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Posts Tagged ‘buyer beware’

LPG stoveEver since summer I’ve been looking for a way to make our conservatory more usable throughout the colder months.

We looked at wood-burners first (well, multi-fuel stoves) but the flue system would have been both hideously expensive and hideous to look at! So we then looked at balanced flue gas fires. It turned out that our conservatory walls are not high enough for one of those either.

Next, we found that there were a few LPG fires with a ‘living flame’ look about them – but all online; we couldn’t find any on display in any of the local ‘fire’ shops. So, we bought one online from a company in Leicester.

I wish we hadn’t bothered.

The fire, a Flavel Thurcroft Stove, was delivered during the week following the first agreed Saturday date, because the Leicester company cancelled at last minute, due to it not being convenient for them any more. The day after the fire arrived I went out and bought the necessary 7Kg bottle of gas (harder than you think – they are all 12K around here) and we were set-up ready to go.

What can I say? The fire was very noisy. That’s about it really – the fire was far too noisy to provide the warmth, appearance and atmosphere of a traditional stove alluded to on the adverts. And there were only two heat settings: (1) High and (2) Higher still.

Now, I’ve used LPG fires for over forty years and I’ve never had one that creates this much noise – apart from one that was designed to work outdoors, a ‘site heater’. I’d imagined something that looked a little like a wood burner (and it did) that had a real flame (and it did) but that didn’t intrude on the ambient background noise usually experienced in the conservatory (but it did – very much so)!

So, it had to go. The company in Leicester were happy to exchange it but then started to involve the manufacturers. To be fair, it is the manufacturer’s lack of real interest in my problem that made me reject the delivery of a replacement fire. At various times they told me “all gas fires are noisy” and “this model only has two settings” – all very product-protective and not very customer focused.

Anyway – the long and short of it is I’m £50 down and I still don’t have a fire.

The company I bought the stove from were happy enough to refund my money, less a £49.95 collection fee (as stated in their terms and conditions) – under distance selling regulations. The alternative (free collection) would have been based on the manufacturer’s opinion of whether the stove was faulty or not. Despite my argument that my contract was with them and not with the manufacturer, and that I wasn’t returning the stove due to ‘dislike’, but due to ‘online misrepresentation’ (it didn’t provide the warmth, appearance and atmosphere of a traditional stove ) – I wasn’t prepared to let the issue go on and risk even more expense.

It must be remembered that at this time, the supplier had me over a barrel – they still held both my payment AND the stove. I decided to lose the £50 and walk away.

I write this blog post purely as a caveat emptor.

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