Consumer Rights: 'My kitchen units will be a month late, but firm refuses to cancel my contract'
Patience may be the best option for delayed cupboards and a driver will have to accept trackers on his work car
Sunday 08 April 2012
Q: I planned to rebuild our kitchen over Easter. The plans were drawn up just after Christmas. We paid a hefty deposit for bespoke units and were promised delivery by the end of March at the latest. All other equipment and materials have been bought and paid for and work is to start on Easter Monday. However, I was told yesterday that the kitchen units won't be ready until the end of April.
I can go ahead with the wiring, plumbing, tiling and so on but the carpenter will have to be stood down. We won't be able to use the kitchen because there won't be any units. I've booked four days holiday which I can't unbook and we'll have the expense of living on takeaways or eating out for two weeks longer than expected. I have pleaded and explained but to no avail – the units are being built but won't be ready and the firm won't cancel the order and give me the deposit back so I can go elsewhere to buy ready-made units. What are my rights? Can I demand compensation?
A: Easter is a popular time for sprucing up houses and it sounds like the kitchen company over estimated its production capacity and took on too many orders.
If you had an agreement which very clearly specified that you needed the units by the end of March they have broken that contract. Go back to the order form and see what it says. Think back to the conversation you had with the sales person in the showroom. Did you have anyone with you who can witness what was said?
It's too late to get the units off the production line in time but think carefully about what you really want. If you do persuade the company to cancel your order and refund your deposit (which you could do if they're in breach of their contract but which they will resist because bespoke units won't easily fit another kitchen) you can probably order units today and have them delivered for Friday. But I suspect, given the planning that's gone into this, readymade units won't ever fit the bill and you won't ever be happy with the resulting kitchen.
Make a list of what you want by way of compensation – any money lost, extra costs because of the delay etc – but be reasonable. It's still possible to eat at home if you have a fridge and a microwave. Put your case to the firm, in writing (emails are fine as long as you don't delete them) and tell them what it will take to make you a happy customer. It's not so much the reason for the complaint that makes us cross with companies but their reluctance to solve problems quickly. If they pull out all the stops, get the units to you as quickly as possible, well made and looking wonderful, and you get a discount to cover your losses you will be glad you waited because you'll have the kitchen of your dreams.
If, however, the units don't arrive as promised by the end of April there's a bigger problem and you may have to threaten legal action (and to name them in this column) if you don't get your money back. If it comes to that call Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.
Q: I have been working for my boss for five years. My sales job involves a lot of driving and I have a company car which I also have the use of outside working hours. Last week we all had an email saying that our company cars are going to have trackers fitted. Basically during working hours the company will know where we are and even the speed we're driving at. Can they do this without our agreement?
MM, West Midlands
A: This is fairly common. A lot of companies are bringing in these tracking systems but some are really bad at managing change: imposing new rules at a few days notice and alerting people by email really isn't smart. I have heard from someone who didn't know a tracker had been fitted to his lorry until he wasn't where he should have been and got caught out by his manager.
However, there's not a lot you can do. The firm isn't doing anything illegal – it is bringing its policies up to date and arguably should have done it sooner. It isn't likely to be in breach of contract, the boss can argue that the change is for your health and safety and you don't seem to be losing out financially.
By adding tracking devices drivers are encouraged to stick to the speed limits, employers can check that they don't drive for too many hours in the day, colleagues can locate drivers if they breakdown, and someone will know where they are if they're driving alone. All of that is reasonable. If a firm neglects its Duty of Care to its employees and doesn't take all reasonable steps to reduce work-related accidents, and you or a colleague is involved in an accident, the company might find itself facing a claim for any resulting injury or death.
It's the lack of consultation that's really the bone of contention here, I suspect, but that's just bad practice by poor management which will result in impaired morale and reduced productivity. When will managers ever learn?
Budget 2015: George Osborne is set to get tough with further cuts in public spending
Bargain Hunter: Our exclusive deal cuts the cost of buying foreign currency by 20 per cent
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
Simon Read: 'Taylor Swift tickets purchased on Viagogo were cancelled hours before the concert'
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...
Day In a Page
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.