On 31/05/2015 10:01, Nick Flanagan wrote:
Please see my replies inline
Yes, you are out on a limb, you do not fully understand my remit, and you underestimate my skillset and experience, furthermore you do not know how long it would take me to get to and from Harrow.
The issues certainly include that of manufacture, they also relate to the agreed terms of the contract and the obligations (in relation to manufacture as well as other factors) that the contract imparts.
Your assumption that I am not aware of the issues, is, unfortunately just as incorrect as your understanding of my remint, skillset, experience, and driving speed.
I rarely assume anything, as assumptions can lead to misunderstandings. If would care to explain your remit, skillset and experience, then I'm sure this will help with coming to a common understanding. My background is engineering, which requires an understanding of how things are put together and how previous behaviours may affect current projects. Much like how in the legal profession cases can be broken down into items that have to be provably true and precedent can be set from past cases.
I do however find it quite frustrating that it does take the equivalent to poking you people with a stick to get a reasonable reply from you instead of the usually dismissive attitude of "we can't see a problem, why are you being difficult" which has plagued this project since the beginning. Only now are you supplying the level of detail I've asked for for over a year.
A copy of the contract, not supposed contract, it is an actual contract, was left with you on 31st of August 2013 when the contract was signed, the finance agreement was left with you this time also, with a second, executed copy sent to you direct from the finance house, shortly after, upon receipt of which your cancellation period began.
I will however be pleased to send you a further copy of the contract when I return to the office on Monday morning.
That would be appreciated. Obviously there was a difference between what was *supposed* to happen and what actually happened. In the folder I have that has all the paperwork supplied to me, there are approximately 12 pages, which consist of the original finance agreement, the purchase agreement and a breakdown of the repayment costs over various terms. It's entirely possible the later postal copy may have been 'lost in the post' as we do have that problem here. But still, I don't have a copy of 'the contract'.
I am aware of the small difference between your existing lead design and the lead that was manufactured, as an aside, the middle management that you lambast, for not having a clue how our products are manufactured, are not directly involved in the manufacture of these leased glass lights, this is sourced to a Company called CET. And whilst this is not your problem, or mine, it is a statement of fact and suggests further that you are less than entirely aware of what Everest's middle management can, or cannot do and further that your classification of them or their actions in this matter as general incompetence, is misplaced.
The precedent for 'incompetence' and lack of understanding of how your products are produced was set by Ken Lees back in January 2014 when I saw the first pictures of what had been produced. If I had listened to him then, when he stated "you should get them put in and fix it later", we would STILL be having this conversation, only from the perspective of you having to replace the units post-installation, which from the shown behaviours so far, would have been even more difficult to make happen.
In fact, when the second surveyor John Rushmere was sent to see me in Dec 2014, he explained that the reason it had taken so long for Mr Lees and Mr Lawrence to agree to remanufacture the affected units, was that they had refused to accept the opinion of your production manager who had told them "No, you can fix them later as they are produced as a single unit. Ripping out individual panels would compromise the sealing". So I will be standing by the opinion that everyone from Ken upwards doesn't really know how your products are manufactured and as such the description of 'general incompetence'.
The problem with middle management is that it represents this:
The people with the experience of the manufacturing have no power to resolve any issues. The people with the power, don't really have a clue. So with a more rigid hierachy of 'old manufacturing' such as Everest, any problems get escalated further and further up the chain, which also takes them further and further away from those who can actually 'fix them'.
The solution to this is to removing the 'middle management' and empowering those who have the experience to resolve the issues with the power to do so.
This is generally known as an 'Agile' methodology and while it is more generally now well known in software development, it has also (originally) been used to great success in manufacturing, especially by companies such as Toyota. Having experienced similar circumstances when working for organisations such as BT and News International, I'm going to stand by my opinion that it is not misplaced.
Especially given, regarding Everest, that we're still here and pretty much everyone I've dealt with from Ken Lees above has been quite agressively dismissive of my reasonable requests for information and completion.
In terms of the special lead design, the process for manufacture of non-standard, or special lead designs is that a photograph of the existing lead is taken, from square on, and from as close a reasonably possible, this is provided to CET the glass manufacturer, they make a drawing of the lead and that is referred back to the customer to approve.
