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Sharp practices to look out for when buying a new fitted kitchen

Chris Turnbull

Sharp practices to look out for when buying a new fitted kitchen

Is your kitchen retailer giving you the whole story?

In a market as competitive as the one for fitted kitchens – with the national retailers always trying to grab business from each other by being perceived to offer the ‘best value’ price – it’s not surprising that they’re always looking for tactics to persuade customers to buy from them.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not blogging about competitiveness (all’s fair in love and war so bring it on!).  But I am unhappy about some of the ‘sharp practices’ that go on within the industry which come back and bite the unwary consumer often only at the time of payment settlement when it’s probably too late for them to change their mind.

Increasingly, one of these tactics we’re seeing is not to provide customers with a clear and transparent price once a design has been discussed in order to be perceived as offering a really low priced product.  And we’re not talking just about minor ‘extras’.  One quote we saw recently gave a price for the furniture and the small print excluded worktops and installation in order to achieve a headline price despite the customer requiring them (not sure how they’d have used a kitchen without a worktop!)

Another example we’ve seen deliberately excluded the VAT amount only for the (very) small print stating ‘VAT to be added at 20%’.  Even smaller additional costs – such as waste removal, minor electrical or plumbing work – soon add up and are rarely shown on the estimate.

And don’t even get me started on ‘design charges’!  Whilst not often a hidden cost, I am staggered at why many of the large national retailers feel the need to charge £75-£100 for a design visit!  Surely it’s a cost of their trying to win your business or do they really see this as a way of tying you in to dealing with them because you’ve invested money up front with them?  However many design changes we make for you from start to finish you’ll never pay a penny for them with us.

What annoys me is the effect this has on consumers’ perception of the industry.  Investing in a kitchen or any home improvement isn’t cheap whatever the budget you’ve got so naturally people want to feel they’re getting the best possible price only to find that they’ve been hooked by such ‘sharp practices’.  Insist that your supplier provides you with a complete kitchen price that includes everything you’re after and avoid the nasty surprises that could appear once they’ve got your order – and then bring it to us and we’ll guarantee to at least match if not beat it!

For more information about Nicholas Hythe Kitchens please telephone 01480 468598 or email us at

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