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Default howdens overcharging

I know that this is a DIY group but also know that certain trades
frequent this forum. I would be particularly interested in any one who
has experienced being overcharged by Howdens, the trade division of
MFI. I have requested credit notes for several overcharged items and
despite assurances that these would be processed, they have not
materialised. This has happened before at another branch and instigated
my dealings with this other branch.
The manager assures me that they have been processed. Could it be head
office deliberately withholding credit notes. To try to speed the
process up I deliberately withheld the credit due from my recent
monthly payment. This immediately sparked credit control to ring me to
ascertain why there was a shortfall especialy as I had endorsed the
payment slip with "awaiting outstanding credit notes". They contacted
the branch concerned and rang back several days later to see if the
branch had contacted me to sort the matter out. I explained that they
had not. A further phone call to me stating that the branch had tried
to contact me but had been unable to get through. The credit controller
went quite when I explained that every time that they had rung me they
had got through.
Now finally I have just received a letter threatening legal action if I
do not make the full payment.
They are starting to **** me off. I just hope that the MD of Howdens is
reading this so he can realise what a bunch of ******* I am dealing
with. Best of it is I have three branches writing to me with offers of
a superb deal on kitchens. Probably give it to Magnets, that'll teach
em.
Just out of interest I wonder how Mr Hall would deal with them.
Disgruntled
Legin

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On 2006-10-19 20:41:37 +0100, "legin" said:

I know that this is a DIY group but also know that certain trades
frequent this forum. I would be particularly interested in any one who
has experienced being overcharged by Howdens, the trade division of
MFI. I have requested credit notes for several overcharged items and
despite assurances that these would be processed, they have not
materialised. This has happened before at another branch and instigated
my dealings with this other branch.


When you say "overcharged" do you mean that they entered higher numbers
than the marked price, the agreed price, didn't apply a discount for
the deal, agreed in general or entered the transaction more than once?



The manager assures me that they have been processed.


Maybe they have been at the branch and therefore as far as he is
concerned, he has done his piece and the issue is off of his plate.

Could it be head
office deliberately withholding credit notes.


Unless there is some kind of organised game which is possible but one
can't tell. If they all arrive at once on a certain day of the month
then it may indicate some policy that is a way to improve cash flow.
The more likely expectations are sloppy keying of data at the
branches or incompetence at head office. Normally "the computer" is
blamed and most people are stupid enough to accept the excuse. You
have the same situation from two branches now so there is a bit of a
clue.






To try to speed the
process up I deliberately withheld the credit due from my recent
monthly payment. This immediately sparked credit control to ring me to
ascertain why there was a shortfall especialy as I had endorsed the
payment slip with "awaiting outstanding credit notes".


Amazing, isn't it?

Do the promised credit notes amount to complete transactions or do they
represent parts of larger ones? If they are for complete ones, then
you could write to them disputing the invoice. Actually you could
anyway. Most organisation's credit control have procedures for
dealing with those.



They contacted
the branch concerned and rang back several days later to see if the
branch had contacted me to sort the matter out. I explained that they
had not. A further phone call to me stating that the branch had tried
to contact me but had been unable to get through. The credit controller
went quite when I explained that every time that they had rung me they
had got through.


This is a good reason to conduct these things in writing. FAX is a
reasonably good way that
doesn't eat into too much time writing letters and going to the post
office. That can be saved for if or when it looks like being a more
serious discussion. FAXes also involve the supplier in extra work and
reduce the possibilities for different departments and locations to
bear false witness. Even the stupid think more carefully before
putting something in writing.



Now finally I have just received a letter threatening legal action if I
do not make the full payment.


Jolly good.


They are starting to **** me off.


No need for that, just sit back and enjoy the fun



I just hope that the MD of Howdens is
reading this so he can realise what a bunch of ******* I am dealing
with.


He probably isn't and probably does.


Best of it is I have three branches writing to me with offers of
a superb deal on kitchens. Probably give it to Magnets, that'll teach
em.


No it won't. They aren't bright enough at branch level in most of
these places to really care.


Just out of interest I wonder how Mr Hall would deal with them.
Disgruntled
Legin


Ah well......

From your mail, I assume that you are dealing with them as being a
business vs. being a consumer. If you look through the Ts & Cs of most
merchants who by intent or not deal with consumers, they have one set
that applies to consumers (they have to) and another for business
customers. The former give you a lot more protection because of
consumer legislation.

