A University lecturer has accused Magnet Kitchens of ‘acting like cowboys’ after charging her more than £7,000 for a mis-measured fitted kitchen and forcing her to buy a ‘fake’ electrical certificate and leaving her a with a sink that doesn’t drain.
Debbie Pearson from Southampton first contacted her local branch of Magnet Kitchens in Hedge End in January 2021 booking a kitchen installation for July – when she wouldn’t be needed to lecture on Zoom due to the summer break from lectures.
She paid £7227.65 for a fitted kitchen, which included a stud wall removal, new counters, a new sink, dishwasher and fridge/freezer unit.
But the marketing lecturer faced her first disappointment when the fitting was pushed back to October – meaning her son was forced to temporarily move out of the two bedroom flat so she could repurpose his bedroom as an office to work in while the kitchen was fitted.
This was the start of a year of pain for the Debbie, who says the lack of a kitchen, has caused her ‘massive distress’.
Magnet have also charged Debbie £139 for an electrical safety certificate – which she has described as ‘unfair trading’ because the certificate can only be awarded by a qualified electrician, which she had then had to pay separately for.
She claims they have also asked her to pay for unnecessary bags to get rid of industrial rubbish at £175 each, and left her unable to use the kitchen which includes a sink that doesn’t drain.
A University lecturer has accused Magnet Kitchens of ‘acting like cowboys’ after she charging her £7,000 for a mis-measured fitted kitchen, charging her for a fake electrical certificate and leaving her a without running water. Pictured: How Magnet left her kitchen
Debbie Pearson, 60, from Southampton first contacted her local branch of Magnet Kitchens in Hedge End in January 2021 booking a kitchen installation for July – when she wouldn’t be needed to lecture on Zoom due to the summer break. Pictured is the 3D rendering of her kitchen that was promised
When the fitter first came, months after planned, the kitchen was mis-measured by the sale consultant who told Debbie she couldn’t have a full size dishwasher and was forced to instead purchase a slimline version – despite there being space for a full one.
Due to the mismeasurement, the fitted kitchen ends short meaning there is a gap where the oven sits – a trap for food falling down.
Debbie claims is was agreed that the fitters wre required to remove tiles, take down a wall and lay floor – which never happened – and that when the wall of her kitchen was taken out, the fitters left a ‘huge hole’ in her ceiling.
‘The consultant was advised of this by two fitters, and an appointment was made for the consultant to re-visit and re-measure – but he failed to keep the appointment,’ she explained to FEMAIL.
The Darlington-based company, who have 222 stores nationwide, argue that the fitting is provided by third parties and is outside scope of contract.
However, they do provide third party fitting services, and Debbie only had a contract with Magnet – not any fitters.
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, the marketing lecturer explained: ‘They’ve been total cowboys, it’s been an absolute nightmare.
‘I haven’t been able to fully use my kitchen for months, they completely mis-measured and mis-sold the kitchen and are taking no responsibility for it’.
‘I don’t have the full size dishwasher despite wanting one, and there’s a gaping hole to the side of my oven which is going to be a nightmare to clean.
Due to the mismeasurement, the fitted kitchen ends short (pictured) the consultant was advised of this by two fitters, and an appointment was made for the consultant to re-visit and re-measure – but he failed to keep the appointment
Not quite what she ordered! Debbie’s rendering showed a swanky fitted kitchen, which is far from what she received
The kitchen was also left with a hole in the ceiling following the removal of the wall
During the process of the fitting, Debbie’s sink stopped draining (left) which she described as ‘critical’ when she was trying to clean up. Left: How it was left by fitters, right: when it wasn’t draining
The incorrect plumbing left to the sink leaking (left) while fitters also left holes gaping in the ceiling (right)
Timeline: What went wrong with the Magnet kitchen?
