Soft-lite Purchase of Gorell

mav3481July 5, 2012

I was looking to get 4 more windows (Gorell, as I love my current 4). I noticed that they were recently purchased by Soft-lite.

Any bad signs from this? What do you all think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Gorell purchased by Softlite

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HomeSealed

No bad signs at all. Softlite is a company that is widely known for being financially sound. Gorell is now one of their product lines, and there are already some pretty exciting upgrades being made to the product line.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 11:30PM
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mav3481

Can you elaborate? I had two DH triple pane windows and two TP sliders put in at the end of 2010. Now I'm looking at 2 more DH TP windows and two DH windows in a garage (for looks, not energy efficieny).

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 11:35PM
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EcoStarRemodel

What are you concerned about? Softlite is a very well-known and financially sound company. If you are still concerned, then buy another brand.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 5:31AM
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HomeSealed

What would you like elaboration on mav? Gorell had fallen on hard times financially for multiple reasons, and they have since been purchased by Softlite which is one of the stronger companies in the industry.
If you are looking for elaboration on the improvements, they are incorporating several of softlite's options such as woodgrains, and offering improved performance due to new spacer system offerings and glass packages, weatherstripping profiles, etc.
Gorell has always been near the top in quality but had started to fall behind slightly in efficiency. The new and revised lines are bringing them back up to speed.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 8:04AM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

+1

Soft-Lite is solid company and the Gorell lines will do well under their oversite and management.

You should not have any misgivings about using them for the additional windows.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:29AM
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mav3481

HomeSealed: I was just looking to be sure that everything was still going to be as good/better than before. I've been in situations where buyouts happen and quality dives. Just wanted to be sure.

Thanks everyone for your input.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:50PM
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HomeSealed

All indications are that performance will be significantly improved. Gorell products will now be made in the Softlite facilities, so I'd expect the level of quality to be consistent with Softlite's existing products. Much of the sales and service staff (not production) have carried over however, so hopefully that high level of service will continue. My dealings with them have been good so far.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:28PM
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tim48

I certainly hope you folks have better luck with Gorell/Soft-Lite windows than I've had. We had our local Gorell dealer replace 15 windows in the fall of 2006 with 5300 series triple pane/Solar Control Plus LowE2/Krypton-filled 2-lite & 3-lite casements at a cost of $11,800. The installation was professionally done and we were initially very pleased with the results. Then in March 2009 three windows exhibited seal failures and internal fogging. Replacement sash were ordered by our dealer and by the middle of June 2009 still had not received the replacements. I contacted Gorell and spoke with the VP of customer service and found out our dealer was no longer affiliated with Gorell. The lifetime warranty was still in effect but I would have to pay the shipping charges and install the replacements myself. Replacements finally arrived in August 2009. I replacement the sash and everything seemed OK. In April 2011 three more seal failures were evident. I contacted Gorell customer service and inquired why I was seeing so many seal failures in such a relatively short period of time....no comment. I would be responsible for shipping and installation again. Replacements arrived in good condition in 3 weeks and I again did the installation. Skip ahead to June 4, 2012. Two more seal failures. I checked Gorell's website to get the customer service phone number (no indication there of any changes) and called to order two more replacement sash. I was informed that Soft-Lite had purchased the assets of Gorell and since I didn't have a dealer any more the lifetime warranty was now void. Again no comment on why so many window seals had failed. I was told I should be thankful that Soft-Lite Gorell would sell me the parts. Now I'm stuck. After paying almost $12,000 I now have to face the apparent failure of every window in the house. The windows that fail look terrible from the outside. I decided to order the smallest sash of the two windows that failed for $226 and again I'm responsible for installation. I ordered the first sash on June 4,2012 and it finally arrived on August 10 via UPS in a cardboard box in two halves with the all the perimeter weatherstripping damaged. Customer service??
I hope any potential customers dealing with this company go in with their eyes wide open. I will certainly not be recommending Soft-Lite Gorell.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 2:58PM
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pfmastin

We have also had a bad experience with SoftLite refusing to honor Gorell's "lifetime" warranty. We have had every single window in the house replaced before SoftLite bought out Gorell because of rubber strips falling out of the panes between the glass. No seal failures until the buyout and we're beginning to see them now. SoftLite says they will sell us the parts and charge us to ship them. We are livid that they will not back up the warranty. Shame on them!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 9:55PM
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pfmastin

+1
Soft-Lite is solid company and the Gorell lines will do well under their oversite and management.