Business customers have fewer statutory rights AIUI, so in the ultimate
case it's a question of what the courts decide. I'm less familiar
with the scenarios for businesses, but you have to look at the
different implications for sole traders, limited companies etc.

I think that the best comments are to make sure that there is a paper
trail and to start sending that to the company's credit control and
legal representatives (or credit collection agencies). This will
incur cost for them and generally make sure they have their ducks in
line in case it were to go to court.

The other dimension is whether you want/need to deal with them in the
future. It may be that despite all the BS, they have good products
and prices for what you want, and supplier Y next door is just as bad
anyway.

Given the situation, I think that I would play their system. This is
a finance handling problem so find the name of the finance director and
phone him, confirming the conversation by fax or letter. If the
issue is actually at the branches then he may push it onto the area
manager or something like that. You could contact the area manager
anyway. Some of these organisations have regional business
development people as well whose job it is to retain business.

I do think that a key thing is not to rely on verbal promises or
attempts to allocate blame elsewhere. Hence the importance of written
communication.

Taking a different tack....

For the purposes of building materials etc. I am not a business but
tend to use trade rather than DIY sources. Numerous places have
offered me trade credit account and terms, but I've avoided that. I
make sure that anything in excess of 100 is paid by credit card and
that the words "consumer purchase" are entered on any generated
delivery note etc. that I sign.

On that subject, quite a lot of trade places seem to print off
delivery notes for goods being taken and expect you to sign. That's
OK as far as it goes, but these usually don't have prices on them. I
therefore always ask for a quote or pro forma to be printed with the
agreed prices and discounts and to reference those on delivery notes I
sign. This at least cuts out some of the nonsense that can happen in
branches.



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Default howdens overcharging

I've read this through and - with some experience of levering large
companies to sort out their maladministrations, I'd make some points to
you.

First, you clearly are disputing certain charges in your bills. That
has to be put in writing, and the fact of your dispute notified to
thecompany in writing - in a way that is not contestable. That means a
Recorded Delivery letter to a named Officer of the Company - even the
local branch manager ( by name and title ) will do.

Second, their accounts department have notified you in writing that
certain bills rendered remain unpaid, and that further action will
follow if you do not respond. Your response must be - for your
protection - in writing, as above. Recorded Delivery.

Third, you need to say, effectively, that you are willing to pay all
that is properly owing. You cannot legitimately withold payment of
Invoice Y because of a dispute or error in Invoice A. You must state
why you consider you are in dispute and invite them to communicate with
you, for an 'early and mutually agrreed resolution of the issues'.

Fourth, you require to send a copy of whatever you send to elsewhere in
the company, as a complaint directly to the Managing Director of the
company or group, and clearly indicating there is a dispute and asking
for a swift resolution. Recorded Delivery. The laws on Corporate
Governance are such that *no* senior director of a PLC who wants to
remain as a director will nowadays ignore such a letter of complaint.
That's why there will be a team at Head Office whose jobit is to
resolve such issues without need to go to court.

Fifth, if this does end up in a court, then anyone seeking to judge
what has happened and what should have happened will want to see your
letters and Recorded Delivery slips. Then they will ask the
representatives of Howdens why they did not do what was reasonably
asked of them.......

You can do all this yourself, or you can get someone else to do it for
you. That usually costs - at the least, some of your time. But that's
a far lesser cost than ignoring it, 'cos that way you lose both money
and time. Once you have won, you can always reasonably ask Howdens
for a 'consideration' of the time you spent sorting out their
mistake....... You might be pleasantly surprised.



On Oct 19, 8:36 pm, Andy Hall wrote:
On 2006-10-19 20:41:37 +0100, "legin" said:

I know that this is a DIY group but also know that certain trades
frequent this forum. I would be particularly interested in any one who
has experienced being overcharged by Howdens, the trade division of
MFI. I have requested credit notes for several overcharged items and
despite assurances that these would be processed, they have not
materialised. This has happened before at another branch and instigated
my dealings with this other branch.When you say "overcharged" do you mean that they entered higher numbers

than the marked price, the agreed price, didn't apply a discount for
the deal, agreed in general or entered the transaction more than once?

The manager assures me that they have been processed.Maybe they have been at the branch and therefore as far as he is

concerned, he has done his piece and the issue is off of his plate.

