Owner and director of Park House Kitchens Emily Rowland says there should be greater price transparency with retailers explaining all costs to gain the trust of consumers
A little while ago guardian.com ran the article ‘Buying a Howdens kitchen? Make sure what you’re quoted fits the bill’.
The article went into great detail about how Howdens – who supplies to builders rather than directly to the public – have varying costs for the same appliances and kitchen units.
The customer, in this instance, had been quoted three different figures for the same kitchen; “The first, via his builder, was for £16,003; the second, provided by Howdens directly, was for £9,916; and the third, for £44,895, was provided to show the “full” price before discounts.”
Admittedly these three figures are very different, but there may be more to it than meets the eye.
For example, we should take into consideration the building contractor’s margin; installation – what level of plumbing and installation is included in these two prices? And so on and so forth.
Without knowing the full story and all the elements involved it’s difficult to comment why such price fluctuations existed in this particular quote.
But what I can say is retailers should remind their customers using a company that doesn’t install the kitchens directly or have overall control of the project, will mean a much greater chance of setting themselves up for a nasty surprise when it comes to the final bill.
Retailer should tell customers that purchasing a kitchen with a retailer that both designs and installs kitchens there is much more transparency with the price.
Most independent retailers will also work with a recommended builder, so if building work is required in addition to fitting the kitchen, again, it will be clear for consumers to see where their money is going on and why.
It goes without saying kitchen retailers and builders factor in a mark-up on the manufacturer’s price; it’s how they survive.
Howdens, like other big kitchen companies will also “offer” huge discounts on both their white goods and cabinets.
Whether these are just smoke and mirrors it’s difficult to comment, but it’s always worth erring on the side of caution when such heavy discounts are presented.
It all comes down to trust.
If consumers don’t feel the kitchen company or the people who are fitting their kitchen are giving them all the details, then they may step away and find a company that will.
If all the elements are clearly specified and included from the get go (right down to the cutlery inserts and finer details), there really should be no reason for a consumer to feel disappointed with the price.
Owner of MBK Design Studio Stewart Woodruff says the kbb industry must clean up its act over fake discounts and hidden costs.