SHARONVILLE, Ohio — This has been a frustrating year to do a home improvement project, with so many delays and shortages.
And some customers of one Cincinnati window company may be out thousands of dollars after the retailer recently locked its doors without warning.
Patty Kroell wanted to replace some old windows last spring, where cold air was getting into her son's Norwood home.
"It's got cracks in it, where air is coming through," Kroell said.
So she called in what she thought was a reputable local window company, Window Planet of Sharonville.
"They told us everything would be good," she said.
So she paid a deposit of several thousand dollars.
But seven months later, she says, she received a lot of excuses, but no windows.
Better Business Bureau flooded with complaints
Kroell started searching online and soon found a lot of similar complaints posted online at the Better Business Bureau website.
"She's making it sound like they are on their way, but no one's receiving windows," Kroell said.
Windows are on back order with almost every home improvement company these days, especially if they are custom orders.
But what was happening with this company seemed to be worse.
"She is stealing hard-earned money from people," Kroell said.
Stephanie McGuire prepaid $13,000 for 20 replacement windows at her Warren County home, but had just a few dropped off in her garage before Window Planet stopped contacting her.
She tried to stop the check, but it was too late.
"So I was not able to dispute the charge or anything," she said.
What happened to the company?
We spent the past three weeks trying to contact Window Planet.
But we found the office on Kemper Road locked on two different occasions, their Facebook page is gone, and messages we left for managers have been unreturned.
The Better Business bureau now has more than 40 complaints, and has also been unable to reach the owner or any managers.
McGuire says she was told by an installer she reached that he left the company a month ago after he was not paid for his most recent jobs.
The BBB has now slapped Window Planet with an F Rating and has revoked the company's membership.
To protect yourself, the BBB says:
- Pay a contractor's deposit by credit card, not check.
- Don't pay the full amount up front.
- Stick with standard sizes of windows and doors possible, as custom sizes can take months to arrive.
Of course that's little help for Patty Kroell, Stephanie McGuire and what appears to be several dozen other customers with unfinished projects.
"It's really sad," McGuire said.
We will keep trying to reach Window Planet management.
If they have your deposit, your best bet now is to reach out to the BBB and the Ohio Attorney General, so you don't waste your money.
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