A University lecturer has accused Magnet Kitchens of ‘acting like cowboys’ after charging her more than £7,000 for a mis-measured fitted kitchen and forcing her to buy a ‘fake’ electrical certificate and leaving her a with a sink that doesn’t drain.

Debbie Pearson of Southampton first reached out to her Magnet Kitchens branch in Hedge End, booking a July kitchen installation. This was during summer breaks from lecturing on Zoom. 

She paid £7227.65  for a fitted kitchen, which included a stud wall removal, new counters, a new sink, dishwasher and fridge/freezer unit. 

The first disappointment for the marketing lecturer was when fittings were pushed back until October. Her son had to move temporarily out of her two-bedroom flat in order to make room for her to use his bedroom as an office while she fitted the kitchen. 

Debbie says this was the beginning of a year filled with pain. She claims that the absence of a kitchen has led to’massive distress. 

Magnet have also charged Debbie £139 for an electrical safety certificate – which she has described as ‘unfair trading’ because the certificate can only be awarded by a qualified electrician, which she had then had to pay separately for. 

She claims they have also asked her to pay for unnecessary bags to get rid of industrial rubbish at £175 each, and left her unable to use the kitchen which includes a sink that doesn’t drain. 

A University lecturer has accused Magnet Kitchens of 'acting like cowboys' after she charging her £7,000 for a mis-measured fitted kitchen, charging her for a fake electrical certificate and leaving her a without running water. Pictured: How Magnet left her kitchen

A University lecturer has accused Magnet Kitchens of ‘acting like cowboys’ after she charging her £7,000 for a mis-measured fitted kitchen, charging her for a fake electrical certificate and leaving her a without running water. Magnet’s escape from her kitchen 

Debbie Pearson, 60, from Southampton first contacted her local branch of Magnet Kitchens in Hedge End in January 2021 booking a kitchen installation for July - when she wouldn't be needed to lecture on Zoom due to the summer break. Pictured is the 3D rendering of her kitchen that was promised

Debbie Pearson, 60 years old, was originally from Southampton and contacted Magnet Kitchens Hedge End in January 2021 to schedule a July installation. This would be when she wasn’t required to teach on Zoom. The promised 3D rendering is shown here. 

The fitter arrived months later than planned. Debbie was told by the sales consultant that she could not have a full-size dishwasher. She was then forced to buy a slimline model, despite the fact there was enough space.

The mismeasurement of the kitchen means that the fitted kitchen does not reach the oven, causing food to fall down.

Debbie says it was agreed that fitters would need to take out tiles and then erect a floor.  

Two fitters advised the consultant of the situation and an appointment was made to have the consultant re-visit the area and measure the results. However, he did not keep that appointment. FEMAIL was informed by her.

Darlington-based firm, with 222 shops nationwide, argues that the fitting was provided by third party and outside of scope of contract.

But, they offer third-party fit services. Debbie was only contracted with Magnet and not any other fitters. 

Exclusively speaking to FEMAIL the marketing lecturer said: “They’ve been total Cowboys. It’s been an absolute disaster.”

“I can’t use my kitchen fully for several months. The kitchen was completely mismeasured and missold by the company and they are not responsible.”

I don’t own a dishwasher full-size, even though I want one. And there is an oven side that’s too small for my needs. This will be difficult to clean.   

Due to the mismeasurement, the fitted kitchen ends short (pictured)  the consultant was advised of this by two fitters, and an appointment was made for the consultant to re-visit and re-measure - but he failed to keep the appointment

Due to the mismeasurement, the fitted kitchen ends short (pictured)  the consultant was advised of this by two fitters, and an appointment was made for the consultant to re-visit and re-measure – but he failed to keep the appointment

Not quite what she ordered! Debbie's rendering showed a swanky fitted kitchen, which is far from what she received

She got exactly what she asked for! Debbie’s render showed Debbie an elegant fitted kitchen. This is very different from the one she actually received.

The kitchen was also left with a hole in the ceiling following the removal of the wall

Following the removal of the wall, the kitchen had also been left with an opening in the ceiling.

