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    Howdens Traders passing on discount - Scam??
    • #1
    • 24th Oct 09, 11:01 PM
    Howdens Traders passing on discount - Scam?? 24th Oct 09 at 11:01 PM
    Is the whole traders can get you your kitchen at discount from Howdens a scam, how come you get different sets of paperwork and does anyone here have the final invoice from their trader/builder and if so does it differ from the quote and more importantly what you paid.
    I think this company is letting rogue builders scam people like me as how else can you get your original quote for say 6k, like me, then invoice for trader, when you pay first of all and then Howdens only deal with trader after beause they are the account holder but I got hold of a very very nice person who sent me the final invoice paid by my builder for EXACTLY the same items and he paid 2,000 less, the same branch manager processed both sets of paperwork..... I am certain this is not right, but do Howdens support traders doing this, is this a company that give licence to builders to pocket money in a deceptive and what I think amounts to criminal way??? I feel sick and basically robbed! My builder looked around and saw a single Mum and was so charming, whilst seeing signs!?
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  • jillytb
    I will get there and thank you Leveller! The funny thing is there is a discrepancy for my appliances which is something that needs to be looked into!
    This chap was recommended indeed, they have come to blows recently needless to say.... still I have my health, also the will to fight!

    I buy flours eggs and butter, make them into cakes and sell them for more - thats how capilatism works!

    Rachbc, thank you for explaining capitalism I never knew, maybe that is something to do with so many being affected by this deep recession? Patronising those in unfortunate situations really is not nice. Happy baking!
    • CKdesigner
    • By CKdesigner 26th Oct 09, 8:26 AM
    • 1,210 Posts
    • 632 Thanks
    Dear Jillytb

    I understand where you are coming from. I wouldn't necessarily say its a scam, more like very poor trading policies by Howdens.

    As the other half and I own our own kitchen business we have had representatives of Howdens call on us several times over the years trying to get us to use their products, other than the fact that we think they are poor quality for the money, we have always sent them away with a flea in their ear for these very poor policies.

    As far as I am concerned a manufacturer should either sell direct to the consumer or sell to a specific trade, not both as the mood takes them. There should be no deviation to this policy what so ever, because if there is then this sort of thing will happen and it just tarnishes the people/companies involved and to be honest the industry could do without it.

    You are right about the issues you have pointed out about the invoicing. Howdens should have supplied an invoice to your builder/fitter then they should have provided an invoice to you. This invoice from the fitter is your official proof of purchase for the guarantee. As another point for correct invoicing - if Howdens don't issue an invoice to your fitter and also if your fitter doesn't invoice you correctly then I am sure the Revenue and Customs would be very interested because we all know how they like to make sure they get their slice.

    Good luck.

    • Imp
    • By Imp 26th Oct 09, 9:11 AM
    • 1,014 Posts
    • 1,425 Thanks
    Your builder's practice seems "normal" when looked from the world of business/contracting. When you quote for a job, that is the moment in time that you could bankrupt yourself by underquoting. You also don't have much time to work up the quote, and because people normally get multiple quotes/just test the market you will probably win only one in three quotes.

    Have you never heard contractors panic when they have won a job, thinking "what did the other bidders include which I didn't".

    So what you do is send an enquiry to your supply chain, and include that in your quote. Remember, you don't have much time, and are probably putting the quote together in the evening, because you are doing work during the day.

    So you win the job. You may have a couple of weeks to start, so you can ring up your supply chain and say "Jim, that quote you did, it's a bit pricy, what can you do for me?" And then the negotiations with suppliers can begin.

    So, you were quoted a price which you accepted, and now you find out that the builder has managed his supply chain effectively and increased his profit. The builder is happy, you chould be happy because you got what you wanted for the price you wanted.

    The last thing you want is a job where the builder looses money. You try and get him back to complete any snags. If he goes bust half way through the job, you could find his suppliers turning up to reclaim their goods. A builder making a fair profit on each job is essential.
  • Alan M
    This thread is a fine example of why this country is falling to pieces.

    Profit is a dirty word in the UK - in fact profit is seen as a "scam".

    Tesco's and out of town huge stores are thriving on this mentality and doing what they can to put competition out of business.......ask yourself what happens when nearly all the competition is gone and there are a handful of huge suppliers.....

    Really, wake up and smell the roses, profit exists in any business, it's up to you to find out what you're paying before you say yes or no to the work.
  • jillytb

    This thread is a fine example of why this country is falling to pieces.

    Profit is a dirty word in the UK - in fact profit is seen as a "scam".

