Chantecler or Chante-Fraud?

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
I'm posting this to the public newsgroups in order to warn others about this company. I've already submitted one report to the BBB and have another ready to go. They continue to run advertisements even though they have over 100 orders (some reports go as high as 200) still unfilled, some going back as far as April.
I've copied a sales representative and the president of Chantecler on this message in the hopes that the public exposure might encourage them to get the job done (or at least return my calls) and in case anyone has similar experiences they wish to share.
Below is my experience to date, starting near the beginning of 2004. I keep an up-to-date copy of this on my website.
        http://pobox.com/~bcwhite/chantecler.html
Feb 15: Visited Chantecler showroom on Colonnade Road to look in to the "Not     as Crazy as You Think" sale they were having regarding 60% off product     to have it installed during the winter months. We met with Eric     Peloquin and decided to take advantage of the sale to replace both the     front and back doors of the 35-year old house we had purchased the     previous August. He said they were quite busy because of very high     response to their offer but should be able to have someone out to the     house within a few weeks. Some relatives of ours made similar     arrangements.
Apr 20: Received visit from Keisha Green (613-791-9384). She took unofficial     measurements of the doors. We also decided to replace the kitchen     window at the same time so she took measurements of that, too. We     selected the styles we wanted and she left saying that she would get     back to use within a week or two (they were still very busy catching     up with the overwhelming response of their sale) with an install date.     Our relatives never did receive a visit from anyone. They were lucky.
May ??: Had visit from Denis to take official measurements of the doors.     Though Keisha had stated that the official installers would be by a     few days before installation to make those measurements, that was not     the case here. The installation date was still not set.
Jun 3: After numerous calls and no response from Keisha, we finally learned     that Chantecler was having real trouble. They had supposedly fired     numerous people from their factory/warehouse and were running very     behind schedule. We were told that management was discussing options     including outsourcing to another manufacturer or giving money back. A     decision would be made by Monday, June 21st. Either way, she had been     told specifically by management to NOT return calls over the past     several weeks. She would call us on Monday, June 21st with details.
Jun 22: No call from Keisha. Called her to learn install date; it is     scheduled for Monday, July 26th.
Jul 19: Called Keisha to confirm install date and learn time of date when the     installers would be arriving. Time was unknown but date of July 26th     was confirmed.
Jul 22: Called Keisha again. Install date of July 26th confirmed (again), but     time still unknown. Keisha said she would call Friday, July 23rd with     the information.
Jul 23: No call from Keisha. Called her but no answer. Left message giving     home phone number and asking her to call on the weekend with an     install time.
Jul 26: No call received on the weekend. Called Keisha at 8:00am and 9:30am     but no answer; left messages asking her to call me. Received call     from Keisha at 11:00am: still no known time and now she says that the     order may not even be ready. Called Marc Grandbois (president,     819-663-5301 x226); left message with personal info and requested he     call me ASAP. Called Eric Peloquin at 11:50am (Keisha's boss and     General Manager, 613-213-2472); left message with personal info and     requested he call me ASAP. Received call from Eric at 3:50pm and was     told that order was not ready and would not be for some time, probably     late August at the earliest. Alternatives such as outsourcing the     request or getting our money back were mentioned.
Aug 3: Called Eric and requested Sept 27th as installation date. He agreed     that this was doable. I told him I wanted a penalty clause in case     this date was missed. He said, "If it's not installed on that date,     then it won't be me you'll be talking to.", indicating that he would     be out of a job if he could not get things organized by then. When     pushed, Eric said he would have to double-check the installation date     but agreed to a penalty of "no charge beyond what had already been     paid" (about $800) for everything. Since the down-payment was 30% of     the final cost (including tax), this amounts to a 70% discount.
Aug 10:    Called Eric and because he hadn't returned my call to confirm the     installation date. He said he had a meeting at the factory that     morning and would call me back that afternoon. Later he confirmed     delivery and install on Sept 27th and again agreed to "no charge     beyond what had already been paid" if the Sept 27th date was not met.     Eric said he would put it in writing and mail it to the house.
Aug 26: No letter from Eric. Called him at 12:02pm and left message reminding     him of our agreement and asking for the contract to be mailed to the     house.
Sep 8: Still no letter from Eric. Called Marc at 1:38pm and left message     describing the agreed-upon install date (Sept 27th) and the penalty     clause, and asked for written contract of such to be mailed. Got     return message stating that the contract had already been mailed.
Sep 16: Still no letter from Eric or Marc. Called Marc at 9:47am and left     detailed message asking for contract with penalty clause to be mailed     and faxed.
