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Hi Everyone,

This forum has been invaluable to me the last few weeks and I really appreciate all of the help I’ve been given regarding a variety of issues.

We had a kitchen fitting with B&Q that has been plagued with issues for the get go. It’s now over four months since the fitting started and we still have problems that need addressed.

The initial fitters we were supplied barely showed up when promised and after two weeks we discovered the quality of work they had done was utterly shocking. End panels were cut short, there were large gaps between the upstands and worktops, they had cut the end panels around the skirting, the worktops weren’t even attached to the units and could be lifted with one hand, they plastered over wallpaper (despite us paying them separately for them to remove this) and the walls started to bubble. They then started to verbally abuse us when we pointed out these defects (and made it clear the B&Q kitchen manager had also been bad mouthing us to them).

We were forced for weeks to allow them to continue to come out as the kitchen manager had broken company policy and paid them before the work was complete. It was clear they weren’t qualified to do the job and eventually, after they did more damage/waste more materials they were thrown off the job and nee fitters were supplied. We asked about 5 times for our complaints to be escalated but the kitchen manager refused and would not give us the details of any senior staff members. She would maintain the work was ‘complete’ and tried to get us to sign warranty forms despite the issues, the fact not all the units were in and a boiler cupboard still had to be built.

The new fitters were told the work was ‘remedial’ and after a few days other major issues were identified. B&Q sent an assessor from Newcastle who evaluated the fit, identifying more problems, and the new fitters were scheduled to attend the next month to rectify everything. We thought at this point a full refit was necessary but it was dismissed by B&Q.

After the new fitters finished we quickly identified numerous issues. Over the Christmas period we noted further problems pertaining to the original fit (such as cupboard units being the wrong colour, gloss white instead of Matt white). We were told they would come out in the new year (mid-Jan) but this didn’t happen. They eventually came in February (after little contact from B&Q and barely any notice) but new issues keep arising and we’re incredibly frustrated (the cooker is squint, the fitters have said they can’t get the hob to touch the worktop etc). I have now been dealing with the store manager and will contact the regional manager in due course.

This only touches the surface of the problems we have faced. I have done due diligence on the initial fitters and there is no record of them having successfully fitted kitchens perviously anywhere, ever. The fitter has had 9 companies dissolved in the last 10 years. They are now telling us that despite advertising ‘trusted’, ‘qualified’ fitters they won’t share how they vet them or anything along those lines. Surely there has to be a degree of transparency in line with their advertisements?

They had offered us £1500 compensation in November before we encountered more and more problems. We feel anything short of the cost of the fitting is inadequate (it’s cost us hundreds, if not thousands, to take time off work - let alone compensate us for the severe stress etc. we have been put under for over 5 months.

I’m wondering if someone can advise what the best course of action is if they don’t offer fair compensation? Should I approach the ombudsman or take legal action? I do intent to reach out to the watchdog and trading standards. Nobody should have to go through what we have for the last five months.

Thanks again for all your help and apologies if this isn’t the space for such queries. Like I said above, my notes only really scratch the surface of the problems we have had to deal with.

I’ve attached a few photos of some of the work the initial fitters had done. We were subsequently forced to have them back after even this. Thankfully it’s not quite as bad as that now (3 months later).
 

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Tell them you'll be contacting the ombudsman and trading standards unless they remediate the situation immediately with fitters of your choice. On the surface of it they'll need some new units too so don;t be scared of asking them to remove it all and refund the lot. Have a chat with Citizens advice and check your house insurance as they may have legal advice available too.
There's a lot of similar threads on money saving expert forum so worth searching and reading through as it might give more pointers. B&Q sound a real PITA
 
I only skimmed the long post, but I have a few questions:
- Is the contract for supply and install or is the installer via separate contract?
- have you accepted any refunds or offer?
- have you had estimates to put right?
- have you checked the terms of the fitting, that it includes preparing and making good?

What communication have you had confirming liability? (i.e. the offer of £1500 off).

There is no point in reporting to trading standards etc, they are a big company.. Your resolution is easy via the county court Fast track (subject to the above).
 