    Tesco's and out of town huge stores are thriving on this mentality and doing what they can to put competition out of business.......ask yourself what happens when nearly all the competition is gone and there are a handful of huge suppliers.....

    Really, wake up and smell the roses, profit exists in any business, it's up to you to find out what you're paying before you say yes or no to the work.
    Originally posted by Alan M
    Fine Alan, I agree the country is in a mess for so many reasons, although profit is not a dirty word at all but it is the lack of clear policies, transparency in ethical business practices and sheer dishonesty and being misled that leads many people like me not to accept this sort of practice. Take the MPs Expenses as an example.
    It might be hard to believe but I run my own business and I deal with people on contracts and PSL's all the time and overlooked my business attitude, due to lack of time and resource, when dealing with this builder - silly I know but I have learnt - but his profit is not one he earned ethcically as he lied to me - this is my point. He needs to wake up and smell the scent of my determination as I will see this through as it was not what I agreed, the PAPERWORK reveals this.
  • Alan M
    but his profit is not one he earned ethcically
    Originally posted by jillytb
    That made me chuckle.

    I gather he quoted a price, you accepted and paid, and now you've found out what you could have got it for if you'd bargained a bit harder, and now you feel you've been robbed.......

  • usignuolo
    Some trades and sectors always charge a mark up on the goods they supply to customers. Not just builders, garages as well. Usually they are getting a wholesale trade price which is not the price available to the general public.

    There are a number of ways around this: find a builder who charges you for his labour and only charges back the cost of the items used with receipts. This is how we did my bathroom. Or check the cost of the item if you bought it direct and make sure the builder charges you no more than this. Then whatever discount the builder gets from the supplier is down to him but you should not get charged extra on top of the retail price.

    Or go to the stockist with the builder (or the showroom, in my case it was for a bathroom) and select the items you and he want to install. Then depending on terms they offer, builder buys and you reimburse him or you buy direct.
  • jillytb
    I resent being overcharged when I have been misled in a most unethical way, I have new evidence now and I can see more of what is going on - my suspicions are confirmed and I objected to being deliberately ripped off and lied to.... If I overpay on something somewhere I usually say so what, my fault, but this is where I have actually been conned with well doctored paperwork! I have writtend to my builder today outlining the exact situation and where he stands now, Court or pay back - will update you when I get the results I want, I am not going to say "I paid over the odds" on this occasion!
    • leveller2911
    • By leveller2911 26th Oct 09, 7:39 PM
    • 7,532 Posts
    • 13,947 Thanks
    I think the Kitchen industry like many others could act more ethically.I would agree that businesses are there to make a profit ,however personally I could not sleep easily at night knowing I had earned say 2k for 1 weeks work. I guess thats why I wn't die a rich man, but I will die with a clear conscience.

    I have fitted Howdens Kitchens as I said before and found the branch I deal with very professional,however I also make bespoke kitchens which really are bespoke, where as in my area there are kitchen companies advertising as such ,but in reality they buy their units in and are all standard sizes 300,400,500,600 etc etc .They are incapable of making bespoke units.
    They then load the price with their "profit margin" and charge the client a premium for what is in fact a bog standard Kitchen.The client is led to believe they are getting a premium product and paying for such but in fact its a bog standard one...Ive known these companies to charge 10k for a 3k kitchen and that is Not ethical..

    They say there are cowboy builder , which there obviously are but there are cowboys in all trades ,some of which belong to trade associations too.
    It is a minefield out there and IMO people should always go for personal recommendation and if you can contact previous clients...
  • jillytb
    I won at Court over Howdens builder pricing
    I took the builder to court over this matter and others, the judge agreed that I was misled by the builder and that he did not pass on the discount, he also did not allow the Howdens Manager that the builder brought in to the court as a witness.

    I have all the court notes and I would say to anyone out there both consumers and builders be very careful how you word things and remember that the invoices are the guarantee as far as Howden are concerned and people like me are not so naive and will follow this through.

    I have now been advised that as it was proved in a civil court I can now go to the police which I am doing.

