The couple who paid Window set $20,000 for an unfinished project is now about to get a refund

WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) — As dozens of unhappy Window Select customers scramble to get out of their contracts, hoping for a way to get their money back, one spouse says he may be about to get the money back by exploring something called a concession waiver.

Brandon and Nicole Lauterbach say they signed Window Select in December of 2021. They had hoped to get work done in their Sussex home. “The 12 double-hung windows were replaced, a bay window and a new patio door were put in place,” said Nicole Lauterbach.

The Luterbachs say they offered them a discounted price if they paid in full, and they did.

“We paid by check, the date of signing the contract,” they said. The total came to $20,000 in cash. They say Window Select deposited the check twice, and I told them it was a mistake. After settling matters with the bank, the couple said Window Select had offered them tickets to the Packers Suite because of the inconvenience.

At the time, Window Select was a major sponsor of the Packers but that partnership has since been terminated due to unpaid bills from Window Select to Packers.

Luterbachs says after attending the Packers game in January, they expect to have their windows in March as promised.

Unfortunately, like hundreds of other customers, Luterbachs didn’t get anything on the install date. As the date approaches, Brandon Lauterbach says, call to confirm.

“They called their office in Menomoney Falls and asked. They said your windows are on hold and you won’t be in ‘until July,'” Brandon said.

The couple say they don’t understand why the company didn’t call first to notify them. Annoyed by the unexpected delay, Luterbachs called Window Select owner, Justin Kiswardy.

They said “no contact”. They waited until they finally saw CBS 58’s coverage on Window Select, which prompted them to start asking questions about where their money went.

After researching the issue, the Luterbachs decided they no longer wanted to deal with Window Select and began the process of trying to cancel their contract using something called a concession waiver.

There are several types of concession assignment, but in general, a concession assignment is a document from a contractor, subcontractor, materials supplier, or other party to a construction project. It states that they have received payment and waived any future liens to the project property for the amount paid.

Wisconsin law requires that contractors inform consumers of their right to lien waivers on a home improvement contract. Customers can request a concession waiver even if it is not offered.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP), obtaining a lien waiver prevents a subcontractor or materials supplier from placing a lien on your home if the contractor does not pay the bills. This protects the consumer.

Window Select customers must have received and signed a document with their contracts called “Notice of Consumer Right to Receive Franchise Exemptions.” CBS 58 has obtained a Luterbachs version of this document.

The assignment of the lien is proof that your money is being used to pay for your materials. The document legally protects homeowners in the event that they never pay for their materials.

Without waiving the lien, the manufacturer can later prosecute the homeowner for unpaid items.

Luterbachs requested a waiver of the franchise via email and in person, hoping to provide them with proof that Window Select had actually purchased their items for $20,000. “If you order and pay for our materials, we should get a waiver of the concession,” Nicole said.

According to DATCP, consumers have the right to request an exemption from the concession once the funds have been exchanged.

Luterbachs says calls and emails didn’t get what they needed, so they kept going to the Window Select office to sort things out. After several visits, the couple said they had not been granted the concession and still had no proof from Window Select that their items had ever been purchased.

Since Window Select did not provide the required evidence via the concession waiver, the couple were able to cancel the order entirely. Now they encourage other customers to ask for a concession and demand proof that their money was used to purchase their items.

The couple now expects to mail a refund check, but they’ll still run out of that short $3,000 due to the Window Select cancellation fee.

Despite the back and forth, they say they are frustrated that they still don’t have windows but hope the redemption check will arrive soon.

“I hope they have the money to do something,” Brandon said. The couple say they feel hundreds of customers who still don’t have their own windows and are worried about where their money has gone.

“We see all these people who owe money…we are a drop in the sea,” Nicole said.

Window Select is currently being investigated by several law enforcement agencies for possible fraud. CBS 58 confirmed that the investigation remains active and ongoing, with victims spanning across nine counties in Wisconsin.

Any Window Select customer must pay for an order that is still pending and believes a crime has been committed to contact the local police and file a report. Sgt. Marc Shield can also be reached from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office regarding criminal concerns at marc.shield@browncountywi.gov.

Should other customers file complaints or learn more about how to request a franchise waiver, visit www.datcp.wi.gov. Complaints may also be reported to the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau.

CBS 58 made multiple attempts to speak to Window Select owner, Justin Kiswardy, and these requests were not answered.

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