“WORK COMMENCEMENT DATE COMES…AND GOES.”
On the 12th of May 2017 we received a letter from Mr Stuart Timbers who at the time was the National Processing and Operational Manager Conservatory and Driveway Division. What a bloody mouthful that is! I say “at the time” because I have never had any dealings with the bloke so I have no idea if he still works for EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS or not any more. Seems a little silly to be wondering if someone still works for a company after just two years have passed but this will not seem so silly later on in the factual disclosure. Anyway, the letter was to confirm our new conservatory was ready to commence in to manufacture and that our “contract” had been passed to their installation team to progress. If we had not been contacted already then someone would be in touch in the next couple of days to confirm installation dates. He gave me the name of our `personal point of contact` Nancy, who was a Customer Service Administrator and whose job it would be to “oversee our contract through both the manufacture and the installation process”. The telephone number was given for contacting our installation team as well as an email address and we were told to simply quote our customer reference number. Finally, Nancy would be in touch to discuss “mutually convenient installation dates” with us.
The 18th of May 2017 saw the arrival of another letter, this time from Nancy. We had spoken on the telephone and the letter was to confirm the dates that had been “mutually arranged”. Now something that you need to pick up on right away if you are unfortunate enough NOT to learn from the VERY EXPENSIVE mistakes of the likes of me and MANY OTHER VICTIMS OF EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS is that they don’t like to commit to timings. Once they have your deposit they know you are stuck and essentially they can behave any way they like. Here is the letter…
You will note the date is a “PROVISIONAL” date . EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS love the word PROVISIONAL and here is why. The meaning taken from the Oxford English Dictionary is… “arranged for the present time only and likely to be changed in the future..” So the physical works can be commenced whenever EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS choose however the delivery of the conservatory is seemingly not subject to such “PROVISIONAL” dates as they need it out of their way. As Nancy says, she will be in touch to advise of the EXACT date of the week commencing 19th June 2017 and the TIME. Next Nancy throws the terms and conditions at you that you stupidly signed. Interestingly it is about stage payments however the terms and conditions clearly state… 3 Payments. 3.1 The contract price is payable in the following stages. 3.1(i) The deposit shown on the purchase agreement-with the order. 3.1.(ii) Where the total order value exceeds £20,000-50% of the balance when you are notified by us that the goods are ready for installation and 3.1.(iii) The balance on completion of the installation. So where do the stage payments come from? Now I have taken this up with EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS and according to their legal guy (I’ll introduce you to him later on), they essentially have the right to ask for payments as and when they see fit. So as that part of the terms and conditions benefits and safeguards the consumer, that part does not apply. This next bit definitely does apply though and I think you will figure out why…5.1 The installation target period quoted overleaf is that anticipated at the date of this agreement. This is an estimate and not a term of the agreement. Just so you are aware of the target installation date is quoted as being between 13 and 14 weeks. 13 to 14 WEEKS, let that sink in when I tell you that it is the 5th of August 2019 and it is still NOT FINISHED. The next bullet point is telling me that after delivery a team member will be in touch to arrange the erection of the conservatory and finally I am given the name and number of the Project Manager, I took this to be the guy who would be making sure it all ran smoothly, but then isn’t that the job of Nancy? Maybe this is where they got confused.
So the 5th of June came and went and we were told work would commence on the base for the conservatory on the 7th. The works did indeed start on the 7th of June 2017 but it was short lived. On the 8th we had another letter from Nancy…
So now EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS are putting up their steel umbrella letting me know that there is a possibility that the delivery may not actually arrive but that they cannot be held accountable if this is the case. This was another combat indicator that I missed. A company that will not give definite dates an will not be held accountable if things are not delivered on time. One thing that they are sure of though, that you WILL be paying the amounts they say when they say it contrary to their own terms and conditions previously shown.