Could it be head
office deliberately withholding credit notes.Unless there is some kind of organised game which is possible but one

can't tell. If they all arrive at once on a certain day of the month
then it may indicate some policy that is a way to improve cash flow.
The more likely expectations are sloppy keying of data at the
branches or incompetence at head office. Normally "the computer" is
blamed and most people are stupid enough to accept the excuse. You
have the same situation from two branches now so there is a bit of a
clue.

To try to speed the
process up I deliberately withheld the credit due from my recent
monthly payment. This immediately sparked credit control to ring me to
ascertain why there was a shortfall especialy as I had endorsed the
payment slip with "awaiting outstanding credit notes".Amazing, isn't it?


Do the promised credit notes amount to complete transactions or do they
represent parts of larger ones? If they are for complete ones, then
you could write to them disputing the invoice. Actually you could
anyway. Most organisation's credit control have procedures for
dealing with those.

They contacted
the branch concerned and rang back several days later to see if the
branch had contacted me to sort the matter out. I explained that they
had not. A further phone call to me stating that the branch had tried
to contact me but had been unable to get through. The credit controller
went quite when I explained that every time that they had rung me they
had got through.This is a good reason to conduct these things in writing. FAX is a

reasonably good way that
doesn't eat into too much time writing letters and going to the post
office. That can be saved for if or when it looks like being a more
serious discussion. FAXes also involve the supplier in extra work and
reduce the possibilities for different departments and locations to
bear false witness. Even the stupid think more carefully before
putting something in writing.

Now finally I have just received a letter threatening legal action if I
do not make the full payment.Jolly good.


They are starting to **** me off.No need for that, just sit back and enjoy the fun


I just hope that the MD of Howdens is
reading this so he can realise what a bunch of ******* I am dealing
with.He probably isn't and probably does.


Best of it is I have three branches writing to me with offers of
a superb deal on kitchens. Probably give it to Magnets, that'll teach
em.No it won't. They aren't bright enough at branch level in most of

these places to really care.

Just out of interest I wonder how Mr Hall would deal with them.
Disgruntled
LeginAh well......


From your mail, I assume that you are dealing with them as being a
business vs. being a consumer. If you look through the Ts & Cs of most
merchants who by intent or not deal with consumers, they have one set
that applies to consumers (they have to) and another for business
customers. The former give you a lot more protection because of
consumer legislation.

Business customers have fewer statutory rights AIUI, so in the ultimate
case it's a question of what the courts decide. I'm less familiar
with the scenarios for businesses, but you have to look at the
different implications for sole traders, limited companies etc.

I think that the best comments are to make sure that there is a paper
trail and to start sending that to the company's credit control and
legal representatives (or credit collection agencies). This will
incur cost for them and generally make sure they have their ducks in
line in case it were to go to court.

The other dimension is whether you want/need to deal with them in the
future. It may be that despite all the BS, they have good products
and prices for what you want, and supplier Y next door is just as bad
anyway.

Given the situation, I think that I would play their system. This is
a finance handling problem so find the name of the finance director and
phone him, confirming the conversation by fax or letter. If the
issue is actually at the branches then he may push it onto the area
manager or something like that. You could contact the area manager
anyway. Some of these organisations have regional business
development people as well whose job it is to retain business.

I do think that a key thing is not to rely on verbal promises or
attempts to allocate blame elsewhere. Hence the importance of written
communication.

Taking a different tack....

For the purposes of building materials etc. I am not a business but
tend to use trade rather than DIY sources. Numerous places have
offered me trade credit account and terms, but I've avoided that. I
make sure that anything in excess of 100 is paid by credit card and
that the words "consumer purchase" are entered on any generated
delivery note etc. that I sign.

On that subject, quite a lot of trade places seem to print off
delivery notes for goods being taken and expect you to sign. That's
OK as far as it goes, but these usually don't have prices on them. I
therefore always ask for a quote or pro forma to be printed with the
agreed prices and discounts and to reference those on delivery notes I
sign. This at least cuts out some of the nonsense that can happen in
branches.


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On Oct 19, 9:36 pm, Andy Hall wrote:

Business customers have fewer statutory rights AIUI,


Correct, that's why PC World always ask if you are buying for business
when you are paying at the till.

There was a case in one of the PC magazines recently that highlighted
the fact that a small business owner who had trouble with some kit had
a lot less rights than if he had bought it as a private consumer.

