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I hope that this brief run-through of my experience with B&Q will help consumers in their decision as to whether to approach the company for work on their homes:

 

I recently had a new kitchen installed in my home by B&Q's Homefit service and was extremely disappointed with the level of service I received.

 

 

I have had several weeks of more stress than I could have ever imagined and I feel you should really consider my review before committing to any contract with B&Q.

 

At Christmas time,

I decided I really needed my whole kitchen to be renovated.

I knew what had to be done but was not confident enough to manage the project myself.

 

 

I went into a B&Q shop to discuss my requirements. I was impressed.

I was told Homefit were able to provide a complete renovation service for my kitchen.

The whole project would be managed and there would be nothing more I would need to do.

 

 

We designed the kitchen and even went as far as to choose the paint colour that the installers were to use on the walls and style of electric sockets and switches that were going to be fitted along with the waterproof laminate floor.

 

 

I was SERIOUSLY mislead. They're sales tactic it would seem is to lie to customers until they get a sale. Then of course deny everything they've said.

 

One alarm bell that failed to ring in my head was when I was told by the designer, once I had signed on the dotted line it, the shop could have nothing to do with the project but I was in the safe hands of the installation centre.

 

 

I felt positive back then but now I realize I've been a fool. During the project I was about to experience a lot of chasing and that when I called the installation centre I would be told call the shop. And of course when I called the shop, I would be told to call the installation centre.

 

When the installation team arrived on the first day, those alarm bells started to ring straight away. They asked what I would be doing with the walls. I explained that I was expecting them to be painted and gave them the swatches the kitchen designer had given me. The team then told me that B&Q don't provide a painting service.

NOTE: B&Q DO NOT PAINT.

If I wanted the room painted, I needed to arrange it myself.

 

 

They also introduced the electrician who I could see that hadn't bought the agreed sockets. He told me that I don't have a choice.

NOTE: YOU GET WHAT YOU ARE GIVEN.

 

The provided sockets look acceptable despite not being the ones I was told I was getting. Although I have since found out they are cheaper versions of the ones sold in the shop and the red markers on the switches wash off. So they cannot be cleaned if I don't want to spoil the look.

 

To get someone in to paint in a hurry cost me £280 and was extra hassle I could have really done without.

 

Part of the design was to have four 600mm drawers arrange vertically.

The installers were quick to discover that the configuration was not going to work.

I agreed a modified design with them. And it was quite good.

 

 

Then when the sink was installed, it was installed in the wrong position losing me a whole worktop in what is already a small kitchen. There was nothing I could do with that.

 

 

NOTE: THE CONTRACT YOU SIGN STATES THAT THE DESIGN IS FOR INDICATION ONLY. IT MAY NOT RESSEMBLE THE ACTUAL INSTALLATION. IT ALSO STATES THAT B&Q RESERVE THE RIGHT LEAVE A JOB INCOMPLETE IF THEY WISH.

 

The installers did well re-designing me a side-by-side drawer arrangement to compensate for the original drawer design flaws. Unfortunately it means I had one drawer that was stiff to open and close while the other is installed at an angle. It isn't flush with the other drawers (it sticks out on one side).

 

 

Of the three remaining drawers one jammed open and the runners on the other two sound like there's something stuck in them.

One person from B&Q told me, "They work better with stuff in them"

another told me, "they're overloaded". They were clearly not - I couldn't win.

 

Another problem that was discovered was the waterproof flooring was in fact not waterproof. I was concerned from the start how 'click together' laminate floor could be waterproof and really went to town asking the designer lots of questions about it.

I was assured it would be fine.

 

 

However I now have floor in an area where there is water and other liquids that I have to be extra careful with and make sure any spillage is mopped up immediately.

 

One thing that really caused a problem was the cooker hood.

They tried to install a hood but it just was not working out for them.

They could not get it ducted through the wall.

It was also faulty with flickering lights and a loud whistling noise.

 

 

I asked them what would be appropriate and we agreed a different type of hood.

The new hood was installed but it was vibrating like crazy.

No one seemed interested in repairing it.

 

Under the cooker hood a gap has been provided for a 60cm wide cooker.

Unfortunately the gap is actually not square and the end panels are not quite not straight.

They had to be unscrewed and bent in order squeeze the cooker in.

