New Homes Quality Board case study: Sanitaryware not as described on specification

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The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) was established to oversee the quality of new homes and customer service provided by developers in the UK. 

This article considers a case study published by the NHQB on 20 May 2024 regarding a complaint made by a customer in relation to sanitaryware not being as described on the specification, which was concealed from them during their home demonstration.

Summary of the complaint

The customer purchased a show home that was sold as seen at reservation and at the time of purchase.

The customer complained that there was an issue with the sanitaryware at the property as they were not provided with the products as described on the specification. They believe that this was concealed from them during the home demonstration.

The Ombudsman’s decision

The Ombudsman acknowledged that the marketing material had only specified a brand of sanitaryware and that brand had been supplied.

The Ombudsman considered the developers offer to replace the seats to match the bases as a reasonable and proportionate response in the circumstances. Therefore, the customer’s complaint was not upheld.

Key takeaways

This case highlights the importance of making sure that all features, including sanitaryware, are clearly displayed and easily accessible during home demonstrations so that any misunderstandings can be avoided following completion. Taping down the sanitaryware made it difficult to fully inspect this feature.

Developers need to ensure that they deal with after-sales issues in a timely manner to meet customer expectations and prevent escalation to the Ombudsman.

It is key for developers to provide ongoing training for customer-facing staff to provide them with the necessary skills to handle any issue that a customer may raise. On this occasion the response from the sales team member was incorrect and they could have double-checked information in relation to the sanitaryware before relaying this to the customer.

Developers can maintain positive relationships with customers and uphold their reputation by delivering quality properties and after-sales care. This is important to maintain customer satisfaction.

In this case the developer offered to replace the seats to match the bases which was considered a reasonable and proportionate response.

Co-authored by Mominah Hussain

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