What can go wrong buying a log cabin?
The main emphasis of logcabinadvice.co.uk is to help you choose the right log cabin for your needs and location; considerations that should be gone over even before you see a log cabin for sale and a purchase is made.
However, with the best will in the world, and having done as much research as possible, sometimes things do go wrong. It’s probably at this point when you might start to ask what protection consumer law offers buyers of log cabins for sale in the UK.
It’s always best to try to resolve any problems by talking to the cabin seller or log cabin installer first and following any complaints procedures they may have to resolve the issue. But it’s never a bad thing to know where you stand legally.
As is often the case with legal matters, there are a number of grey areas. What follows are general thoughts and considerations on the subject of log cabin consumer rights in the UK and should in no way be construed as definitive judgements or be construed as legal advice on which to act. You should either consult your local Trading Standards office (a free service), or else seek a professional opinion from a consumer law specialist (expensive).
Much depends on how you buy the log cabin. For goods and services purchased by internet and telephone the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 provide for a seven day period during which consumers can ask for a refund without reason. Importantly, this is seven days from the date of delivery, not purchase. In theory these Regulations do cover standard log cabins that are standard kits chosen from standard models advertised on the internet or in a catalogue. But they may well not cover personalisations or customisations of off the shelf log cabin designs. They will not cover you if you bought the log cabin from the seller in person.
After delivery, assuming you buy a log cabin (a standard log cabin kit) via the internet or ‘phone, if you wish to get a refund under the Distance Selling Regulations you must write to the company by recorded post asking for a full refund within seven days. The retailer has 30 days from cancellation to give a refund. Return of the cabin will be at their expense, not yours. Goods should be returned in their original state. This presents a problem if the company has installed the cabin already; you would need to seek further advice on this but theoretically the Regulations could still apply.
It may be the case that either a full refund is not possible or not actually desired. Your new log cabin may be generally acceptable but faulty or damaged in certain respects. This damage may have occured during the installation. In this event the Supply of Goods and Services Act (1982) is relevant. Under the terms of the Act a trader must carry out a service with “reasonable care and skill”. In practice, if the installer has bodged the installation of the cabin you will have to first allow the trader the opportunity to put any damage right. Any repair should be satisfactory and lasting, something that may have to await the passage of a reasonable amount of time to determine. In theory the cabin could arguably be so damaged during the installation that only a complete refund would be acceptable. This would have to be based on good evidence, perhaps backed by an independent report for example. Proceedings could be issued at relatively modest cost through the County Court system.
A further complication may arise where the installation is carried out by a third party. It may be difficult to prove just who is responsible. Even if you arrange the log cabin installation through the log cabin seller, if things go wrong, the seller can claim it is not their responsibility. Any written contracts and paperwork will take on a greater importance here. This is why, in the opinion of this site, it is far far better to buy a log cabin through a company that has appropriately trained and qualified directly employed installers.
Also bear in mind that faulty assembly and/or a substandard foundation will invalidate the log cabin manufacturer’s guarantee. Plainly a poorly assembled log cabin on a foundation that is not level is not going to perform in the way the manufacturer intends.
But to return to the beginning again, it’s infinitely preferable to spend time choosing the right log cabin, than subsequently to try and put matters right if things go wrong. Note to Self: avoid cheap log cabins for sale with third party installers!
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