Everest: Not always 'The Best'?
This page was published in April 2012.
Everest is one of the biggest names in home improvements, fitting windows, doors, kitchens and roofs. Everest is one company with lots of promises, guaranteeing the best materials and top quality workmanship, along with exacting standards and exceptional customer service, apparently delivering a perfect fit every time. But we've met some dissatisfied customers...
Jean Gillespie ordered her Everest conservatory back in December 2008 at a cost of nearly £33,000. Yet, almost as soon as it was installed, the roof started leaking. According to Jean, Everest has been out numerous times to fix it but unfortunately the roof still leaks.
Chartered Surveyor Barry Cross told Watchdog "The roof and the walls are moving because these bars have not been tightened up properly. Secondly where it is leaking, strip out all the trim, if necessary take the glass off, find where it's leaking put that right and put the glass back and put everything back to normal". Unfortunately, Jean has been left to deal with the mess.
Right now Everest is on a mission to transform Britain's homes, but as David Paget found out, change isn't always for the better. David agreed to pay Everest for improvements to his house in 2010, but now he can't even open his front door properly.
David is now left with a whole host of problems including wonky windows, cracked tiles, drill holes, damaged brickwork and mismatched handles. After complaining about these issues, Everest agreed to carry out remedial work, but when the problems persisted he lost confidence in their ability to complete the final part of the job and he felt he had no choice but to leave the house boarded up.
Barry Cross told Watchdog that "The workmanship is sloppy, there is no attention to the finishes and there are still significant defects here".
Despite the unhappy customers, Everest is busy looking for new ones. As well as running TV ads, it sponsored this year's Ideal Home Show. They have clear marketing promises, but to some customers, like Phil Baily, these promises sound hollow. Phil signed up for new windows and doors at a price of £23,500. Phil was left disappointed when Everest finished the late, and the surrounds he ordered were in the wrong colour. Worse still, the windows upstairs were deemed unsafe, which is not the best news when you have two small children. Everest have now fitted restrictors to the windows.
Barry Cross inspected the window and told us: "This window does not even comply with the most basic safety requirements. The window opens fully and you can see the height of the sill, this is so dangerous, for children particularly who can open the window and fall straight out."
So, poor workmanship, leaky roofs and unsafe fittings - all from the company that prides itself on being 'The Best'.
An Everest spokesperson said:
We have over 46 years' experience of delivering a high level of customer service and our commitment to high quality materials and workmanship hold as true as ever. We understand that sometimes a job may not go as smoothly as everyone would like, but where problems do arise, we have a 100% commitment to resolve them.
Our complaint process was followed in each of these cases, which included using independent bodies and/or Trading Standards to assess the claims, as per our standards. We do however recognise that these customers have not been satisfied by this approach and will review our processes accordingly.
We also constantly monitor our performance through our Customer Satisfaction Surveys and take every opportunity to improve our service based on our customers' feedback. This continual review of our service levels and processes are a central part of our business and we believe this is one of the key drivers in the improvement in our customer satisfaction rating over the last 2 years, as measured by Net Promoter Score.
In Mr Paget's case we agreed after the original installation that an error had been made regarding the door and offered to replace and upgrade it free of charge. An independent report has concluded that the other elements are minor snagging issues which are not unusual in a building job of this size and would be easily rectified. If Mr Paget allowed us to visit the site to replace the door and frame, we would also deal with these snags.
In the case of Mr Bailey's windows, this is the only complaint of this nature Everest has on record out of 4,790 identical orders. Notwithstanding this, we were committed to ensuring that the customer was satisfied and proposed a solution which was deemed reasonable by the local Trading Standards office, which included a significant discount as a gesture of goodwill. However, Mr Bailey has now demanded a 65% refund which we feel is completely disproportionate to the minor issues which have been raised and which we could quickly and easily rectify, if Mr Bailey allowed us access to the property.
In Ms Gillespie's case we carried out a variety of tests and repairs, including replacing the entire roof of the conservatory. An independent report confirmed the structure was sound, but identified the cause of a leak and recommended a solution, which we completed swiftly. We believed all issues had been resolved, and in fact, it was only when we asked for the outstanding balance to be paid that we were informed there was another issue. Since then we have been awaiting a date from the customer when we can go and carry out a further investigation.
We are totally committed to resolving these issues and have been asking to be given access to rectify them. We await the customers' instructions regarding this. If any Watchdog viewer has any query regarding an existing, current or potential Everest installation they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org