Questions of Cash: Something rotten in the cellar causes trouble up above


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The Independent Online

Q | We moved into our Victorian home in September 2013, knowing that it needed to be renovated. In November we discovered dry rot in the cellar. A surveyor recommended that we use a large, national company because of the guarantees they can offer. We appointed Timberwise. The work was carried out in early December last year. It was at that same time that cracks began to appear in the wall above the cellar.

The floorboards above the cellar noticeably sloped downwards where they had previously been sound. But we believe he was misled by photographs supplied by Timberwise. The engineer seemed to believe that the pictures pre-dated the work undertaken by Timberwise and he confirmed this to us on the phone. We believe that because of this, the structural engineer’s report was not accurate and we hold Timberwise responsible for the damage. We have obtained an estimate for the repair work, which will cost £2,929, plus VAT, to carry out. GT, London.

A | We have been actively involved in this matter for several months and are very pleased that it has now been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. As a direct result of our representations and negotiation, Timberwise is providing a payment of £4,200. This is intended to completely cover the costs, including VAT, of undertaking the full remedial work to your home. The payment is made on a no fault basis and in order to achieve a full and final resolution of the dispute. A spokesman for Timberwise initially explained: “It is our belief that the alleged damage may have occurred prior to our attendance on site … A structural engineer has visited the property and reported on the alleged damage … The exact make-up of the wall and its supporting beam … has not been clarified by the engineer.” Timberwise director Charles Edwards now adds: “We just don’t believe we are fully to blame here, as backed up by our structural engineer.” As part of the agreed settlement, Timberwise will also forward to you the guarantee for its work, which you tell us that you have not previously received.


Q | I ordered a pizza online from Pizza Hut in Islington. I paid £20 using a debit card and asked for the order to be delivered at 8:15. The delivery was 30 minutes late and I was asked to come down to collect the pizza. I couldn’t see the man. I called him and he rudely said he was waiting in his car. I found his car and asked him why he was 30 minutes late. He said: ‘Take your pizza, or I’m leaving for my next delivery.’ I asked to speak to the manager and he said the number was on the receipt. As I started to call, he hopped into his car and drove off. When I phoned, someone hung up on me twice and then I was told refunds are handled by head office.  When I contacted head office I was promised a refund in five to ten days, but nothing happened. AN, London.

A | A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut says: “We are very sorry [the reader’s] refund was delayed and that he did not experience our high levels of customer service. We have been in contact to confirm his refund and believe we have resolved this issue to his satisfaction.” You have also been sent a Pizza Hunt voucher.

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