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Peter's complaint against Wren Kitchens
A Comedy of Errors
Complaint against Wren Kitchens
We moved into our new property in July 2018. The flat had been previously purchased by a property developer who had installed a Wren kitchen. We liked 2/3 of the kitchen but the layout along one wall left much to be desired. We asked Wren to offer a solution that would enable us to get rid of the base unit fridge and freezer and to provide an upright fridge/freezer and, also, to provide more space by utilising some existing, plus additional base and wall units, along one unused wall. The Wren designer measured up the kitchen and offered a solution which was acceptable to us. On 21 July I went to your showroom in Poole and paid a £351.59 deposit. We could not have the kitchen installed immediately as we had other more important and extensive renovations to complete in the bathroom, bedrooms and hall. After we had completed other renovations I went to your showroom in Poole on 13th October and paid the £3,164.33 balance. We agreed a delivery date for the kitchen materials of 19th November. I had already found a kitchen fitter who had agreed to install the kitchen for £350 per day. He estimated that he would require three and a half days to complete the job, a total of £1225. He blocked out this period of time to commence Friday 23rd November, that he would also work on Saturday 24th and that he should be able to complete the job AM on Tuesday 27th. The kitchen was delivered on time on 16th November. I called the kitchen fitter to make sure he would arrive on the agreed date. This was not an issue, he explained. He asked if I had checked off the items that had been delivered to ensure all was correct. I had not thought that this would be necessary as Wren boasts being the “UK’s No 1 Kitchen Retailer”. How could they make a mistake? He insisted that I did a check. When I checked the units delivered against the list of items on the delivery note I was alarmed to find that one unit was missing – the Infinity 900x7672x330 L shape Corner Wall unit. I double checked, then I checked it again three more times together with my wife. I called the fitter. He explained that he would not be able to install any of the wall units on the dates set aside in his diary as this most essential item was missing. He explained that he would only be able to complete the base units and I would have to contact him again when the missing wall unit was delivered. However, he is a busy man so there was guarantee that he would be able to do the job immediately. The fitter had blocked out four days in his diary, for which I was liable to pay £350 per day. Then I called Wren I was surprised at their response. I found Wren unhelpful, unsympathetic and evasive. They said that they could not deliver the missing unit for several weeks. I explained that this meant that I would be left with a kitchen looking like a building site for a number of weeks. It also meant that I would have to search for a new fitter who might be available at that time. I also explained that this situation was extremely stressful. When I asked if Wren would pay me compensation for the extra cost, disruption and worry, the agent was evasive and unhelpful. She refused to pass on my call to someone in greater authority. She said that she would not countenance any discussion about possible compensation until such time as the kitchen was completed. The tenor of the conversation was that I was a whinger who was spoiling her day. The fitter arrived AM on 23rd November, as agreed. By the afternoon I had a new AEG oven and induction hob. Next came the base units. He installed one base unit and then came the corner unit. He struggled with this for a long time. Nothing would fit together. He explained that the plans were most confusing. He both examined the plans: both the A4 paperwork plus the large kitchen plan. Then I joined him to look at the paperwork. Neither of us could make any sense of them. At this time it had not occurred to either of us that the “UK’s No 1 Kitchen Retailer” could have failed to correctly design the kitchen. He spent hours moving units around, and reorienting items, rather like a giant jigsaw puzzle, but to no avail. Nothing worked. He explained the issues to me and together we spent the next couple of hours measuring, then measuring again, every wall, every gap and every unit, and scratching our collective heads. In the end we had to come to the conclusion that Wren had measured up the kitchen incorrectly and, as a result of this, the units had been manufactured in such a way that they could not possibly fit into my kitchen. I was totally bewildered, exasperated, anxious and angry. I had paid a great deal of money, and for what? A total disaster. At this point I called Wren in Poole to complain. I had the impression that Wren were sceptical, but in order to calm me down, they agreed to send a consultant to check out the issues. The consultant eventually arrived Friday evening. The