"It is now well over 30 weeks since we paid 19,000 to Kutchenhaus, Liverpool to carry out a complete renovation of our kitchen. They started late, did considerable damage to the cabinets, new appliances, floor tiling (replaced three times and still not right. They sent more than three sets of contractors including one who had the work done by their helpers. Kutchenhaus, Liverpool has now ceased business and we are left with a disaster for a kitchen provided by Kutchenhaus.
According to James Harley at Kutchenhaus, UK he claims Kutchenhaus, Liverpool are a separate business, This contradicts what we were initially told when paying them 19,000 Pounds. It also contracts the numerous statements on their website where they claim all the UK stores are a part of Kutchenhaus, which in turn, is owned by Nobilia, a multinational German kitchen manufacturer.
We have made an application and submission of the facts to the BBC Watchdog program to request they investigate the business practices of Kutchenhaus, UK and Nobilia, Germany who are their parent company.
Below is the background to our nightmare experience with Kutchenhaus.
We have filed a complaint with the Furniture Ombudsman about the business practices of Kutchenhaus, UK.
When we entered into a contract with Kutchenhaus, Liverpool, it was on the basis that:
• They would deliver kitchen furniture and appliances within the stated time period.
• They controlled qualified and proficient subcontractors that were well experienced and known to them from previous projects.
• They provided competent project management services to meet all the necessary scheduling requirements for a complete turnkey kitchen renovation project.
• They possessed the required Quality Assurance policies and standard operating procedures to monitor and control projects including performance of their suppliers.
• Through their direct association with and access to Nobilia / Kutchenhaus’ best practices, they would deliver a completed quality kitchen solution on time.
• They had the required business plan and financial resources to meet unforeseen developments.
• Simply stated, they were a single source – single accountability kitchen solution provider.
We entered into a contract with Kutchenhaus, Liverpool to supply a turnkey, single source, fixed price kitchen solution. This turnkey solution project included:
• Design services to match their products and services with our needs
• Technical services to confirm structural suitability of their design to our kitchen
• Preparation of the existing kitchen for the new installation. This included;
o Removal of existing appliances, cabinets and countertops
o Removal of the existing floor tiling
o With the technical advice from them and their contractor, determine feasibility for removal of the existing separating wall to the pantry
o Removal of all existing electrical, plumbing and sub floor base
o Rewiring to meet requirements of new cabinets, lighting and appliances
o Re-plumbing to meet requirements for new appliance layout
o Installing a new tiled floor
o Plastering, painting and lighting
• Installation of new Kutchenhaus kitchen, appliances, quartz countertop and glass surround
• Completing the entire kitchen project in seven to eight weeks
The project was commenced on February 15th, with the third down payment for a total upfront payment of £19,000. The balance due of £4,815.33 was to be paid at project completion and sign off as acceptable to the customer.
The commitment given by Ian Hartley, the Kutchenhaus Manager was that entire project would be completed by about April 15th, and certainly no later than April 20th, 2019.
As of September 17th, 2019, we are at the thirty-second (32) week of the project and there remain many outstanding items in the project. These include:
• Repairs to the external boiler flue which was damaged by Kutchenhaus contractor
• Replacement and fitting of the new oven which was damaged by their contractor
• Replacement of all upper cabinet doors–Kutchenhaus, UK in July had told us the delivery lead time was four weeks, but have now withdrawn their offer to replace them because they did not like our review.
• Replacement of two upper cabinets–Kutchenhaus have again confirmed L/T of four weeks
• Replacement of wrong handed quartz countertop and 100mm backsplash
• Replacement of fridge side panel, various trims and plinths – three to four weeks
• Completion of all wiring
o Extractor fan
o Cabinet lighting – cannot be completed until after delivery of replacement cabinet
• Completion of the repaired floor tiling (grouting)
• Fitting of wall skirting boards
• Fitting and securing microwave oven and realignment of newly installed small fridge
• Measurement, supply and installation of yet to be ordered glass trim
• Supply and installation of quartz counter back splash.
