You know that I said…

This is a quote of mine from an earlier post:

The whole experience has made me realise, though — I never want to have someone come round the house again on a sales-oriented call

Guess what we did on Tuesday night? That’s right, have a salesperson round!

Let me explain a little bit. The people who previously owned our house bought new windows and doors from Zenith Staybrite. Although this all occured way before we moved in, we were aware of it. A couple of weeks ago, someone from Zenith rang up to say that someone had seen our windows and doors, and decided they were going to make a purchase from Zenith. Apparently this made us eligible for a discount on any more work that we wanted done, which I believe is fairly standard industry practice (typical referral scheme, nothing dodgy there).

Anyway, he asked if we wanted any work done, and all I could think of was the front door: we are the only house (bar one) in our road which hasn’t had the door moved out to be level with the front of the house. Doing this would give us more hallway space and would generally be more convenient. I said as much, and the guy said they would send someone round to look at it on Tuesday evening.

It turns out that the person who arrived was actually a salesman. I was expecting someone more technical! He was a little bemused really – we didn’t actually need to be sold anything exactly. All we wanted is for the door to be moved, and just wanted a quote to that effect. The door is a good one – only a few years old – and so there really is no need to replace us.

And to be fair to him, he did call up his manager and ask whether this would be possible. (I should be quite clear that this guy was great all the way through – we didn’t get any pressure from him. The main problem came from the company itself, but more on that later). Apparently it wasn’t, and we were told we would have to buy a new door!

So, we went through the procedure, we chose the door that we wanted and had it priced up. The actual price came to over £5,000! Strangely enough, we weren’t too keen on that price 😉 But, surprise surprise, Zenith Staybrite could do it cheaper than that. Because our house is close to town, we check pretty much all the boxes (the salesman’s manager said that we had pretty much everything except for an airport near us).

He asked to talk to me, and then offered me a best price of about £2,500. In fact, he as good as told me that they were pretty desperate to get our house because we were in such a “convenient” location for them (even if no-one actually walks past our house because we’re in a cul-de-sac off of an estate with only one entrance and exit. But still).

Having learned from our mistake with Solar Home (see the linked post above), I basically said that there was no price he could offer us that would make us take it up that night. (a) we couldn’t really justify spending that much money on a door when we already had a perfectly good one, (b) I just resent being blackmailed like that!

So, that was the end of that. So we thought. We’d been getting missed calls from a number we didn’t recognise. Eventually they rang at a time we were actually in, and it turned out to be Zenith. They said that they were “doing some work in our area”, and were willing to reduce the price a bit more. Although they weren’t completely sure what the price would be, it would be “under £2,000”. This smacks of a sales tactic to me – they’re only based in Chelmsford for goodness’ sake, it’s not like they need to stay in a hotel in Colchester to do the work! Needless to say, we’ve declined their offer again. Something about it smacks of desperation, which actually is inclined to put me off rather than make me say “oh, what a deal! This is unmissable!” It’s reverse psychology, except that it’s working against them.

It did remind me of why we decided never to have salespeople round though. I think the problem was, we weren’t really expecting a salesperson! Hopefully this is a pretty rare situation and so won’t happen again. But if it does happen I know what to say – “No thanks, I already have a penguin”. (Well, perhaps I won’t mention the penguin part. But something similar).

What we might do with the door is get a local builders to come and see if they can do something about moving the door. It seems bizarre to actually buy a whole new door when the existing one is perfectly good, and still pretty new. Even if it’s a similar price, it will at least be more environmentally sound and support local business (if we manage to find a decent local builder).

*phew* apologies for the length of this rant, it’s been a while since my last one!

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5 thoughts on “You know that I said…

  1. Even £2000 sounds like a lot, just for a simple porch. Think about it in terms of materials and labour – bricks aren’t expensive, and a good building contractor will be able to do all the work in one day, so if it comes to £1000 I’d be surprised. Unfortunately I don’t actually know any builders personally in Colchester, but maybe you could ask at church – I’m always surprised how many contacts you find there! Either way, definitely get more than one quote, preferably three, so you see what the market is like. And don’t just go for the cheapest one either – sometimes you get what you pay for.

  2. Alex, perhaps I should have rung up Zenith and asked them to quote me for a new bedroom door 😉

    Matthew, sound advice! Actually no bricks would be involved – our door is inset into the house, we would just want to make it level with the front of the house. Essentially it’s taking the door we’ve got, moving it forward about 18 inches, and doing the plastering / flooring in our hallway to match.

    We will have an ask around at church, and we also have one or two contacts who might be able to help so hopefully we’ll find someone who does a decent job!

  3. Don’t go anywhere near Zenith, whatever you do! They were one of about fifteen companies I got quotes from to replace my doors and windows in Colchester. They used very dodgy selling methods, and even their cheapest quote came out about four times more expensive than the reliable local company I used. They’re a complete bunch of cowboys!

  4. Simon, you’re right about the sales techniques: everything is geared towards making you buy on the night. Very dodgy.

    Might have to talk to you about the ‘reliable local company’ though 🙂

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