You should not have any misgivings about using them for the additional windows.

Just don't expect them to honor Gorell's lifetime warranty on previously installed windows.

I want people to know that SoftLite refused to repair/replace windows with seal failures that had a warranty from Gorell.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 9:59PM
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breenthumb

Well, that's bad news. I replaced all of mine with Gorell "top of the line" a few years ago from Rochester Colonial, and am going to call them tomorrow.

I am sick to death of drafty windows that won't lock. Turning the lock only pulls the top down and/or bottom up and opens the window.

I've had one sash replaced for seal failure and several fuzzy strips that they call insulation come loose. Might have ignored that if they weren't hanging in front of windows. Repairman locked the windows I was having the most trouble with while he was here replacing insulation a few years ago but the difficulty is in the design. Will call Rochester Colonial tomorrow for sure and see if they are standing behind the warranties. They aren't the reliable company they once were.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Windozing

Does anyone have any updates on this?

I replaced my windows about 3 years ago and have 3 bad seals. Two of them were in areas of the home that I don't regularly frequent so I was waiting to get them serviced under warranty thinking that my lifetime warranty meant something.

I called my installer and he said that he wasn't sure he could help me because Soft-Lite isn't honoring the warranties unless you purchase a bunch of stuff from them.

Is that even legal...?

Had I known that Gorell was in trouble I certainly would have went with another. Soft-Lite and Simonton were the other two choices and knowing what it appears that Soft-Lite is like, it certainly wouldn't have been them.

My installer got me a price for the sashes and his cost from Soft-Lite was over $150 per sash!!!

I don't think I should have to pay nearly $500 to get warranty coverage on my windows if Soft-Lite acquired Gorell.

If you are going to market the name and the product, shouldn't you have to take on the warranty as well?

Please help if anyone has any ideas.....

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:14AM
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Windozing

If anyone has any information and they don't wish to publish it, please email me directly through the site.

Thanks.

Beth

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:33AM
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pfmastin

Windozing,
I don't have any new information or I would gladly post it. I would shout to the world how unfair this is if I thought it would help. :)

We were told (after many phone coversations with SoftLite that they would not honor Gorell's warranty since they only purchased Gorell's assets and not their liabilities. I thought of taking the issue to my state's Attorney General, but haven't not done it. I don't know if there is any recourse but it's very unfair.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:07PM
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Windozing

This is making me sick to my stomach. I am going to be out $450 to just fix these windows with no guarantee that the seals won't continue to fail at the same rate.

Seems rather disingenuous to purchase a company to bank on their namesake without taking one iota of the warranty. All the good with none of the bad. Is there any part of Gorell still left? I wonder if I will even be able to get warranty parts in the near future. I see where they are converting over some of the lines to Soft-Lite window types.

I am so mad at Gorell I can't even see straight. The more I read the more I hear that they produced a bunch of bad glass out there. I wonder if I am in that bad batch.

Does anyone know if there was a production run (i.e. something I can check my serial number against) that was the worst of the group?

I guess I would be concerned if I were a future Soft-Lite (or any window) customer that they might pull the same wool over the eye's of the next customer but just selling assets to another company.

I guess you don't really have any protections at the end of the day.

This stinks in a major way.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Windozing

Does anyone have a good contact number for someone at Soft-Lite.

Just hoping that someone navigated this already and maybe had a sympathetic ear at Soft-Lite.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 4:20AM
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mmarse1

contact a company called " Intigral " in ohio. they make/ made all the IG units for Gorell starting in 2009 i think. they could be resposible since they sealed the units.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 9:02AM
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HomeSealed

I could be wrong, but I don't think that Intigral did Gorell's glass until the last year (maybe 2). I believe they switched in 2011... That said, I'd be very surprised if the warranty exists through them. I have not seen or heard of any rash of bad glass, just the normal stuff here and there that you can get from anyone.
I'm not sure on the response that you would get from Softlite directly, as they-- like most manufacturers-- rely on their dealers to service their products, however you could certainly try to go up the chain of command if you don't get satisfactory answers.
If you are unsuccessful, your best bet may be to just call a local glass shop to replace those bad units. It would probably be cheaper and you may get a new warranty through them... Obviously that is not the ideal situation for you, but it is an option. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:22AM
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breenthumb

Luckily our dealer is still in business and sent someone out to show me how to lock the obstinate ones. Open the bottom and push the top pane (further)up . Then close and lock.

