3D Rendering, Bespoke Cabinets, Bespoke Fitted Furniture, Bespoke Kitchen Cabinets, Bespoke Kitchen Pantries, Bespoke Shelving, Kitchen Design, Pantry Design, Utility Room Design, Bespoke Cabinet Doors, Bespoke Worktops, Kitchen Fitting, Kitchen Renovation, Worktop Installation, Cabinet Installation, Splashback Installation, Bespoke furniture, Space planning, Supply of kitchen appliances, Site surveys for kitchen planning
London, Richmond upon Thames, Teddington, Surrey, Hampton, Twickenham, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Cobham, Esher, Putney, Kingston upon Thames, New Malden, Claygate, Surbiton, Guildford, Ham, Barnes, Elbridge, Thames Ditton, Strawberry Hill, Hampton Court, Sunbury-on-Thames, Walton-on-Thames
Best of Houzz in Design - 2017 Best of Houzz in Service - 2017
The vast majority of our clients choose to commission us to both supply and install the kitchen cabinetry, worktops and appliances. They give responsibility for the delivery and installation of the furniture, worktops and appliances to us, and we can therefore apply our dedicated management and expertise to ensure a smooth process from beginning to end. As we are responsible for the installation, we do not require full payment up front. Payment is taken in 3 stages, with the final 10% being retained by the client until completion of the kitchen.
A few customers a year commission us to ‘supply only’ and entrust the installation to their builders. This was the case for this project. In these cases we do not have full control or responsibility past the point of delivery. Therefore the final 10% is invoiced a week before delivery.
With years of experience of running kitchen projects we have found that most clients are comfortable with these terms and for smooth and professional running we need to stick to standard processes. On the rare occasion we are asked to vary our payment terms, we try to accommodate a customer’s request so long as they are not too complex or unreasonable. That was the case for this project.
We agreed to tailor payment terms to suit the reviewer’s specific financial circumstances. Payments were split into 4 payments, with the final payment being ‘on delivery’ at the reviewer’s own suggestion. A week before delivery, a final invoice was issued in accordance with our standard payment structure, by mistake. We were reminded that this project’s payment structure was different - which we immediately acknowledged. It was promised that the final payment of c. £2,000 would be made on the day of delivery which was fine with us, as originally agreed.
Delivery took place smoothly on 7th February 2018 without problem. We issued full installation plans and put together comprehensive guidance notes for the builder in order to ensure as much as we could that the installation would run smoothly without our presence on site. We also emailed clear guidance on what preparations were necessary before the worktops could be templated and asked for confirmation of the date they would like the template to be booked for.
Three days later, on 10th February, we had not received payment as it was stated that the client waiting for his builder to unpack the kitchen and would make payment later that day. There was also an issue highlighted with a component and we sent one of our team members at 10AM the next working day to resolve which was done without a problem.
On 12th February, when we still did not have the payment, the client questioned whether he should make payment before worktops were delivered. We clarified that these were the terms that were agreed to. He replied that he had not realised that worktops would not be delivered at the time of the main furniture delivery. We appreciated then that he could feasibly have been confused over this aspect, and apologised if this had not been made clear to him from the beginning. We could have/should have requested that he at least settle the 10% balance on the furniture which had long since been delivered. However, not wishing any further aggravation, and with trust and goodwill, we agreed for the entire 10% balance to be paid once the worktops were installed.
On 19th February we emailed for confirmation that the kitchen had been fitted and was ready for the worktops to be templated, giving specifics of what needed to have been done in addition to our initial guidance notes. The client confirmed on behalf of the builder that the kitchen was ready.
On the day of the worktop template we arrived to find that the kitchen was still only partially fitted. Of main concern was that the cabinetry in the corner of the kitchen was not fixed at all, a dishwasher was missing entirely and the tall end panel next to it had been cut and suspended temporarily to demarcate the end of the worktop. This had been done in a rush in the 15 mins before we arrived on site and in the process the end panel was cut too small.
The fact that the cabinetry was not in its final positions defeated the object of the template altogether, and introduced a real risk that the worktops would not fit properly. We explained the risks of continuing with worktop fabrication based on the original template and that the client had two options. Either he could a) wait for the kitchen cabinetry to be properly fitted and then conduct a second template at an extra cost of £180 + VAT (which we recommended), or b) continue with fabrication based on the original template, accepting the risks that the worktops may not fit properly.
The client disagreed with our analysis of the situation, insisting on keeping with the original template but refusing to accept the associated risks. By definition this meant that the situation was not proceedable on our part without the client first settling the balance originally owed and we agreed without falling out that the customer should source worktops elsewhere.
On 26th February the full costs of the worktops were credited less the £180 + VAT to cover the cost of the original template. Our support and communications continued as normal.
The installation of the kitchen cabinetry, which our fitters would have completed in 1-2 weeks, happened over a protracted time period – we were contacted on 27th March about a wall unit that had just been put up. During this time the client contacted us many times with various questions and requests for parts that were reported missing or for a new requirement to which we responded and attended to wherever possible.
On a Sunday 11th March made a special trip to deliver some parts free of charge and left them on his porch, he wrote how he appreciated it very much. We supplied many other parts and attended site free of charge to support the builder, only charging him for the end panel that had been wrongly cut and some small components that we had to order in from Germany. We remained helpful and accommodating wherever we could, trusting that our goodwill would not be taken for granted and that the client would accept some responsibility where appropriate.
Regarding the ‘poor fitting door’ specifically mentioned, this cabinet was the only one that we custom made the client, having a heavy mechanism inside. It was delivered unassembled, with instructions, for his builder to put together. It is different to the other units in the kitchen (supplied by a German manufacturer called Nolte), because it does not have dust seals that cushion the edges and closes differently due a different type of hinge being used.
We have been back twice to address the issue that the client has with it; swapping hinges. During visits relationships were amicable and we were told how much they loved the kitchen.
Before the second visit, the client said that he didn’t trust his builder with it any more and would rather pay for our fitter. Our fitter visited him in October 2018, and resolved it in a way that was not planned, without fitting a third hinge but returning it to the hinge that it was originally delivered with.
We received an email from the client stating “I am happy to say, the door closes fine now. the man (fitter) said it had a faulty hinge and replaced it now it works as I expect. Thank you for your efforts and customer service”. The client refused to pay for the fitter and when we explained in more detail that it was not a faulty hinge, he took issue with this despite having reported to be happy.
We entrusted a huge amount of care, flexibility and goodwill towards this project, and are very sorry that he ultimately does not feel cared for. This comes of deep surprise to us as we are fully confident we maintained an exceptional level of customer service to this client and took their unique requests into consideration.