 

 

This not only means the integrated spice rack doesn't close properly, the hot side panels of the cooker are touching the plastic end panels. I worry that the panels may not take the heat and discolour over time however it can't be fixed now anyway as the cooker has been installed and removal would be costly. It would no doubt also involve breaking tiles and potentially a new worktop.

 

One very important thing to note about the service is that the installers are not allowed to plug the appliances in to the electricity supply and it has to be done by the customer.

 

 

Installation of a fridge-freezer will cost you £29,

a washing machine £61

and cooker £264.

 

 

You have to crawl in and plug the appliance in yourself while they do it.

What would happen if I was elderly or infirm?

One would hope the installer would make an exception.

I opted to just have the washing machine put in as it involves plumbing.

 

I was told the project would take one week to complete but I should allow two weeks.

In fact three weeks passed before I could have the cooker in and use it.

Installers where still finishing jobs off in the fifth week.

I understand this is due to a delay in the supply of materials.

 

 

But again, quizzing B&Q just lead to various departments blaming each other.

The whole time I made myself available where necessary and in the first two weeks I was never out of the house for more than about four hours at a time.

 

At times throughout the project I needed answers from the installation department in Gateshead. My chasing was met with broken promises of call returns and people picking the phone up and putting it straight back down again to stop it ringing.

 

 

When I questioned this practice I was told by the project co-ordinator that they were managing 14 jobs at the moment, so I supposed it is standard practice. In the end I resorted to communicating by email only.

 

During the project, additional materials had to be ordered, collections have had to be made for surplus materials and waste also needed collecting.

 

 

When items are ordered for a job, the customer is not always notified but is expected to be at home to accept the delivery. In fact I was only ever notified about one delivery by the project co-ordinator. And as I recollect, that didn't turn up.

 

 

I'm afraid I had to complain as I cannot be at home all day waiting for deliveries.

I was told that when the deliveries are made, if I'm not at home they will be delivered to a neighbour or taken to a depot quite some distance away and I would be expected to collect them.

 

 

I have the nicest neighbours in the world but the only neighbours around during the day were far too old and frail to be expected to handle large items. Luckily one of the larger deliveries didn't turn up at all and another I managed to pick up at the shop (although I had to beg to arrange it that way).

 

Non-delivery of items shouldn't really surprise me as I was told by one B&Q delivery team member that any missing items are the fault of a distribution centre in Derby where the lorries are packed and things often go missing.

 

The delivery I had to collect from the shop was promised for a Saturday morning. I pressed for absolute confirmation that it would be there and was promised that a named manager would be there 'first thing' and that I could collect from her.

 

 

When I called ahead (as the shop is long way away and I didn't want to waste a trip) I was told that there was no parcel and the named manager was not there. Thankfully when I put the pressure on I got a call back half an hour later to let me know the items were in fact there waiting for me.

 

When it came to collections of waste, this should have been pretty seamless – the old kitchen had been removed in the first few days. So most of the waste could be collected in the first week. B&Q do not hire skips so the waste was stacked on my driveway as agreed.

NOTE: WASTE WILL BE DUMPED ON YOUR DRIVEWAY FOR QUITE SOME TIME.

 

 

Although the waste was eventually removed, it was the following week. That weekend I spent a long time rescuing things from neighbours' front gardens and my garage roof due to them being caught in the wind.

 

As I recall there were two failed deliveries. No apologies. I wasn't in a position to do any more running around. But the installations centre where still insisting on sending things to me. The installation team are not allowed to carry materials themselves.

 

 

I politely requested by email that future items should be sent to a more convenient address. The response to this was two blank emails and a call from the project manager. We agreed a meeting.

 

I was pleased that the project manager had taken an interest in the issues with the B&Q materials and I thanked her for that. However there were some things I found quite alarming.

 

Firstly if there are any concerns at the end of a project they are not routinely recorded. She told me it would be 'meaningless' to do so. I was concerned that if problems arise at a later date we would have no reference to these being a concern at the point of installation.

 

 

I explained that I would not attempt any repairs or modifications myself (I expect repairs to be covered, without excuse) she said, “I should hope you won't because we'll soon know if you have”. But how would you know that something has previously been a problem and that I hadn't caused it? Turns out the project manager's main responsibility it to intimidate people. I'm so gullible I didn't realize that at the time.

 

I was also told at the meeting that it was not up to B&Q remove 6 wallboard sheets, weighing 144 kilogrammes in total. I had to make it very clear that it was listed on my Homefit Delivery List and that I had been charged for four times the amount required to do the job. Removal was finally arranged.

