THE Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.
Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Jane Hamilton will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.
Jane Hamilton, property expertJane Hamilton knows how to improve the front of your home
AS the face of your home, updating your front door can boost kerb appeal, increase security and even add value to your property.
John Evans, managing director of door experts Stormclad, says: “A new front door can significantly transform a property, as well as providing added security and peace of mind.”
Here is the company’s guide on how to decide on the perfect front door.
1) Budget: Front doors range from less than £100 to five figures. Decide your top priority then work out a budget.
2) Style: There are hundreds of styles, but they can be streamlined into traditional, contemporary and ultra-modern. Traditional suits character properties, while modern designs will complement new-build and contemporary homes.
The design of a front door can add value to your home
3) Light: Consider a door with glass. Even small panes will bring light in.
&Materials: Wooden doors are the most desirable, but need regular upkeep. UPVC doors are strong and sturdy and can be easily customised. Composite doors have an authentic wooden finish and do not require painting.
4) Colour: There is a growing trend for bold shades. Mustard yellow or vibrant teal make an impact. For something more subtle, pastel greens and blues gently brighten the front of your home.
5) Energy efficiency: Poorly fitted, old or damaged doors allow heat to leak out. All quality doors will be awarded a “U” value, rated on a scale from E to the maximum efficiency of A ++ based on materials.
Buy of the week
Searches for homes in Pitlochry have rocketed
BUYING north of the border? Pitlochry, a town in Perthshire, has seen buyer searches jump 50 per cent in the last year as families move for space and quality of life.
This stunning three-bed house is yours for the fixed price of £195,000 at rightmove.co.uk/properties/76930086.
Deal of the week
This kitchen island looks great and is functional
LOVE islands? Add this Sherbourne Grey Kitchen Island to your home for just £99.99, a fraction of the cost of a new fixed unit.
Buy at studio.co.uk.
SAVE: Average of £200 on similar styles elsewhere.
Judge Rinder, legal expert
Judge Rinder advises a reader to stand firm over a vet bill
Q) MY neighbour was having an extension built and I was asked if part of my fence could be temporarily removed to allow for access by the builders.
I agreed on the terms that a temporary secure barrier be erected so my 14-year-old dog could not get out of our garden.
This was fine until one night in November when I let her out in the back garden before bed and when I went to look for her, found the barrier had been only loosely propped up and she had got out.
After spending a night in the rain then being bumped by a van, our frightened and confused pet was rescued a mile away by a delivery driver who returned her to us.
A vet examination revealed a bruise to her back causing some discomfort and a chill to her kidneys which is causing what we hope to be temporary incontinence.
The vet has prescribed antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and a medicine to help the incontinence. The vet bill totalled £176.42.
I emailed the building firm and a director came to my door, apologised and said it was not worth claiming on their insurance due to the excess. I gave them a copy of the bill.
I have since twice emailed the firm for reimbursement but got no response.
This represents more than a week’s state pension. What can I do? James, Dumfries
The vet bill must be paid by the building firm who let the dog escape
A) The facts leading up to your dog being injured make this building firm entirely legally liable for what happened.
Once this company agreed to fit a secure barrier, it was their responsibility to maintain it to ensure your dog could not escape.
They clearly failed to look after it properly.
In legal jargon, the damage caused to your dog flowed from this company’s negligence.
On top of this, it seems to me the director has, in effect, admitted liability by coming to your home and agreeing to pay you damages.
I would email this director reminding him of his promise and assurance to cover your vets fees.
Make clear you reserve the right to additional compensation from this company in the event your dog needs further treatment as a result of what happened. Be kind but firm.
Q) A FEW years ago my parents purchased new windows for the house.
Due to recent bad weather, we have noticed a fault with them. They are guaranteed but the company has gone into liquidation.
The liquidator blankly stated there is nothing we can do.
Do warranties get transferred to the underwriters for example? David, Bristol
A) If a retailer goes into administration a manufacturer’s warranty often covers you for just the first year(check the contract your parents signed).
Your parents are probably unlikely to be able to use their guarantee now.
As soon as the window company went into liquidation, your mum and dad effectively became unsecured creditors.
It’s worth writing to the liquidator as sometimes they will be generous and help.
Also check whether the windows are covered by your parents’ home insurance policy or if they were sold insurance when they purchased the windows.
I’m afraid this is not great legal news.
Mel Hunter, Readers’ champion
Mel helps out a reader who has problems with Virgin Media
Q) MY problem started in September, when I was able to make calls from my Virgin Media landline but was unable to receive any.
An engineer said a team needed to come out to run a line from the road to my house, and an appointment was made for two weeks later but got cancelled on the day. I was offered £25 credit.
The engineers came 11 days later but didn’t have time to carry out the work. Another £25 was offered.
Another date was made but no one arrived, and, yes, Virgin offered another £25.
I got another appointment but no one turned up. I cannot use the phone at all now. I am elderly and worried about people not being able to call me. Sandra, Middlesex
A) Your problem had actually started more than a year earlier, and you had contacted me then to report an almost identical chain of events.
I had helped you get it sorted out, but 14 months later you were back in touch – and I got on Virgin Media’s case for you again.
Within two days the problem was sorted, which is great, but you shouldn’t have been given the run-around for more than two months in the first place.
It got sorted in just over an hour when someone finally came out. Virgin also reduced your monthly package by £25 per month for the next year.
A Virgin Media spokesman said: “We apologise to Mrs Hills for any inconvenience caused and are pleased the service has been fully restored.”
Q) I BOOKED a flight with easyJet for myself, my husband and my two children.
My children are both partially sighted and my husband has a severe visual impairment, so holidays are not something we are able to have very often, as it is a struggle to cope with the journey.
This time I had arranged for two other adults to travel with us as guides, to make the experience positive for my children.
Initially, easyJet offered vouchers if we chose not to travel, which we accepted as the only option open to us at the time.
The flight then got cancelled, so we put in a refund request.
Our guides followed the same route and have received a full refund, but I am still chasing ours. I have made numerous phone calls and chased emails to easyJet but feel I’m going round in circles. Paula, Solihull
EasyJet have agreed to pay Paula a refund
A) You say easyJet told you that you’d given up your right to a refund because you’d already accepted vouchers.
But the vouchers were the only choice at the time. If you’d waited a few days, the flight would have been cancelled and your right to a refund would have been clear.
I got on to easyJet to raise your case and got your refund paid in full.
An easyJet spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to Ms Pearson.
“The delay with the refund was caused because she submitted a voucher request prior to her flights being cancelled, then submitted a refund request after the flight was cancelled.
“Although a flight voucher was created, there was a delay in it being sent to her. We have now been in touch with her to apologise and process the refund.”
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