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Frames and Conservatories, 20k Paid deposit - want to cancel - messed around for months


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Hi CAG team,

 

I have been really messed around with the conservatory company called Frames and Conservatories, based in Bury St. Edmunds.

 

Back in June a representative came to my home and went through the final designs and confirmed to me that the start date would be middle of September and would take approx 2 weeks to complete.

 

Few days later I received an email to confirm the design and quotation for works.

 

I accepted the design and signed the electronic documents by email. 

 

on 20th July, I signed the final electronic documents and on 26th July I received my order number.

 

On 18th August, Frames Conservatory surveyor performed the survey.

 

On 25th August, I received an invoice for "professional fees" £700, which I paid the following day.

 

On 1st September,  I received an email from the installation department stating, “The manufacturers have advised that it is not possible to have the large window as requested due to the side bottom opening windows being oversized. As discussed, there are a couple of alternatives which we could offer you and I have attached a brief drawing to enable you to understand what I was trying to verbally explain to you.”

 

The same day, I replied by email, accepting what the manufactures advise and went through the options suggested and picked one.  I also expressed my serious concerns about the weather due to the delay of the work process.  I also expressed concern regarding the appropriate insulation of our property during rain.  I said I am worried about potential damp issues.  I asked them to take my concerns seriously before works start as to avoid potential future disappointments.  On 4th September, I received updated drawings with the new window design and new electronic documents to sign.  I signed the documents the same day.

 

Since signing the documents no one from the company has contacted me.  I called and left several messages requesting that someone please call me back.

 

They never gave an guaranteed start date in September,  but the middle of September came and went and my efforts to get in touch were ignored.

 

On 14 October I managed to speak to the manager to complain about the delays and I was promised that the builders will come on (today) 18/10/21 at 08:00.

 

I took a few days of annual leave so that I am present for the 18th and the next few days to assist the builders but no one showed.

 

When I called the company office, they did not know why the builders had not arrived.  The manager said he would investigate and call me back.  I told the manager that I was not happy with the service I am receiving and that I no longer wish to proceed and that I want my money back.  The manager promised that someone will call me shortly.

 

After another conversation with the installation manager, I was promised that the builders will come on 20 October (Wednesday) Builder will finish in a week time and that the company will start the windows and the frames on Monday 01/11/2021. Estimated finish time 15/11/2021 (the earliest) or 26/11/2021 (the latest). 

 

I also asked about the protection of the wooden floor. He told me that they are planning to cover that with plastic membrane and not a roof (I have to pay extra).  Of course he cannot guarantee for wall and floor humidity or further damage due to wet weather and the rain. 

 

I don't want them to start on Wednesday - I have asked to cancel the contract but they are not listening.  They are just not listening to me at all. What else can I say to them?

 

As always, thanks so much for your help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • dx100uk changed the title to Frames and Conservatories, 20k Paid deposit - want to cancel - messed around for months

Sounds like the current Covid world experience of someone having building works carried out in the UK with variable weather conditions.

 

Due to the Covid pandemic , companies have had difficulties with supplies of materials, staff missing due to health, problems obtaining new staff, homeowners not being in a position to continue with works planned and a backlog of works due to periods when they could not work. Suspect many of these companies are experiencing the most difficult trading period ever.

 

 

 

When you say that they are not listening to you. I suspect that they hear many of the same worries being raised before works are completed. And then once the work is completed, the homeowner is happy.

 

See what happens when the builder turns up tomorrow. Have a chat with them about what you are concerned about.

 

As you have stated, this company did not offer you any start date. Therefore it was always going to be uncertain, when they would schedule for the works to take place.

 

It does seem that you have experienced some customer service failures, as they should have fully explained the process and been available to discuss any issues that you had.  But are these sufficient for you to cancel the contract ? 

 

Sorry that I am not in agreement with you on this occasion.  Others including my site team colleagues may have a different opinion to me.

 

 

We could do with some help from you.

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If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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I'm afraid that I don't altogether agree with my site team colleague above. I'm sure that many of the delays that people are experiencing nowadays are, as he said, connected with Covid et cetera. However I don't understand that the pandemic would prevent reasonable communication and updating as to delayed start dates.

Also what I don't understand is that you've been with this forum since 2009 and yet you have allowed yourself to be led around by the nose and you've only left it to now to try and do something about it and I'm afraid that if the builders are due to arrive on Wednesday then there is probably nothing you can do to stop it.

In order to bring the contract to an end you would have to give them notice that their delays and lack of communication are unreasonable and then give them a final, say, seven days to embark upon the project or else you will consider that they have breached the agreement and you will consider that it is terminated.
For some reason or other you went along with their delays and the lack of communication and now they have given you a date – Wednesday, if you try to bring the contract to an end now then it would be you who is in breach.
I know I'm giving you a hard time but I have to say that I don't understand why consumers put up with this kind of treatment because it simply encourages these companies to carry on treating their customers a second class and it stimulates a culture of disregard by the companies and of victimhood by the consumer.

Victim-shaming? Yes, probably.

In terms of the delays, no fixed time was given for commencement of works – which is pretty unsatisfactory anyway – but generally speaking where a date hasn't been fixed for commencement or completion of a project then a reasonable time would be implied.
It seems to me that in respect of starting and completing the project, they are in breach. But you have gone along with that and so you have probably validated their breach.

In terms of communication, I'm quite sure that a court would agree to imply a term that there must be reasonable communication and that customers queries should be answered – in exactly the same way that if the company contacted you and needed information to continue their side of the bargain, you would have an obligation to cooperate with them.