January 4 2021: Debbie orders the kitchen to be fitted in July
June 2: Consultant visits Debbie’s home and mismeasures the kitchen
September 21: Branch manager visits to remeasure kitchen and told Debbie the fitter would not be able to carry out ‘cosmetic’ work. When asked what ‘cosmetic’ meant, he replied ‘painting. There was no mention of the tiling and flooring work not being carried out.
September 23: A Hippobag was ordered directly by the customer, following a conversation with the branch manager, who gave the specification, price (£175) and contact details. He suggested this was necessary for the disposal of the kitchen wall. This was in addition to the £424.70 already paid to Magnet for Hippobags
October 4: Fitter arrives and tells Debbie he is not fitting the flooring or doing the tiling as Magnet had not allowed enough time for the works to be carried out.
He also advises that the specifications of the bags via the Magnet invoice (£424.70) were adequate for the disposal of the wall and the removed kitchen units.
The requirement for the removal of the wall was discussed when the order was placed in January. The poor advice was raised by the customer to Magnet.
October 6: , The branch manager sends Debbie e-mail stating, ‘I have found someone who may be able to help with the floor.’
October 7: Oakleys Electrical Services visited the property. An electrical certificate was issued on the same day, directly from the electrical company.
The invoice from Oakleys Electrical Services shows a charge of £60.00 for the issue of the electrical certificate. (According to Magnet, this is third party work, which is a private arrangement.)
The contract documentation from Magnet includes ‘issue electrical work certificate’ at a charge of £139.00.
October 9: The sink is stops draining.
October 10: Debbie raised complaints with Magnet’s CEO, Daniel Carr
October 11: A customer care agent, stated, ‘we will ask a panel of fitters if they would like to quote.’.
Also tells Debbie ‘we will refund the additional Hippobag that is a total of £175.’
An executive assistant responded with, ‘At Magnet, we pride ourselves in the high level of service we provide for our customers’ and ‘have requested that someone personally investigate the matter on Mr Carr’s behalf’. The customer has not been contacted.
October 12: Customer care agent tells Debbie: ‘You have paid Magnet for an electrical certificate to certify the installation of your new Fridge Freezer and Dishwasher.’ They also stated, ‘As a goodwill gesture, Magnet are happy to refund you £60 for the additional electrical certificate payment.’
October 20: ‘ Magnet email Debbie to say: ‘Please find the attached Electrical Certificate.’ The attached document was the same certificate already sent from Oakleys Electrical Services. There is no documentation relating to fridge/freezer and dishwasher.
‘With regards to the electrical certificate. You have paid Magnet for an electrical certificate to certify the installation of your new Fridge Freezer and Dishwasher.
‘As you have had private works done this needs certifying separately which is why you have paid for two certificates. The second certificate formed part of the quote for the additional works and as such both certificate costs are payable.
November 2: Customer care agent tells Debbie: ‘‘The refund for the additional Hippobag is not due from us as you paid Hippobag direct for this service, you can get a refund from them direct which we can facilitate should you give us a copy of your receipt.’
November 3: Customer care agent says they cannot assist with tiling.
They add: ‘As a goodwill gesture we are prepared to offer you £150.00 in final settlement of this matter for the minor delay incurred. ‘
As part of the installation, Debbie had a new dishwasher and a fridge/freezer installed.
Magnet charged £139 for an electrical safety certififate by Magnet.
But she was was later charged £60 by a third party electrician to issue the certificate.
Because Magnet themselves are not qualified electricians, they cannot provide the safety certificate. When Debbie queried this with customer services and asked why she’d been charged twice, they claimed she had been charged once for the installation of the fridge and a second time for the dishwasher – despite only receiving a certificate for the fridge.
A spokesperson from Magnet told FEMAIL: ‘We appreciate that the process of getting a new kitchen can involve many moving parts and can be complicated especially when additional building work with other suppliers is involved.
‘At Magnet we always strive to create beautiful kitchens, supporting customers through the process and informing them of other items to consider, even areas outside of Magnet’s remit.
