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Little Willow

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  1. This is the official complaint we have sent to Wickes: As a Wickes bathroom customer, I feel I have been left with no choice but to make an official complaint in writing. As this has all taken place over a year, I am not certain of the order of events or all of the dates as it has been such a long time and so much has happened. My wife and I received a quote for a new bathroom at your Scunthorpe store, on the 27th of February 2020. On the 6th of March 2020, we returned to the store to order the bathroom. (Order Number 673181.) As it turned out, the vanity unit we had chosen and ensured would fit in our very small bathroom was no longer available. So with the help of the bathroom designer we chose another option that was our second choice, which also turned out to be unavailable. We finally settled on a third choice but found it frustrating that so many items from your already somewhat limited choice were unavailable. This proved to be the first of many issues. The Covid-19 pandemic obviously put a hold on things and so it wasn't until October 2020 that the fitter convinced us to get the bathroom installed, with the promise that Covid-19 safety would be a high priority. I am vulnerable due to health issues, so this was a very important factor for us. The fitter promised that sticky backed plastic would be used to protect our carpets and that everything would be disinfected each day to ensure that we would feel safe. A delivery date was arranged for the Saturday before the Monday commencement of installation date. However, one of the things we had ordered was some shower wall / mermaid board, and this turned up completely unexpectedly a few days early. Only my wife was at home at the time and the driver informed her he was unable to bring it into the house, so he left it propped up against an external wall of our house. My wife was completely unable to move the heavy and cumbersome boards, and I could not get home from work so they had to remain outside until I could get hold of the fitter to bring them into our house. It is fortunate they were not stolen or damaged. There was nowhere to put the boards other than in our narrow hall, and we certainly couldn't keep them laid flat as the packaging said they must be. On the Saturday we took delivery of the other bathroom components and the fitter came to check everything was there that should be. It was immediately apparent that several important items were missing. Both the drawers and basin were missing from the vanity unit, there was a toilet pan but no cistern and there was a shower cubicle but no shower tray. When the fitter contacted Wickes we found out that both the toilet and the vanity we had chosen were no longer available (Even though we had received part of both items) and the shower tray would not arrive for at least a month. Wickes could give us no indication as to when they might be able to deliver a different toilet and vanity unit and we later found out that the only new design of vanity we liked would have been to big although the design expert failed to notice this. This left us with a selection of large items taking up space in our house, no idea when and if the missing items would turn up and the reality that getting another installation slot would likely mean a long wait. The installer encouraged us to search on-line for a vanity, toilet and shower tray from elsewhere so that we could still have our bathroom fitted during the installation date we had booked. It was hugely stressful trying to find items that we liked, would fit, and could be delivered quickly enough. We requested a refund for the unavailable items, but were told we would have to wait until the partial items were collected from our house. Even after they were collected, I still ended up having to phone and visit the store several times before the refund was finally forthcoming. Once we had managed to get the missing items delivered from elsewhere in a timely manner, the installation began. The fitter used old dirty dust sheets instead of the sticky backed plastic he had promised and no effort was made to clean anything at the end of each day, meaning my wife had to disinfect all door handles, banisters and other surfaces every day after they had left. The dust sheets were completely useless so the hallway, stairs and landing all had to be vacuumed every day as well. There were several problems during the installation, including toilet cistern lid being broken (which the fitter admitted was his fault), and later a large crack found in the toilet pan which the fitter claimed to be unaware of; the shower-wall having to be re-glued to the walls as the first time it came unstuck (perhaps due to having been left propped up for too long); and the bathroom door almost being fitted to open the wrong way. The fitter had already made a cut-out in the door frame for the top hinge before we pointed this out, (even though the design plan showed the correct orientation) but it was me who had to repair the damage to the door frame. There were a number of issues with the bathroom when it was finally finished. The toilet cistern had not been screwed to the wall which could potentially have caused a leak as the overflow is above the level of the screw holes and also meant the cistern wasn't entirely secure; there was a large, unsightly gap down one edge of the shower-wall trim which was very noticeable as you walked into the bathroom; the end of the new window ledge was very rough and not straight; part of the top edge trim on the shower enclosure was not fitted; there are several noticeable imperfections in the plastering where the screws in the plasterboard have caused the plaster to 'pop off', the repairs were not very tidy; the fitter said the Wickes door handles and lock we had picked for the Wickes purchased bathroom door were the wrong sort and that he would have to come back at a later date once we had found some different ones. However, it turned out he had failed to take into account the location of the 'lock block' when cutting the doors to size. Never the less, I still managed to fit the original handles we had chosen to the door myself; my wife went out to purchase a metal threshold (Wickes didn't have any in stock) after the fitter asked us to get one in the last days of the installation, however when he left we found it had not been fitted and I had to trim down the edge of the floor before I could fit it myself; we had requested a new door frame (which also would mean replacing the door frame to a bedroom – hence the 2 new doors that were fitted), however, the fitter said that changing the door frames