A COUPLE who paid Wickes £ 10,000 for a new bathroom and kitchen say workers have turned their home into a DEATH TRAP.
Giovanni Wallace, 50, said he’s been fighting the workmen for three years to get the issues completed after using his pension on the home refurbishment.
Mr Wallace was told the refurb, for which he initially paid £ 9,972 for in March 2019, would take two weeks at his home in Barnstaple, Devon.
But when he and his wife complained the work was taking too long and the quality was poor, the situation got worse.
He told the Mirror: “Since that point nearly three years ago, we have been bullied, ignored and threatened by Wickes to the point my wife has started to suffer with mental health problems.”
He had to get an ombudsman and a professional surveyor to report on the issues – who listed over “100 items that were substandard or not finished.”
The Wickes workmen allegedly left exposed wires in the bathroom and left water damage leaking over electrical plugs in the home.
And the issues also included an unducted extractor fan meaning water flows back into it, a socket fit dangerously close to a cooker, and no heating in the bathroom.
The family – who have lived in the home for six years – were left with unsealed work surfaces and the shower fitted incorrectly as well as botched tiling and grouting jobs, which Giovanni say the company deny.
After an electrician surveyed the home, they wrote in a report that the live cable hanging above the sink in the bathroom could result in a “potentially lethal situation.”
Mr Wallace said: “His report was very damning to Wickes, but they are now refusing to accept his findings.
“Wickes know we cannot afford to take them to court so they are just bullying us.”
Describing some of the “shoddy” work, Giovanni said: “When we cook, we can’t use one of the gas burners because it’s two mobile phones’ length away from the gas burner – but it’s right over the cooker,
“If there was a hot pan on that it could disintegrate the socket, without a doubt.
“Throughout the winter it’s a mad dash into the bathroom and straight back out again – it’s the only bathroom we’ve got.
“You can’t take a shower properly because every time you’ve got to waterproof it, so it doesn’t seep through the hole by the bath, and goes through and damages the wall even more.
“The bathroom tiles are covered in massive chunks of cement grout that have just been put on.
“Massive big tiles just dabbed onto the walls, on dried powder behind.
AT MY WICKES END
“You can hear it, every time you tap them it’s just hollow, so you don’t know if they are coming down on your head when you’re in the bath.”
The five-day job to complete the bathroom started in June that year, but two weeks in, he started on the kitchen.
Suddenly, it got to the five-a-half-week point and the workman stopped turning up.
The couple then complained but Wickes said they wouldn’t take on their issues until they’d paid out an extra £ 1,687.
The progress was stop-and-start, until Covid hit and the work ceased completely.
And now, the couple have forked out £ 2,500 in legal fees to get a solicitor to fight their battle with Wickes.
They are also now trying to sell the property – but have been told by estate agents that there’s “no chance” it can go on the market.
Giovanni added: “Every morning you’re going into the bathroom and the bath panel’s hanging off. That’s been re-fitted three times.
“You see the electrical things you’ve got to tuck away before you can use the sink.
“The mold growing on the walls and the ceiling and you think ‘great’.
“Then you walk into the kitchen and see no tiles up and think ‘oh, I can’t use that part of the cooker because it will burn that socket’.
“The socket behind our fridge, it had been left unsecured, so when we were tidying behind and pulled, the whole thing went off.”
A spokesperson for Wickes said: “We’re very sorry to hear about the experience Mr & Mrs Wallace had with the installation of their kitchen and bathroom as we always strive to deliver outstanding customer service.
“Upon hearing the issues raised, a full and independent inspection was conducted by The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman to help us understand the outstanding work from the original installation.
“As a result, a refund of the dry fit installation costs was offered to Mr & Mrs Wallace, and once an agreement is reached, we will further discuss a suitable level of compensation.
“We are committed to resolving the matter quickly with the best possible care, therefore a further on site visit will be conducted by a senior team member on 8th June to discuss their ongoing concerns. This date has been agreed with Mr & Mrs Wallace.”