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Share via Email Food for thought Yet all three estimates relate to exactly the same set of modest kitchen units and appliances. So how can the price of white goods and kitchen cupboards vary so dramatically?
Howdens is unusual in that it refuses to sell to the public direct. Builders buy the kitchen chosen by their customer and either pass it on at cost or sell it on at a profit — helped, it is claimed, by estimates produced by Howdens staff.
What is not in doubt is that Howdens is a big beast in this sector, claiming that in it supplied more than , kitchens, 2. Adam Hussein, a surgeon who lives in Hertford, contacted Guardian Money to ask whether the company can be trusted by consumers given that it is seemingly happy to produce differing estimates at the drop of a hat.
He says he was given three different quotes for exactly the same kitchen. The paperwork, seen by Money, shows that this is for exactly the same kitchen units and appliances.
It also shows how anyone buying a kitchen in this way needs to be aware of how the system works. And when Hussein took the matter up with Howdens, a representative asked him how well he knew his builder, and implied he might want to choose another.
To his surprise, the company then set up an account for him in his own name. Or would Howdens have kept some of that money for themselves? On the Mumsnet website there are several discussions on the subject. This means that your builder can make a profit on any product purchased by Howdens. On a similar thread on the MoneySavingExpert website consumers are also complaining of a lack of transparent pricing. So the best way to find out if you are getting a fair price is to get a comparative quote elsewhere.
Others claim that prices vary significantly from branch to branch and depend on when in the sales commission cycle the estimates are issued. If and how our customer discloses the discount to clients is for them to decide when they give a quotation for the price of the project.
In some cases they may disclose all of the discount and will add on the fitting cost and profit margin as separate items. In other cases they will just give a single price for the whole project. Whatever the builder chooses to do, it is for them to decide. If they are unhappy with this they can discuss it with the builder or seek an alternative quote. Car dealers have long had full ticket prices that no one actually pays.
However, Howdens seems to have taken the concept to a whole new level. Hussein says he was left wondering why the company even publishes them in the first place, given their absurdity. You can easily find all three items on the Howdens website.
You will also find photos of the items and full specs — but no information about prices. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.
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Bralkis Adam Hussein, a surgeon who lives in Hertford, contacted Guardian Money to ask whether the company can be trusted by consumers given that it is seemingly happy to produce differing estimates at the drop of a hat. Or would Howdens have kept some of that money for themselves? Hussein says the whole experience led him to call off the deal as he says he no longer trusts his builder, or Howdens. Yet all three estimates relate to exactly the same set of modest kitchen units and appliances.
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