Sunday, May 13, 2007

How events turn you into a geek

I'm increasingly conscious that I've become a rather sad little man who writes embarrassingly pedantic letters. This is not something I'd ever have imagined would happen to me, but it's the natural outcome of any atrocious kitchen installation involving various companies, their contractors, their sub-contractors and the regulatory body that's responsible for electrical certification.

I won't bore you with all the details, as I'd prefer it to be a surprise when you see it on Watchdog in due course. I can reveal, however, that I've spoken to a solicitor about it all more than once. I've also spoken to Trading Standards. I've even been to visit my MP for the first time in twenty years. (Back in the 80s, I used to hassle some terrible Tory about the Thatcher government's policy on nuclear weapons. Now, I queue up to talk to the resident Lib Dem about Part P building regulations and the practices of a multinational that has the nerve to demand about £3.5k for one of the worst services I've ever received in my life.)

Soon, I imagine, I shall be writing in CAPITAL LETTERS and green ink.

If there's one genuinely interesting fact that I've picked up for UK readers in all my research about consumer rights, electrical installations and so forth, it's that your credit card company is jointly and equally liable for any poor service that you receive from a trader you've paid with your card. This gem is contained in the Consumer Credit Act 1974. So I would strongly recommend you pay all plumbers, jobbing builders, clairvoyants and life coaches by Visa. If their service is crap and you're not getting any joy, you can pursue your flexible friends.

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