Consumer Desk: Two sides to every story
Mary Johnston champions your rights
Q: We purchased a kitchen from a company called Make Kitchens, Boucher Road, Belfast.
We chose the kitchen at this company's premises, explained that our own builder would be fitting the units and we wanted them ready for him by the third week in November.
Their representative said measurements had to be confirmed by our fitter and we had to pay the full amount of £4,100 before the units could be manufactured.
The units were delivered on the date agreed, but on close examination of some packaging I noticed that some were damaged.
I contacted the company and was told that there was no problem and that if I returned the units to them they would be replaced. I felt that as I didn't damage them, it was their responsibility to collect them, but was told that the area manager would have to be consulted first and that we would receive a decision on the following Monday (the day that our fitter had agreed to start fitting the kitchen).
Unfortunately the delay was complicated further when:
A 60:40 fridge freezer was supplied instead of a 50:50, hence the doors of the surround units would never fit.
The wrong size of door for the dish washer unit was supplied.
The screws for fitting the handles etc on units barely went into the wood, never mind attaching handles, because they were the wrong size.
The wrong hinges were supplied for the corner units ordered.
One large drawer handle was not supplied.
There was a minute hole in the stem of the mixer tap (which only became apparent when the taps were fitted and turned on).
The extractor unit side panel appeared to be the wrong colour and when our fitter contacted them about this, he was offered a "quick fix" solution of iron on edging.
Not once did anyone mention the word "sorry" and didn't even consider offering a token gesture of compensation for the trouble and inconvenience caused.
A: I HAVE contacted the kitchen company. The sales manager has a different version of events.
He did not debate all that you have claimed, but said that "these things happen".
In explanation, he said: "In usual circumstances it would take between one-two weeks to get these panels changed. However, the storeman immediately contacted the factory that produces these panels and agreed he would go to the factory in Antrim, collect the new panels and drop these off at the customer's house. This took place within 72 hours.
"The manager phoned the customer and said he had made progress and had all issues resolved apart from a faulty tap. This tap is manufactured in Scotland and was immediately dispatched on the Tuesday the fault was reported, but would not arrive into us till the Thursday.
"At this point your reader got very angry and said that the manager should go and wait at Belfast docks for the taps. The manager said the best he could do would be to drive to our supplier in Lurgan, wait for the tap and bring it up to Belfast.
"This was not acceptable to your reader who then became very irate.
"When the salesperson arrived at the customer's home with the goods she explained she required the faulty tap back to get a refund from the supplier. In a very curt fashion, your reader said they would take the tap back and drop it into our showroom.
"Up to this point we have not received a tap back (it costs roughly £140). The company does apologise for the inconvenience but believe that one part of the problem was reported and resolved within 48 hours.
"We believe that there should not be a problem with an order, but if there is, it is sorted out as quickly as possible.
"We believe 48 hours is a reasonable time to have an issue sorted out and also believe at no time were our staff rude or threatening to your reader, but their attitude left a lot to be desired, in our opinion."
Problem with airline sorted
Q: I hope you can help. I have tried phoning easyJet myself, but cannot get anyone to speak to except an answering machine.
I wrote, but the firm hasn't acknowledged my letter.
My wife and I booked a flight to Liverpool for a wedding and arrived the night before. Our case containing my wife's outfit for the occasion and all her medication was lost by easyJet.
Staff at the baggage department tried to help, but nobody else did and we had to leave without it.
The following morning I made numerous phone calls to the airport and spoke to various baggage handlers. Eventually someone from a baggage handling firm in Manchester phoned to say some lost cases had been traced and were at Liverpool airport.
They said they didn't know which one was ours and if we wanted it that day, we'd have to come and get it. I had no choice but to take a taxi to collect the case.
My wife's name and all the details were on the outside of the case, so I don't understand why it could not have been delivered to us.
It cost me £25.60 for the return fare and I sent the receipt with my letter to easyJet.
I think it is really bad manners for easyJet to just ignore me.
A: SO often people who write to me do so to express their annoyance and hurt at being ignored by companies, against whom they have a legitimate grievance.
easyJet is a low-cost airline which prefers to carry out business online, as that cuts staff costs and passengers then benefit. However, there is no excuse for not replying to your letter.
A spokesperson for the airline has responded: "easyJet apologises that this gentleman was not offered the level of service expected on this occasion, we have investigated this matter and are happy to have reached a satisfactory conclusion with the passenger".
Radio refund on way from Currys
Q: IN November I bought a digital radio from Currys, Coleraine. The radio was described as working anywhere within 100m of the router.
In fact, it only worked when beside the router.
On looking it up on the internet, I saw that this is a common problem. It appears that some Currys branches give refunds, acknowledging this.
Some helpful individuals on the web have devised modifications and ways round the problem, but taking safety risks is not recommended.
I wonder if you could perhaps point out that opening up the back has fire and electrocution implications
As my radio was not fit for purpose I took it back for a refund, but the manager said as it worked beside the router, it was not faulty.
A: SEEMS unfair to me. If the radio does not do what it says on the box, then you can claim a refund. Simple as that. I've been in touch and you shall receive a refund, which I expect you'd prefer to a replacement.
MARY, may I thank you and all of your staff for using your influence to solve the problem with my non-existent contract with Sky.
I am absolutely delighted to inform you that I received a telephone call regarding the 'disputed debt' and a letter acknowledging that it was entirely Sky's fault.
Once again, a very big thank you for all your assistance.