I'm curious about their invoice for "professional fees". That sounds to me as if in the event of some dispute between you, their position would be that the professional fee invoice was for a complete and separable part of the contract and that even though the rest of the job wasn't completed, you would not be entitled to recover the "professional fee". I'm afraid that "professional fee" sets alarm bells ringing.

If they don't arrive on Wednesday and start the job then let us know because we will help you draft a letter which gives them short notice for terminating the contract.
Also I'm concerned about the apparent lack of protection for your wooden floor. How come you didn't deal with this when you agreed the contract?

If I were you I would take photographs of everything so that you have recorded the condition of the floor and everything else at the outset and then assuming that the job does start on Wednesday, you should monitor everything closely for any signs of damage and make sure that any damage is noted immediately and put into an email and communicated to the company.

I'm afraid that you have probably given the impression of being a bit of a soft touch on this. Don't worry, most consumers are probably like this as well. And close monitoring of situation and immediate emails indicating any concerns or damage will show that you are about to change your mindset and take control.

Also, you should monitor the hours spent on the job. They may feel under pressure to start the job that they may feel that once the job started then they can introduce delays or even absences.
Start keeping a close note of the days and times that they turn up in the hours spent on the job.

Keep us updated and ask for help before it becomes too late.

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Thank you to both of you for your contribution and advice.

 

I don't have the new start date, which is supposed to be tomorrow, in writing.  So, after reading your advice, BF, this morning I emailed the manager requesting that he confirm the start date to be tomorrow, as he had promised during our phone call.  

I have had no reply.  

 

I trusted this company a little too much, I accepted the verbal assurances and never imagined that I would be messed around like this.

 

I will wait to see if a builder turns up tomorrow...

 

 

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I think you were wrong to email them and to remind them about tomorrow. It will be much better to let it go and hope they don't turn up. By emailing them you may have jogged them to take some action which they otherwise wouldn't have taken.

I suggest that you let us know before you start firing off messages in future. If you have come to us for help then there is no point going it alone.

If they don't turn up tomorrow – no phone them, don't contact them. Come to us and tell us what has happened and then we will take you through the next step.

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Thanks BF,

 

I realised that I only have promises from them.  I had nothing in writing.  You may have construed from my opening post that tomorrow start date was confirmed in writing to me.  That is what I tried to get - that simple promise in writing.

Let's see what happens tomorrow.  No more going it alone!  Thanks again.

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You don't need it in writing. The delay speaks for itself.

If they don't visit tomorrow then you should start preparing a chronology of everything that has happened since the initial quotation, phone calls, broken promises – et cetera. I expect that you haven't written it down – but you better start writing it down. It doesn't need to be done at one go.

Get started and more things will come to you as you go on.

 

This kind of chronology will be very important

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Received an email reply this evening stating that the builder will probably not be with us tomorrow, although the manager is "pretty sure" that the builder should be with us by Thursday "at the latest". 

The email also states that a schedule of works will also be sent, by email, tomorrow...

 

 

 

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Don't respond.

Once again, it's a real shame that you sent your email. You are prejudicing your own position

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Well it's been Tuesday since your last post and I don't think it's unreasonable to ask you to give us an update as to what has happened

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Update:

A skip arrived on Thursday morning and the builder arrived shortly after.  He seems professional and competent.  

Two pallets of bricks arrived later during the day.

The builder and I had a chat about the works and as it was Thursday, and as he doesn't work weekends, he couldn't guarantee the protection of the living room from the elements over the weekend. 

He suggested he starts on Monday (tomorrow).  This made sense to me, although he did offer to work Thursday & Friday and return on Monday.  

I am feeling somewhat confident now that I have met the builder.

Although, the true source of my confidence is derived from the advise and help I have received from this amazing forum that I have been a member of for over 10 years. 

I am taking notes of arrival and departure times of builder and have taken plenty of photos as we go along.

Still no schedule of works sent.  

Will update the forum as we go along.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The build is complete.  Plastering and second fix left to do.

 

The skylight is ridiculously small relative to the size of the conservatory.  Skylight installed is 90cm x 150cm. 

The first three versions of the drawings had the correct size skylight.  250cm x 300cm

 

The final fourth version of the conservatory also included, for the first time, the dramatic change in size of skylight.  I didn’t pay attention and signed off the drawings.

 

I asked the manager to visit me on site to have a look for himself.  He arrived today.

 

He agreed with me that the skylight is too small and looks rather silly relative to the size of roof and he couldn’t understand how or why the change in size in the skylight had occurred.  He blamed his designer.  He accepted that this was an error, in the presence of the builders.  I understand I signed this off but he also accepts that any major changes should have been talked through with me personally and a specifically detailed in wording on the fourth version, as an addendum. It was not.

 

He immediately called the window frame supplier and engineers to confirm how long it would take to order the new size.  He said he would call me back with dates later.

 

This afternoon he called me to say that he has all the lead times with all the relevant parties and everything will be corrected and the conservatory will be completed by 13 December.  I am happy with that.  However, he added that I probably would not have to pay for the changes.

 

I explained that I should not be paying for this.  He accepted that it is his designers fault and I probably won't have to pay.

 

He will call me tomorrow to confirm if I would be paying or not.  

 

 

 

 

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I hope you are getting all of this in writing or else you are recording calls.

You realise that you have been very careless and you were losing control of this when in fact you had previously been in a very powerful position

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