It sure is hard to believe a company with such a solid reputation can suddenly go out of business and void all those "lifetime" warranties--especially when they are still named as part of the company.

When reading the link below, the "customers" they are referring to as moved on or not moved on are the dealers (not us) who either continued to carry and sell the brand or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Interesting

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:49PM
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pfmastin

I have some phone numbers. I hope you have better luck than we did. I'll post what I have so you might give them a try. Let us know if you learn anything new.

1-724-465-1800 - Main # for Soft Lite Windows
1-724-465-1851 - This was the person who gave me the final answer that they couldn't honor their warranties. She was very empathetic and polite...just no help.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:57PM
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pfmastin

Here is a little more information about what happened with the company:

About Soft-Lite Gorell Windows and Doors

Soft-Lite Gorell is a manufacturer of specially engineered, custom manufactured windows and patio doors for residential replacement applications.

In 1947, Frank Gorell founded Season All Windows, which manufactured storm windows and doors. In the 1960s, Season All pioneered the development of custom-made replacement windows. This revolutionized the industry, allowing people to purchase an energy efficient window to fit an existing opening, instead of adjusting the opening to fit a premade window.

Season All changed hands several times in the '70s and '80s, including a three-year ownership by Wayne Gorell (Franks son) and his brother, Franklyn. In 1993, Peachtree Doors and Windows of Norcross, Ga., bought Season All, closing its Indiana plant and ceasing production of Season All windows. This move left Wayne Gorell, CEO, and 500 other employees jobless. Season Alls operations were later terminated as well and Season All ceased to exist.

Within months, local politicians approached Wayne Gorell about opening another window manufacturing facility. With a complex financing deal that included six banks, seven state loan packages and personal investment, Gorell Enterprises (parent of Gorell Windows & Doors, LLC) was born and located in the former Season All building.

Gorell Windows and Doors, LLC prospered initially but fell on hard times after a recapitalization of the company followed by the severe economic downturn that engulfed the housing industry in 2008. Unfortunately, Gorell Windows and Doors, LLC was unable to recover during the ensuing tough times and was forced into receivership on February 9, 2012.

On February 14, 2012, Soft-Lite Gorell LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Soft-Lite LLC, announced its intent to purchase certain assets of Gorell. The Receivership Court approved the sale on March 29, 2012. The sale included the Gorell name and product styles.

Soft-Lite LLC, (parent of Soft-Lite Gorell LLC) a "Window & Door Top 100 Manufacturer", has been in existence since 1935 and is renowned for producing the highest performance windows in the replacement industry. Soft-Lite Gorell LLC will ensure the same "Soft-Lite" performance attributes and quality are engineered and manufactured into the Gorell line of products acquired.

Over the 2012 Memorial Day weekend, Soft-Lite Gorell LLC moved manufacturing of its newly acquired product styles from the closed Gorell Windows and Doors, LLC plant in Indiana, PA into Soft-Lites award winning highly automated manufacturing plant in Streetsboro, OH.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Windozing

In case anyone was wondering...we are getting nothing out of Soft-Lite.

My installer is going to help with the cost of the sashes and I do appreciate that as they are not really obligated to do so.

According to him, he does not buy as much Soft-Lite or Gorell product any longer so they will not extend him any more warranty coverage.

I hope people read this and understand that in order for you to get warranty coverage as an installer, you have to continue to sell Gorell and Soft-Lite and then...only then...do you get what appears to be some miniscule warranty coverage.

If I didn't know any better, I would say that reads like an episode of the Sopranos and a shake down. I thought that Soft-Lite was based out of Ohio but apparently their founders are from New Jersey.

So...these are the breaks people.