would cause severe damage to the plastering on our landing so he instead offered to replace the architrave inside the bathroom and improve the look of the architrave on the outside where the previous homeowner had done a botched job. The finished result of this outer repair actually looked even worse than the original; the splashback for the sink was far from perfect, with excessive silicone and the trim untidily cut, leaving it looking unsightly, with scratches and the likelihood that water will end up leaking down under it; the cupboard we asked to be built and installed was sturdy but untidy with very noticeable screw indents on the outside wall and very rough surfaces to the shelves; we also found several very visible scratches in the flooring, which we didn't get from Wickes as the installer told us to get a specific brand from a particular shop instead. After all of this, we received a handwritten invoice from the installer which included a £180 fee for waste disposal (even though we had been lead to believe that removal of waste from the job was included in the price) and that the two doors which had been removed and replaced had been left behind. We did receive a small refund after someone contacted us about our obviously negative Trust Pilot review. We were understandably disappointed with the entire experience and end result, but this turned out not to be then end of it. Within a matter of a few weeks, the shower started to leak around the edges of the tray. We contacted Wickes about this and after several phone calls and waiting for a slot, they eventually sent a different fitter round to fix the leak. (We specifically asked for someone different as by this point we had lost all trust in the original installer.) He replaced the silicone in the shower but warned us that if it leaked again we may need the whole shower cubicle removing and reinstalling. The leak stopped for a few months, but ultimately it started again, and this time it was a far more significant leak. We had also noticed that the extractor fan was making a strange noise and did not appear to be venting steam outside. I contacted Wickes again, and we had to wait several weeks for someone to come again. During the time we were waiting, the only thing Wickes suggested was putting flannels around the edge of the tray to minimise the water leakage. The new gentleman who eventually came informed us that we would indeed be needing a full reinstall of the shower as it has been fitted incorrectly. He took numerous photos and also told us the extractor had been fitted in the wrong place and was probably trying to vent into the cavity wall. He then made a temporary fix of the shower with new silicone, which he did a very good job of. With the Covid-19 numbers being very high, we opted to wait a while before having the shower removed and reinstalled. But when we tried to arrange for this to be done, it was extremely difficult to get anything arranged. It took repeated phone calls to the store and customer services to finally get a date booked in. We received a date for delivery of a new shower cubicle, shower drain and mermaid board, and once again the mermaid board showed up early and unexpectedly, though at least this time it was brought inside by the delivery driver. When it came to the actual delivery date, a few days before we were booked in for the re-install, only the shower drain arrived. After again contacting Wickes we eventually got another delivery date, but this time only half the shower cubicle arrived. I made more phone calls and we waited again, but of course, by the time the other half of the shower cubicle arrived, we had missed our re-installation slot. I will also point out that both times the shower cubicle boxes arrived; they were left in our hallway, propped up against the Mermaid board, which caused a fire safety issue as our hall is very narrow. The delivery drivers informed my wife not try to move the boxes as they were much too heavy, but on both occasions we carefully slid the boxes from the hall into our dining room as I was not prepared to put up with a fire hazard. This was in August this year. Since then I have made repeated phone calls to the store, to customer services and other numbers I have been given. Almost every time I have been promised a return phone call it has not happened and on those rare occasions when we did get a call from the installation team, it came from an unlisted number, so we were never able to directly contact them ourselves but had to contact the store or customer services again, to get a message through. I even spoke directly to the regional manager, who did call me back on one occasion with a potential date for the work, but that was the last we heard and that date passed with no further calls. Now, after about ten weeks, we still have mermaid board and the two parts of the shower cubicle taking up space in our home. They are too heavy for my wife and I to move them upstairs and even if we could, ten weeks is an absurd amount of time for us to still be storing these items. We still have no sign of the job actually being sorted and it is now winter, when the risks of Covid-19 are much higher and having windows open for safety would result in us having to turn the heating off and suffer to avoid horrendous gas bills. This whole experience has been a complete and utter disaster. I have no idea how much it has cost me in phone calls that have not been returned and my wife's health has badly suffered due to stress adding to her anxiety and depression. Quite frankly, I feel like asking for a full refund (including the things that Wickes couldn't supply and we had to get elsewhere, paint and re-plastering) and having the whole bathroom ripped out and getting some actual professionals to do the job. With all the problems I am wondering if there are other things that have been fitted incorrectly and what unknown damage could be caused to our house by these issues. As it is, the bathroom flooring already has gaps between some of the laminate boards, bowing in various places either due to water damage or the sinking shower tray, and some areas that show signs of water marks. I certainly would not recommend Wickes to anyone and am actively considering telling friends to avoid using Wickes. We did not want to be put in this position but I cannot overstate how awful our experience of Wickes has been. There is a complete lack of customer care and it really feels like they are hoping that if they keep not bothering to call me back we will eventually give up and just put up with all the problems. Obviously, this is unacceptable, and so I felt making an official complaint was the only way forward.
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