The glazing industry on social media was in uproar on Thursday afternoon and evening as a video from the Daily Mail surfaced. It shows the son of an elderly lady confronting a sales person who had recently sold her two PVC doors for the eye watering sum of £6000.

Before I give my opinions on this, and the future of sales in the industry, take a look at this five minute video. It makes for some angry watching:

I think that this is the first time that something like this has been captured on film. I cannot think of any other occasion where sales people have been called out for their awful sales tactics like this.

Whilst this is an outrageous amount of money for two PVCu doors, I am not shocked. This is only one case, but it will going on day in and day out, and we all know the types of companies, most certainly our industry’s biggest, who will be selling in such a disgraceful manner.

What is most frustrating and damaging to our sector isn’t necessarily the money involved, but the stress and anger it causes with the home owner and their family. In the video, it is a 81 year old lady with severe mental health issues. The son is rightly wound up, angry at the sums of money handed over, frustrated that the problems with his mother’s door could have been solved much quicker, much cheaper, and without the stress of having two new doors installed. This will be a scenario played out with many families up and down the country on a daily basis. Except this time it was caught on film.

Time for legislation

There are times when legislation gets in the way in our industry. However, there are areas where it is most definitely needed. And this is one of them.

I don’t think it is unreasonable to stop companies dealing direct with home owners who have severe mental health problems, medical problems or similar, without help and support from family members. Too many times we hear and now see stories where big companies and their sales people take advantage of vulnerable people with prices and sales tactics which clearly abuse their trust. By having family members present during home visits, it would help ensure that potentially vulnerable people aren’t taken advantage of, and sales people are far less likely to use their hard-sell options if they’re outnumbered in the person’s home.

Even if this never became legislation, how about companies make this their own company practice? SafeStyle UK, Anglian, Everest, Zenith Staybright – would you make so that family members are present if you’re attending a house visit to a person with vulnerabilities?

Petition for investigation

I think though that we have reached a tipping point. The outrage and response I saw on Twitter was stronger than have seen in a while. The part of the industry which does it’s business honestly has had enough. The taking advantage of the country’s vulnerable people by the industry’s biggest and well known installers has to stop.

I am calling for an investigation into the pricing practices of the aforementioned businesses and other large regional and national installers to bring this issue further into the public domain. Everyone who works in the industry knows exactly what is happening day and and day out with elderly and vulnerable home owners, and a clear and public investigation may be the only way to force this to stop.

I am also calling for legislation to be put into place to stop the obviously falsified gargantuan price drops and discount structures which facilitate archaic and hugely outdated hard-sell methods. A lot of home owners see through these, knowing what they are. However some don’t, as is demonstrated in the video.

So, if this is something you support, or even if you agree that the types of hard-selling and laughable discounting practices, then I ask that you add your name to the petition below. Something has to change. The video above is going viral on social media, and I hope that it adds massive pressure on all the national window and door installers, including Zenith, to completely ditch these kinds of practices.

[emailpetition id=”1″]

If this petition gains traction on here, I may consider starting one on the Government’s website. This is an issue that I ask the industry’s biggest bodies; the GGF and all under The Helix Group, Certass, The National Federation of Glaziers and all others to publicly denounce selling of this kind. This video highlights the kinds of horrendous sales methods that go on day in and day out in our industry. Some say that there is very little that can be done. Well I disagree. The more vocal we can all be, calling this out for what it is, the more pressure we create and hopefully shame the big companies into backing down from these types of sales methods.

One final word. It’s time for the Consumer Protection Regulations to change. Dear GGF, this comment in reply to Anthony C Jones is not good enough. Hiding behind this isn’t good enough in 2016:

Anthony, the CTSI approved GGF Consumer Code quite clearly states “Companies must not use any high pressure sales techniques”, contrary to the incorrect statement you make above. As we have explained to you before, high pressure sales techniques are those listed in the Consumer Protection (Unfair Trading) Regulations, examples of which we give in our Code content, and that content is CTSI approved. It would appear that maybe you have your own personal definition of high pressure sales techniques which is different from those listed in the CPRs.

Other than that we have nothing to add to this subject to what we said earlier in the year.

Just because it’s CTSI approved and you use existing regulations to form your own, doesn’t make those regulations and CTSI approval right.

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