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How much compensation for this 3cm mistake?

(24 Posts)
Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 19:30:43

I commissioned a stainless steel worktop with two sink bowls via a catering equipment company. Spent a long time with their draughtsman finalising a technical drawing. I was extremely careful to make sure the bowls would fit into the inside cavity of the sink carcass (new kitchen).

The top arrived yesterday and it is a handsome devil. I paid the delivery driver the remaining %50 of the money. The total cost was £1053.98.

Measured it today and the company that have manufactured the sink have made one of the bowls 350mm wide instead of the 320mm clearly stipulated. It will therefore not fit in the carcass. My builder says the best he can do is cut a chunk out of the upright of the sink unit and the corner unit next door and it will just fit allowing the carousel in the sink unit the freedom to turn past it. I'm pretty livid as I hate that slippery slope moment when a project has to swallow its first compromise. I'm sure no-one would notice however, (specially if we paint the bowl you can see inside the unit white) but you know, principle of the thing.

Not sure I've got the patience (or balls) to demand a replacement. I have no leveredge (?) financially, having paid, and as the nic draughtsman says, I'm just a one off domestic customer so they would hardly rush to do it and I waited 4/5 weeks for this one, not sure I could bear to be without water in kitchen that long.

So....compensation. What do you think? I'm thinking cost of both units that will have to be modified which is £77 plus £64 plus £109 good will payment making £250 (a 25% refund) Sound about right, or should I press for more?

My builder

cece Fri 14-Sep-07 19:33:36

You are more patient than me. I would deman a replacement that was the right size..... In the meantime have the wrong one fitted as best as possible... maybe as temporary measure?

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 19:36:29

Hadn#t thought of that. Cake and eat it. Do you really think that's reasonable? And if you do, could you pretend to be me when and ring them? wink

hertsnessex Fri 14-Sep-07 19:38:21


also make sure you have proof of the 320cm that you ordered - fax/mail it to them and aslo call.

good luck


cece Fri 14-Sep-07 19:41:10

Start out friendly but firm then if they don't play along threaten things like trading standards. I got a new granite hearth recently it got chipped due to their shoddy fitting... it did take a few months though. make sure you communicate in writng after initial phone call so you have proof if it goes to court.

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 20:25:13

Cece I've never done anything like this before but I'm interested in what happened to you. Well done on getting what you wanted. How much work did it take though? How many phone calls, how many letters, how many e-mails, how much emotional energy (less quantifiable!).

Am normally a make do-er but this kitchen will be in for years.

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 20:26:02

Funny that you think I'm more patient than me (to put up with it) and I think you're more patient (to follow it through)

WorkersforfreEdam Fri 14-Sep-07 20:29:49

DON'T have it fitted if you want a replacement. It means the company could say you have accepted the goods. Which will lead you nowhere else to go in terms of legal rights.

The goods are not as described and not fit for a specific purpose you agreed with this company. So under the Sale of Goods Act you are entitled to either a full refund or a replacement.

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 20:34:01

Ah good point Workers. Thank you - that sounds to me like the bottom line. What would you do in this situation?

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 20:36:40

Have e-mail copies of correspondence with the draughtsman (3rd party) which include drawings saying 320mm

cece Fri 14-Sep-07 20:41:43

In the first place I owuld phone trading standards for some advise and write a letter following that requesting aq replacement or a full refund so you can go elswhere.

In my case we had a granite hearth fitted with a limestone mantle. The metal trim that goes aorund the actual fireplace wasn't stuck on with the right type of glue so when the fire was lit it fell off and smashed onto the granite hearth. This resulted in a chip that annoyed me every time I looked at it.

So after about 15 emails the owner of the shop agreed to replace the hearth bit at his expense. I did phone trading standards for advise and also threatened trading standards near the end.... If he didn't replace it asap...

Sounds like you have an excellent case.

Like you say funny about the patience thing! I would be annoyed everytime I used/looked at it!

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 20:52:45

But 15 e-mails.... I am not marathon material! Quick sprint and that's me done. Wonder what dh is going to say. He could go either way on this. Will be back late tonight, have to bombard him tomorrow but he's working so will have to get in quick.

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 20:55:04

cece, I would have to open the door to a kitchen unit and bend down in order to see it/get annoyed.

WorkersforfreEdam Fri 14-Sep-07 21:24:14

I'd do a firm letter to the company, spelling out in bullet points what has happened, what your legal rights are and what you want them to do about it. And giving them a time limit for a response. No mucking about, just brief and to the point so there is no room of misunderstanding.

Once they realise you know your rights, you should get it sorted out. If they don't react, then tell them you will contact Trading Standards and pursue them in the small claims court (you can get all the info about small claims from your local county court. Costs about £100 IIRC (and you don't have to pay their costs even if you lose).

