Winchester Offers Comment on FTC Decision

February 29th, 2012 by DWM Magazine

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled with five window companies last week regarding “exaggerated and unsupported claims about the energy efficiency of their windows, and how much money consumers could save on their heating and cooling bills by having them installed. Winchester Industries, based in Saltsburg, Pa., released a statement to DWM magazine regarding the settlement.

“Since 1983 Winchester Industries has conducted business honestly and in a forthright manner. Regarding the recent FTC investigation we share, and have always shared, the Commission’s stated goal that our industry present to all customers and homeowners straight forward, accurate literature and advertising.

 Let’s be clear: Winchester has never admitted wrongdoing or liability in any manner with respect to any of its business practices.

 At issue with the FTC recently was a long-standing, industry-wide practice of offering standardized, whole home “energy savings” pledges to customers. Based on the high energy efficiency ratings its products achieve, (“Energy Star” ratings; National Fenestration Ratings Council labels, to name a few), Winchester, in good faith, offered such pledges to its customers in the past.

 However, in 2010, when Winchester determined such standardized pledges could not always take into account individual home characteristics, it unilaterally and voluntarily discontinued offering such pledges. Winchester took these steps well in advance of the FTC’s actions and two years before last Thursday’s announcement. When the FTC later started its investigation, Winchester cooperated fully and completely. Since Winchester had already determined to discontinue the use of standardized “pledges”, it was never engaged in any “argument” with the FTC. To the contrary, Winchester Industries wholly supports the “new normal” the FTC action has set for our industry, which applies to all companies, not just Winchester.

 Winchester hopes to be judged on these facts. Winchester is frankly disappointed that some have taken the FTC’s announcement to reflect poorly on its existing business practices and products. Nothing could be further from the truth. Critics, who have decided for whatever reason to advance their agenda by using the FTC announcement to portray Winchester Industries as consciously “stepping over the line”, are being neither accurate nor fair-minded.”

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3 comments
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  1. Frankly, I do not recall reading any comments directed at Winchester, and I certainly did not write any specifically directed towards Winchester. Serious, absolutely. Winchester, perhaps a “guilt by association” relationship exists.

    That being said, what I don’t understand fully is the apparent contradictions in Winchester’s statements. On one hand, there is no admission of any wrongdoing, but on the other hand there is the preemptive unilateral and voluntary discontination of making unsupportable pledges. It’s kinda like George Carlin’s definition of “nolo contendre”: I didn’t do it, and I promise not to do it again.

    I also have to disagree with their reference to “long-standing, industry-wide practice of offering standardized, whole home ‘energy savings’ pledges to customers.” This perhaps might be the case with some retailers in certain markets, but is not and has not been the “long-standing practice” they suggest. This part of their statement sounds very much like Kevin Surace’s comments that suggested that the FTC ruling was an indictment of the entire industry, not them specifically. Didn’t agree with him; don’ agree with Winchester. And for them to cry “foul” for being criticized for their practices is just silly, and not worthy of further comment.

  2. There is no standard for BS. Anyone that has a thread of common sense knows that you can not predict energy savings until you know what and how the energy is being lost. Additionally, saving 40% or anywhere around that number, by replacing windows is beyond reason, especially for someone in the industry.

  3. Thanks a lot for the blog article. Awesome.

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