Research before you buy
Buying a kitchen is a big investment of time and money, so it’s worth thoroughly researching suppliers and fitters.
Choosing trades accredited by Trustmark, the Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) or the Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installers (IKBBI) can help to resolve any issues that may arise, as you can approach the accreditation board for a dispute resolution directly. ‘Where possible, buy from a supplier you know and trust. In some situations, kitchen providers may offer you a special deal, which is legal, but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,’ says founder of Checkatrade, Kevin Byrne. ‘Prevention is better than cure, so researching and checking is key.’
When you are ready to buy…
Keep a clear record of any quotes, design briefs, plans or communications with your supplier, and get in writing what the agreed price covers, including who will be responsible for disposing of old units or appliances, and any requirements specific to your project. Before you commit to a payment plan, check the company on Trading Standards’ approved Buy With Confidence scheme, which lists businesses that have been vetted to ensure they meet stringent regulations.
Paying by credit card is advisable, as all purchases are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, so if a business goes into liquidation before delivery, you are entitled to a full refund from the card provider. This covers all purchases between the value of £100 and £60,260, but never pay the full balance of the job before completion.
What if the kitchen is not as expected?
‘Goods must be fit for purpose when they arrive,’ says Peter Stonely, lead officer at Trading Standards. ‘If you have made specific requests regarding the design or asked for any bespoke features to be included, these must be as promised. If you ordered units on a supply-only basis, you may prefer to reject the goods on delivery if they are faulty in any way.’ If you find any issues with the kitchen after it is fitted, the first step is to open a clear communication channel with the suppliers and keep a record of any action, ensuring it is done within a reasonable period (ask each for their timescale) from when you receive the goods.’
When a tradesperson fails to turn up, call and ask for an explanation first. ‘Give them a second deadline to start the work and if they fail to turn up again, get quotes from other fitters and warn the first supplier you’ll be looking to recoup extra cost from them,’ advises Amanda Diamond of Which?. If a company disappears before the fitting is completed, recuperation can take some time.
If you have phoned and written to the trader, with no response, put your complaint in writing to Trading Standards, or go to the Citizens Advice Bureau for guidance, says Kevin Byrne. ‘If there is still no response, legal action is the only recourse, but exhaust other mediation methods before this.’
Featured image: Claire and Nick Hoyes turned two separate rooms into one bright, spacious kitchen-diner