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Harvy28 versus Cousins


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We bought a dining table, sideboard and chairs from Cousins in May 2009. The table and sideboard were delivered damaged. Cousins sent out a technician, who repaired sideboard, bur recommended that table was replaced.

 

They sent a table, that was allegedly inspected, in June 2009. This was also damaged so we refused it.

 

They then sent out another in July 2009, but this was also damaged. We phoned Cousins, described the defects and refused the table. The delivery drivers also pointed out some of the defects when inspecting the table with us. Meridy, allegedly the customer service rep, said that she would have to get the table inspected as the technician had already previously it for delivery. We explained that we were going on holiday on the 29th July so we wanted a reply by the 27th. She did not phone back. Instead, she waited until we went on holiday and then left repeated messages on the answer phone. Each message was stroppier than the previous, with one even asking why we were refusing to take her calls!

 

Upon arrival from our holiday, we checked the messages and then i phoned her. She claimed that the table we had refused was perfect. I again pointed out the defects but she steadfastly refused to listen. Allegedly, she and the technician could not find anything wrong with the table - how can you miss indentations on the table leaves or a crack in the wood on the table edge? She eventually agreed to send another table.

 

Last Friday, we went to the warehouse to check the "new" table. We checked the table top and legs. It appeared fine, so we asked to see the leaves. These were unpackaged and shown to us. They did not put the leaves into the table.

 

Today, the table was delivered. The table top now had a mark on it (lacquer was chipped and then this had a blue ring around it). Ii rang Cousins immediately and they asked us to accept the table and then they would get a technician to come out to us.

 

The delivery drivers then put the table was together. We noticed that in better light you could now see that the table legs had been finished roughly. The drivers then put the leaves in. One of the leaves was a noticeably different shade and it would not lock into place. I phoned Cousins and was told that Meridy was busy. I explained the defects and was told Meridy would ring with the hour. SHE NEVER DID!

 

I phoned Cousins, spoke to Meridy who claimed that she had not received any message about phoning me back. When i explained the defects, she was arrogant, rude and condescending. I was told that i had already inspected the table so had to accept it. I complained about the leave being a different shade and not locking. I was told that this was impossible and that she had also personally checked the table alongside the technician. She would not budge from her opinions. I offered her to come round to the house and inspect the table herself, if she was so sure - she refused! I offered to take photos and email them to her - again she refused!

 

Her attitude was so poor that eventually i asked her to put me through to he line manager - she refused and i was fobbed off with a story about there being no line management structure at Cousins.

 

Whilst discussing with her, i asked her to give me the name and address of the operations manager. At this point she became slightly more amenable and offered to send a technician to inspect the table. I refused this, but she refused to tell the drivers to take the table away.

 

I am so annoyed that i have spoken to Consumer Direct and posted two letters - to Cousins and the credit firm supplying the 0% interest free credit, to rescind my contract.

 

Is there anything else i should do - is it worth writing a letter of complaint to the Operations Manager? Will i get all my money back if i rescind that contract?

 

Please, please let this be a warning to everyone - IMHO no one should buy anything from Cousins Furniture Store.

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Technician came today (26/08/2009). I outlined problems. He admitted that table leaves had not been fixed to the table when he inspected it at the warehouse. He tried to fob us off about the different shade by saying that the table is not from the same piece of wood. However, the table is oak and the defective table leave resembles a beech colour. Apparently, the poor alignment of the table leave is because it will not lock in place, yet the other table leave aligns really well even when unlocked. He admitted that he had missed the poor finish of the legs. His excuse for missing these things was the lighting in the warehouse. He has now gone to discuss what they can do for us this with Cousins.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi Harvy28

I also have a problem with Cousins. My wife and I recently purchased a leather electric recliner 3 seater and single seater suite from their Dudley branch. The delivery drivers spotted a gap between the seat cushions where the 3 seater is joined, it comes in 2 half's. They like me thought it looks odd and gave me option to reject it or keep it. I rejected and they took it back. I rang Cousins customer service who said their independent technician report said the gap was acceptable and they were ready to return it to me. I said I want a replacement or a refund. They refused and want to return the suite to us.

 

I just wanted to know how you got on and do you have the name of their general manager or anyone high up.

Edited by gob smacked
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  • 7 months later...