Hang on a minute, what is that? VAT? But I was told there would not be any VAT by MARK CONNOLLY the salesman. That is the amount that I was told would not be charged as it was being built specifically for a disabled person. I will have to address that but meanwhile, where the bloody hell is the builder? I’ll get a hold of Anthony, my “Project manager”. “Hi George Wayne will not be with you today as he has been sick overnight he will be back on Monday regards Anthony”. One days work, well, EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS know the timescale. I am sure it will be ok. Not best pleased about having to ask where the workforce are though, common courtesy is to let me know. This wouldn’t be the only time that I had to chase the workforce whereabouts. Moving across to the actual conservatory. Some alterations to the plans have been made which has removed a roof vent but that is not an issue, one thing that EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS did not tell us though, is that the Gallows brackets for holding the box gutter up, will not be available for the build. The manufacturers inform EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS of this on the 9th of June 2017. The builder has only been there a day so they could have asked us if they wanted us to proceed or to wait until they had all the bits of the jigsaw but instead they chose to ignore the option and crack on anyway.
The conservatory base is due for completion on the 29th June 2017 however on the 26th of June I get this message from Anthony….”Hi George Wayne has got a water pump issue with his van he is hoping to get it sorted this morning so he will be late on site today regards Anthony” Only now, knowing how little EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS care for their victims and indeed how flippant they are with regards to terms and conditions, contracts, timings etc, do I wonder if there were any actual problems and that the builder may have been pulled off to attend any other jobs, I will never know.
So whilst this is all going on I am also trying to get the VAT charge removed as per what we told by the salesman MARK CONNOLLY. Anthony the “Project manager” is relaying my messages to the office as he knew who it had to go through, but things are slow to be replied to. Meanwhile, 3rd of August and Anthony sends me this…“Hi George sorry for the late reply I have seen Wayne today and he had told me he will with you this Saturday and Sunday to complete your base works ready so we can then start putting it up regards Anthony” So much for being complete on the 29th June then!
On the 13th July the VAT relief forms are received by EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS and on the 19th of July 2017 I am told this DOES NOT qualify for the VAT relief I was promised by MARK CONNOLLY. Now it is abundantly clear that we were told this so that we would go from our idea of a covered walkway to the conservatory. On the 26th of July I request the forms be sent back to me so I can give them to MARK CONNOLLY to look over. This farce goes on well in to August where I am asked for …“proof/certificate of disability from customer Pas, In the form of a Disability Living Allowance letter/Disabled Parking Badge etc…” Back to the conservatory…The fitters come and put the front up and then the roof, oh hang on a minute, the roof. The roof is too BIG, yep you read it right, after all the delays in getting the base built, the roof is too big for it. So what to do? The builder has actually built the base EXACTLY to the plan give or take a few millimetres so how can the roof be too big? By too big I mean A FOOT too big. It turns out that MARK CONNOLLY potentially didn’t do something on the computer which has put everything out. So, make a new roof or extend the base? Well obviously I want the base to be the correct size for the structure so get that sorted. Work recommences on altering the base around the 31st July 2017 after the fitters have removed all of the frames and glass. Finally after a load of buggering about, the conservatory goes up and on the 11th of August I am asked for a cheque for the sum of £17,386.80 which STUPIDLY I PAY. I paid because I didn’t want to be being chased for money but what I didn’t realise was that there were a couple of bits of glass missing from the roof and had not even figured in to the whole build that there was no door separating the garage from the conservatory and the rest of the house. There was also a wooden prop holding the box gutter up but the fitters told me that would be for a couple of days whilst the parts came in. Needless to say, it wasn’t a couple of days.
Our 13 to 14 WEEK build isn’t going so well. We have glass missing from the roof, wooden prop holding up the box gutter, no door to the garage, the walls have yet to be dry-lined and plastered and the floor is still awaiting screed. That’s before we start looking at electrics and heating On the 1st of September I ask where the bloody door is and unsurprisingly it hadn’t even been ordered! Anyway, that’s enough for this part. I hope that you are starting to see why I am posting this nightmare, a nightmare that I am still living with no actual end in sight at present.
Next time, “A new guy brings new hope.”