Author Topic: Feel like we have been deliberately mislead....  (Read 11138 times)

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leppy76

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Feel like we have been deliberately mislead....
« on: June 08, 2013, 07:38:37 pm »
My wife and I have been looking at buying a Barratt Home property using the Help-To-Buy scheme.

The show home happens to be the same style of house that we want to buy. My wife went and looked at the show home with a friend, and then my wife and I went together to look at the show home. At no point was there anything mentioned about the show home not being to the standard specification.

My wife phoned and paid the reservation fee over the phone. At no point was she made to believe that this was a pre reservation subject to Help-To-Buy application. A letter was sent by Barratt Homes confirming reservation. A copy of the Consumer Code was not sent out at this time.

Our Help-To-Buy application was submitted based on the reservation form we received - it could not be submitted without it! Solicitors were instructed - again, this was needed for the HTB application to be made - and £250 fees were paid. Mortgage application was submitted once HTB approved - £430 search fees, plus £7 to post documents.

My wife and I visited development for third time today, having been invited up to fill out some paperwork. We were trying to push for additional features, and stated that we were not happy that we had not been given a copy of the Consumer Code. An out of date copy was provided (Jan 2010 not the April 2013 version that I had printed off myself)

We asked for the sales agent to walk around the property to compare the show home to standard specification and she pointed out that the WC would be smaller in the actual property that we would be built, due to the internal garage being too small in the show home. I then pointed out that this would also mean a large chunk of dining area would be lost. Was told would need to check plans; plans confirmed my estimate as to proportion of dining area lost.

We were then told that they had only just found out that the show home wasn't to specification because a property of that type had been built on a nearby development that was different.

Back in sales office we stated that we were not happy that we hadn't been told about dining room size. They reiterated that they didn't know.

I then asked if the property next door to show home (same type house) was built to correct specification or to the show home specification. We were told it had been built to the correct size, suggesting it was known that show home was not.

We reiterated that we were not happy. It means no space for a freezer and nowhere in utility room for one. Was told could have a couple of days to think about it, implication was that after a couple of days the reservation would be cancelled and home sold to someone else. They said that we had just pre-reserved pending the Help-To-Buy application and hadn't actually fully reserved the property!

I then stated that as reservation fee had been paid the plot was reserved for 28 days and that they couldn't pressure us to sign anything. We told them that we had already spent best part of a thousand pounds buying this property based on existing reservation, and yet they had failed to mention the fact that the dining area in actual home would be significantly smaller.

While I expect the show home to be dressed to suggest that rooms are larger (e.g. smaller furniture, radiators in different places, no doors) I honestly would not expect a whole section of wall missing. It's about the size of a kitchen unit depth wise so is quite significant!

Prior to this discovery we had been told that we had received the maximum incentives they could provide, because of the HTB. I am hoping to push for an integrated fridge freezer, as we won't be able to use our existing freestanding fridge & freezer now.

Any other thoughts / suggestions / recommendations / comments?


Philofacts

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Re: Feel like we have been deliberately mislead....
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 08:05:17 am »
When you have paid a Reservation Fee you have reserved. It is not a 'pre reservation', but the reservation could be done on a "subject to" basis.

You should have been given a copy of the Consumer Code for Home Builders at the time of reservation. Not doing so is a clear breach of requirement 1.2 of the Code.  It is a far too common occurrence that house builders are not giving copies of the Code to their buyers for it to be accidental.
Whilst the new Code only has minor word revisions you should have been given a copy of the latest revision.

Show homes are never the basis standard specification on offer.  They are always 'up-specced' and dressed so they tempt (deceive) buyers.  Any fittings and specifications that are not standard should be marked with a sticker stating "not included as standard"

However, the show home being built with a smaller garage (either deliberately or build error) resulting in the habitable rooms actually being larger is deceptive.
Informing you this fact only after you have reserved and paid fees etc is disgraceful and dishonest in my opinion and is not only clear cut breach of the requirements of the Consumer Code for Home Builders but also the spirit of the Code.

I would suggest you walk away.
Write to Barratt and demand they refund you with all your expenses regarding the aborted purchase of this property. Tell them if they refuse, you will be making a claim using the Consumer Code Adjudication Scheme which you will almost certainly win your claim and receive a full refund.

Do you really want to continue and buy a home that the builder built to the wrong size and then claimed they didn't realise? 
What else may they have got wrong with it?
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leppy76

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Re: Feel like we have been deliberately mislead....
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 03:03:49 pm »
While it is easy to say "walk away" you don't have to explain to the other half that we're not going to be moving any time soon ;)

Part of the "problem" we have is that we need a decent sized 4 bedroom house with a decent sized garden and parking, without going over budget;. and these are very, very few and far between. Add in the fact that we have three kids to house plus one on the way, and thus also have the "fun" of finding decent schooling to go alongside everything else, as well as being commutable to my current work plus London for future work... let's just say we finally found our needle and are a little reluctant to just walk.

I am also concerned that, having got so far down the existing application route, my credit file will be impacted and I would not be able to get a mortgage for another property for the next couple of months should we manage to find another needle in the housing haystack.

Having calmed a little since Saturday I realise in hindsight that we had been dumped with the monkey as the organ grinder had the afternoon off (so to speak). As they aren't who we have dealt with over the past few weeks, they were evidently not aware about the details around our reservation...

Bearing this in mind, I emailed them today stating that we weren't happy about the deception, and were we to proceed we would be forced to buy a combination fridge freezer, and if we didn't we would lose a load of cash. I said that we want to proceed on the basis that they include integrated fridge freeezer as standard, and should they not agree, there was a veiled threat as to getting my money back via legal avenues...

The upshot is, they have agreed to include the fridge/freezer at no cost to us. We shall be double checking all the paperwork before signing and ensuring that we get the property snagged by a builder who will know what to look out for!


Philofacts

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Re: Feel like we have been deliberately mislead....
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 08:22:43 am »
You should be mindful that your home may have a lower valuation and/or be more difficult to sell when the time comes than the same house type built to the correct size.layout. You shoudl also carfully consider what other mistakes and omissions are being made to your home on this development.

It is always best to have a new home PROFESSIONALLY inspected and snagged rather than using a 'builder' or 'friend' in the industry. 
This is always a 'relatively small' amount of money that is very well-spent.   

In addition, I am surprised the "mistake" occured in a 4 bedroom house.
These are normally large enough for such tricks to be somewhat unnecessary.

At the end of the day it is your choice, your money and your life.
 
It would have been better to use the "veiled threat" as to getting your money back via the Consumer Code rather than "legal avenues"  House builders will know that they would lose and that buyers will use this method! 

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