I do understand that to be your 'standard operating procedure', however in this circumstance it was apparent from the start it wasn't going to work. The first iteration of the larger panel (from the photograph) that I received, looked only vaguely like the original (as if a child had 'had a go' at drawing it from across the street), which was why I traced the email chain back to CET. I'm also glad you've stated that CET produced ALL of the designs, as somewhere along the line it was suggested to me that they had only done the larger one.
We completed the original survey on the 10th of September 2013, however needed to return and take better photographs of the lead design at the request of CET, we did so on the 20th of September and forwarded these photos to CET, they provided us with drawings for your express approval in order to authorise manufacture. Between the 18th and 23rd of October 2013 yourself and Robbie Yapp discussed the drawings, resulting in fact in you contacting CET yourself, and on the 28th of October confirming with them that the drawings were correct and that we could proceed to manufacture.
This is somewhat incorrect and is obviously the start of where all this went wrong...
There are two stained-glass designs. A larger, more intricate, rose design and the smaller one for the fanlights. What I received from CET via Everest was only for the larger one. When I saw that it was such a poor estimation, I traced the emails back to Andy Hill and had a very pleasant conversation with him, resulting in me producing FIVE scale drawings suitable for manufacture, supplied as PDF files. His very complimentary comment at the time was "If only all their customers were like you, it would make my life so much easier".
Once we had agreed on the appropriate colours for the larger design and CET had confirmed the measurements for the four fanlight designs to be correct, I was assured that the other FOUR to-scale drawings would be fed back into the system to let Everest know that these were the designs I had approved and had expected to be manufactured.
You then provided Everest with your own drawings on 31st of October, advising that these were the correct templates necessitating further attendance on our part in order to ensure that survey was correct in line with what we believed was a revised template which we duly completed in November of 2013.
This is also somewhat incorrect and from what I had been able to trace back, where and why you came back with units showing the original 4:3 design truncated to fit your 16:9 frames.
I had an email from Robbie mid-october stating "there is a query over the stained glass". He was then sent out to my office to see me, with neither of us knowing what the problem actually was - this information was not available to him nor supplied to me.
I gave him further copies of both the original and produced to-scale drawings at a loss of anything better to do.
AT NO POINT WAS I MADE AWARE THAT THESE WOULD OVERRIDE THE DESIGNS ALREADY SUPPLIED TO CET!
Especially when it was later obvious that Robbie had taken the ORIGINAL design, which is a very different shape, then chopped the bottom 1/4 off to make it fit.
This is not a change I was made aware of and is certainly not something I would have authorised.
So this really does mean, it's all Everests fault that you got them wrong.
Goods were put into manufacture in line with this survey and a provisional installation date of Jan20th 2014 was agreed, however on12th December Everest were advised that the dimensions of the template was such that it would not fit correctly into the leaded light. You were contacted in order to see what possible alternative could be agreed. As you are aware the design was cropped slightly so that the key feature of the design was centralised, I appreciate that you have rejected this departure from the precise original design.
As stated above, I could see that it was cropped. However at no point was I notified as to why!
I had asked back in October 2013 for confirmation of what was being produced, yet that request fell on deaf ears.
On 29th January 2014, you queried the size the lead design, and when we offered to return in order to check this, you refused and instead, on February 3rd 2013, that you were at this stage, irrespective of the above were not able to accept delivery of the windows.
I *declined* any further visit as having already supplied CET with a full set of to-scale drawings, along with no awareness of WHY you had truncated the original design instead of using those supplied scale drawings, there didn't seem much point in you visiting.
It appears that a period of email communication between yourself and Ken Less failed to progress the matter, despite Ken offering to provide exactly what you requested, to resurvey or to discuss alternatives, you preferring to seek cancellation of the contract in its entirety.
As stated above, Kens suggestion to me was "I can't see any problem, you should get them put in and fix it later". Now that you've explained what happened at your end, it's apparent that Robbies unauthorised change is indeed what has caused the issues.
This is what I've been trying to get across to you people since January last year!
When it became apparent that Everest wasn't going to be particularly helpful, I did indeed request to cancel, because I could see that otherwise, it would be likely to drag on as long as it has.
Until in August when you wrote to the CEO, resulting in your agreement to proceed with the works, and a discount of £2082, which was confirmed in writing on 12th of December. I do note however that you appear to have maintained that you were expecting a far greater discount although have not presented any evidence of Everest's agreement to any such additional discount.
