Chantecler Windows and Doors

It's Spring time and some people are considering new windows and/or doors for their home. I spent much of 2004 trying to get just that done with a company called Chantecler here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
If you're considering them... don't! Below is my story.
I keep an up-to-date version of this on my website, though with any luck there will not be anything more to add.
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============================================================================== This takes place in 2004:
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. The original never did come in the mail. 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.
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. Eric came to the house to apologize it person and promise that it would be resolved soon.
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. I filed my first report with the Better Business Bureau.
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). I posted this report to several public housing newsgroups and copied Marc. I got this message from him. Here was my reply.
Nov 24: Called Eric; he said he would verify the door personally and call me back the next day. He would also check in to the missing back-door screen.
Nov 25: Received call from Eric: door is ready for install any day next week. I asked for Wednesday. He would verify and call back that afternoon. He had yet to learn about the screen. Received another call. Confirmed for Wednesday; screen, too.
Nov 30: Received call from Eric: The door is a "go" for tomorrow, 9:30am, and the slider for the screen door will be installed, though the screen is not yet ready and will be delivered on Friday (can just be popped in to place once the slider track is in place).
Dec 1: Received call from Bob at 10:00am. They're not coming. Apparently the installer called and said he wouldn't be "in" today but did not give a reason. Maybe tomorrow. When pressed as to why he was calling to let me know this at 10am when they were supposed to be at my house by 9:30am, Bob had no explanation. Eric came by the house to explain that the bad weather (we were in the middle of a snow storm) was the reason Emmet had not come in to work today but he was pulling an installer off another job to install my door that afternoon. We were having bad weather that day and would make a reasonable excuse for not showing up, but after so many delays (and accompanying excuses) it's difficult to be accepting of another missed installation. In addition, two other appointments I had scheduled for the day (since I had taked then day off from work anyway) arrived at the house promptly at the time they said they would. Some installers from Chantecler did arrive in the afternoon to install the screen track on the back door and measure for the actual screen which would then come in a few days. They did their job fine, but when they left, I found leftover cut pieces on my back stair; they didn't bother to clean up. As for the front door: now scheduled for install on Saturday, Dec 4.
Dec 4: This installer (Luke and Bruce) arrived promptly at 9:30 to install the front door. They did a great job, cleaned up nicely, and even put the little plugs that cover the screws in to the holes so we didn't have to. There was some tape residue left on the window that I had to clean and the plate that the dead bolt slides in to is not flush with the door jam, so I had to fixed that myself. It seems that even the good people don't care about the final 10 minutes that makes a great job in to a perfect job.
Dec 7: Received a call from Eric to confirm that everything was now complete. I told him that we were still missing the screen for the back door, but other than that, yes everything was complete. I suggested to him that he read this history (I had sent them the URL previously as part of a report to the Better Business Bureau) and he said, "I don't think I want to do that." I laughed with him at the time; after all, it's difficult to hear bad things about yourself. Thinking about it afterwards, though, I think this accurately shows the general thinking at Chantecler. Most quality companies would kill to get detailed feedback about what they do right and wrong. Though my experience with Chantecler has been generally bad, there have been a couple good points that I've brought forward. I've also tried to provide specific ideas as to how they could improve. A quality company would eat that stuff up. Chantecler simply doesn't care.
Dec 13: Called Eric to tell him that we still didn't have the real screen door. He said, "I'll take care of it."
Jan 5: (Yes, it's now 2005!) Still nothing from Eric. It seems that they do not care and do not learn. The only way to get anything from them is to cause trouble. I wrote to our local paper (the Ottawa Citizen) and reported Chantecler to "Action Line", a column on companies that are not meeting their commitments.
Jan 6: Received an email from Marc asking if everything had now been completed and if I was satisfied by the work. See, there's proof! You get no service from them until you cause some trouble. I told him that I'm still missing a screen door and that Eric said he'd "take care of it" way back on December 13th. Of course, he'd also said that on Dec 7th, Dec 1st, Nov 30th, Nov 25th, Nov 24th, and Nov 22nd. Seven occasions, and that was just just regarding the screen door! Somebody should get that man some pen and paper.
Jan 7: Received call from Chantecler administration asking if all my work had been completed. I told her no, I'm still waiting for a screen door. She said she'd get somebody to look in to that.
Jan 25: An installer from Chantecler arrived with the screen for the back door. It was the wrong size. They took actual measurements for the door back on December 1st and they still get it wrong! Even the guy doing the installation (who was, to his credit, quite embarassed as he had been to our place a couple times before) referred to the company as "incompetent".
Feb 7: Somebody finally came with the correct screen door. Of course, he had to move the bottom track because it had been installed in the wrong place, but at least it's in. We'd found some air coming in by the front door and even some frost on the casing inside the house so I asked him to check the door and to remove the casing and verify the insulation. He fixed some of the air leak but didn't remove the casing. I guess that's just something I'll have to do myself. For now, I'm just glad to be rid of these people! (And just one week shy of a full year since we originally went to see them, too.)
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 jab 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 jam, 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 planned 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.
When the screen was installed, the installers left the cut pieces of track just sitting on by back stairs.
* Front Door: This was installed very well and went smoothly. It looks good and we're very happy with it except for a few small details. First off, the hinges are gold and don't match the brushed-nickel finish of the rest of the fixtures in the house. This isn't anyone's fault; or, perhaps, it's more accurate to say that it's everyone's fault. Chantecler never asked what finish they should have or mentioned it in any way and we never thought to ask, concentrating only on the handle and dead bolt. Live and learn.
As for the install, everything went well and was cleaned up nicely except for a couple strips of tape residue on the glass insert. Some "goo gone" took care of it, but I personally think that all the work on the door should be finished when the install is finished. Also, the strike plate for the the dead bolt was not properly counter-sunk. I pointed this last item out to Luke before he left and his response was "Oh, that's nothing. Don't worry about it." Then he left. Very disappointing after such otherwise good work.
Anyway... That (almost) wraps up this adventure. Maybe Chantecler will get their act together. I doubt it though. The idea of "Do what I say I'm going to do" seems very foreign to them. I'm absolutely certain that the only reason everything was completed when it was is not because of my patience or attempted understanding of their problems. I'm sure that the only reason I got results in under 12 months is because I made threats of of action against them and began to follow through with those actions.
Eric assured me that this was not typical of Chantecler. I find that extremely hard to believe. I'm the only one that had slow delivery, unreturned calls, and missed installation dates!?! What did I do to warrant such special behavior? No, that's too unlikely for words. I'd bet money that many others had or are having the same troubles. In fact, I know that others have had installation dates canceled and rescheduled because they told me that they were doing just that to accommodate getting my product installed. I assume this was supposed to make me feel better, knowing that they were going out of their way to help me, but it just told me that they still don't get it: Do what you say you're going to do.
If anybody reading this is waiting for service from Chantecler, write the Better Business Bureau, write the local paper, and, if that still doesn't work, start talking to small claims court. It's probably the only way you're going to get things moving. Good luck!
============================================================================== Brian ( )
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Leave it to the computer industry to shorten "Year 2000" to "Y2K". It's that sort of thinking that led to the problem in the first place.
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replying to Brian White, KathrynRobertson wrote: Sounds interesting.
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