is evidently cheap. I will update this post in a few months detailing how latches etc are holding up. Next door had their bay fitted the same time and a latch has broken already.
To put a cherry on the top I contacted customer services detailing the experience and sending photo evidence and the email reply was, ‘Unfortunately we are currently experiencing technical difficulties and as such I am unable to look into this for you.’ I poured myself a gin. Given all of the above, I couldn’t in good conscience recommend them.
Has anyone else had Safestyle UK windows or fitted by someone else? Did you have a positive or negative experience, what would you suggest to other people looking to choose windows?
Ps, Obviously these are not my usual size or standard of imagery, I was never planning to write this post. Lot’s of people have been asking for more photos so I will get round to adding that.