This statement would also be something of a misunderstanding on your part.
Around 7th March I'd emailed Ken et al stating that if I didn't have a reasonable reply back from you within a week, then to consider the matter cancelled completely.
I heard nothing back until a rather terse email from Ken around 7th July, stating "Your windows are still in our warehouse, you have to accept them or we will pass the matter to the legal department".
Richard became involved when it was clear that Ken couldn't authorise what I was asking for (re-manufacture or discount), however after a couple of inital placatory emails, it became apparent that he was going to be as much use as a chocolate teapot.
I had asked for since January '14 for "a full set of windows at a reasonable price", given that the inital order was for only half of the windows for my home and if it was going to drag on, I didn't want to be left with a motley collection of windows (because I certainly wouldn't be using Everest again).
Eventually, the "firm and final offer" of a discount from Everest was stated by RL to be "completing the order and returning the deposit of £2082 on completion", which is what was in the letter "confirmed in writing" on 12th Dec.
I've never "maintained I was expecting" a greater discount, however I had discovered that the *average* price for a double-glazed unit in the UK is £500, which given the ~22 units involved in total, would have made a more reasonable cost of about £11,000 for the whole house.
Which actually makes my request for "everything for £18,000" quite reasonable and more realistic.
All appeared to be proceeding to a reasonable conclusion when it became clear that your finance agreement had lapsed and was no longer in place, we did offer to re-sign this for you, however your ongoing efforts to secure an additional reduction to the contract value, your requests for detailed cost price of our products, presented a significant obstacle to resolution of this matter and then as you are aware you took the decision to seek once again, to attempt to cancel the contract, at which point I became formally involved.
From my perspective, there's been nothing about this that EVER has shown it to be "proceeding to a reasonable conclusion".
The fact that the finance agreement had lapsed quite some time ago (that would have been February 2014), is a BIG oversight on Everests part.
Given the established precendents, I certainly wasn't going to sign up again without having seen ALL the units to have been correct.
I'm hope you can now understand why this is.
The facts that you still apparently didn't really know what the problem was, coupled with it taking 18 months to get an itemised price-list from you, didn't really work in your favour.
When your 'senior salesman' Adam Freeman called me on 28th January this year, he informed me that were I to accept the offer from Richard Lawrence for the second half of the windows (as a separate contract), then this was to be offered 'at cost'.
Adam wasn't aware that in Dec 2014 the surveyor John Rushmere had been sent out to measure up the rest of the windows, so I suggested they speak and get back to me with a price for those.
I've heard nothing back about this, at all, from anyone.
When I'd first sent the blank spreadsheet to Richard Lawrence, I'd thought I was quite clear that (because of the 'at cost' offer for the 2nd half) that, as it stated in the column title, it was supposed to be the 'production cost' per unit.
My request was so that this 'at cost' pricing could be applied to the original order to make up for you people having taken so long and been generally unhelpful.
There were many expletives used when what I got back not only had instead a breakdown of the RETAIL pricing, but also that you're attempting to charge me £3198(!) for a single, hardwood, exterior door.
There is no way in hell you can justify this cost!
Five minutes on google provided me with an equivalent door for £280 (leaderdoors.co.uk).
If I'd known that at the beginning (as in being given a breakdown of the costing by the salesman), I never would have signed the contract in the first place.
An order of magnitude larger for a simple kitchen door looks somewhat suspicious and is part of why the general opinion of the double-glazing industry is so poor!
This is an extremely simple matter, your lead design is matched very well but due to the profile of the replacement windows, has been cropped as opposed to scaled down. We have suggested that you accept this, which in our view will represent an attractive improvement to your home, and will certainly add in terms of functionality for which we have offered a reduction to the contract value.
Yes I would agree it is a very simple matter. It's an amount of joinery and glass.
Nick, I'm attaching two pictures from the second batch at I was sent. These show that of the NINE fanlight panels, after the second attempt some of them ARE the correct designs. At no point over the last 21 months have I been informed that the four TO-SCALE drawings I originally supplied back in October were not suitable. Especially having confirmed with CET at the time that they were.
If one of the variations turned out to not be suitable THEN SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME! and I could have supplied corrections.
Let me know what changes are required and I'll supply you with amended designs.