Be forewarned. I bought Gorell window and thought I was covered. Now, just with the 3 seal failures I have had already, I am going to be out about $300 to get them replaced and that is with some contribution from my installer because he felt badly about the whole thing.

He believed, as did I, that he was selling and honorable and premium company.

Apparently not.

If they will do it to me...be assured....they will do it to you.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:35AM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

Beth,

I am sorry that you are having to deal with this. I will call my Soft-Lite rep if you want to email me your information and see what he can do.

WoW

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 10:31AM
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devineluck

I too replace a whole house with now defected and now un warranteed windows that soft-lite will charge me to quote the replacement of and for which I will have to pay them to replace my lifetime warranteed Gorell windows that have mold growing inside of.

I reached out to a lawyer and will keep you posted. I am however not hopeful.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 4:45PM
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Windozing

This is terrible.

Another Soft-Lite "Customer" that is left out to dry.

What state are in? Please keep me posted if you inquiry nets you anything. Perhaps we should pool resources?

Isn't there a website that someone was starting?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:38PM
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PeteUSMC

We too purchased 18,000 worth of Gorel windows in the Fall of 2006. I must admit up to this point the windows have performed well. We started noticing issues on the glass of a few windows but passed it off as dirt on the exterior. When we contacted our contractor we were told about the situation with Gorel and Soft-lite and how NEITHER WOULD BE COVERING THE WARRANTY. Needless to say we were shocked. I decided to review the situation with a close friend who happens to be an attorney. According to him, and to our dismay, there is really nothing we can do barring an all out time consuming run around with the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
I will say that my contractor has been extremely helpful and was able to get us replacement parts for a reasonable number as well as performing the service. I have now had 5 windows replaced and we sit in hopes that the others will hold up. My advise to anyone who is going through this situation would be to keep a strong bond with you contractor (assuming they are still in business). They can help make it a bit less painful
The old saying Buyer Beware rings true here.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 5:10PM
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ted_d_bear

Another unhappy customer here. We spent over $15,000 to replace all of our windows with 6 mil armor glass plus windows. We have at least 4 windows that have mold growing in them and I can see several more that have fog in them. Does anyone know of another window manufacturer that has a better reputation?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:30PM
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soft_lite_windows

Ted,

I am in the same predicament. I was posting as Windozing but closed that email and lost the password so I just re-registered.

I have been out over $500 already and I suspect (based on the feedback from my installer) that there are more seal failures to follow. I replaced the worst ones and will probably do them in batches.

Be aware that if you bought Gorell windows, you basically have no warranty coverage and Soft-Lite is not covering diddly.

Beth

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 3:58AM
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haleyfamily

My suggestion to those like us who are now without a warranty is to seek help from your contractor. Fortunately our contractor remains in business and was able to provide us service for a fraction of what it would cost to re-replace the windows. i hope this helps

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 2:07PM
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soft_lite_windows

Mr./Mrs. Haley,

That is great news about your contractor helping out.

My concern is can I still expect my contractor to foot the bill for defective product. We have triple pane krypton equip Gorell windows and my research tends to point to these era windows being problematic.

The were expensive then and probably expensive now. How much can I ask, if any, for my contractor to cover.

We have another two that have failed. They were worse in the winter than they are now but I am sure the fog will return.

Hopefully more people will question their "supposed" lifetime warranties in the future.

I guess if a company makes a big enough batch of crud...they can always file for chapter 11 and side step their warranty.

I know that happens all the time but it was good to see Soft Lite preemptively side step any warranty coverage by buying all the assets and not ponying up anything. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 3:55PM
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soft_lite_windows

Figure that I should update this thread with the new updates to the Garden Web/Houzz.

I have actually seen the correspondences with my contractor and the Soft-Lite Windows (Soft-Lite.com). They are offering my contractor bunk in this case. Because he is using another company (who can blame him) they aren't offering him any assistance. Obviously this is royally putting me out and I am left with the short end of the stick.

He showed me his quote on a few replacement sashes and I was blown away. Now that he isn't using them as a default, his prices have skyrocketed and it was really quite outrageous.

It was going to cost me nearly as much (with him kicking in toward the warranty) as the windows did to begin with.