fitter explained the issues to him, namely, that nothing would fit together and that the units must have been manufactured to the wrong specifications. The Wren consultant measured the kitchen and checked the measurements against the design. He concluded that the kitchen had, indeed, been measured up incorrectly. He opened his lap top and looked up my kitchen. He then informed me that it was MY fault as I had measured up the kitchen incorrectly and passed on the information to Wren. I became quite upset. I vehemently denied this. He then suggested that a third party must have measured the kitchen and sent it to Wren. I found this accusation outrageous and infuriating, especially as I was sure that it was he who had actually measured up my kitchen. After a good deal of procrastinating the ‘consultant’ eventually, and reluctantly, admitted that, yes, it had been someone from Wren who had incorrectly measured the kitchen. He then admitted that he was the person responsible. He had measured the kitchen. He had measured the kitchen incorrectly. The Wren consultant apologised for his mistake. He agreed that I had been put to a great deal of additional expense because of mistakes made by Wren. He recognised that I had been put into a very stressful situation. He recognised that I would be left with the kitchen looking like a bomb site. He agreed that I might have problems in finding a fitter to complete the job at short notice. He admitted that the situation was entirely the fault of Wren. He agreed that Wren would have to manufacture completely new units, units that would fit in my kitchen. However, my fitter was able to suggest a possible solution that would save Wren a good deal of time, effort and money. The Wren consultant agreed to discuss the matter with his General Manager in Poole on Saturday morning. By the time he left my wife in tears and I was in a state of intense anxiety and anger. I had little sleep that night. If you had thought that this Comedy of Errors could not possibly include more unfortunately laughable scenes you are wrong. After your consultant had gone the fitter insisted that we look at the units that he had not yet opened. Sure enough, and rather like Freddy Krueger amazingly turning up again for a dramatic finale, Wren had the last word. We discovered that you had delivered a unit that had no place in our kitchen; a base unit for our AEG hob and oven. We did purchase an AEG hob and oven from Wren but this merely replaced the SMEG items in the existing kitchen base unit. On Saturday morning the fitter and I went to Wren in Poole and met with the General Manager. I explained the additional error of the unnecessary base unit for the oven and hob, a unit that does not appear on any of your plans. We discussed the fiasco of my kitchen and he admitted that that the list of mistakes was most unfortunate. He said it was highly unusual. The upshot was that he said that the wall unit would be delivered on Tuesday 27th. My fitter is available on that date so providing Wren deliver this unit he should be able to complete the wall units in my kitchen. My fitter had explained that if Wren could deliver one small base unit he could make the incorrectly measured corner base unit ‘work’ in my kitchen, thus saving both Wren and myself a good deal of expense and hassle. I have yet to see if this item can be delivered in time for me to avoid having to find a new fitter, something that will entail more unwanted expense, more time and trouble, and more stress. The upshot of this catalogue of errors, all on the part of Wren, is I have lost two days of ‘kitchen fitter time’. The fitter cannot be expected to find himself £700 out of pocket when the mistakes were not of his making but those of Wren. Consequently, I find myself £700 out of pocket. In addition, I have a kitchen which looks like a bomb site and will continue to do so for some, as yet, unknown period of time. I have kitchen units cluttering up the landing as there is no room for them in our flat. This is against the rules as it constitutes a fire hazard. The block Management Company are very likely to complain and they are entitled to levy a fine. I have been put to an enormous amount of stress and I have had to invest a great deal of my time trying to sort out issues caused by incompetence on behalf of Wren. I have had to make many calls to an unfriendly Wren customer care, which I have found unhelpful almost to the point of being hostile. I have had to deal with a Wren consultant who was in a state of denial and who wished to place the blame for his mistakes on myself. My impression of Wren is that it is an enterprise that is entirely driven by sales. What happens after a sale has been concluded does not appear to be of any great concern. The money is in Wren’s bank account, and that is what matters. After sales care is of minor importance. Complaints are to be fobbed off. Responsibility for errors are to be denied. It is anathema to discuss compensation.
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