If you paid by credit card, I think you may also be able to claim against the card issuer but I can't quite remember what the sums involved have to be - there's a minimum level for a claim. Whatever the dept. for trade and industry is called these days might have details on their website. Or try Consumers Direct website, part of the Office for Fair Trading.

Toots Fri 14-Sep-07 21:31:06

Hi Workers, thanks for coming back to this.

'If you paid by credit card, I think you may also be able to claim against the card issuer'

Used a debit card but could you just run through this again, not sure I understand.

cece Fri 14-Sep-07 22:06:18

If you use a credit card I think you can contact them and say thereis a dispute over payment.

Toots Sat 15-Sep-07 09:17:27

OK an update. I've talked to DH and he feels disinclined to trust a company who were so delayed in delivering - the date went back twice and then they got it wrong - to replace this quickly and in good spirit.

Basically, he thinks he can live with the edge of the under sink visible in the corner unit and wants compensation.

He thinks we should take a 'we ordered bespoke and got standard' approach. I then remembered I paid the balance by cheque (£500). This was Wednesday so it's possible I could stop the cheque on Monday. Is this legal? It could seem adversarial but it would give me the power that I need.

DH thinks we should pay a standard sink top price, by which he means £500. But looking on the catering equipment company's site it would be somewhere between £600 and £850.

Advice oh consumer/legal whizz kids if you please.

kindersurprise Sat 15-Sep-07 09:30:11

I can understand you not wanting to have this dragging out for months, but do remember that you have to live with the kitchen for years.

I would rather have it replaced, a lot of hassle but otherwise everytime I looked at the sink I would be thinking, "Shame, that it is not as I ordered it".

Hope you get it sorted out.

Toots Sat 15-Sep-07 16:43:37

I have managed to stop the cheque so at least I have some bargaining power.

Toots Sun 16-Sep-07 14:30:56

We have decided we can bear the imperfection but couldn't bear the waiting for a replacement (were they prepared to give on)

Would be grateful for comments on this letter:

Dear x
I received a two bowl sink worktop from YOUR COMPANY on Wednesday 12th September, having paid £526.99 as a deposit. I have since discovered that it has not been manufactured to specifications given.
The areas at fault are:
1. Distance between bowls is 5mm wider than spec being 25mm not 20mm
2. Width of large bowl is 30mm wider than spec being 350mm not 320mm
As the worktop deviates from the technical drawing agreed with yourselves on 15th August, the bowls do not fit in the cavity in the unit underneath, which they were designed to do, meaning that it is not fit for purpose.
This was a bespoke order that does not conform to contract and I am within my rights under The Sale of Goods Act to demand a replacement.
However, as the time this take would cause great inconvenience, I would be prepared to accept compensation.
As the worktop has not been made to our specifications, it is only of some benefit, such that a standard worktop might be. To fit this worktop in our kitchen will require extra labour. Two base units will need (unsightly) modifications and the cost of the units was £141.
Taking all the above into consideration I would be prepared to pay £526.99 for this worktop. The sum of which has already been paid.
I hope you will consider that this is a fair request so this matter can be drawn swiftly and amicably to a close.
Yours sincerely


Toots Sun 16-Sep-07 17:07:05

Have now wrestled it through with DH and is this:

Further to our phone call on Friday when I drew your attention to the problems with our sink top, I have stopped the cheque for the balance.
As you are aware, I received a two bowl sink top from Dentons on Wednesday 12th September, having paid £526.99 as a deposit and have since discovered errors with the dimensions.
The areas at fault are:
1. Distance between bowls is 5mm wider than spec being 25mm not 20mm
2. Width of large bowl is 30mm wider than spec being 350mm not 320mm
The sink top was not made to the specifications on the drawing agreed on 15th August, and as such the bowls don’t fit in the kitchen unit carcass.
Although we discussed replacement, you indicated that it would not be easily forthcoming and from my point of view, having already experienced delays in delivery, extremely inconvenient and costly.
Already, the fitting of this sink top will incur extra costs and labour and the modifications needed will compromise the look and integrity of the structure on which the top will rest.
With this in mind I am unwilling to pay more than the £526.99 already paid for the sink top.
I trust you will consider that this is a fair settlement so it can be drawn swiftly to a close.
Yours sincerely

claricebeansmum Sun 16-Sep-07 17:10:38

All I can say is good luck - demand a replacement etc but we had windows that arrived the wrong size
not once
not twice
but three times

Unfortunately there is not much you can do accept wait for replacement...

Toots Fri 21-Sep-07 12:33:13

Just wanted to let you know that they have sent me an invoice with PAID stamped on it. I.e. they are giving me what I want - the sink for half the money.

Am very pleased, particularly as builders have done excellent job of fitting it and only had to make a cut in the sink unit, not in the carousel next door.

Toots Fri 21-Sep-07 12:40:13

Plus - thanks loads for the help all who posted.

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