Getting a new kitchen for a property is always likely to be a fairly costly proposition, even if you have amazing DIY skills and can do a lot of the fitting yourself. For the rest of us heathens however, we are going to have to hire someone else to install our new kitchen and, as with hiring any self-proclaimed professional, this can lead to problems.
I thought it would be a useful and helpful thing to do if I did a bit of research into consumer rights with regards to kitchen installation and laid it out for you guys.
A lot of this stuff is really just general consumer law (and I should stress that this does not constitute legal advice of any kind!), but I just thought I’d give people a nice, easy way into what can become quite a complicated topic.
Image by: Tom Hodgkinson
Right, let’s get started:
What if the work is dragging on?
So you’ve been eating various kinds of takeaway for weeks now, and your getting sick of having to fill up your kettle from the bathroom sink. But do you have any kind of protection from a contractor that is simply taking a long time?
Consumer law states that anyone providing a service such as kitchen fitting and installation should undertake to get the job done in ‘reasonable time.’ Now, ‘reasonable time’ in this context is obviously completely dependent on the type of work, but unless your kitchen is three stories of glass and steel, it shouldn’t take much longer than a week.
Bear in mind that probably all builders feel they have a lot on at any one time, and that it is not your fault if they cannot manage their time and resources properly. After formally reminding them of the deadline and of the delays, you have the law on your side to request a reduction in price due to inconvenience or money you yourself have lost.
Didn’t get the kitchen you ordered?
Consumer law states that if you actually pay for something, the product you get in return must match its description. So, if you ordered a sleek and sultry marble finish and you come back from work to find bright white and glossy matt surfaces, you can legitimately ask for a refund under the Sales of Goods Act.
Faulty units or appliances?
Another key tenet of consumer law is that the goods you buy (such as your fitted kitchen furniture) should be of ‘satisfactory quality.’ If your new sliding doors don’t slide like the provider said they would, you are entitled to a refund, free repair or replacement.
However, we do need to insert a caveat here. If the problems are being caused by trying to install the wrong type of furniture or appliance, and you are responsible for ordering that said bit of appliance or furniture, then you are unlikely to have any rights under consumer law.
Another potential problem here is whether or not the trader you bought the kitchen from also fitted it.
I think it is probably pretty obvious, but you should always make sure that you check that the person who is installing your cooker and other electrical appliances is a proper professional so that you can be sure they are safe to use.
In your battle to receive justice and recompense for your faulty kitchen you are by no means alone. Not only can groups like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau help you, but you can also take your kitchen related compliant directly to the Furniture Ombudsman.
I hope this quick introduction to the world of consumer law and kitchen fitting and installation is useful to you; I think knowing your rights before you even buy your new kitchen will place you in a stronger position.
Estelle page is an interior designer who has had to battle with more than one dodgy kitchen installation in her time. She also blogs for kdcuk kitchens : A great option for kitchen design and installation.