When a French door that Phil Neville bought from B&Q turned out to be faulty the DIY retail giant agreed to a full refund, but three months later he was still battling trying to get his money back.
Phil bought the £340 set of doors from the Havant branch in early April, and with the help of an experienced door fitter attempted to replace a door which had seen better days in the conservatory of his Hayling Island home.
He explained: ‘The door locking mechanism went pear shaped so I went up to B&Q and bought a replacement door.
‘It was only when we tried to fit it the problems started. The doors are quite bulky but it wasn’t particularly hard to do as long as you get them level.
‘They had adjustable hinges to make sure the door fitted the frame properly, but every time I adjusted one of the hinges they cracked.
‘I popped back to B&Q for some help but nobody seemed very bothered, and they weren’t prepared to get in touch with the manufacturers which appeared to me to be a bit of a negative attitude.
‘Basically they said they didn’t know who made them or where they came from, so I phoned the Eastleigh head office and they didn’t seem to be bothered or helpful either.
‘I was prepared to buy another set of replacement hinges so I looked around online, but drew a blank.
‘Then only a couple of days later my wife went to shut the door and the handle came away in her hand.
‘So I went back to the store again with the door and told them about the problem but they weren’t all that interested.
‘When I transported the door back to them I put it on an old mattress I use in the back of my trailer. it originally came with just four cardboard corners and shrink wrap and I didn’t want to damage it any further.
‘The store offered me two choices, another set of doors or a credit note. I didn’t want a replacement door as the same thing could happen again.
‘A credit note wouldn’t be of any use to me as I couldn’t see myself spending £340 with them in the near future.
‘I ended up leaving the faulty door with them which they weren’t happy about, and got onto head office to tell them about the problem.
‘They emailed me with an offer of a refund, so I went back to the store again with a copy of the email but they made it conditional that I provided proof I’d disposed of the mattress before they’d send me a refund cheque.’
Weeks later an angry Phil was still left wrangling with the firm who refused to back down. Store staff accused him of being rude when he asserted disposal of the mattress wasn’t part of the deal, but says he got short shrift when he stood his ground.
The stand-off escalated when he persisted in trying to chase up his refund. The bizarre chicken or egg spat rumbled on, with head office refusing to send him a cheque unless he’d disposed of the mattress.
In a further bizarre twist in the mattress battle of words, he was phoned out of the blue by an officer from Havant Council’s Environmental Health department, who wanted to know what it was all about.
On providing an explanation, the officer was somewhat put out at being cast as a piggy in the middle of the dispute. It was confirmed there were no enforcement issues involved and B&Q would be advised accordingly.
In a further indication the feud had got completely out of hand, Phil also learned the police had been alerted to the situation, but they also declined to get involved.
With no end to the unseemly squabble in sight the 62-year-old lorry driver decided to call in Streetwise in a last-ditch attempt to bring the increasingly bitter wrangle to a close.
We were a little surprised that the deadlock had been allowed to continue for so long and develop into a bitter obdurate quarrel.
Inevitably it left a question mark over the effectiveness of B&Q’s customer service team to positively engage with a dissatisfied customer and sort their complaint.
We pointed out that the 2015 Consumer Rights Act required goods to be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose, and durable.
By agreeing to refund Phil, they’d accepted the door didn’t meet the quality demanded by law, and the appropriate remedy was a return of the purchase price.
In a strict interpretation of sale of goods law, Phil wasn’t obliged to return the product. It was the store’s responsibility to collect it on agreeing the door wasn’t fit for his purpose.
Like most people, Phil had simply found it more convenient to take it back to where he bought it from.
The issue of the mattress as he’d rightly insisted from the start wasn’t relevant to the violation of his statutory rights. They were two distinctly different concepts and fusing them into one had led to ongoing misunderstanding.
Within a few days of our intervention, B&Q finally backed down and a full refund cheque arrived on his doormat.
A B&Q spokesperson confirmed: ‘We have issued Mr Neville with a full refund.’
A much relieved Phil said: ‘Without you getting involved I’d still be waiting. They could just have phoned and I would have removed the mattress. I didn’t need the blackmail threat.
‘The thing I really got bewildered about was the feeling I’d been blamed for why it all happened.
‘All I wanted was a door to replace the original door that wasn’t there. The impression I got was I must have broken it just to take it back, and was trying to make trouble. That’s never been the situation at all.’