Has a company treated you unfairly? Our consumer champion, Katie Morley, is here to help. For how to contact her click here.
Regular readers of this column will remember the case of the £8,000 bathroom installed for an elderly couple, which was published here a few weeks ago.
Bathing Solutions, the fitter, refused to explain the price or provide a cost breakdown, leaving me deeply unimpressed. The individual components installed appeared to amount to no more than £1,000.
The company had also used the Which? Trusted Traders logo even after it had lost the right to do so. It blamed a “coronavirus-related admin error” for the blunder.
After my involvement, Bathing Solutions promised £1,500 in compensation for “service issues”, which it said had nothing to do with the quality of the work or the price paid for it. This was accepted by the customers, so I was disappointed to hear recently that the amount had not been received.
I got back in touch with Bathing Solutions and it said that for some reason, the goodwill payment had “got caught up in its payments process”. Whatever that means. Anyway, after my extra nudge, a cheque for £1,500 accompanied by a box of chocolates and a letter of apology was finally received, bringing the matter to a close.
After publication, the case attracted a vast swathe of correspondence from other readers who felt they too had paid too much to other companies specialising in fitting bathrooms for the elderly and disabled. One woman claimed to have been charged £22,000 by another fitter for a wet room that resulted in no end of problems with mould and other things going wrong.
Some of these responses will form a dossier I am preparing to send to the Competition and Markets Authority to inspect. I suspect this industry has benefited for far too long from the inability of vulnerable people to shop around properly and negotiate a decent price.
Their desperation for a quick solution can make them easy targets for those who will happily take advantage. So, to the dozens of you who have taken the time to write, thank you for doing your bit to help improve the situation for others. I will keep you posted on our progress.
The full Katie Morley Investigates column will appear in print every Saturday and Sunday. You can get an early taste every Friday at 12:00