MBQ

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Default howdens overcharging

In article .com,
legin wrote:
I know that this is a DIY group but also know that certain trades
frequent this forum. I would be particularly interested in any one who
has experienced being overcharged by Howdens, the trade division of
MFI. I have requested credit notes for several overcharged items and
despite assurances that these would be processed, they have not
materialised. This has happened before at another branch and instigated
my dealings with this other branch.


Isn't MFI in financial straights? So perhaps also their trade division?
And the first sign of this is often failing to refund what is owed or pay
their bills on time, etc.

--
*It's not hard to meet expenses... they're everywhere.

Dave Plowman London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.


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Default howdens overcharging


"Dave Plowman (News)" wrote in message
...
In article .com,
legin wrote:
I know that this is a DIY group but also know that certain trades
frequent this forum. I would be particularly interested in any one who
has experienced being overcharged by Howdens, the trade division of
MFI. I have requested credit notes for several overcharged items and
despite assurances that these would be processed, they have not
materialised. This has happened before at another branch and instigated
my dealings with this other branch.


Isn't MFI in financial straights? So perhaps also their trade division?
And the first sign of this is often failing to refund what is owed or pay
their bills on time, etc.

--

No the Howden's division is making shedloads, the MFI division which was
losing hand over fist has just been sold to a venture capital consortium for
1 http://www.kamcity.com/namnews/asp/n...p?newsid=29602

As to Howden's we got a trade account with them but the quote for a base
model kitchen was jaw droppingly high, even after the "discount". That and
the fact that the "design" they had done was completely different to what we
had specified meant we said stuff that.

Funnily enough we then got a call from them saying they were doing a
promotion and they could do it cheaper. But as it was still more than Wickes
in their sale for a better style we have ordered from them.

Rather unimpressed with Howden's.

H


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In article ,
HLAH wrote:
Isn't MFI in financial straights? So perhaps also their trade
division? And the first sign of this is often failing to refund what
is owed or pay their bills on time, etc.


No the Howden's division is making shedloads, the MFI division which was
losing hand over fist


Creative accounting within the group?

has just been sold to a venture capital
consortium for 1
http://www.kamcity.com/namnews/asp/n...p?newsid=29602


Ah - another British Leyland deal. Hope the MFI pension fund does rather
better.

As to Howden's we got a trade account with them but the quote for a base
model kitchen was jaw droppingly high, even after the "discount". That
and the fact that the "design" they had done was completely different
to what we had specified meant we said stuff that.


Funnily enough we then got a call from them saying they were doing a
promotion and they could do it cheaper. But as it was still more than
Wickes in their sale for a better style we have ordered from them.


Rather unimpressed with Howden's.


Funnily, I was quite impressed with the one MFI kitchen I've installed and
it seemed very good value.

--
*Oh, what a tangled website we weave when first we practice *

Dave Plowman London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.
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"Dave Plowman (News)" wrote in message
...
In article ,
HLAH wrote:
Isn't MFI in financial straights? So perhaps also their trade
division? And the first sign of this is often failing to refund what
is owed or pay their bills on time, etc.


No the Howden's division is making shedloads, the MFI division which was
losing hand over fist


Creative accounting within the group?

has just been sold to a venture capital
consortium for 1
http://www.kamcity.com/namnews/asp/n...p?newsid=29602


Ah - another British Leyland deal. Hope the MFI pension fund does rather
better.

As to Howden's we got a trade account with them but the quote for a base
model kitchen was jaw droppingly high, even after the "discount". That
and the fact that the "design" they had done was completely different
to what we had specified meant we said stuff that.


Funnily enough we then got a call from them saying they were doing a
promotion and they could do it cheaper. But as it was still more than
Wickes in their sale for a better style we have ordered from them.


Rather unimpressed with Howden's.


Funnily, I was quite impressed with the one MFI kitchen I've installed and
it seemed very good value.

--

But I didn't go to MFI I went to Howden's, same group different division.

I didn't bother to go to MFI because of people I know were having long
delivery times quoted and weren't impressed with the buying experience.
Howden's said they could deliver next day.

As it was my sister had just bought a Wickes Kitchen and was pleased with
the service. As we liked the look of one of the Wickes range, once they were
on "sale" again, we bought it there with a delivery time of 3 weeks.

Interestingly MFI/Howden's are allegedly shifting production to Eastern
Europe, I wonder how that will affect things.