I am interested to know what happened eventually. We have bought some furniture from cousins and have ongoing problem to fix it for more than 6 months now. I see that many people have had similar experience. I totally agree with you that people should be very careful buying any products from cousins as if there is a defect with the product it will take months to fix it if at all. Lot of their products are manufactured outside europe and hence they have very slow supply chain and also they are not made to EU standards. I have read on the web many complaints. I feel that the general public should be made aware and whatever forum or newspaper one can put this in will only help people to take an informed decision.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are having problems with Cousins too. The name of the Operations Manager is Richard Foster and we have found his manner and his staff to be dismissive and not customer service friendly at all.

 

We have a four seater sofa which was delivered in July 2010 where the cushions in you sit on are too small which leaves a gap to fill. We have been told that the cushions need to settle. It has now been 10 weeks and we still have the same problem. I have spoken to Consumer Direct and have relayed their advice to the Operations Manager but he is still replying that he is not prepared to do anything about it for another 9 weeks as he is right, we are wrong, the cushions will settle and fill the gap.

 

We didn't expect to buy a sofa like that and we certainly would not have bought it if it looked like that in the showroom. (Delivered to us and not sold as specimen shown in showroom.)

 

I am getting to the end of my tether with them now. What happened to the customer is always right. We have had an independent report done by Cousins which shows the cushions in photographs but Cousins will not send us the report. We have been advised by Consumer Direct that photographs are not an adequate inspection which I have relayed to the Operations Manager too.

 

What do we do next?

 

Do not buy anything from Cousins because their customer service is disgusting and if you do find a fault with your furniture it is very difficult to get any satisfaction.

 

From an extremely fed up Cousins customer.:-x

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Hi Topper 1966

So you have problems with Cousins. Have you seen my post on very similar complaint.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?264143

 

I refused to accept the goods on the grounds that they were obviously faulty. But they will not refund, even though they know you are right cos they also know you don't want the hassle of a small claims court. Classic sociopath behaviour. This company deserves to go the same way as ELS, and with Mr Foster in charge, sooner or later they surely will. If they wont refund, definitely sue. Visit your local small claim court and they will help you fill out the claim, its quite easy to do and the cost can be recovered from the defendant. Mr Foster knows you will win and settle out of court, but you have to show them you are serious.

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Hi gobsmacked

 

Thanks for that. Yes, it has become so frustrating. Got a letter today and Mr Foster only ever does about 3 paragraphs, never answers your questions or skirts round the issues that you have raised. How he gets away with it I don't know. He is just not interested in the customer at all. We even had the agreement of the Director's son that the cushions were wrong but it is still Mr Foster's decision. Gobsmacked just like you! I will continue my fight!

 

Topper1966

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  • 1 month later...

I also have problem with Cousins. Ordered 4 seater Hayes sofa and chair January 2010. It arrived April with a large gap between the 2 cushions on the sofa. It looks like 2 large chairs pushed together (which it is really ) as it is made in 2 parts. There was also a gap between the cushion and the sides of the chair.We informed Cousins who agreed to send a technician. The report must have been that the furniture was unacceptable as they said the template was wrong and was made for leather not fabric so they would make a new template and make us a new suite. There was also velcro on the base of the sofa which I assume was only for leather to stop it slipping and we were told that shouldnt have been there.

There was also cushions missing which we had been told in the store came with the sofa when apparently that was not the case and of course we had no proof. The lad who sold us the furniture had now left.Doing my own investigation I found out that there were scatter cushions on the sofa in the showroom and we were told we could have them. Unfortunately they disappeared before we could get them and nobody knows where they are. Had lots of correspondence via letter/email with Richard Foster during this time and no apologies were ever uttered.

It gets better. Last Tuesday 19th October the new furniture came and guess what? Its exactly the same with the large gaps the only difference is there is no velcro on the base.

Had heated discussion with Meridy who told me it should be like that and I have to wait until the gap closes after sitting on it for weeks/months. I said I know that doesnt happen as I have already been using the old one( which they agreed was faulty) since April.They sent technician again who came Monday. He said his report would be the same as the one in April and that sofa was " not good" . Meanwhile I contacted the Government Consumer Helpline and was told under Sale of Goods Act they have to refund most if not all of the money as goods not fit for purpose. Under their instruction I sent letter template last Thursday before the technician even came.

I today received a letter from Meridy saying the Independent Technician confirmed there were no faults( this surely cannot be true)

and they will not process my service concern any further.