    Thank you to all who were kind enough to post supportive comments and I am so pleased with my victory. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a builder who is trying to cream off more profit to themselves when supply goods contact me. I had the same with an electrician recently and they ended up supplying all material at cost!!!!!!!!!!!
    • cddc
    • By cddc 12th Aug 11, 10:48 PM
    • 1,139 Posts
    • 1,320 Thanks
    Glad in a way you won. Howdens pricing moves in mysterious ways. It did then and it still does now. Policies seem to differ from branch to branch and day to day. They should either be totally trade only or open their doors to everyone. Either Howdens should price people direct or only supply fitters who price the end user themselves. They really should not be quoting one price to the end user, and one to the fiitter. Some branches do this all the time. Others are so trade only they refuse to give replacement hinges or handles to end users because they are not trade.
    I have no problem with trade discount per sae, but I have never liked the way they operate in some branches. It strikes me as fundementally dishonest.
    Congratulations on your win, but I bet you if you could do it again you would get more than one quote!.
  • Alan M
    This I'm interested in, please post details of the claim, the ruling and the final summary, ideally scan the documents blacking out any personal information (names addresses and such like) so it just leaves the generic case

    I'm also interested on what grounds do you believe you now have a criminal case against the builder that warrants involving the police?

    This is genuine interest, not morbid curiosity.

  • neonpoppy
    I agree with you Jillytb!!!!

    I'm sorry but when I buy a kitkat for 50p I know that the shopkeeper is making a big % profit. But when you hire a builder you expect him to charge you for his work, his services, not for his secret sidelining as a retail outlet for kitchens. You pay labour and then he charges you for materials. If he tells you he is an outlet for Howdens then you understand and you move on and get competitive quotes but MANY builders will LIE to you and tell you they receive an X% discount. They are LYING. They are LIARS. And yet Jillytb it's you who are obviously to blame for your moral weakness in expecting people not to lie to you.

    I understand that gullibility is one thing but you can get a builder who does great work, is recommended and you end up thinking he's a good stand up guy. Then he LIES to you about his "howdens discount" because he intends fully and completely to make a profit that he will hide from you.

    Howdens know this which is why they stay in business. They are the builders choice because builders get to LIE to customers about their discounts and HIDE the fact they make a huge profit from you.

    It's a scam to me.
  • Leif
    Good for you. Had you negotiated a set price for the whole deal, that would have been kosher. I agree with you (and the court) that how you were treated is fraudulent (deception pure and simple). It does sound as if Howdens are complicit in fraud, otherwise what was the purpose of the invoice you were given?

    I disagree with the earlier comments about profit being a dirty word. I am hoping to hire two lads to do my bathroom, and I like the idea that the profit goes directly to them, rather than B&Q for example, even if they charge a bit more. Honest work needs rewarding. End of rant.
    Last edited by Leif; 12-08-2011 at 11:45 PM. Reason: Typo
  • jillytb
    Ah Howden's thats another matter. Should the manager of the store really have supplied documents for his customers case in a civil matter, should the manager have been willing to give a statement at court as a Howden's manager without his employers knowledge.....

    as for the judgement, now proved civil I can got to the CPS for a criminal prosecution.
  • jillytb
    I do believe that what the judge ruled is going possibly pave a way forward for consumers and their dealings with builders who promote Howden's "best discounts". Watch this space!
    • keystone
    • By keystone 13th Aug 11, 8:36 AM
    • 10,774 Posts
    • 5,874 Thanks
    Agree with Alan M. Please post the full depersonalised details. Its actually very important for everybody.

  • Alan M
    I do believe that what the judge ruled is going possibly pave a way forward for consumers and their dealings with builders who promote Howden's "best discounts". Watch this space!
    Originally posted by jillytb
    Indeed, if this is what you suggest then it could actually be a test case.

    It is incredibly important you post de personalised versions of the rulings and summary.

  • Alan M
    as for the judgement, now proved civil I can got to the CPS for a criminal prosecution.
    Originally posted by jillytb
    What has the builder done that has been considered a criminal activity?

    Seriously - this is very important as it sounds to me there's a lot more going on here than a margin on some goods if something criminal has taken place.

  • milliebear00001
    I have just had two quotes for the same Howdens kitchen (Burford) but from two different kitchen fitters. One came in at around 2400 to supply, the other was about 1000 less!

    Needless the say, we are going with the fitter who gave the cheaper quote (whose fitting charges are also quite a bit lower).

    I think different trades people get different discounts from Howdens and they then decide how much, or how little of that discount to pass on to their customer - hence the two very different quotes I got!

    Incidentally, I also got a quote from an independent company that makes its own kitchens. Their quality is similar to Howdens and their total quote was very similar to the Howdens quote we've gone for - although their costing for the kitchen components was almost 2000 (with cheaper fitting costs).

    I'd say shop around (a lot!) to get the best deal, although I tried sourcing trades separately and found this wasn't any cheaper than getting in a firm to do everything.
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