H


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On 2006-10-20 10:25:46 +0100, "Dave Plowman (News)"
said:

In article .com,
legin wrote:
I know that this is a DIY group but also know that certain trades
frequent this forum. I would be particularly interested in any one who
has experienced being overcharged by Howdens, the trade division of
MFI. I have requested credit notes for several overcharged items and
despite assurances that these would be processed, they have not
materialised. This has happened before at another branch and instigated
my dealings with this other branch.


Isn't MFI in financial straights? So perhaps also their trade division?
And the first sign of this is often failing to refund what is owed or pay
their bills on time, etc.


Most retailers are in the dwang - it's only the depth that varies.
However, normally these groups have arrangements of holding companies
for tax purposes and to insulate the operating companies from one
another. Kingfisher's looks like the cast of Ben Hur.



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On 2006-10-20 15:15:22 +0100, "HLAH" said:



Interestingly MFI/Howden's are allegedly shifting production to Eastern
Europe, I wonder how that will affect things.



Should help margins if nothing else. Of itself that may have a
positive effect assuming competent management. An assumption though.




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"Andy Hall" wrote in message
...
On 2006-10-20 15:15:22 +0100, "HLAH" said:



Interestingly MFI/Howden's are allegedly shifting production to Eastern
Europe, I wonder how that will affect things.



Should help margins if nothing else. Of itself that may have a positive
effect assuming competent management. An assumption though.


Knowing nothing more than has been reported in The Telegraph ; 0
AIUI; the group has been acquired by 'investors', For the group they paid a
nominal 1 - but fed in 54M (?) to service debts, salaries etc .... The
Group Pension Fund has been underwritten by the new owners.
Howdens is the manufacturer of the kitchens sold in MFI stores, albeit it
also 'sells' directly to the Trade. Howden's have a contract/exclusive
agreement to supply MFI for a period (six months?) after which period ....
? Manufacture of MFI sold goods may be sourced from places other than
Howden's.

--

Brian



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On 2006-10-20 19:24:51 +0100, "Brian Sharrock" said:


"Andy Hall" wrote in message ...
On 2006-10-20 15:15:22 +0100, "HLAH" said:



Interestingly MFI/Howden's are allegedly shifting production to Eastern
Europe, I wonder how that will affect things.



Should help margins if nothing else. Of itself that may have a
positive effect assuming competent management. An assumption though.


Knowing nothing more than has been reported in The Telegraph ; 0
AIUI; the group has been acquired by 'investors', For the group they
paid a nominal 1 - but fed in 54M (?) to service debts, salaries etc
.... The Group Pension Fund has been underwritten by the new owners.
Howdens is the manufacturer of the kitchens sold in MFI stores, albeit
it also 'sells' directly to the Trade. Howden's have a
contract/exclusive agreement to supply MFI for a period (six months?)
after which period .... ? Manufacture of MFI sold goods may be sourced
from places other than Howden's.


Not a pretty picture at all

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/mai.../22/umfi22.xml


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replying to legin, Trueknowledge1 wrote:
Write your concerns to Matthew dot Ingle at Howdens dot com. He's the CEO.
While you're at it ask him if he thinks it fair on the consumer to create a
mark up on all kitchens sold to backhand as a credit onto the builders'
account? Anything from 500-1500 quid. Also ask him if he accepts they are
possibly facilitating tax avoidance by actively demanding that these
sweeteners are build into the hyper inflated quotes for the builder to give to
their customer!

--
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Trueknowledge1 wrote:

Write your concerns to Matthew dot Ingle at Howdens dot com. He's the CEO.


A decade later, who cares?


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Yes hardly any point in it now. So can you explain to me about this portal
to the Usenet groups and how it is that so many old messages get
regurgitated every so often and why people reply to them, ie is the date
somehow hidden on the web site?
Its gettting to the point where I'll soon just filter aanything with the
text in it that proves its been to this site.
Brian

--
----- -
This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
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"Andy Burns" wrote in message
...
Trueknowledge1 wrote:

Write your concerns to Matthew dot Ingle at Howdens dot com. He's the
CEO.


A decade later, who cares?






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Brian Gaff wrote:

can you explain to me about this portal to the Usenet groups and how
it is that so many old messages get regurgitated every so often and
why people reply to them


Given that google's own usenet archive doesn't show up on a "normal"
google search, anyone who doesn't know that google groups exists will
find results from 3rd party web portals such as home owner's hub.

ie is the date somehow hidden on the web site?


The site displays recent messages and best rated messages, for all of
them it displays a date above the article, just that nobody notices it.


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