My next step is to get back to consumerdirect.gov.uk and get further guidance which I think involves Trading Standards and small claims court.I am determined to see it through . It is ridiculous to expect people to accept sofas with large gaps.Any ideas would be gratefully accepted.

The driver who delivered the suite told us that this was the 3rd Hayes sofa he had replaced recently and all for the same reason so they obviously know there is a fault so why are they still selling it ?

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I've had a problem with a suite seat, been waiting since july for a replacement part , appointment made for today, only to be told they had ordered the wrong part. Now waiting for a call back from Cousins as their systems are running slow.

 

I'm not holding my breath though after reading the last post.

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I think you must have ordered the same sofa as us is it the Hayes? read my message

We are having problems with Cousins too. The name of the Operations Manager is Richard Foster and we have found his manner and his staff to be dismissive and not customer service friendly at all.

 

We have a four seater sofa which was delivered in July 2010 where the cushions in you sit on are too small which leaves a gap to fill. We have been told that the cushions need to settle. It has now been 10 weeks and we still have the same problem. I have spoken to Consumer Direct and have relayed their advice to the Operations Manager but he is still replying that he is not prepared to do anything about it for another 9 weeks as he is right, we are wrong, the cushions will settle and fill the gap.

 

We didn't expect to buy a sofa like that and we certainly would not have bought it if it looked like that in the showroom. (Delivered to us and not sold as specimen shown in showroom.)

 

I am getting to the end of my tether with them now. What happened to the customer is always right. We have had an independent report done by Cousins which shows the cushions in photographs but Cousins will not send us the report. We have been advised by Consumer Direct that photographs are not an adequate inspection which I have relayed to the Operations Manager too.

 

What do we do next?

 

Do not buy anything from Cousins because their customer service is disgusting and if you do find a fault with your furniture it is very difficult to get any satisfaction.

 

From an extremely fed up Cousins customer.:-x

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi

 

I read with interest the problems you have all been having with Cousins. I too am having a difficult experience with their customer services division.

 

I received delivery of a dining table and 4 chairs in late Feb 2010, costing about £400 all in. Quite early on, a horseshioe shaped mark appeard on the table. Having a teenage daughter as well as a toddler, we put this down to an 'accident' and thought no more of it. However, over time, further marks and stains appeared ove the table, even though it has been used very little. Eventually I decided to contact Cousins in mid September - about 6 months after the table was purchased.

 

Having left a voice message on the Cousins customer service telephone number (0121 665 2000), after a week or so I had received no response (I have subsequently dicsovered that Cousins do not check the messages left on this line). I then sent 2 requests through the Cousins website - again with no response. After a few weeks, I tried the Customer Services number again, and got through to a person.

 

The agent agreed to send out a technician to inspect the table, who would contact me within 48 hours to arrange a visit. However, after 7 days, still no phone call. Meanwhile the table is getting gradually worse. I then phoned customer service again, and within 24 hours, their technician arranged to visit. Having looked at the table, he agreed that there table hadn't been 'treated' for long enough, and whatever laquer had been put on the table had worn away. He said that it was clearly not up to scratch and the report he was to submit to Cousins would reflect this.

 

Imagine my surprise when 5 days later i received a letter from Cousins saying the damage had been caused by 'accidental spillage' and that they were not going to do anything else - even though I assured the technician that nothing had been spilled on the table. Queue a very angry customer!

 

I rang Cousins again, who reluctantly agreed to send out a 2nd technician for a second opinion. I also pointed out that I was very concerned that the technician had said one thing to me conversationally, but something else entirely on his report. It is then that I made an interesting discovery.......

 

Cousins were very keen to tell me that their technicians are totally independent, not employed directly by Cousins, and are paid the same fee if they give a good or bad report. Fair enough you might think.

 

But I discovered that the technician who visited is actually a self-employed French Polisher. Therefore for any table he reports to Cousins as 'not faulty', he can expect to have a customer for his services. Therefore to say he is 'independent' is a little misleading.

 

I am awaiting the 2nd technician to contact me to make an appointment, but I have just checked with Cousins and guess what....? Yes - he is a self-employed french polisher too!

 

Therefore if you do ever have an issue with Cousins furniture, you are likely never to get it resolved by their customer services division to your satisfaction.

 

My Advice? Avoid Cousins at all costs................

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Just an update on battle with Cousins.

