Following Persimmon being featured on BBC Watchdog and in my view let off lightly, last month, the BBC Watchdog office has been contacted by hundreds of disgruntled Persimmon new home buyers from as many as sixty different developments across the country with their experiences of unfinished homes, defects and poor customer care. See the Persimmon BBC Watchdog clip here
Homes not finished
On couple featured on last nights programme were Charlotte and Ashley Read who bought a new home on Persimmon’s Waters Edge estate in Cheshire. When they were handed the keys to their brand new £190,000 new home they found:
“it looked like a half finished house. Everything was a mess there were things incomplete, no rainwater pipes” causing damp and mould inside our home. I couldn’t believe we paid money for this, it was disgusting”
It took Persimmon THREE MONTHS to finally “sort everything out”
Other new home buyers also found Persimmon’s contractors still working in their homes when they came to move in – “the house wasn’t finished but Persimmon had declared it to be ready and taken their money anyway.”
The CML final certification was brought in to prevent housebuilders handing over unfinished new homes. The Council for Mortgage Lenders initiative requires this completion certificate, along with confirmation that the new home warranty is in place, before they release the mortgage funds. So how and why can a new home be signed off by a supposedly independent Building Inspector, quite often the NHBC, when clearly it anything but complete? How can the “inspectors,” the site manager and everyone else, miss something as obvious and quick and easy to fit as no rainwater downpipes?
The CML final inspection should to be made 14 days before the legal completion date. This is to give the solicitors and mortgage provider a minimum “14 days notice” to arrange for the funds and also would provide new home buyers with an opportunity to properly inspect their “finished home.” How is this notice period being avoided by Persimmon (and other housebuilders) especially in the weeks and days before their financial year end cut-off date?
In Chelmsford, Persimmon’s unlucky buyers “are having real problems with plumbing” in one home the incoming mains water pipe disconnected, causing extensive flooding to the ground floor.
On a Persimmon development in Uxbridge, it is the actual design that is flawed. Scaffolding has been erected to structurally support bay windows whilst “the design is being reviewed.”
A chartered surveyor commented “the poorly designed balcony was too heavy compromising the structural integrity of the building.” The bay window could fall off the side of the building. Over eleven months later, the scaffolding is still supporting the nine homes of this design. Works to permanently address the design defect have yet to be started by Persimmon.
After BBC Watchdog featured Persimmon in May, the company claimed they “were unfortunately let down by sub-contractors who no longer work for the business.” They also added “While the problems customers have experienced are regrettable, we have thousands of happy customers across the East Midlands and indeed the whole country. There are many satisfied customers at The Mulberries who we feel have been overlooked by Watchdog.”
This latest BBC Watchdog report would appear to indicate that Persimmon didn’t even realise the extent of the many issues faced by people who have bought a Persimmon new home. As the BBC report [Persimmon] “Completely needs to rethink how it operates its business.” I couldn’t agree more.
Some of the claims made by Persimmon in their carefully crafted PR statement (Persimmon response) are very hard to take a face value, especially given the company’s history on BBC Watchdog over the years, the lack of NHBC Pride in the Job Quality Awards (just 6 in 2015) and the HBF 3 star rating given by their own customers!
“We are sorry to hear that customers have not experienced the care that we pride ourselves on.”
“Customer satisfaction is a priority within Persimmon.”
“Our site managers operate a stringent quality verification system”
“We take customer satisfaction extremely seriously”