Fixing the kitchen for a year

This is a long story, so be prepared with a cup of coffee or your favourite beer.

Back in 2007, we purchased a flat, which is actually a part of an old farmhouse. It got heavily restored (read: demolished and rebuilt) and we could customise it the way we wanted. Check the picture to see how it was before the building works (yes, it’s the pile of rubble in the middle of the image!).

Now one of the key things in any house is the kitchen. Even more so if you are a cooking freak like me. We spent countless days specifying all details of our new kitchen, which we then had purpose-built and installed by a local company.

Generally, the work was rather well done, even though the oven is only loosely fitted and some of the finishing is quite poor. But hey, it’s a rustic house and we can live with it.

Then last summer something unpleasant happened: the inner listings of one of the doors started detaching. It was quite annoying since you could not close the shelf door without scratching the next one. We called the company that installed it and they came and examined the issue. Diagnosis: it was definitely a problem with the gluing, and they would order a warranty replacement. We’re talking August 2010 here.

Unfortunately,  all manufacturing companies are closed in Italy in August, so our local dealer said they would order a spare door in September. I reminded them again in October and they assured me that by November I would get it.

In December I started getting frustrated and visited their shop. They apologised and told me they had had a rush of deliveries for the Christmas season. They also offered to glue the door listing temporarily while the replacement gets shipped. We happily agree, they sequester the shelf door for a few days and come back with a reasonable fix, which we install again hoping that the spare would be delivered soon after.

It’s now March and no movement has been witnessed. Earlier on today I visited the dealer again, and told them the listing is starting to detach again (which they also had forecast as they told me the gluing was only a quick fix that wouldn’t last long). The guy was visibly upset about it, and told me: let me come and visit you this afternoon (deja-vu!).

As he came, the next problem was that he could not find the right colour. He asked me for a copy of the invoice, and I replied that they never printed an invoice (common trick in Italy so they don’t pay tax) in spite of my numerous requests and reminders. He then checked a few colour samples and left, saying the spare will probably be with me in April.

Obviously, I don’t expect them to actually order it before another couple of reminders, so by the end of the story replacing a faulty shelf door will have been around a year of work.

This is a good example of the average level of service companies: low customer service, high degree of unreliability and lots of time wasted doing the same things all over again.

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