After further guidance fom Consumer Direct.gov.uk I sent a letter to Cousins informing them I was taking them to court if they did not resolve my complaint within 14 days. I was also advised to write to the finance company (as we took 6 months deffered credit which is now paid) saying I was holding them jointly responsible under the Consumer Credit Act.I have had a reply from Hitachi Finance saying they were looking into it and were contacting Cousins but up to today's post I have had no response from Cousins.

Does anyone think we should all get together to publicise this bad service and shoddy goods?

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Sounds like things are moving forward for you.

 

I have already written to Watchdog, so perhaps it would be a good idea for everyone with similar experiences to email watchdog at bbc dot co dot uk? I understand that they tend to follow up the cases which get the most 'traffic' - in other words, the more complaints they receive about Cousins, the more likely they are to investigate.

 

Might be a good first port of call.....? Make sure you mention 'Cousins' or 'Cousins Furniture' in the subject header, and have your best suit dry-cleaned for our TV appearance!

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I've had an amusing reply to my request for a refund, i received a letter containg this ‘they have a legal obligation to carry out a remedial repair in the shortest possible time’ in closing the letter then said ‘I hope you are successful in finding an alternative suite’!. Oh well it's looking like we're off to court.:evil:

 

I have now sent my story to Watchdog.

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Excellent!

 

BTW, just re-read one of your earlier posts, and spotted the name 'Meridy'. This is the person who has been 'looking after' my enquiry. I have to say that my experiences with her mirror yours exactly.

 

I have yet to receive the attentions of Mr Foster though. Something to look forward to no doubt!

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Hi

 

Spoke to Meridy in Customer Service on Monday, who promised me a call-back by a technician within 48 hours to make a second inspection of the table. By 5pm on Thursday I still hadn't had a response - no surprise there.

 

However today I received a call from Meridy, saying that she has discussed my case with her ooperations manager, and between them they had decided it was not worth their while to argue the case any further, and that they are going to provide a replacment table to me next week.

 

I do suspect that they must have had several complaints regarding this table - hence their 'back-down'.

 

I did have a fantastic response from Consumer Direct, who told me how to proceed if I was still hitting a brick wall. I would be happy to forward you this to see if you find it useful?

 

Needless to say, Cousins will not be top of my list next time I make a furniture purchase. Think I will try Ikea!

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  • 1 month later...

I have to say it folks we had sililar trouble with cousins our thread is on the forum somewhere. We did take cousins to court because we were sick of them messing us around with sub-standard repairs and and poor service.

 

In the end cousins quickly backed down and our sofa was replaced within weeks.

 

I will dig out our thread later and post up.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?128867-Nicolee2931-v-Cousins-Furniture-Stores-**WON**

 

my advice is don't play their game, they soon back down when they are up against it.

Edited by nicolee2931
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello

Further to my complaint re Hayes sofa. Having written several letters directly to Richard Foster (following quidance from Consumer Direct) and copying in the Finance Company and also contacting the Financial Ombudsman I got a call from Mr Foster himself wanting to get the matter resolved. We arranged for the manager of the Manchester store to call at my house to look at the furniture in question. He and I disagreed on that I said there was a problem with sofa and he said not but he did agree that it was not suitable for my requirements and offered an exchange for a different type of sofa. I went to the store and chose another suite which is now on order. The cost of course was a few hundred pounds more which was agreed that we split between us (so Cousins are paying half the extra cost). I would have preferred my money back and gone to another dealer but all in all I am reasonably satisfied with the outcome.I just hope the new furniture is OK when it eventually arrives.

I am glad I didnt give up though. I would have gone all the way to court if i had to.

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  • 1 month later...

We have the same problem with cousins they delivered our corner suite and 2 seater in december and now in january we have a suite that the cushions are flat and we are sat on the frame. We spoke to meridy swann-flint who advised us that there was nothing wrong with our corner suite although she had never seen it. The engineer that came out said it was not fit for the purpose that it was bought as inadiquate products were used for the cushions. Meridy swann-flint was very rude and would not let us speak and wanted to speak over what we had to say all the time. I asked her if she expected me to keep a suite that was 5 weeks old when i spoke to her, that looked like we had had the suite for at least 6 years. Her reply was there is nothing wrong with the suite. She has never been to my house to look at it so how can she say this??? She said she would send a report out two weeks ago still waiting, she never returns any phone calls when she says she will...

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