I want to start by saying that when I say EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS, I use the word IMPROVEMENTS simply because it is the name of the company but would suggest the word IMPROVEMENTS be used loosely, by loosely I mean looser than a well used prostitutes parts loose. As such I have decided to write a little “book” about my on going experience with EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS. I say “book” because the saga has so far been going on for over TWO YEARS! That’s right, in TWO YEARS EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS have been both unable and (more worryingly) UNWILLING to complete the `conservatory` that I have so far paid them just shy of FORTY THOUSAND POUNDS for. So, let us start this “book” and I will take you on a journey from the measuring stages right through to where we are now. With luck, before we finish, you, the reader, will have shared the link to this “book” and it’s various chapters with everyone you know or at least told everyone you know not to enter in to any kind of `contract` with EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS so that no one else gets caught out and taken for a VERY EXPENSIVE ride such as I. Here we go then…
“ OFFER ACCEPTED AND A NEW BUILDING CONTRACT”
In July of 2011 I was seriously injured in a road traffic collision, there were many injuries which those who have read my diary and the page about me will already know about, but the injury that causes the most problem is my being paralysed from the chest down. Obviously you can’t just sit back and let the world crack on without you so over the course of six years whilst my legal case for compensation was going on, I had to learn to deal with the problems resulting in the collision. This was not easy and indeed is still challenging to this day but each day, week or month you learn to accomplish or deal with something else. Once the long slog of fighting for compensation for my injuries was completed I had to find a house that offered the basis of suitability for my day to day needs and then obtain quotes for the relevant works to be completed to make the whole house work for me. Having looked at several and getting to the completion stage on one which only fell through because the seller got greedy and went back on just about everything she had included on the sale. This should have been the warning triangle to show that people were going to view me as a soft touch, a ‘crippled cash cow’ if you will but I thought it was just a greedy old lady and forgot about it. Anyway, we did find a house and we went to view it on the 23rd of February 2017. It was over the budget I had laid down and it was too big if the truth be known, but taking these two factors out, (two quite big factors to be fair), the house ticked ALL of the boxes and some that had been considered but were looking unlikely. On the 26th of February 2017, just three days later, we had a second viewing which the sellers kindly let us do despite it being a Sunday, this time we took the children and some help to get me up the stairs and after a good look but this time looking at the layout for me and the positioning of a lift etc, we decided to put in an offer on the house.
The offer decision came early on the Monday morning, I had gone in quite a bit less than the asking but it was a cash sale so I thought I would chance my arm. I had had a feeling that the offer would be rejected but now I had to hope that I had not insulted the sellers. We wanted this house, it was not where we had wanted to be as it was out of town and in the lanes, neither of which were anywhere close to ideal. To go in to town which I did daily for fresh air, I would have to drive and I would have to use my manual chair. How would I get on with that if my wrists or shoulders were to give me the grief they so often did. What about the kids, they could not simply wander in to town to meet with their friends as the lanes were potentially a bit dangerous for them to be wandering around in. We started to almost put problems in the way but we kept coming back with solutions for all of them so I decided to up the offer. Would they be happier with the offer? Would they think to push me for more to see how much I wanted it? If they did, would the devil on my shoulder just say “Bollocks, 2nd place is the first loser, just do it already!” I called the estate agent and she informed me right away that the seller had received an offer for full asking price but had not responded to it as they knew I was going to let them know if I would submit another offer or forget about it. I submitted the offer, reminded the estate agent the purchase would be cash and put the phone down. Literally five minutes passed when the call came from the estate agent. Five minutes is not a long time to consider an offer, “It’ll be a no” I kept thinking in my head. “Five minutes isn’t long enough to seriously consider the offer, it’s a no”. I waited with the phone to my ear having said “Hello” but the reply seemed to take for ever… “I have spoken to the vendors and they have told me to let you know that they have an offer for the full asking price…” that’s that then, I was waiting for the agent to ask if I wanted to offer the same of above the offer of full asking. The agent continued “…however this would involve them being in a chain and as such they would like me to tell you that they accept your offer.” Holy shitballs, we got it, we got the house! Right then, now we have to get contractors in to measure up and cost for the various works to be carried out. I wonder if we could be so bold as to ask for permission for the contractors to visit the house whilst the searches and other legal bits are being done? Is that taking the piss? Is this one of those times that `Don’t ask, don’t know` doesn’t count?
