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Our shutters and the supply of goods & services act 1982

(18 Posts)
SE13Mummy Sat 11-Jun-11 00:02:30

On 1st November Shutter Man (SM) came to our home to measure our windows for shutters - this was as the result of us having visited SM's shop and arranged an appointment.

We placed an order for custom-made shutters, with 89mm slats and paid a deposit by cheque. SM advised us that the shutters would be ready in 6-8 weeks and that there was a chance we may have them before the new year. He assured us that he would telephone us to let us know when they were ready.

By February, we had made repeated visits to the shop to enquire as to the progress of our shutters as we had not been contacted by telephone. He first attempted to fit our custom-made shutters during the later part of February. Unfortunately, the shutters had been made to the wrong size and so could not be fitted. This was in spite of the measurements for the shutters having been taken by SM himself. We resigned ourselves to another 6-8 week wait for the shutters that we ordered at the start of November.

On 27th May he came to fit the re-ordered set of shutters. They have not been fitted to the standard we had been led to expect; a couple of the shutters do not open and close smoothly and the large right-hand shutter seems to ‘drop’ slightly when it is opened.

The following day, as I returned from taking the DDs out, SM was waiting on my doorstep as he'd had left behind a drill box and charger. I let him in to collect the items and raised with him the fact that the slats were significantly smaller than the 89mm we had ordered. Initially he told me I was wrong but, when I produced the original order form that we had signed on 1st November he then said that 89mm would have looked silly and that in his own notes he'd recorded that 64mm slats should be usedshock. This was the first time he had raised this with us; nearly 7 months after we placed the order and paid our deposit. I explained that we were unhappy with the shutters as they were not as described nor were they what we had been led to believe we had ordered. His response was to tell me again that 89mm slats would look silly but that he would sort it out. I replied that I would like a refund of the deposit as this was the second set of shutters that were incorrect and that I would be writing formally to request this.

I have written to him formally, delivering the letter by hand to his shop. In the letter I have stated much of what I have explained above and included the two paragraphs below:

The law says that any item purchased by a consumer must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. The shutters you have supplied and fitted are not fit for purpose as not all of them open and close with ease and the large right-hand panel ‘drops’. Nor are the shutters ‘as described’; we ordered 89mm slats and have been provided with 64mm slats.

As I said at the time, I feel we have been more than reasonable with regard to waiting for our shutters and, as this is the second set of shutters you have incorrectly custom-made for us we no longer have any faith in your company to provide the shutters we have ordered. For this reason we are requesting a full refund of the deposit I have already paid so that we can have shutters supplied and fitted by a different company of our choosing.

I'm looking for advice as to next steps really as the 14 day period we gave him expires in a day or two and we've not heard a thing. Is it acceptable to move straight to issuing a claim through MCOL or do I need to do something else first?

Thank you for ploughing through this!

cuckooclock Sat 11-Jun-11 15:07:51

Sorry I can't really advise you on this but shouldn't you have sent the letter recorded delivery so you have proof of delivery if you had to go to court. He could argue he never received your letter.

Madlizzy Sat 11-Jun-11 15:10:33

Send him a notice of impending court proceedings via recorded delivery, giving him 7 working days to respond. If no joy, then start proceedings. You can do it online using moneyclaimonline.

SE13Mummy Sat 11-Jun-11 15:23:46

Cuckooclock, he could argue that he didn't receive the letter but our nanny handed it to him and witnessed him opening it.

Backing up the letter with a notice (sent by recorded delivery!) of impending court proceedings sounds like a good way forward. Thank you.

We don't actually have his name... I guess I'll have to go and ask him to write it down so that we can start proceedings via moneyclaimonline!

prh47bridge Sat 11-Jun-11 21:14:52

As you don't know his name I presume he has a limited company. Your action is against that company, not against him personally.

SE13Mummy Sat 11-Jun-11 22:26:20

We don't know his name because we can't understand his, very thick accent blush. Having taught in inner London schools for 10+ years I'm usually pretty quick to pick up on names and to understand people with a variety of strong accents... this time I've managed neither.

