Regular Streetwise reader Stuart Ho was delighted with the new kitchen he ordered from B&Q after he moved into his new Purbrook home last April.
But sparks began to fly when he found himself locked in a bitter five-month battle with local authorised Beko technicians who failed on four occasions to fix an ignition fault with his gas hob.
When Stuart, 64, moved home he decided to treat himself to a new £6,000 kitchen.
He explained that, being accustomed to Chinese cuisine and a dab hand with a wok, it included an attractive Beko built-in gas hob with a large burner.
But little did he realise his choice was to land him in hot water when the appliance developed an ignition fault only a couple of weeks after B&Q installed it the following August.
The large burner had an annoying habit of not lighting up when he wanted to use it.
Stuart said: ‘It just wasn’t reliable. When I wanted to use it for cooking it didn’t light up, but if I tried it two hours later it would light up when I didn’t want it.
‘I looked up the guarantee and got in touch with the Beko manufacturer about it. They sent an engineer who lifted up the plate and checked a wire. He said it needed adjusting, so he did some tying up, got it working, then left.
‘Then it let me down again at the end of November. I called the Beko engineer and said I wanted it changed because it was unreliable.
‘I couldn’t use the wok with one of the smaller burners because it was too close to the wall and I really was getting upset about the whole thing.
‘They insisted on sending out a senior engineer. He walked in and started fiddling with the knobs and swapped the covers around and it started working again. He didn’t leave any report, and I wasn’t very happy with his unsociable attitude.
‘He threatened to charge me next time, despite it being under guarantee. Then two weeks later the same trouble with the burner started again. By this time I was really getting fed up. I was working and needed to have time off and it was beginning to annoy me.
‘The same engineer came back and tested the ignition, which only lit the burner one out of 10, then three out of 10 attempts.
‘I told him I’d had enough and wanted something done about it, but all he did was move the top plates around again.’
Psychiatric nurse Stuart was furious that he’d been repeatedly knocked back in his attempts to get the defective hob replaced.
He put up with another month or so of hassle with it, but vowed to get it sorted once and for all when he had to call in the engineer for a fourth time when it stopped working again.
By now he was determined to make a stand. But without knowing precisely what to do and what his rights were, he decided to call in Streetwise to help him get it sorted.
We were astounded he’d been so patient and put up with the dodgy hob for so long.
However, we had to tell Stuart he’d been the unintentional victim of the problem because he had been complaining to the wrong party.
We confirmed that under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 he was fully entitled to reject the hob for a full refund, because the fault had appeared within 30 days of purchase.
As he’d decided to have the hob repaired, the Beko engineers should have repaired it to his satisfaction first time around.
Because they had not done so, Stuart had been quite right to insist it was promptly replaced, and not be saddled with months of hassle and inconvenience with repeated attempts to fix it.
Unfortunately his statutory sale of goods rights had been trashed by the fact that he hadn’t first complained to B&Q who sold him the hob as part of his kitchen revamp, but had resorted to falling back on the manufacturer’s guarantee.
We stressed he wasn’t alone in making this very common mistake about who was responsible for faulty goods.
As Beko hadn’t sold him the hob, they weren’t liable in law to ensure he got a square deal if it didn’t come up to scratch. That was B&Q’s responsibility.
Any product guarantee is just a secondary back-up designed to add the buyer’s legal rights, but in his case the guarantee had achieved exactly the opposite to what he was entitled to expect.
We advised him to contact B&Q and get it on the case.
He first contacted the Havant store who had sold him the kitchen. They were concerned to hear his story and immediately referred the matter to their Southampton head office for guidance and a decision.
On learning about all the ongoing problems he had experienced with the faulty appliance, to the firm’s credit B&Q senior management immediately set about arranging a replacement.
For the first time in months Stuart was happy that his nightmare experience was finally on its way to being resolved.
He said: ‘I read Streetwise in the paper every week, so I knew where to come to get advice.
‘All I wanted to do was to cook some nice food, but the hob just kept letting me down.
‘I now know I should have gone to B&Q about it in the first place because they guarantee the kitchen for five years.
‘I thought as I had a Beko guarantee I should go to them first to fix it. Now I know better.
‘I can’t thank you enough for all your help and advice.’