CONSUMER: Cooker problem leaves angry Sue hot under the collar
Sue Clifford was at boiling point when a new Hoover electric oven she bought from Wren Kitchens as part of a kitchen makeover package packed up just 10 months later and engineers couldn't fix it.
Husband Phil had made his own arrangements to have the kitchen units fitted, so when the couple learned they could do a deal on a replacement oven at the same time, they jumped at the chance.
A keen cook, local government officer Sue, 60, chose a built-in oven from the Hoover range supplied by Wren, and was happy to settle for a top £579 wi-fi enabled appliance as part of her new dream kitchen.
The Wizard brand 10-multi-function oven is advertised as a sophisticated piece of kitchen kit which can even be controlled remotely from a smart phone.
Because of its advanced technology the Copnor couple thought it a good idea to go along with buying peace of mind insurance cover so they could call on the expertise of product trained engineers if the oven went wrong.
Sue registered her new oven with Hoover’s appointed service plan partner, Domestic & General Services Ltd confident she could look forward to many years of trouble-free baking.
But while the oven was still under Hoover guarantee, it started going haywire.
It would only cook on one temperature setting, and all her attempts to tweak it back into life ended in failure.
An angry Sue turned up at the weekly Gosport Streetwise surgery to tell us she’d been put through endless hassle and inconvenience trying to get it fixed.
The all-singing all-dancing oven had been unusable for two months despite six abortive attempts by service engineers to get it sorted.
Wren Kitchens didn’t respond to her pleas for help, and Domestic & General said it was nothing to do with them. It was all down to Hoover which adamantly refused to replace it.
Sue said: ‘When the oven first went wrong I phoned Domestic & General, and they agreed to send an engineer out.
‘The engineer had a look at it and said it needed a part. He came back for the second time and fitted it but told me I needed a new oven. He said to expect to be told the policy was to continue to insist on changing parts before they’d give me a new one.
‘He went on holiday, and it still didn’t work. All he kept saying was he’d have to order more parts.’
It soon became clear the engineers were clueless about fixing the appliance.
On subsequent visits an engineer turned up claiming he’d brought enough replacement parts to fix the oven once and for all. But three hours and copious cups of tea later he still hadn’t been able to get the oven working.
Then in what appeared to be a breakthrough, the engineer discovered what he thought was a wiring defect. He quickly made some adjustments and left.
However, the following day when she went to use the oven Sue discovered the light remained on permanently, the controls became too hot to touch, and she couldn’t switch it off.
She seriously contemplated calling out the fire brigade as she believed there was a very real risk her new kitchen was about to go up in smoke, but after an hour the oven eventually started to cool down.
To Sue this was the last straw. Although she’d asked several times before for the oven to be replaced, all she got for her pains was a blank refusal.
When she asked Wren Kitchens for help, it promised to do something but hadn’t followed through. Then she went to trading standards and Citizens’ Advice to see if it could help.
But fed up to the back teeth and at the end of her tether, she decided it was high time to get Streetwise on the case.
We got in touch with all three firms insisting no-one appeared to be listening to her. It was only then, after we got involved, that they sat up and took notice.
We pointed out they were not complying with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and asked for an explanation. Sue had been inexcusably inconvenienced for more than nine weeks. A change in the law last October put a stop to multiple attempts to repair defective goods.
Following our intervention Domestic & General confirmed arrangements had been made with Hoover to repair Sue’s oven by replacing it.
A spokesperson said: ‘Whilst Mrs Clifford does have a protection plan with us for her Hoover cooker, her claim relates to the Hoover manufacturer’s guarantee and she has been dealing directly with Hoover on this issue.
‘We understand that Hoover has now agreed to replace Mrs Clifford’s cooker with a new one.’
Hoover didn’t respond, but Wren subsequently wrote to Sue explaining its faulty goods procedure which they clearly hadn’t complied with anyway.
As it had sold the cooker to her as part of the kitchen, it was required to take the initiative and not leave her sent from pillar to post to sort out the problems with it on her own.
A relieved and grateful Sue confirmed a new replacement oven had finally been installed, but was scathing about being abandoned and driven up the wall when things went wrong.
She said: ‘Staff at Wren Portsmouth were extremely helpful on choosing the kitchen but we feel once they closed the deal there was a lamentable lack of interest in after care.
‘We would like to say a big thank you for all your help. Without you we’d still be struggling.’