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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Homeowner's horror story: Andersen has the worst customer service in the world

The beautiful front doors of my home, from Andersen, are decorated with what a Certificate of Authenticity describes as "Art Glass" from the original designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, often called the father of modern architecture. But when we damaged a small portion of the stained glass, we got repair estimates as high as $2,000.

Editor's note: The American dream of owning your own home can quickly turn into a nightmare when you encounter greedy bankers, unscrupulous real estate agents, run-arounds from manufacturers and dishonest repairmen.


The beautiful Andersen doors and windows in my home have given me problems from the moment we moved in. 

The 3-bedroom house I bought in 2007 had been completely renovated several years earlier, following the plans of a local architect.

First, we discovered parts were missing from the double front doors that made them far less secure than they were designed to be. 

Those repairs cost more than $1,000, so we took the seller to small claims court to recoup some of the money.

Then we noticed streaking on the trapezoid insulated glass window about 10 feet above our kitchen floor.

When heavy streaking on this double-pane window indicated the seal had failed, I called Andersen Corp. repeatedly for the name of a repairman that could replace it with an Andersen product under the warranty, but my calls weren't returned or the repairman said he no longer did that type of work.
After I finally found someone to replace the specialized window, Andersen refused to reimburse the nearly $1,600 I paid, because the new window wasn't made by Andersen.

'We Fix Your Panes'

Despite repeated calls to Andersen's customer service number, the repairmen suggested by the company either didn't return my calls or no longer did that type of work.

I finally located Glass Doctor of Ramsey ("We Fix Your Panes"), which sent someone over to climb onto the roof, inspect the window and give me an estimate, but told me the repair service doesn't use Andersen products.

I went ahead with the repair in December 2015 or January 2016 at a cost of nearly $1,600.

However, Andersen refused to cover the repair under the warranty, because the new window wasn't one of its own.

My receipt from Glass Doctor notes the new insulated glass unit was installed "into existing Andersen stationary trapezoid window frame."

We damaged a panel in the Art Glass on one of our front doors.

Shattered Art Glass

About the same time we were trying to locate a repair service for the trapezoid window, I asked Andersen customer service about damage to the Art Glass in our front doors.

I was given a telephone number in Ohio, and was told I could have the repair service send me a large box.

Then, I would have to remove the framed Art Glass, and ship it there for the repair. I called and left my information, but never got a return call.

In frustration, I Googled "leaded-glass repair" and "stained-glass repair" near me, and found two places, including a repair service in my town, less than a mile from my home.

The first estimate was more than $2,000, so I called Creations In Glass at 344 Main St., Hackensack.

The owner came to my house last July, removed the Art Glass panel, took it to his shop, repaired it and then re-installed it a day or two later. 

The bill totaled $224.70.

Not long after that, the locking mechanism on the Andersen double doors just wore out, and wasn't covered by the warranty, so that repair cost many hundreds of dollars (I can't find the receipt).

More Andersen complaints

I came across a website, ConsumersAffairs.com, which lists the Top 140 Complaints and Reviews of Andersen Windows.