During the process of the fitting, Debbie's sink stopped draining

Debbie's sink is pictured

Debbie’s sink became clogged during the installation. She described it as “critical” when cleaning up. Right: When it stopped draining. Left:

The incorrect plumbing left to the sink leaking

Fitters also left holes gaping in the ceiling

Incorrect plumbing caused the sink to leak (left), while the fitters left gaps in the ceiling (right).

Timeline: What happened to the Magnet kitchen?

January 4, 2021Debbie places an order for the kitchen’s fitting in July

June 2:Debbie receives a visit from a Consultant who measures the kitchen incorrectly.

September 21 Branch manager visits to remeasure kitchen and told Debbie the fitter would not be able to carry out ‘cosmetic’ work. When asked what ‘cosmetic’ meant, he replied ‘painting.  He did not mention that the flooring and tiling work were not done. 

September 23rd A Hippobag was ordered directly by the customer, following a conversation with the branch manager, who gave the specification, price (£175) and contact details. This was required for disposal of the kitchen walls. This was in addition to the £424.70 already paid to Magnet for Hippobags

October 4, Fitter comes to Debbie and informs her that he will not fit the flooring or do the tiling because Magnet didn’t allow enough time.  

He also advises that the specifications of the bags via the Magnet invoice (£424.70) were adequate for the disposal of the wall and the removed kitchen units.

At the time of placing the order in January, it was agreed that the wall must be taken down. Magnet received poor advice.

October 6: , The branch manager sends Debbie e-mail stating, ‘I have found someone who may be able to help with the floor.’ 

October 7th:Oakleys Electrical Services visited Oakleys. A certificate of electrical safety was also issued that day directly by the electrician.

The invoice from Oakleys Electrical Services shows a charge of £60.00 for the issue of the electrical certificate. Magnet says that the work was third party and therefore private. 

The contract documentation from Magnet includes ‘issue electrical work certificate’ at a charge of £139.00. 

October 9:   The sink is stops draining. 

October 10 Debbie brought up complaints to Magnet CEO Daniel Carr

 October 11  customer care agent, stated, ‘we will ask a panel of fitters if they would like to quote.’.

Also tells Debbie ‘we will refund the additional Hippobag that is a total of £175.’ 

An executive assistant responded with, ‘At Magnet, we pride ourselves in the high level of service we provide for our customers’ and ‘have requested that someone personally investigate the matter on Mr Carr’s behalf’. However, the customer was not contacted. 

October 12,: Customer care agent tells Debbie: ‘You have paid Magnet for an electrical certificate to certify the installation of your new Fridge Freezer and Dishwasher.’ They also stated, ‘As a goodwill gesture, Magnet are happy to refund you £60 for the additional electrical certificate payment.’ 

October 20 ‘ Magnet email Debbie to say: ‘Please find the attached Electrical Certificate.’ The attached document was the same certificate already sent from Oakleys Electrical Services. No documentation is available for the refrigerator/freezer or dishwasher. 

“With regard to the electrical certificate. Magnet has provided an electrical certificate for you to verify the installation of your Fridge Freezer/Dishwasher. 

You have purchased two certificates because you’ve had private works performed. You will be charged both the certificate cost and the price of the second certificate as part of the estimate for additional work. 

November 2: Customer care agent tells Debbie: ‘‘The refund for the additional Hippobag is not due from us as you paid Hippobag direct for this service, you can get a refund from them direct which we can facilitate should you give us a copy of your receipt.’ 

November 3, 2009 According to customer service agents, they can’t help with the tiling.

They add: ‘As a goodwill gesture we are prepared to offer you £150.00 in final settlement of this matter for the minor delay incurred. ‘ 

Debbie was also part of the installation. Installed a dishwasher and fridge/freezer. 

Magnet charged £139 for an electrical safety certififate by Magnet. 

But she was was later charged £60 by a third party electrician to issue the certificate.

Magnet employees aren’t qualified electricians so they can’t provide the safety certificate. When Debbie queried this with customer services and asked why she’d been charged twice,  they claimed she had been charged once for the installation of the fridge and a second time for the dishwasher – despite only receiving a certificate for the fridge. 