Sep 17: Fax arrives with Eric's letter and cover-sheet from Marc. Contents:
     September 2nd, 2004           Dear Mr. White,
     As per our telephone conversation, this is to confirm that we will      be doing the installation of your two doors and one window on      September 27th, 2004. As agreed, if the project is not ready on      that date and we cannot do the installation, you won't be charge      [sic] anything more than the deposit you have already given in      order for us to complete the project.
     I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the delay      in getting your order produced and installed. I am confident      that once your window and doors are installed you will be very      satisfied with both the products and the installation.
     Sincerely,
     Eric Peloquin      General Manager-Renovation
Sep 27: Installers arrived around 9:30am. I was immediately told by one of them (Sedric) that the front door was mis-measured and a different size was needed. It turned out that the window in the front door that was brought (the "lite") was incorrect anyway. The kitchen window was installed fine. The back doors were installed but is not what was ordered as it opens to the inside instead of the outside. Closer inspection also revealed that, while the door is the same size as the door replaced, the actual opening in the wall is several inches wider, a fact that was never noticed by the person who did the original measurements. Called Eric and left message asking him to call me.     The work done did not meet the requirements of the penalty clause.
Sep 28: Received message from Eric. Called Eric; no answer so left message     asking him to call me again.
Sep 29: Called Eric; again no answer so left another message asking him to     call me.
Sep 30: Called Eric. I explained about the wrong sizes and also that the     window insert in the front door was wrong. Eric said that Denis would     come to the house on Friday, Oct 1st or Monday, Oct 4th to re-measure     both doors. Denis would call that night to confirm which.
Oct 4: No show or call from anyone at Chantecler. Left two (2) messages with     Eric about this.
Oct 6: Denis arrived at the house and measured both front and rear doors. It     turns out that the original measurement of the front door was correct     and that the installers were wrong. Left message with Eric asking him     to call me back.
Oct 13: Called Eric (never received call from him). He said everything was on     order and he would call back by the end of the day. He didn't.
Oct 14: Called Eric; left message asking him to call me.
Oct 15: Called Marc. Asked for information as to what is going on and to call     me back. I stated that I was through being patient and, if I didn't     have absolute information by Monday, October 18th, that I would start     writing letters to the Ottawa Citizen, Better Business Bureau, and     small-claims court.
Oct 18: Received message from Eric: doors are on order, hopefully done that week. New installation date would be known by that Thursday, October 21st and he would call me on that day.
Oct 21: Received evening call from Eric stating that the doors would be installed on Wednesday, November 10th and that the installers would be arriving at about the same time as before: 9:30am.
Nov 10: Nobody from Chantecler came to the house. Called Scott (installation     manager) and was told that we were not on his calendar and that he     didn't even have our file; he stated that Eric had not given him the     information. Scott said it might be possible to do the install that     coming Saturday, November 13th and would call me back and let me     know. I called Marc and left a message with this information and     expressing my displeasure with all this.
Nov 11: Received call from Eric; he said he would call Friday before noon with     a new install date. Eric claims he did give the information to     Scott. No call from Scott was ever received on this matter.
Nov 12: Received call from Eric at 1:00pm (not before noon, as he had said).     A new install date (now the fourth install date I'd been given) was     set for morning of Friday, November 19th. Called Scott and left     message asking him to confirm this information.
Nov 18: No reply from Scott. Called him again and left another message     requesting confirmation of the November 19th install date. Called     Eric and left message requesting confirmation of install date. Called     Marc and left message stating that I still had no confirmation of     tomorrow's install and that if I stayed home again (as I had on     November 10th) to wait for people that didn't show up, I would go to     court requesting my wages for those two days.
Nov 19: Eric arrived at the house at 8:00am so he could tell me that the new     back door was also made opening inwards (the same mistake as with the     existing back door). He came so early because he had been forwarded     the message I left with Marc and didn't want me to miss a day of work     for no reason. He said that they were building a new door that day     and promised installation on Monday, November 22nd by 9:30am. He also     said he would be coming with the installers to make sure everything     went correctly. He also stated that today was Scott's last day with     Chantecler. I didn't ask why.
Nov 22: Called Eric at 9:20am; left message asking where he was. Called Bob     Lafrance (819-663-5301 x243), the new installation manager, to ask     what was going on. He said that the installers were behind (but     avoided my question as to how people could be behind first thing     Monday morning) and would arrive sometime in the afternoon.     Installers (Emmet and Carl) did arrive around 2:00pm, but with only     the new back door -- our front door was nowhere to be seen even though     Eric had told me it had been ready for weeks. Also, missing from the     new back door is the screen. The installation went well and I was     happy enough with the job these two men did that I requested them     specifically for doing the front door. Interestingly, these two men     had been called off another job in late morning to go get this door     and do my installation. The reason they didn't arrive at the house     until 2pm is because when they went to the warehouse, the door was not     yet ready -- the same door that was promised to me by 9:30 that     morning. I called Eric and left a message telling him that the     back-door screen and front door were still missing. He didn't call     back.