My Wife actually trained at the same gymnasium as the Gentleman seller and whilst on the exercise bikes shortly after the acceptance of the offer, he asked if we had many adaptions to do to the house in order for it to be fully accessible and suitable for me. She did say that there was quite a bit to do and he very kindly asked if it would help for contractors to visit and measure up so that they could commence work immediately that the house purchase was complete. This was exactly what we were hoping to be able to do and was going to ask permission for but to be offered was simply unbelievable. We did of course take him up on his offer and set about finding the contractors required for the works. One of the things I needed was for a wider door to be fitted at the rear entrance to the house so I could get in and out and so on the 8th of March I attended the house for a quick measure up with my friend who I served with in the military but who was then working for EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS as a sales representative. Here I spoke to him about the idea of a walkway to link the house and garage, more about that now. The house has a very large garage adjacent to the house. This offered the ability for me to be able to get in and out of the car in the bad weather, in the dry. I had an idea of a covered walkway to go from the back door of the house to the garage side door and thought of ways it could be done relatively inexpensively. One day I was having lunch with the ex-military friend I spoke of earlier and we were talking about the various works required on the house we were buying. I mentioned the covered walkway again. He said that it may be something that EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS could quote for. He did tell me that it was not his department that he worked for, he was a rep for the windows side of things but he would ask his colleague MARK CONNOLY if he could meet, run through my idea and quote. We agreed to this out of interest and to be able to dismiss the idea if that is how we decided to go.
I explained to MARK CONNOLLY, formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS what I had in mind and he went with my idea, that was until he told me that the covered walkway was a bit of a waste of time and money which would not impress future purchasers, when I could actually have a covered area to get to the garage but also a usable room by purchasing an EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS conservatory. MARK CONNOLLY, formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS went on to explain how much value would be added to the house. He explained that you take the price paid for the house and divide that price by the number of rooms the house had. This gave you the price per room. So the added `conservatory` would give an extra room and therefore that would add that price to the house. I was still working on my original idea of the covered walkway to be honest but then MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS said he would measure up and give some figures for us to consider and so this is what MARK CONNOLLY did. Once the measurements were taken, and I had thanked the owners of the house for allowing us to come to the house to take measurements and surveys of the drainage, myself and MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS made our way back to the bungalow which we were living in. Here the design laptop came out and MARK CONNOLLY designed a conservatory.
MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS did have a few problems with the deign as the computer would not allow him to put a standard roof on and insisted that it had `hip` type ends to the roof where it joined the house and the garage but he said that it was a glitch and he would get it sorted out. I referred to the covered walkway idea several more times but MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS said that he could discount glass and that a glass front looking out to the garden would be much more pleasing to the eye than a block wall with a window and how we could sit in the evenings and enjoy the quiet whilst reading or just sitting. Finally MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS told me that as it was being specifically built for me as a disabled person, to transit between my house and my garage to allow me to get in to my car in the dry and relative warmth in the winter, I could instantly knock around £7,500 off of the total build as it would qualify for VAT exemption. This did make it financially viable now to have the conservatory, knowing that it would be £7,500 cheaper than the given amount, the total being £43,467. This is a substantial amount of money but MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS had told us of how good the glass and frames were. He said of how secure the door locking system was and that the tag line “FIT THE BEST” was not just a gimmick. He informed us that once the lead time expired which was where the manufacture of the frames etc would happen, the actual works would start and that the estimated time for completion would be 12 to 14 weeks. This was written also in the contract. This would mean that it would be finished and ready for use by the summer of 2017.
MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS came to our bungalow on the 21st of April 2017 as we had sent a scan to head office of a letter from the solicitor to say that the contracts had been signed for the purchase of the house and essentially we were legally committed to the completion, MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS took the cheque for the deposit of £6,520. Whilst there we had to sign other documents, the plans etc which would be the `contract` between us and EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS. One of the ones we had to sign was what they call a “Knock through waiver”. This I was told by MARK CONNOLLY formerly of EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS was to basically stop the need to ask for planning permission and building regs. It was a “standard” document by all accounts and so I signed it. THAT was the SECOND BIGGEST MISTAKE I made with regards to EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS but by no means the ONLY TWO MISTAKES.
Next time, “Work commencement date comes…and goes”