Pella has agreed to pay $35 million to settle claims that its windows are defective. The settlement will provide compensation in the form of a partial refund or reimbursement for the cost of repairs. When the settlement website is up and running, you'll be sure to find it on our settlements page.
At A Glance
This Alert Affects
Consumers who own homes or businesses outfitted with Proline, Architect and/or Designer Series windows manufactured by Pella Corporation.
What's the Problem?
It has been alleged that water can penetrate the windows, causing the interior wood to rot.
Which Products Are Affected?
Lawsuits have been filed over Pella's Architect, Designer, and Proline ranges of windows. In June 2014, the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a settlement involving Pella's Proline windows for issues unrelated to claims that the product is defective. The overturned settlement does not mean Pella is protected against future lawsuits over its Proline windows and does not affect ongoing litigation against Architect and Designer windows.
Type of Lawsuit
A number of class action lawsuits have been filed against Pella Corporation alleging that the company’s Architect and Designer Series windows are defective. According to the suits, the alleged defect allows water to penetrate and leak behind the windows’ aluminum cladding, exposing the interior wood to moisture. This, in turn, can cause the wood to rot and otherwise damage both the windows and the property on which they were installed, the lawsuits claim. It has been alleged that Pella Corporation knew the windows were defective, but took no action to inform consumers of the defect, recall the windows, or honor warranty claims to repair and replace the windows.
How Can I Tell If My Windows Are Rotting?
It has been alleged that because the aluminum cladding on the windows covers the exposed wood, consumers will not be able to notice any problems with their windows until the rotting has progressed significantly. (The cladding sits around the perimeter of the window and is sealed to the glass. It is designed to divert water away from the interior wood of the window frame.) Consumers have complained that by the time they realized the wood was rotting, their warranties had expired and they were left no choice but to repair and replace the windows at their own expense. As such, the class actions are seeking to:
Compensate homeowners who paid to have their windows fixed
Require the manufacturer to reassess all previous warranty claims that were denied, in full or in part, and pay the full cost of repairs and damages
Establish a court-supervised program under which Pella will be required to inspect consumers’ properties to determine whether the windows are rotting
Lawsuits Claim Problems Stem From Design, Manufacturing Defect
It has been alleged that Pella Corporation’s Architect and Designer Series Windows contain both design and manufacturing defects. As a result of these defects, installed windows are likely to fail before their reasonable life expectancies and have, for many consumers, already started to rot, the class action lawsuits claim. If consumers do not have their windows repaired and replaced quickly, the rotting will allegedly progress to the windows’ frames and adjoining structures. Unfortunately, due to their design and manufacture, the windows may not exhibit any visible signs of rotting until years after installation.
The class action lawsuits also claim that:
Rather than acknowledge a defect existed, Pella drafted its limited warranties in such a way that they provide no meaningful remedy to consumers
Pella knew that the windows were defective and would need to be repaired and replaced well before the end of the reasonably expected useful life of such a product
Pella blamed the rotting wood on bad installation, excess moisture in the home or would deny claims “out of warranty” without disclosing the defect
Pella employed a number of “corrective” measures to fix the problem, including the application of sealants, none of which corrected the defect or remedied its effects on the windows and adjoining structures
Consumers were deprived of an opportunity to avoid purchasing the windows, to negotiate a lower price for the windows or to negotiate for extended warranties
Online Complaints Over Pella Windows Mounting
ConsumerAffairs.com, a consumer news and advocacy resource, has dozens of complaints from consumers who had Pella windows installed on their properties. These complaints include the following:
“There was decayed wood detected on the inside of one of the large windows, I called service. I had to pay 50% for the window and labor to get the window replaced. When the service men got there and they took the outside bottom panel off to remove and install the window, it was all decayed under both windows. I paid more for materials and labor.”
“I have to replace three out of five Pella panels for $6000.The water got in between the aluminum panel and wood and rotted out. Now I have four sashes where the water got between the bottom of the sash aluminum cladding and wood. That's going to cost me another $3000.”
“Pella sold me their top of the line windows and doors, while telling stories of lifetime replacements, and that the company stands behind their products like no other. My windows are rotting, and Pella is not standing behind the products...because my windows are the architect series, which cost more, they won't cover them because not enough of us have come forward…I beg you, do not make the same mistake I made and believe anything they say. It's going to cost us tens of thousands to replace these rotting aluminum clad wood windows from the Pella scam company. You have been warned, and I hope you believe me. They are the worst.”