At this time we are unable to use the main fridge until the replacement panel is supplied and installed. We have been told the fridge has to be pulled out to fit the panel.
The quartz countertop was supplied and installed with the wrong hand (reversed) and the 100mm quartz backsplash is still to be delivered.
Assuming the above tasks would be completed in the estimated time, we are according to information provided this morning by Gary Ward, Operations Manager at Nobilia / Kutchenhaus now looking at a completion of the project round August 23rd, 2019. This completion estimate is predicated on incurring no further delays. Last week Kutchenhaus, Liverpool put a halt to the project and they ,t this point, Kutchenhaus, Liverpool have demanded the sum of £2,000 to proceed with ordering replacements and providing the required contract services.
The situation had previously been brought to the attention of Nobilia / Kutchenhaus, UK and to Nobilia, DE. Nobilia, Germany have refused to provide assistance; we have been told by their senior UK manager that Nobilia, Germany do not have a customer service function.
Throughout the project, Kutchenhaus, Liverpool have demonstrated gross negligence by repeatedly failing to meet their contractual obligations. There have been numerous issues of poor workmanship, use of unskilled personnel to perform skilled work, incompetent scheduling of trade’s and repeated changes to the contractors being used on the project. The floor tiles have been replaced twice and are still unfinished. The third contractor had begun replacing the defective tiles and other remedial work, but stopped further work due to a lack of assurance he will be paid by Kutchenhaus, Liverpool. The electrical contractor also ceased work because he was not getting paid by Kutchenhaus.
The initial fitting of the cabinets was, for the main part, carried out by unskilled labourers resulting in a seventy plus percent (70% plus) damage level needing full replacement. We have provided the Furniture Ombudsman visual evidence with 125 images depicting the problems encountered with the work of Kutchenhaus, Liverpool. Furthermore, attached to this submission are some of the emails and text communications with Kutchenhaus, Liverpool, Nobilia / Kutchenhaus as well as with contractors. More emails and text communications are available.
The impact on our lives has been enormous. We have no option but to postpone or cancel many activities, two holidays with family and numerous social events as we were required to be on-site for the work and rework being carried out. The living conditions we have had to endure for months; constant congestion and clutter throughout the living areas, no cooking or basic kitchen facilities, a permanent layer of dust throughout the apartment and on top of this, complaints from neighbours about the mess made by contractors throughout the common hallways.
The stress of dealing with Kutchenhaus has had a significant impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing and general health. Our home living has been impacted immensely and our home social life has been on hold for months – with no end in sight at this time. It was particularly distressing for both of us in having to cancel our joint seventieth (70th,) birthday celebration party with our family and friends at our home in May.
Incompetence has gone beyond the inadequate skills used in the preparation and new kitchen installation. The owner of Kutchenhaus, Liverpool has all too frequently left contractors to come and go on the project with no accountability to meet schedules. He has allowed contractors to work unattended for weeks without following up on their progress or the quality of their work.
A major outstanding concern is that the original contractor removed a wall without taking the appropriate step of confirming, through a qualified structural engineer, the impact of such a change. We are now obligated to provide the property management company with a technical report confirming that the work done to remove the partition wall did not impact the structural integrity of the apartment or building.
In closing, Kutchenhaus, Liverpool and by its direct association with Nobilia / Kutchenhaus, UK and Nobilia, DE, have collectively failed to meet our needs and therefore, both have been party to a breach of contract by Kutchenhaus, Liverpool. We are now well into the sixth month of a kitchen renovation nightmare.
Kutchenhaus, Liverpool and Nobilia / Kutchenhaus, UK have fully acknowledged and accepted the project’s problems and have taken total ownership of fault in creating the current situation, however, Kutchenhaus, Liverpool have told us they do not now have the funds to complete all the required outstanding items and require us to provide additional monies in order to proceed."
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