AIBU to sue kitchen company?(17 Posts)
Last summer we had a new kitchen installed in a new kitchen extension (a suspended floor i.e a room sits underneath the extension as opposed to a concrete floor). The building work (of the rest of the house) was finished in September and the 6-month snagging period came about this April.
I wrote to the kitchen company (upmarket and expensive!) requesting that they come and 'snag' their kitchen as I was surprised they had not already offered to do so given that it is a high end, bespoke kitchen. They said they were on holiday and essentially ignored. To give you an idea, there are cupboard magnets missing, settlement so some cracks that need painting, a warped door and some re-grouting of the stone splashbacks required.
They are refusing to return and want to charge £450 +VAT a day to send someone round (more than I used to earn in a week!).
AIBU and/or is it possible to take them to the small claims court? Is there a legal protection thingy for customers as we paid in full so have nothing to hold over them as such?
So many thanks in advance
First off I would write to them asking if they value satisfied customers.
I would suggest you detail all the 'snags' you have found and express disappointment at the standards of finishing given their 'upmarket' nature and exclusivity. You could also get a quote from another company for fixing the issues you have and suggest to the original company that they should pay for someone else to fix if they are unwilling.
I would also name and shame here on Mumsnet!
Any responsibility in law would really be down to what was in your original deal/contract. It may be that the company who measures up and makes the units does not actually do the fitting but subcontracts out to someone else. You would need to determine who you were actually taking to court befor instigating any proceedings.
Not sure if any of that helps?
Have you got legal insurance with your house or car insurance that would be able to help?
Thanks so much for your response. I have written a list of snagging issues and they have just made an assumption that the issues are because the kitchen is now a year old (my list does not include the repair of scuffs etc but problems that have been there for a long time)! Which is ridiculous - firstly, surely every kitchen has to settle and surely every kitchen should last longer than a year.
They keep saying that in July last year I was 'satisfied' but in July last year, I gave birth to DC2 and we still lived in a building site so the fact that we had a functioning kitchen meant that snagging the kitchen myself was the last of my worries! I just can't work out if I ABU but surely an up market kitchen company should come and check their own kitchen installation and fix snagging issues?
I will go and look at the contract now and see what it says about snagging (I doubt anything, given their reaction to date).
Oooo - we definitely have house insurance - but shouldn't the kitchen company be fixing the kitchen and claiming on their insurance?!
ps. why would car insurance help??!!
you want to sue them because after a year there are some things wrong?
why didnt' you tell them this before now?
Did they offer a snagging service? If not then you are being unreasonable. What does it say in their contract of works?
If it says they will come back and rectify then they should do so at no cost to yourselves.
If they then refuse you can go to moneyclaimonline and make a claim against them it cost you around £35 you would claim for what it cost for you to get it repaired.
However bear in mind you have had use of the kitchen for over six months and some things would be wear and tear.
Generally you would tell them before you paid in full, i.e this is wrong, that is wrong they would come and fix and you would pay the balance. Generally if there is any snagging to be done a year later you hold 2.5% of the balance as retention until a year has passed.
You might find you are out of time to do anything.
The thing is, though, that settlement cracks etc don't appear immediately. It is a new extension so everything is going to settle (they were at the house as a building site so knew all this!). It takes about 6 months for these things to happen, as such. I wrote to them in April requesting that they come and snag and they have been avoiding it since.
It has been a big learning curve and all the other suppliers/tradesmen have come back with good grace to fix things. I am just really shocked that the kitchen people haven't.
Thanks for your responses. I am really grateful.
I don't understand how settlement cracks in a new kitchen extension can be the responsibility of the kitchen unit supply company.
Surely, the cracks in walls which are to be expected, should be snagged by the builder of the extension.
The kitchen fitters only fit to the walls that have been built.
The kitchen units are 'bespoke' and made to order. They are on the floor and hung on the wall. Each unit is 'glued/nailed' together and then painted (it is a shaker style kitchen). The cracks have appeared where the kitchen units join together (wierdly, there are no cracks in the walls - agreed that this would be the builders responsibility).
Ah. See what you mean then. It's not a settlement crack, since reasonable people would not expect a kitchen unit to settle. Maybe if you have described the problem to the company in those terms they are not being overly helpful as they think you mean the walls?
Completely agree wooden units should not crack after a year in normal use. Maybe you could email them some photos?
Visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk and call the Helpline - 08454 04 05 06 (9am-5pm Monday-Friday).
Consumer Direct is effectively Trading Standards and they are best placed to advise you as to your rights in this matter.
Is the kitchen made from solid wood like oak? If so have you been looking after it? Wood needs moisturised just like you would use a moisturiser on your face. If your skin gets dry then it is prone to cracking. The same can be said for wood which needs fed with natural wax to stop it from drying out.
This is not a kitchen fault this is something to do with your walls moving causing the units to move. Sorry but you will have to pay to have them realligned it is not the responsibility of the kitchen company.
OP sorry I missed that the units were painted and not bare wood. However I wouldn't jump to conclusions that it is something wrong with the kitchen. FabbyChic is right to suggest that it could be a building issue. All new builds 's settle and anything bolted to the walls will be affected when this happens.
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