A St Lawrence family have built a website, and set up a big sign in their garden - all to get the attention of a company who they say put up a conservatory which leaked and dropped panes of glass.
Tim and Peta Clayton invested more than £23,000 in the conservatory from Everest, a UK company which claims to offer “a stunning space unique to your home”; but they say that what they actually got was literally falling down on them.
Everest argues all of their attempts to sort things out have been knocked back by the family – even when they said that they’d pay for an independent inspection and carry out any recommendations made.
But Mr Clayton says that the conservatory was so badly built that one falling panel narrowly missed his head as he sat at his desk, and that they had to spend £8,000 getting the whole conservatory roof replaced.
Now they and the company are in dispute – Everest say that they have tried to put things right, and that the family’s own surveyor said that the leaks are actually down to poor ventilation in the kitchen, and that their offers to replace roof panels were refused.
They say that they’ve had hundreds of satisfied customers in Jersey, have been trading successfully here for 40 years, and that the complaints against them aren’t fair.
However, Mr Clayton has now put up the sign outside his house and set up a website telling his story out of frustration, saying: “If I had a cowboy business like that, I’d like to think I would be shut down pretty quickly.”
He said that the problems started with leaks that made the couple dread any sign of rain but it was when the glass almost fell on him that they worried if it was safe for a family with two young children.
“One of the roof panels popped and one interior part smashed down and just missed my head. It made holes in my computer. It would be like hitting someone with an ice pick. Because it’s made of safety glass, it was like a bomb had gone off, it was absolutely everywhere.”
He says that it took 12 weeks of constant chasing for the company to finally replace the pane of glass – during which time loose bits continued to fall down, one piece falling into Mr Clayton’s cup of tea.
It was when another pane of glass fell down, and they say they found it difficult to get hold of Everest to sort it out, that the couple decided to get some legal advice. But even their lawyer found it hard to get in touch.
“We got advice from an Advocate who said he couldn’t find any way of getting these people to court other than go to their head office in the UK and sue them there. They are Everest but they don’t have a proper company here, there’s no trading name you can sue them under.
In October last year the family got another local company to replace the entire conservatory roof and they’ve had no problems with it since.
They have now set up a website www.everestarecowboys.com in the hope of finally getting the company’s attention.
An Everest spokesman responded to the claims, saying that they had tried to work with the Claytons to sort the problems out.
The spokesman said: “We have been registered in Jersey for over 40 years and in that time have carried out installations for hundreds of satisfied customers.
“A year or so after installation Mr and Mrs Clayton complained of ‘leaking’, however on inspection it was clear that the moisture was in fact condensation caused by cooking and inadequate ventilation in the kitchen, a diagnosis confirmed by their own surveyor.
“When the roof panels failed, we offered to immediately replace them under warranty as this was a product failure. However, Mr Clayton refused us access to do this and decided to have the entire roof replaced – against our clear advice, and something which his surveyor had not recommended. Months later Mr Clayton submitted a claim for the total costs of the replacement, along with a claim for damaged goods. We have assessed this and have offered a gesture of goodwill, as well as confirming that the Everest elements of the conservatory would remain protected by warranty.
“All through this process we have continually offered to pay for an independent survey of the conservatory to assess the installation and fulfil any recommendations made, but Mr and Mrs Clayton have rejected this route to a satisfactory resolution.”
Everest have offered the family £1,000 as a full and final settlement for all their problems but Mr Clayton says they’ve refused it because it doesn’t come close to covering their expenses, all of which have had to come out of their savings.
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