Magnet spoke to FEMAIL, explaining that they understand the complexity of building a kitchen new. This is especially true when there are additional suppliers and construction work.

Magnet strives to make beautiful kitchens. They also support customers throughout the process, and inform them of any other products that might be of interest to them, even if they aren’t within their remit.

“In this example, Magnet’s agreed scope for installation did not include Magnet undertaking the tiling or flooring of the wall, nor the associated electrical work. 

“Instead, the customer paid directly to the electrician for the electrical elements and stud walls. It is our goal to create beautiful kitchens, and provide excellent customer service. If a customer is not satisfied with their order, we will take that very serious.

“We are fully aware of this situation, and have done extensive research to determine the facts. Our team tried our best to assist the customer at all stages. 

“Our review revealed that Magnet’s team went above and beyond what was contractually required to assist the customer. They helped find tradespeople to do the extra aspects, as well as offering to refund a third-party supplier who the customer had paid.

“We will continue to assist this customer. We would like them to reach out to our customer support team and/or the manager of the local store so that we can help in getting the issues resolved so the customer can enjoy his new, beautiful kitchen.”

Debbie disputes the claims. She says that she had only a Magnet contract and has struggled to receive help from customer service throughout.  

Debbie stated that Magnet’s fitter had advised her not to book enough time, but did nothing to help her or suggest alternative plans.  

As a ‘goodwill measure’ for the disruption cause, Magnet have offered Debbie a £150 final settlement for what they call a ‘minor delay’ of 10 months.

But Debbie argues this is like ‘tipping 10p on a £100 restaurant bill’ as they have overcharged her including for a ‘fake’ electrical certificate and additional hippo bags – a strong, large and waterproof bags used like a small skip to dispose of walls and industrial waste.

‘In September a Hippobag was ordered directly, following a conversation with the branch manager of Southampton Hedge End, who gave the specification, price (£175) and contact details,’ Debbie explained.

‘This was in addition to the £424.70 already paid to Magnet for Hippobags. 

“Weeks later, the fitter informed me that the bag specifications via Magnet invoice were sufficient for disposal of the kitchen unit and wall.

‘A customer care agent stated, “we will refund the additional Hippobag that is a total of £175, but days later The same agent also stated that “as you have paid Hippobag directly for this service, the refund is not due to us. However, you may get a reimbursement from them direct if you provide us with a copy your receipt.”

The receipt was sent to Debbie. Debbie refused to refund the bag after Debbie emailed her.    

It’s one of many situations, Debbie claims, that have arisen ‘totally from Magnet’s incorrect advice, for which they are not taking any responsibility’.  

Debbie’s contract with Magent, seen by FEMAIL, also includes an ‘issue electrical work certificate’ at a charge of £139.00.

Oakleys Electrical Services came to Debbie’s house on October 7th and issued an electric certificate that same day. This was directly from the company.

The invoice from Oakleys Electrical Services shows a charge of £60.00 for the issue of the electrical certificate – something Debbie had already paid Magnet £139 for.

Private home owners are not legally required to have the certificate. It is necessary only for landlords.

Debbie questioned this and was informed that although she paid two separate certificates for her fridge, the one for her dishwasher was not the same. 

‘The cost of the certificate is £60. Magnet have charged £139,’ Debbie explained.

An electrical certificate is not required for installation of fridge/freezer/dishwasher. This is unfair and misleading trading.

She added that the kitchen had been ordered for July/August 2021 installation.

Magnet knows that it was crucial to work remotely (not with summer students), because this could cause disruption in the kitchen.

‘The job advertisements for Magnet kitchen design consultants on the company’s website states, “taking responsibility for the end to end sales process” and “our focus is on creating the perfect kitchen.” 

There is not evidence that customers are treated with high standards of service.

After a career as a manager and salesperson in the industrial sector, the customer moved into academics and specialised in marketing. Customer management and marketing

She is writing a case study entitled, ‘Magnet Kitchen Cowboys: How to deliver atrocious customer experience.’ 

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