‘In this case, the agreed scope of Magnet’s installation work with the customer did not extend to Magnet undertaking the tiling, flooring, the removal of a stud wall or the electrical works arising from this.
‘Instead the customer arranged and paid the installer directly for the stud wall and electrical work elements. We pride ourselves on creating beautifully designed kitchens and excellent customer service and we take it very seriously when a customer is unhappy.
‘We are aware of the situation with this customer, have investigated it and believe that our team has tried to help at every step of the way.
‘Our review has highlighted that the Magnet team have gone over and above what they are contractually responsible for to assist this customer, helping finding tradespeople for the additional aspects required, while also offering to help secure a refund from a third party supplier that the customer paid directly.
‘We are still committed to helping this customer, and would love for them to get in touch again with our customer care team and/ or the local store manager so we can further support them in getting things resolved, so that the customer can enjoy their new beautiful new kitchen’.
Debbie, disputes these claims and says she only had a contract with Magnet – and says she struggled to get help from the customer service team throughout.
Debbie added that the fitter advised Magnet had not booked enough time for him to complete the work, but failed to advise her of this, or engage in providing alternative solutions.
As a ‘goodwill measure’ for the disruption cause, Magnet have offered Debbie a £150 final settlement for what they call a ‘minor delay’ of 10 months.
But Debbie argues this is like ‘tipping 10p on a £100 restaurant bill’ as they have overcharged her including for a ‘fake’ electrical certificate and additional hippo bags – a strong, large and waterproof bags used like a small skip to dispose of walls and industrial waste.
‘In September a Hippobag was ordered directly, following a conversation with the branch manager of Southampton Hedge End, who gave the specification, price (£175) and contact details,’ Debbie explained.
‘This was in addition to the £424.70 already paid to Magnet for Hippobags.
‘Weeks later, the fitter advised the specifications of the bags via the Magnet invoice were adequate for the disposal of the wall and the removed kitchen units.
‘A customer care agent stated, “we will refund the additional Hippobag that is a total of £175, but days later the same customer care agent stated, “The refund for the additional Hippobag is not due from us as you paid Hippobag direct for this service, you can get a refund from them direct which we can facilitate should you give us a copy of your receipt”‘.
After sending the receipt, a day after the customer agent emailed Debbie refusing a refund of the bag.
It’s one of many situations, Debbie claims, that have arisen ‘totally from Magnet’s incorrect advice, for which they are not taking any responsibility’.
Debbie’s contract with Magent, seen by FEMAIL, also includes an ‘issue electrical work certificate’ at a charge of £139.00.
On 7th October, Oakleys Electrical Services visited Debbie’s home and an electrical certificate was issued on the same day, directly from the electrical company.
The invoice from Oakleys Electrical Services shows a charge of £60.00 for the issue of the electrical certificate – something Debbie had already paid Magnet £139 for.
The certificate isn’t legally needed or required for private home owners and is only necessary for landlords.
After querying this, Debbie was told days later that she had paid for two separate certificates, one for the fridge and one for the dishwasher, but the two certificates were identical.
‘The cost of the certificate is £60. Magnet have charged £139,’ Debbie explained.
‘There is no such thing as an electrical certificate for the installation of a fridge/freezer and dishwasher. This is misrepresentation and unfair trading’.
‘The kitchen was ordered on 4 January 2021 for installation in July or August,’ she added.
‘As Magnet are fully well aware, this was very important due to the nature of work from home (not working online with students in the summer), as this would be extremely difficult with the disruption of the kitchen works.
‘The job advertisements for Magnet kitchen design consultants on the company’s website states, “taking responsibility for the end to end sales process” and “our focus is on creating the perfect kitchen.”
‘There is no evidence of a high level of service provided for customers’
The customer, who had an industrial career in sales and marketing management before moving into academia, and specialising in marketing and customer management.
She is writing a case study entitled, ‘Magnet Kitchen Cowboys: How to deliver atrocious customer experience.’
Its international publication will be accompanied by video materials on YouTube and other social media platforms.