We have contracted with a local manufacturer and when the weather gets better, they have agreed to remake the glass for a fraction of the price.

Effectively my warranty and Soft-Lite Windows contribution to that warranty isn't worth the paper it is written on.

Keep that in mind if you are purchasing any of their products. I realize that my window were Gorell in this case and Soft-Lite Windows is not violating the law. The fact is, they have and opportunity to generate some good will by just offering the replacement/warranty parts at nearer their costs and they aren't even doing that. I don't expect them to offer the parts at a loss, but for crying out loud...you are trying to make a mint on something that you took over in good faith and are really sticking it to your previous contractors and customers.

Shame on you Soft-Lite Windows and beware if you (the consumer) thinks it can't happen to you if you buy their windows.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2015 at 8:23AM
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PRO
HomeSealed Exteriors, LLC

Here is what now exists on the Gorell website: http://www.gorell.com/

I feel compelled to comment given my optimistic view immediately following the merger/purchase, and my subsequent comments at the start of this thread. Needless to say, I don't think that this has gone well for any of the parties involved, although those that purchased Gorell windows are the ones really left in the lurch.

From what I can tell it looks like Softlite no longer offers products under the Gorell name (based on a web search and my inability to find any dealers).

1 Like    Bookmark   March 5, 2015 at 3:27PM
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texasgal47

Reading this makes me question the wisdom of giving up my single pane aluminum windows to "upgrade." Current windows have been problem free from original install in the mid-80s. My prior custom built home had the same type windows from 1975 until I sold it in 2011. Both homes are well oriented on their respective lots and heavily treed. So far, utility bills have been quite reasonable. I know the pros for upgrading but sometimes there is something to be said for using a simplified product. As has been noted, even good products can have issues. At least seal failure is one thing that is not on my worry list. I'm preparing to make a change, but this thread does give me pause.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 5, 2015 at 5:47PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

The second layer does more double the complexity and increase the failure risk when it comes to seal failures. That all being said, we aren't still flying around in turbo prop planes because turbine engines are more complex.

You have to do what is right for you and if you are doing this out of a utility bill reduction, you need to see what, on the impact depth chart, is in order first and second. Windows, in your case, might not make the list.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 5, 2015 at 6:03PM
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UltraWindows

Thanks for posting that link HomeSealed. Soft-lite is trying to give the impression that they really came through for Gorell's creditors in purchasing the company. Yes, the creditors got paid most of their money but Gorell's customers got completely hosed.

Soft-lite has handled this entire purchase horrendously, and in the process tarnished their once good name. While they still manufacture great products, any potential customer would be justified in being skeptical about their willingness to do the right thing when it's legally possible to avoid it.

2 Likes    Bookmark   March 5, 2015 at 7:20PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

On a side note, what a crappy way to deliver a legal notice. Talk about not really giving a rats you know what. There are other ways that you can more softly deliver bad news. This is not one of them.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 3:35AM
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tim48

soft_lite_windows commented earlier:

"We have contracted with a local manufacturer and when the weather gets better, they have agreed to remake the glass for a fraction of the price."

Does this mean they will make replacement sash for you or can you replace just the glass? I was under the impression that you have to replace the entire sash.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 5:43AM
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PRO
HomeSealed Exteriors, LLC

Another manufacturer would not be able to make a new sash, only glass. Most windows are constructed so that glass only replacement is possible. Your understanding could be due to a dealer that would RATHER replace a whole sash under warranty as it is easier, or to an overzealous window sales person if that more closely reflects your situation

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 6:04AM
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branlance

From what i read about the purchase, soft lite bought gorells assets but the asset purchase did not include any gorell warranties.

I had a picture window that was cracked and the company came by and just installed new glass that was sealed with lowe and argon gas. So yes, they can just replace the glass unless the frame is cracked or sonething.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 6:05AM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

Branlance,

That is a fair point, however, I think the bigger issue is the handling of that point after the fact. I never sold Gorell so the point is moot for me. There have been plenty of Gorell dealers that have spoken about the difficulty, significant expense, and punitive nature of that expense once you are out of the network.

That appears to be the bigger discussion point right now.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 3:13PM
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