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Ten years ago, I had Everest windows and doors fitted throughout the house. They weren't the cheapest on the market, but the installation service was excellent, and they look as good today as when they were put in. I'd seen Everest advertising their new venture into fitted kitchens, and thought I'd see if they could do as good a job.
I phoned the call centre and made an appointment for a designer to visit. He turned up on time (always a good start), measured up and started giving the usual sales pitch. I cut short a lot of this as I've heard it all before, and cut to the chase of what we wanted and how it was going to be laid out.
I'd already done lots of homework, on this site and others, about kitchen units, and was pleased to see that Everest are offering Sheraton furniture, which is vastly superior to the cheap flat pack rubbish that you get from Moben/Kitchens Direct, Magnet and suchlike. They also offer appliances from Teka and Kuppersbusch with 5 year guarantees, this is high quality kit and a cut above the usual Neff, Bosch offerings.
The designer sat down and began planning the new kitchen on a laptop computer, after we'd chosen our doors, worktops and handles. We wanted all new fitted appliances as our existing free standing stuff was getting a bit long in the tooth.
After an hour or so, he was able to show us a visual of what the new kitchen would look like, and after we suggested a couple of minor changes, we arrived at a plan that looked stunning and had all the features we wanted. We were now getting to the point where a price would be quoted, but first the designer (in reality a commission only salesman) wanted to tell us about the Everest Home Account. This is a scheme where you finance the kitchen over 10 years, at some horrendous interest rate, about 25% APR I think, but if you pay it off over 2 years your interest rate comes right down and you get a cashback of 10% of the loan. This might be a good option for some, but in our case we've been in this house 11 years and had already established that we could tack a few extra thousand on to the mortgage without breaking the bank, so we passed on that.
Now he printed off the quotation for a cash sale, and in this respect Everest are as bad as every other large home improvements company, they give you an artificially inflated "list price", then offer you a "discount" so you think you're getting a bargain. The quote came out at just over £23,000, but we could have a quantity discount to bring it down to £18500, and if we placed the order that day we'd get a further discount down to £17000.
A couple of my former colleagues have worked in the direct sales industry, and I knew how these things worked: if they sold you the products for the suggested price, the salesman would get 10-15% commission. But they had discretion to lower the price, and would still get 4 or 5% if they sold it at their minimum.
We definitely wanted this kitchen, and having already spent 3 hours going through everything, didn't want to repeat the exercise, so my cunning plan was to tell the salesman that we were prepared to sign today if he could give it to us for £14000, but if he went away and came back I'd only pay £12500.
He slipped outside to phone someone, then came back and said the best he could do would be £15000. We said "no deal", and he said he'd have to get authorisation from higher up the chain. Another 20 minutes of phone calls later, it was agreed that we could do the deal at £14000, so we signed the contract and paid a 20% deposit.
A week later, a surveyor came, he remeasured and made a couple of minor adjustments to the plan, and we were given an installation date starting Monday 12 November. On the Thursday before, a truck arrived with all our furniture and applances, which we'd made room to store in the garage. They also gave us a set of storage boxes for the contents of the kitchen, quite a nice touch. We also had to pay a further 60% of the price at that time.
A team of two fitters turned up bright and early on the 12th, and set about removing our old kitchen. The quote included removing the tiles, so they did that, and rendered the walls ready for retiling. The next day an electrician came, and he put in an RCD unit on the fuse box, and did some rewiring in the kitchen for the new appliances.
By the end of the third day, the factory-assembled units had been installed, and the electrician came back on Thursday to connect and test the appliances. There were a couple of problems with incorrect pelmets having been ordered, but the fitters completed everything else by the end of day 4, and arranged to come back the following Wednesday to finish the job. I was also given gas and electrical safety certificates, and a Part P building regs compliance note, which apparently is now essential if I decide to sell the house.
It has now all been done, and I've got a local man coming to put new tiles on next week. The kitchen looks fabulous, with shaker light oak doors and black mottled 40mm Getalit worktops, and the Kuppersbusch double oven is a fantastic piece of technology, a must-have for any serious cook, which my wife is. The installation team did a first class job, putting down dust sheets and clearing up every evening, and they've taken away all the debris from the old kitchen. The new kitchen looks and feels so solid you could drive a Centurion tank over it, and best of all I didn't have to pay the last 20% cheque until after it was installed and I'd signed off the satisfaction note.
In summary, you really can't fault Everest products and service, and if you do your research and keep your wits about you, you can get the job done at a reasonable price. You also get a 10 year guarantee (5 years on the appliances) direct from Everest, worth having I would suggest.
This review is strangely compliant to Everest's brand guidelines, I should imagine. How's the job at Everest going david? You do know that it is considered bad practice, if not illegal, for companies to misrepresent themselves as 'consumers' on the internet?
COOOEEE 25.11.2007 11:57
Everest used to have such a bad name that it is good to read something positive about the company. Fionaxx