In addition we would aver that the slight cropping of the design in these circumstances is entirely reasonable, and should not be relied upon as a failure in terms of the obligations that this contract imparts. We have at all stages sought to assist you in this matter, and perhaps have made something of a rod for our own backs in doing so. The resulting delay, and repeated circular correspondence, upon which you rely in order to secure a discount in this matter, have occurred only in the light of our attempts to assist you.
I'm going to have to disagree with "at all stages sought to assist you".
As in my previous paragraph, having half-and-half designs is not acceptable.
This has been my home for 40+ years and I'll not have its character compromised by what you believe to be 'good enough'.
There are nine of these panels on the upper floor and five on the ground floor.
Part of the reason I originally signed the contract was that I was assured that would would indeed be able to provide me with 'like for like'.
Having a few not the same is not 'like for like'.
The circular correspondence has indeed been all your own making, as you've not understood what I've asked for, as you've believed you've always done the right thing, which, as we are finally finding out through this discussion, is just. not. true.
If you really believe that this 'circular correspondence' has been an attempt to obtain a further discount, then not only are you very much mistaken, but also I am very much offended.
Your assumptions have been flawed and indicative of the reasons for my assertion of 'continuing ineptitude' from Everest.
Your explanation of events has been the FIRST useful information I have had from Everest since receiving the first images from Ken in January 2014.
You may want to read that sentence again.
As we are now at the end of May 2015, that is 16 months of battling for a correction you somehow did not believe to exist.
As such our offer is simple, the goods that are manufactured, and have been so for many months, are in store at the St Albans installation centre, we propose to install them in the knowledge that your lead deign is slightly cropped as opposed to scaled down. We shall offer an immediate reduction to the contract value of £2082, you shall pay either by finance agreement, which we will be pleased to arrange for you, or upon installation.
In the alternative, if you wish for us to remake the leaded lights, with the design scaled down, we shall be able to do so, however this will be upon receipt of your confirmation that you shall make payment in full upon completion of the works.
So basically, you're telling me I have to accept what you've produced, even though it's not correct and has been all your own fault?..
I hope you now understand where the issues have stalled this order.
If I buy something from Amazon and it's incorrect, I send it back and they supply the correct items. No questions asked.
If I bought a car and it had incorrect doors/windows/wheels, then I could not accept it as given 'the whole' it would not be acceptable.
Under the "Sale of goods and services act 1982" you've still to yet provide an 'acceptable product'.
Statutory rights for the consumer still apply even when yo have your own contracts.
You manufactured incorrect units the second time because you had not informed me that changes were required to the designs I originally provided, with my previous understanding that those were 'suitable for manufacture'.
Allow me to provide CORRECTED designs for the (hopefully only four) leading panels.
Manufacture them correctly so that we can all agree on them and then we can talk about acceptance.
It's still your responsibility to correct this as it has always been your misunderstanding of the issues.
As I have asserted previously, I still need more information so as to make an 'informed decision' on how I would prefer to proceed.
Unless I see the (promised) pricing for them previously 'at cost' for the second half of the house, how can I decide with whom I should have manufactured the rest of the windows for my home? (it's still unlikely to be Everest)
Also, given that the second set of pictures in Feb 2015 was the FIRST time I had seen an exterior view of any of the units, I've yet to receive an answer for the questions:
What is the design of the frames?
Are they available from another provider?
If yes, please provide me with contact details.
Also £3000+ for a 'single exterior kitchen door' that will be worth 1/10 of that is rather suspicious, please adjust this, at least, to something more appropriate.
I've had to fight with you people for nearly two years because of, as you've finally described in detail, your own misunderstandings and mis-communications.
Make the panels correct and consistent, with a more appropriate adjustment as an apology for *it really being all your own fault*, then I'll be more willing to sign another finance agreement.
I would consider that a reasonable compromise, given the now explained circumstances.
The final alternative, is for you to continue to refuse access for any proposed solution, in the event of which proceedings for breach of contract shall be issued against you.
The counter for that would be, as Which:Legal informed me, that Everest would have been considered to have ALREADY breached the contract (according to the fore-mentioned 'Sales of Goods and Services act') by "failing to provide an acceptable product in a reasonable time properly".
Dragging this out to a protracted court battle would not be in anyones interest and really a waste of time.
Now that I know why your staff have acted like they didn't know what the problem was, along with my feedback on why this misunderstanding has been dragged on for so long, I do to hope we can come to an actual understanding and agreement.
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