Persimmon issue counter claim to recover cost of repairing new house in Sunderland.
Persimmon Homes, rated just three stars by their own customers in the industry’s “satisfaction survey,” appear go out of their way to be confrontational and intransigent to any customers who take issue with the builder. The phrase “the Customer is always right” isnt even on their radar if this story from the North East Evening Chronicle is anything to go by.
New homebuyer Vince Wareham told the Chronicle about his shock when he learned Persimmon were taking legal action against him in an £8,000 counter claim, after he decided to take the house builder to court, claiming £2,950 in compensation for remedial works carried out on his new home.
This is apparently a culmination of a long running dispute regarding poor quality render at the property in Alexander Park, Sunderland. The dispute centred on whether the render should (or could) be repaired (Persimmon’s view) or taken off and completely replaced as owner Mr Wareham insisted. Last year the Chronicle reported that Persimmon had “finally agreed to replace the render after Vince refused to back down”
This latest escalation, came after Mr Wareham issued County Court proceedings against Persimmon for inconvenience, distress and his out of pocket expenses dealing with the complaint.
In response, Persimmon are counter claiming £8,000, the difference in cost between simply repairing the render and the total replacement. As far as Vince is concerned, this part of the dispute had already been resolved. He told the paper: “I can’t believe they have brought up that issue when I thought it had been resolved last year.”
Last year Persimmon told the Chronicle:
“We reviewed the homeowner’s issue. Despite having been advised by the original contractor that the render could be repaired, we decided to undergo a full re-render of the property. We also decided to use an independent contractor to undertake the works and have since placed the order with them.
The decision was taken without further complaint having been received by Mr Wareham as we thought there could be no ambiguity regarding the quality of finish and application of the render by taking this action.
Mr Wareham was advised by our Contracts Manager and our intent and was happy for us to proceed. We anticipate the works to be completed in the next few weeks.”
Mr Wareham was happy with the decision and, as promised, the rendering was replaced in full.
In court documents Persimmon legal representatives stated:
“The defendant [Persimmon] has gone above and beyond what was reasonably or legally required of it as a gesture of goodwill and to prevent any disputes.
The cost of the render repairs which were necessary would have been in the region of £2,000. The entire re-render cost the defendant approximately £10,000.
The defendant is entitled to, and does, set off the sum of fully re-rendering the property against the claimant’s claim.”
Vince, however, is furious that an aspect of the case he thought had been settled has been brought back into play.
A spokesman for Persimmon told the Chronicle:
“We are somewhat surprised that Mr Wareham has decided to take this course of action given our resolution of his issues. We have attended his primary complaint with a full re–render application to the property.
We undertook these full and extensive works despite independent survey advice to the contrary whereby a ‘patch’ only application was recommended.
Therefore we are extremely disappointed to learn that despite going way beyond our contractual obligations between Mr Wareham and ourselves and despite initial feedback that he was happy with the final outcome he has chosen to take the matter in this direction.”
Reading what Mr Wareham said in comment to the story online (below) it would appear that Persimmon are more concerned about cost than customer satisfaction. It should also be noted that the “extensive works” referred to would not have been necessary had Persimmon originally done a better job of the render. Persimmon CEO Jeff Fairburn, stated in the firm’s 2015 Annual Report: “The Group’s priority is to serve our customers well by providing good quality new homes and great service. All of our team are responsible for delivering high levels of customer satisfaction….”
Clearly his message is not getting through to his employees! Remedial work is not a goodwill gesture. Neither is carrying out a full rectification “to prevent any disputes,” rather than Persimmon’s preferred and proposed patch-up job. In my opinion, it is also questionable how re rendering the top half of a modest family home could cost as much as £10,000.