Nov 23: Called Eric and left message asking him to call me at work and let me     know where to go from here. Called Bob; he said that as far as he     knew my front door was not yet ready but he would check and get back     to me with a real installation date (that would not be missed).
As for my satisfaction with the product and installation referred to in Eric's letter... It's not good. Actually, the product seems quite well built; it's the installation I have concerns with.
Kitchen Window: Unfortunately, I was not at home when it and the first try at a back door were installed so I can only see the finished product. While everything looked nice, closer inspection showed that they installers just didn't go the very last distance. Some of the nail holes in the trim were not filled while others hadn't been sanded. There was dirt and streaks on the windows because they hadn't been cleaned, and attached to the glass were super-adhesive stickers that took about an hour with "Goo Gone" to finally remove all the residue.
Back Door: Because the first back door installed swung the wrong way, I got to see how it was installed when it was removed. In addition to the small things with the kitchen window, some bigger problems became obvious. There were spots under that bottom sill that were devoid of insulation (and hence drafty), and the entire thing was held in the wall with a total of four 3" #8 screws. There weren't even any blocks in the space between the door jamb and the jack-studs leaving about 1" of that 3" screw supported by nothing but spray-foam insulation. Had both doors been open and pulling down on the jamb, there is little doubt that those four small screws would have moved or bent causing the entire door to lean inwards. This could explain why for several days after installation, the door rubbed against its frame such that it took a lot of effort to open or close it.
The second set of installers (Emmet & Carl) did a much better job. My back door is now supported by six 4.5" #10 screws with blocks so that there is little of the screw that is not biting in to something. They even planed ahead for things I might want to do (such as building a deck outside that door) by building the exterior casing such that I could easily remove the bottom piece and let the deck boards go directly under the door. That's a sign of experience and care! My only complaint was that they also didn't go the very end of the distance. Still, I asked specifically for those two when installing my front door.
The back door is a double door with a center post that swings outward with the second door. The Chantecler factory had wrapped both doors in plastic before mounting it in the frame. Unfortunately, since the center post is permanently attached to the second door, the plastic was caught in there and, after removing the plastic covering, you see the ripped edge of the plastic caught in this space. Had I not pointed it out and kept asking about it, I'm sure they would have gone home and left it still there. Removing it involved popping some cover caps and temporarily removing the screws that bound the center post to the second door long enough to open the second door and remove the plastic -- about a 5 minute job.
Front Door: As of today, this has still not been installed, though I'm told it's been ready at the warehouse for weeks.
Brian ( snipped-for-privacy@precidia.com )
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You know... I would really like to believe you. I don't think I'm a bad guy and I think I've given many more chances than most people would have. There have been things in dealing with Chantecler that have been good, as I mentioned in my post and in today's phone conversation with Bob Lafrance. It's just that they're so few and far between.
When I talk with you and Eric on the phone or in person, you both seem sincere and basically good people. So like I said, I would really like to believe you... But I can't. As you saw in my email, there are dozens of times I've been told things, made promises, and then it didn't happen. And I'm not just talking about the six missed installation dates (or is it seven now?). There have been countless phone messages I've left that were never returned (both to you and Eric) and many "I'll call you ..." that never resulted in a call until I was the one dialing.
Understand: The waiting for my doors and window has been annoying, but the vast majority of my frustration comes from being repeatedly told that you (the collective, Chantecler, "you") would do something and then not done it. I've told this to you personally. I've told this to Eric. I've told this to Keisha. Me telling you hasn't changed anything. When Eric came to my house on Friday morning, he appologized (apparently sincerely) and promised that he would personally be there Monday morning with the installers to put in my doors. Needless to say, Eric didn't show. Nor did he call. Nor did he return my messages. Nor did you return my message. Nor could Bob adequately explain how the installers were already behind first thing Monday morning. (I found out later that the door wasn't actually ready until 1pm that day.)
The numerous mistakes regarding the physical product is incompetence. The continuing broken promises is dishonor and disrespect. Guess which one I think is worse. The problem does not appear to be any one person; it seems to be company policy.
So... It seems my only chance of getting things done is to persue other channels. I have a second report to the BBB nearly complete and I'm working on a letter to "Action Line" in the Citizen. After that will come a suit in small claims court. I might fit in some letters to your board of directors, too. You see, I do what I say I'm going to do.
Brian ( snipped-for-privacy@precidia.com )
P.S. Eric still hasn't called me to tell me what is going on even though I left him another message this morning.
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