 

The project manager had a look at the vibrating cooker hood and could not be less interested. Nevertheless the representative provided some great theatre, recording the noise on a smartphone (I wasn't complaining about the noise) and said she would look into the issue.

 

 

She stated that the outcome (or lack of outcome) of the hood will not halt closure of the project and that there is nothing for me to sign anyway so I have no involvement in the sign off.

NOTE: THERE IS NO FORMAL SIGN OFF OF THE INSTALLATION. THE FIRST YOU WILL KNOW ABOUT THE 'COMPLETION' OF THE JOB IS THE INSTALLATION TEAM WILL STOP TURNING UP AT YOUR HOUSE.

 

The final comment from the project manager that I remember is that trim usually placed around laminate floor is not included in the job. Installers buy finishing strips out of their own pocket so that the floor meets with the wall. Almost as a gesture of good will.

 

 

She stated that if they do not have the materials to finish the job it is up to the customer to do it. So when I mentioned that there was a piece of floor trim missing she laughed and told me I should buy some and do it myself. I don't feel it's appropriate for the installers to have to pay for materials left off an order.

 

Over the course of the meeting I had it spelled out to me that with the Homefit service, you have actually only ordered two things, materials and a service to fit them. As I mentioned at the top of this review, I was under the impression I had order an 'all in' service.

NOTE: B&Q WILL NOT PROVIDE A COMPLETE KITCHEN INSTALLATION.

 

I was told I could expect three courtesy calls throughout the job. Well I had to constantly chase things so I suppose that is why I only got one courtesy call at the end. That was to tell me a Warranty Pack was going to be sent out.

 

 

I did ask during that call what was happening about refunds for unused materials and work that wasn't performed or requested. I was given no detail although some refunds have now been made. Eventually, after a lot of persuasion the refunded items have been itemised.

 

A note about electrical certifications. These certifications are not legally required but B&Q insist you have to have one. They charge £117 for the certificate and it's just a pre-printed form. No-one comes to inspect.

 

So I was expecting to hear back about the fault with the cooker hood and drawers. Because I didn't and my stress had gone through the roof (I was feeling physically ill due to all that had gone on) I wrote a letter of complaint. Surprise-surprise, no response. I waited over a month before sending a reminder. And another month before sending another reminder and a further two months before sending a final reminder.

 

Realizing I was getting nowhere I contacted The Furniture Ombudsman. This is a service that B&Q have subscribed to in order to help them resolve complaints. The Furniture Ombudsman totally agreed with me and informed B&Q they should do the work. Nothing happened. I complained one last time and received no reply.

 

Now for the best decision I'd made all along. For the installation of the kitchen, finance was provided my Hitachi Personal Finance. They were brilliant. I forwarded all my complaint letters to them. Within a week I had a phone call from B&Q in Gateshead - they wanted to come out and finish the work to the kitchen (all bar the floor trim). Thank you Hitachi! I'm guessing they have the power to withhold funds.

 

 

NOTE: IF YOU HAVE TO BUY A KITCHEN FROM B&Q, TAKE OUT THE FINANCE. YOU'RE PAYING FOR IT ANYWAY BECAUSE THE COST IS INCLUDED IN THE INSTALLATION - THAT'S HOW THEY CALL IT INTEREST FREE. YOU ARE COVERED UNDER SECTION 75 FOR PROBLEMS THAT ARISE. THE FINANCE COMPANY ARE RESPONSIBLE.

 

Even now seven months on, things aren't quite right but there comes a point where you have to draw a line, lesson learned. Of course I have no acknowledgement or apology from B&Q but maybe I shouldn't expect one. I'm not after money but a letter including the word 'sorry' wouldn't have gone a miss.

 

I had a functional kitchen before the work was started, albeit dated and a bit tatty. As I look around my kitchen now I really wish I hadn't spent all that money. It certainly wasn't worth all the stress.

 

 

The laminate floor was chipped while it was being installed and patched up with what appears to be blue marker pen, there's a new hole in the dining room wall (the wall cupboards being installed on the other side of the wall) and the seal around the door frame of my kitchen door was split on the first day of the installation to name just a few of the daily reminders I have of the time I had my kitchen installed by B&Q Homefit.

 

 

Of course I can't prove any of those things were due to the installation so I now have to make the best of what I have an put the whole experience behind me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

hasn't returned to even see since posting...

 

 

 

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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