Let the buyer beware!
There was a time when you walked into a high street shop and almost knew with a degree of certainty, that if you had a problem, you always had a resolve should you have a problem. You could just take it back and speak with someone in the same store.
After all these where familiar high street brands, Brands we had grown up with, brands that would always be there, wouldn’t they?
Three great names of the high street, that are sadly no more.
A quick search reveals literally many more, some you’ll know, and once will have trusted and others that aren’t quite so familiar.
Now granted, buying a composite door, is something most of us will only do once, possibly twice in a lifetime. But when your searching the internet, there are a number of websites out there (ourselves included) who have over the years progressed to offer a complete nationwide coverage.
One such company bore a name with instant brand recognition! A company with an air of security at its heart. Yale Door !
Since the 1800’s Yale has been a ubiquitous brand protecting homes and doors throughout the UK and the world. A brand we could trust, a brand, that brought a sense of trust.
So in 2010 when Yale Door arrived in the internet market, it took the market by storm. A composite door, with trusted Yale Components at its heart. It quickly gathered momentum and market share in the online market place.
It’s important to note that although the Yale Brand was used for the doors and website, it was used under license. That’s to say another company paid for the rights to use the brand “Yale.”
The Brand Yale, is owned by Assa Abloy a worldwide group with a multi billion $ empire! I’m sure Assa Abloy will have been impacted too by the news of the demise!
From 2010-15 YaleDoor continued to grow and grow before the former owners of company sold the company to new owners.
In under 18 months Yale Door has gone from No 1 to No Longer!
On October 4th 2016 the Yale Door was finally closed.
From the outside looking in, all sorts of horror stories for both the staff and more importantly the customers, are being found daily. A look at the companies once great Trust Pilot page, details many of the stories emerging day by day.
This blog post isn’t about gloating, far from it. We truly feel for both the staff and customers of this once great website, but rather to demonstrate the title for the post, let the buyer beware.
The windows industry has for years had a somewhat checkered past, from Sales Man who either refused to leave until a contract was signed, to those who claimed “the price is £xxxx, but let me just call my manager, OK, they’ve said if you do the deal now they’ll do it for £yyyy.” Really ????
To the save 50% merchants who scale up the prices to bring them down so the customers think there getting a deal
Then theres the ones who cut back on every aspect of the service to give a great headline price.
To be fair, many companies are ditching these old tired sales practices, sadly though not all are!
Looking in, it seems like Yale Door, operated by cutting their costs by cutting away their customers protection. They hadn’t offered independent protection to the customers, their fitting teams had been independent fitters who worked else where and took on the Yale Door overspill.
It seems like problems began too emerge very soon after the new owners took to the helm. http://www.yaledoor.info/ shows the concerns of one such customer back in November 2015 just months after the sale to the new owners.
Its important here to understand the industry, and in particular the online composite door market. Every homes door is unique, no two doors are identical, which means every door has to be manufactured bespoke for the home its going into.
Prior to the takeover in 2015 the company had sourced their doors from the UK largest Composite Door manufacturer. Post takeover, it seems they have moved their buying between multiple sources in an attempt it seems to reduce their costings.
Its imperative that the initial survey is carried out correctly from the onset. Get it wrong here, and the rest… well lets just say, measure once, measure twice, measure thrice!
So how where customers taken in?
I dare say the allure of a trusted brand headlining the site was enough to fill must customers with warmth… “I know the name, they’ll do it right!”
Customers paid money upfront on debit cards! Debit cards are akin to cash, your giving the cash to a company direct, and as such you don’t have any recourse. Had they purchased their doors with a credit card or even with a finance agreement, they would have been protected.
Customers didn’t get any protection: This is perhaps one of the “biggies” much like the above one. In an attempt to cut costs, it seems they cut the protection to their customers. They didn’t offer a Deposit & Stage protection policy, nor did they offer an insurance backed guarantee! The Deposit protection does exactly what it says on the tin, it protects the customers money until the door is produced and installed, the insurance backed guarantee gives a lifetime protection to the customer, in the advent of the company going “pop”
Caveat Emptor Lessons :
- Pay at least £100 on a credit card! Why? Doing so means you credit card company are liable for the purchase ! Take a look online at Money Saving Expert for greater clarity. http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/section75-protect-your-purchases
- Ensure your getting a professional survey and fitting.