Further Googling suggests that the company is limited but that the shop we visited will be a franchise. I've found the names of the company directors, would I list them in any action or use the company name? Do you think there is anything to be gained from sending the company directors the letter I sent SM?

prh47bridge Sat 11-Jun-11 23:59:46

No, you don't list the directors. Your action isn't against them. If it is a franchise your action is not against the franchise company either. Your action is against the franchisee, who may be a limited company or a sole trader. What does it say on the paperwork you were given by SM? That should tell you his company name or, if he is a sole trader, his name.

It wouldn't do any harm to send a letter to the franchise company. They will want to protect the reputation of their brand. That doesn't, of course, mean they will step in but you certainly won't lose anything by letting them know what is happening.

SE13Mummy Sun 12-Jun-11 19:26:57

Thank you.

The paperwork lists the company name only, no names of any individual or any information that specifically identifies SM and his shop.

I think I will write to the franchise company as SM clearly isn't doing anything to enhance the reputation of their company. When SM's shop is entered into Google the first link is to a website where two disgruntled customers have added reviews... one of these reflects our situation so closely that DH thought I must have written it. I hadn't, I wanted to be as reasonable as possible in the hope that SM would give us a refund and let us place an order with someone else.

mollymole Sun 12-Jun-11 19:54:07

however you proceed make sure that all letters go recorded delivery and keep copies of them for yourself

prh47bridge Sun 12-Jun-11 23:40:13

Do you mean it lists the franchise company name only? If so, I would ask them to confirm that this shop is a franchise and, if it is, give you the details of the franchisee.

Collaborate Sun 12-Jun-11 23:55:49

there should always be a notice at the place of business saying who the owner is. Check the vat registration details.

SE13Mummy Mon 13-Jun-11 19:36:13

Yes, the order form states only the franchise company name. I have already contacted the Head Office to request confirmation that this shop is a franchise and to ask for details of the franchisee. However, that was done via e-mail so my intention was to follow it up with a telephone call today. Unfortunately I was in meetings after school until well after 5pm so didn't manage to get hold of anyone. I will try again tomorrow (when I should have a momentary pause between finishing teaching and attending a pre-Governors meeting before the actual Governors meeting!).

SE13Mummy Thu 30-Jun-11 01:00:43

Hmm... so more than two weeks on and I've not got much further. We've heard nothing from Shutter Man although he had left a message on our home 'phone on 4th June to say that the letter we'd told him we'd delivered on 28th May hadn't been received as, "the person who opened up the shop that day didn't know what it was and must have thrown it away". hmm. SM himself knew a letter was waiting for whoever opened up because I'd sent him a text message to inform him of the fact as the security shutters were down so we couldn't be 100% certain that it had made it through the letterbox. Either way, the fact that SM received the text and responded to it is, I'd hoped, a positive sign.

Whilst I've been waiting to hear from him I have tried telephoning the Head Office on various numbers only to be greeted with a, "the number you have dialled has not been recognised" message. The e-mails I sent to the HO bounced back after 5 days too.

Since then I've driven past SM's shop and have discovered that it has new signage; it is no longer called X by Y but is now X by Z (and Z2). What this does mean is that I've been able to look up the details of Z and Z2 so now have names to put on the MCOL form (the telephone numbers, including the mobile SM has telephoned me on, is the same). I have left a message for SM saying that I was still hoping to hear from him but, that if I hadn't heard from him by 30th June I intended to start a claim against him. He has 23 hours left on the clock...

SE13Mummy Sat 02-Jul-11 11:43:21

I didn't hear from SM so have submitted a claim via MCOL. Am hoping it leads to a constructive response from him.

Collaborate Sat 02-Jul-11 18:29:04

See if trading standards can help identify who your contract is with.

whomovedmychocolate Sat 02-Jul-11 18:38:08

How did you pay for the shutters - if it's by credit card you can make a claim against the credit card company and they will pursue him for the money instead of you having to.

SE13Mummy Sat 02-Jul-11 20:53:59

Trading Standards now send all their queries to Consumer Direct who just wrote back to me and told me to send SM a letter - something I'd already done. Their next piece of advice was to use MCOL and so I have. I paid the deposit by cheque sad.

moneyclaims4udot Mon 11-Jul-11 23:55:47

S76 Consumer credit act is a connected lending agreement, which means the credit card company is jointly liable. File a N1 claim form against credit card company at MCOL. Let them sort it with tradesman.

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