Robert Colbern was fuming when home improvements firm Anglian Windows threatened to take legal action after he demanded compensation for a window replacement job from hell.
The retired Gosport marine engineer decided to give Anglian the job of replacing his front bay windows because he wanted to ensure top quality materials and service.
But nothing was to prepare him for the three-month litany of delays and disruption that was to completely shatter his confidence in them.
‘They said the job would take two days,’ he recalled, ‘and they came in the first day and knocked our windows out upstairs, then went to put the window sills in.
‘They asked me to come up and take look at because the window sills were wrong.
‘They said they’d put them in temporarily and they’d be back in five days.
‘Fourteen days later the replacements arrived and by then another set of fitters turned up and knocked the bottom window sills out. When they went to fit the new ones, they were wrong.
‘They again fitted the sills temporarily and said they’d be back in five days. Fourteen days later they came to refit the bottom ones, which weren’t too bad, but when they went to replace the top ones they still didn’t fit.’
By this time Robert’s patience began to fray a little around the edges. He put in a series of complaints to managers which resulted in the local installation manager, and his area counterpart, turning up to inspect the job.
It was agreed the top windows weren’t up to scratch. They were the wrong size and didn’t support the ceiling.
Remeasurements were taken and it was accepted that a complete set of replacements would need to be manufactured and fitted.
Robert didn’t want any more hassle and conceded that the proposal was as good as he was going to get. It was now mid-May and he just wanted the entire job done and dusted.
He told managers he was about to go on holiday so it was essential everything was completed without further delay and the house secure.
But Robert was infuriated when progress report requests went unanswered, and he eventually discovered the promised replacement windows hadn’t even been made.
To add insult to injury, while he was in Spain he took a call from a manager asking if he was happy with the windows.
Fitters finally turned up in early June, and after two days the windows were satisfactorily installed. Wisely Robert had retained £1,000 of the contract price pending satisfactory completion of the job.
He contacted Anglian’s Fareham management to ask for compensation but they were only authorised to offer a miserly £200. He phoned the firm’s head office who said they’d look into it.
When no-one replied he phoned again, but this time he learned the matter of the outstanding balance had been passed to Anglian’s legal department. He decided it was high time to get the problem fixed so he turned to Streetwise for help and advice.
We contacted Anglian’s top boss and said Robert had been let down badly. They’d failed to keep to their published promise to keep him informed of progress, and install everything carefully and accurately. There had been a serious breach of contract for which he deserved reasonable compensation.
Shortly afterwards Robert received much better news.
Spokeswoman Melanie McDonald said: ‘I’m disappointed that Mr and Mrs Colbern have not experienced the high standard of service we expect from all areas of our business. They have an outstanding balance on their contract of £1,000. As a gesture of goodwill we are prepared to waive this amount.’
Robert was thankful and relieved that with the help of Streetwise justice had been done.
For him the irony was he could find no fault with the quality of the windows or the competence of the fitters. In his opinion it was simply a case of management disinterest.
Robert said: ‘I’d have got nowhere without Streetwise. Anglian was simply going to ignore me and hope I’d give it up as a bad job.’