We’d ordered an Easifold bifold door and 5 windows from Abbey but our experience of this company turned into a complete nightmare that is still unresolved.
They started work much later than their quoted lead time, then left the ground floor windows and bifold door half-finished for a month, with only temporary single glazing in the door that was letting in water – and only came back after I’d complained. Meanwhile, they invoiced me for the balance without having finished the work. They also quoted over £1,8K for a 3.5m2 upper window for a hole that hadn’t been made yet but when the surveyor measured up, the final window came out at under half the size - 1.5m2. I pointed out it should likewise be reduced in price but they refused to do so, though eventually, they took off a nominal £100; I believe I was overcharged by @ £700. They then aggressively pursued the balance, expecting me to pay up the second the installers had finally finished, and voiced their annoyance that I’d wanted my husband to see it that evening before I paid up! The next morning, they bombarded me with phone calls from the moment I got up and sent an office junior up to my home to collect a cheque from me that morning – all very suspicious and intimidating.
The Easifold doors soon became impossible to close or lock on a hot day and I requested Abbey come and sort this out but the installations manager made up complete fabrications concerning the cause of the problem, without ever seeing it, claiming we had caused it ourselves! He refused to rectify the matter and I had to get a window doctor out, who informed me that the problem lay in there not having been sufficient tolerances allowed in either its installation or manufacture. I reported the matter to Consumer Direct and was advised to send a recorded delivery letter to Abbey, quoting their legal obligations and giving a reasonable time frame to put the matter right, but they replied with accusative letters and have denied any obligation on their part. Their service engineers have since come out on several occasions to change the trickle vents that became misshapen in the summer’s heat (which took them 4 attempts!), and all agreed unofficially that the bifold door has been badly installed, but said the company had instructed them not to touch it. So the company’s warranty covering installations against future failures is obviously not worth the paper it’s written on as Abbey will always wriggle out of its obligations.
When the window doctor saw the condition of the rest of Abbey’s work, he was more concerned at the state of the 4 ground floor windows that he said was the worst he’d ever seen; they were jutting out at varying levels, the frames bowed and proud of the rendering in places, and he said they would eventually leak. Part of the problem lay in the fact that Abbey’s surveyor had proposed that the windows would look good on our ‘modernist’ home if they were sill-less and said he knew how he could do this – but he never explained the possible consequences of having them installed.
I reported the whole saga to Trading Standards, who took up the case on my behalf, but they also got nowhere with Abbey, not even managing to get Andrew Young, the Managing Director, out to see the state of the works – he seems only ever concerned with self-promoting his ‘charity work’. Trading Standards’ intervention did, though, manage to rectify Abbey’s mis-selling of our order with the promise of an M&S voucher under their ‘Winter Fit Deal’ that had never materialised – although I didn’t receive a voucher, I got a cheque instead.
The only lucky thing was that we hadn’t signed the purchase agreement on the Solidor that Abbey were going to install and we then went to a lovely family-run firm in Reading that did an excellent job, and cheaper, so we had them do our side windows as well and my son’s house in Tilehurst.
This customers has been reported and we are taking legal action. We have undertaken our responsibilities as per our contractual agreement. Sadly the customer project managed their own build with little idea of specification. There was an investigation by Trading Standards, who fell in our favor. Not happy with this the customer appealed against their decision, a second investigation took place and again was found in our favor. Because we wold not be blackmailed we feel the customer is using all avenues to badly and inaccurately portray our business. The report you are showing is damaging our business and not reflective of the over and above we undertook for this customer and request that it is removed. Neil Whitehead Managing Director.