A NUMBER of worried customers of the former St Helens Glass Company have contacted the Star expressing fears over the validity of their guarantees for work carried out by the firm. The new owners of the company maintain that they are not legally responsible for honouring them.

One angry woman said she had spent more than £4,500 in April this year on a double glazing package which included a 10 year guarantee. However, just weeks later when St Helens Glass Company Ltd went into receivership the guarantee was scrapped.

The angry and disappointed customer slammed the way she had been treated, saying: "If our windows fall out next week we've got nothing.

"The guarantee was one of the attractions as was the fact they had been trading in the town for 30 years. I don't think it's right."

And the disillusioned customer added that when she told the company that a minor repair work to the windows was needed, St Helens Glass informed her that she would have to pay for it.

The situation arose because St Helens Glass Company Ltd went into receivership on May 4, and was then bought by a subsidiary company of the Latium Group who formed a new company St Helens Glass Limited.

St Helens Glass Limited in a statement to the Star say: "It should be stressed that there is no connection between the Latium Group and the previous owners of the old company.

"The Latium Group has highlighted its commitment to the St Helens Glass Company Limited customers by honouring all deposits placed before May 4 and onwards. The company is also honouring all previous employee liabilities.

"The company has also exceeded its legal obligations by agreeing to carry out repair work covered by guarantees issued before May 4 by the St Helens Glass Company Ltd. This work will be undertaken at cost, despite the fact that guarantees issued for work carried out before the St Helens Glass Company Limited went into official receivership are no longer legally binding.

"The company regrets any inconvenience to those customers affected and is doing its utmost to minimise the disruption to the small number of people involved."

Meanwhile, St Helens Council's Trading Standards, who have also been dealing with numerous enquiries, confirmed that St Helens Glass Ltd has not contravened the law: "The new company has not accepted liability for any goods, warranties or guarantees supplied by the previous St Helens Glass Company Ltd and is under no legal obligation to do so." said a spokesman.

"Any customers of the previous company who have a problem with their double glazing installation and approach the new company, are being offered a repair service. The customer will have to pay for the cost of any repair and we believe there is a minimum call out fee."

"But if previous customers paid in full or part by credit, then the finance company may be liable for the cost of any repair needed."

Trading Standards added that the Receivers for the St Helens Glass Company Ltd, Hodgsons of Manchester, are advising customers with claims against the old limited company that they are unlikely to receive anything when and if a Liquidator is appointed.

Hodgsons may be contacted at: - George House, 48 George Street, Manchester, M1 4HF