I only skimmed the long post, but I have a few questions:
- Is the contract for supply and install or is the installer via separate contract?
- have you accepted any refunds or offer?
- have you had estimates to put right?
- have you checked the terms of the fitting, that it includes preparing and making good?

What communication have you had confirming liability? (i.e. the offer of £1500 off).

There is no point in reporting to trading standards etc, they are a big company.. Your resolution is easy via the county court Fast track (subject to the above).

Thanks for the response.

- The contract was for both supply and install.
- We accepted compensation under the pretence we wouldn’t have further issues. We have had more problems since and have noted in writing we would like further compensation (as we’re now 2 months on from the date and still have an incomplete kitchen).
- They have advised they will fix it within the next few weeks (although they’ve been saying that since October). We’ve had multiple fitters out since and there are still issues.
- They’ve admitted there have been issues and hardship but not much more. Their responses have been deliberately vague. They are refusing to comment on the actions of their staff or how they qualify fitters. They’re maintaining the fitters are vetted and experienced despite it being clear they were not. The £1500 was offered in November as a consequence of them admitting liability but like I said, they didn’t really address any of our complaint queries directly. They’re now refusing to comment about pretty much anything other than the work that still needs done. They have stressed that they will rectify it.
- I’ve checked the terms but it’s not of much help. They say the fitting should take 3 weeks which has obviously passed.

Thanks!
 
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If you are still getting emails saying they will fix the new issues, then it seems they have not offered the £1,500 in full and final settlement. This seems like an oversight. It's important that you allow them to attempt to remedy the new issues as this gives you a basis to claim against the new works. What they should be saying is you accepted the £1,500 as a full and final settlement. You now have an argument that it was a part payment for issues identified to date. They appear to have furnished you with evidence to support this.

Once they have completed their remedial works, you can determine the cost to put right, the remedy but it may be harder to go after the works that you have accepted compensation for.
 
Talk about taking the shine off getting something new. Hope it gets sorted to your satisfaction and soon.

OT but I remember years ago mum went with British Gas to get a new central heating system installed. We naively thought it would be British Gas themselves doing the install (we were wet behind the ears about much of this stuff back then and it was pre internet, forums etc.) So imagine our surprise when a van pulled up that wasn't British Gas branded. Indeed, it was an old-ish transit that needed a wash. Turns out they'd subbed the work to a small local fitter. He was an old-ish guy who started off by saying 'I normally work with my son, but he's away on holiday so it's just me. This is my last one before retiring which I can't wait for!'

He did not a bad job, however the rads and pipework did creak and groan a bit more than they probably should have.
 
They later called it Local Heros. Genius branding to have a gig-economy style buffer for when it gets super cold.
 
Talk about taking the shine off getting something new. Hope it gets sorted to your satisfaction and soon.

OT but I remember years ago mum went with British Gas to get a new central heating system installed. We naively thought it would be British Gas themselves doing the install (we were wet behind the ears about much of this stuff back then and it was pre internet, forums etc.) So imagine our surprise when a van pulled up that wasn't British Gas branded. Indeed, it was an old-ish transit that needed a wash. Turns out they'd subbed the work to a small local fitter. He was an old-ish guy who started off by saying 'I normally work with my son, but he's away on holiday so it's just me. This is my last one before retiring which I can't wait for!'

He did not a bad job, however the rads and pipework did creak and groan a bit more than they probably should have.
That's why he should have done a proper Powerflush
 
I have not read the entire thread, but my advice would be to pay for the works by credit card.

Then you could have rejected the whole installation as unsatisfactory and insisted on a refund from your CCC, leaving them to argue the toss with Messrs Block & Quayle.
 
I have not read the entire thread, but my advice would be to pay for the works by credit card.

Then you could have rejected the whole installation as unsatisfactory and insisted on a refund from your CCC, leaving them to argue the toss with Messrs Block & Quayle.
It doesn't go as far as that.

its true you have extra powers with a credit card, because the credit card company is jointly liable for the failure (Sec 75 of the Consumer Credit Act). However, it doesn't, give you additional rights to reject a clearly bespoke order. If you effected a charge back where rejection is disproportionate, it would leave you exposed to a claim for breach of contract from the supplier.
 
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