- Ensure your deposit is protected.
- Ask questions and know the product.
- Ensure your guaranteed.
- Do your homework
- Read the reviews: No company is perfect, things can always go wrong in any process, but it usually a good rule of thumb to see how they deal with problems. Do they stand up and work for or against their customers?
- Ask yourself the questions : What am I actually saving money on? If I save today will I pay more tomorrow?
Our thoughts go out to all the customers, staff and suppliers of Yale Door, with the approaching festive season, no one wants or deserves to be put in this predicament.
As the GFD Trading group of companies it may sound a little clichéd at this time to say “we protect our customers” but its true!
Since 2008 we have been at the forefront of the composite door market. In 2008 when the management team got together to forge the GFD group they wanted to do something different. Combining over 40 years industry experience, we opted to approach the market, firmly with our customer satisfaction at the heart of our business.
“Offer the best products, at the best prices, combine it with the best fitting and secure it with the best protection for the customer!”
“We aimed to cut away everything we felt wasn’t needed. Why should the customer pay for our lovely showrooms and the commissions of sales staff?”
We do things differently !
We live in a digital age, where things are evolving quickly! We realized this way back in 2008. How many times have you gone into a shop, seen something you liked then gone home searched on Google to try and find a better price?
We know people do! Why ? Because we do it too!
- Made in UK: We worked with our Manufacturing partners to ensure each and every product meets the highest expectations of both our customer and ourselves. Our long trading history with each manufacturer , means we have built a position of trust and understanding. It also means that, should we have an issue, we can get it resolved quickly.
- Protecting our Customers: At times in life and business things can go wrong! We’ve all heard stories of rogue companies, or business taking peoples money and either not delivering their promises or worse still going pop! You’ve worked hard for your money, and improving your house is a “big deal! We understand that. To ensure this we have ensured your money, your home and your investment is protected at every step of the way! From providing the most comprehensive product and fitting guarantees available, to proving free protection and warranties, when you choose a GFD Company, you are assured of an unrivalled level of protection and security.
- No Hidden Extras : Simply put if we give you a price for a job, then that’s going to be the price, we wont add extras or come back to you to say, we need more. We aim to get the price right first time every time. So for you the price you see is the price you pay!
- No Salesman & No Showrooms: Why? Showrooms are lovely, but ultimately it’s the customer who is paying for them! There’s rates, lighting, insurances, cleaning, bills etc… all these costs go onto the bottom line of the price you are paying! Likewise with sales people, we simply don’t have them, they have wages, taxes, fuel, cars to run and commissions to earn, again adding to your bottom line.
- Transparency in Pricing: We believe in our prices, we don’t hike them up so we can bring them down, nor do we have 25% off or even 50% off sales! Rather, we give the best prices each and every day, first time, every time!
- Local to you: With 13 fitting branches located around the UK operating over 50 fitting teams, each and every postcode is surveyed and fitted from branch close to you. All our fitting teams are directly employed! We don’t use sub contractors!
- Our website is our showroom and our salesman, and its open 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
- Championing our Customers: whilst we like to think our modern and forward thinking and approach to business makes a refreshing change, we have never lost sight of the fact our customer satisfaction is paramount. It may sound like a cliché but our customers interests and satisfaction are the cornerstones of our success. Happy Customers are our best ambassadors!
- Badges that matter!: Having lots of badges on a website might look pretty, but do they actually mean anything? We believe each badge ought to mean something, provide a recognisable certificate of confidence. The accreditations and associations we carry are akin to the Michelin Stars of our Industry, only awarded to those that constantly prove they do what they say to the highest standards!
- The complete service: from the moment you place a quote with any of our websites, we manage each and every aspect of the process, from ensure your job is correctly measured, manufactured and fitted. To ensuring you are protected at each step. Ultimately we aim for our customers to be happy, for them to champion both our service and our products.
Be informed, be protected, be happy!