Betta Living review of kitchen installation

I don’t normally like giving another company a negative review online but in the case of Betta Living review I will! We recently hired Betta Living completely gut and refit our kitchen at significant cost, the order came to £15k which is a considerable amount for a kitchen and while they eventually more or less fitted the kitchen (we are still waiting for some bits) it wasn’t without more than a fair share of problems.

Betta Living review of sales process

Our problems started with the sales process. We had a ‘free design service’ guy come out to show us what was possible which turned out to mainly about selling us a kitchen, for three hours he sold to us. To be fair we did like the design the guy came up with and we also liked what the salesman told us about betta living and the product. What we didn’t realise at the time however was that there were certain key elements that were just downright lies in the sense that they were not factually correct. I know salesman stretch the truth, but this was beyond that and into misleading.

We told the Salesman that we didn’t want to make a decision there and then but wanted to get a few quotes in first but he kept on and on. It was his mission not to leave without a sale and we felt pushed into agreeing as the price was a ‘one time thing’.

At no point could you really see what anything costed, there was a 70% off promotion but what that applied to you never new. He first came up with a price of £18.5k and I suspect if we had said yes he would have taken the money. Its only because we kept wanting to get another quote in that the price kept dropping to a more affordable £14k. (Later increased as we wanted to add some extras). I just feel that this is all part of the plan, stupid high quote, then dropping it but only if you sign the contract now. It feels unethical to me.

Betta Living lies

The first lie is that we were told Betta Living was so great to buy from because they employed all their own fitters and didn’t sub-contract it out. This was one of the main sales arguments, arguing that they had all of the skills inside Betta Living making it easier to get the job done and co-ordinate and it was one of the main reasons we went with them.

The other ‘hook’ to his sales patter was that Betta Living made all of their own units and because all of the skills and all of the products were done in-house, they could control the quality and ended up with premium high quality product

Both of these turned out to be completely untrue.

Our kitchen electrics and cupboards was fitted by a company called A & J Kitchens. I knew this because when we had to pay the fitter as agreed, the fitter wanted it to be paid to another company, not Betta Living. His boss also had a branded top from that company. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that these were not Betta Living staff and that we hadn’t been told the truth here.

Our kitchen worktop was fitted by a company called PWS who were sub-contracted in. They actually did a very good job I believe and the worktop looks fantastic.

The second lie (we know about) was that Betta living manufacture all their own kitchens. No, no they don’t. We found a sticker on the inside door of one unit from a company called Summerbridge Doors with a delivery address of Betta Living. Clearly the doors at the very least are manufactured by Summerbridge and once again we had been misled.

Betta Living electrical work did not meet safety regulations

In hindsight we should have taken it as an Omen when the fitter guy realised he had forgot to put in the wiring for a switch after he had finished the first wiring attempt and we had paid for the kitchen to be plastered and had to chase into the lovely new plastered wall.

After the fitters installed the ovens we found if we switched the main oven on and the secondary microwave oven on at the same time all of the electrics including the sockets in the kitchen would trip. I mentioned this to an electrician friend who got was quite concerned as this didn’t appear right as safety regulations mandated they should be on their own circuit. He offered to come over and inspect the work and found it was indeed not up to current safety regulations!

Luckily for me my electrician friend was able to phone Betta Living and the fitters and explain exactly what they had done wrong and after I explained the facts of life to Betta living to their credit they did agree to come back out and resolve but we only had use of one oven from the 19th of February to the 12th of March. If we tried to turn on the microwave or kettle at the same time it would trip out.

On the 12th of March the Betta Living appointed fitters came out to fix the electrical supply in order to do this they fitted a new fuseboard and and earth bonding. Unfortunately this was also wired up incorrectly so when we switched on the upstairs lights, the whole board tripped out and took a couple of bulbs with it.

On the same day Betta Living wired a switch up for the plinth and under cupboard lights but because the box they used was small and the wires in the box were left too long the excess wiring was pushing on the switch and as a result it stayed on permanently and could not be switched off.

As the fitters were not due back for another couple of weeks (pending a long overdue dishwasher delivery) and in the mistaken belief that maybe it was existing wiring that was at fault I got my local trusty electrician in and ended up having to pay to rectify the mistakes made by the Betta Living appointed fitters.

My big worry here is how many people have a friendly sparky they can turn to for expert advice? I was lucky, how many installations have Betta Living done that despite having their Part P certificates (as we were given) do not meet safety regulations?

Betta Living Build Quality and Design

In all honestly my opinion is that the Beta Living kitchens actually do look nice but they are not without their design problems.

One problem we encountered within a couple of days is that the corner unit is designed in such a way that the inside of the door when opened can rub against the outside of the adjacent door and as it has two protruding screw heds to hold the door the door handle in place is capable of scratching it. Ours was scratched within days. In my mind this is a design a flaw, having a metal part in a place where it is likely to rub against a decorative gloss surface is a problem. This is easily fixed by placing a furniture protection pad over the screw heads and should have really have been done as standard.

The build of the drawers appears decent and the handles and cupboard doors have a good finish.

The carcasses are just chipboard however, with an edging strip designed to look like plywood. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are getting plywood because ours was most definitely chipboard. chipboard is at risk of getting damaged if the cut ends get wet, particularly in areas prone to leaks for example under the sink. I made a point of sealing all the cut ends as they were left unsealed by the Betta Living appointed fitters.

Betta Living made a big thing about their units being better quality than the competition such as B&Q, in practice I cant discern any demonstrable benefit of using the Betta Living carcass, both are made from chipboard.

General silly mistakes by Betta Living

Betta Living made a few simple mistakes that had we not been diligent and checked could have been major problems.

The first was they put the wrong oven down giving us a much lower spec than we asked for and was priced.

Then they forgot to order the dishwasher because they forgot to copy it across from the paper order we had a copy of so it did not arrive with the other appliances and didn’t actually arrive until the start of April, some 6 weeks after it was due to arrive. It should have been installed on the 19th of Feb as without a sink that was to be our only means of washing dishes but after the delay and the Betta Living appointed fitters failing to turn up on the 4th its still not plumbed in and as of the 4th we still have no idea when this will happen! We do have a sink at least now, but having to wash dishes in the bath upstairs for three weeks really does put a damper on your new kitchen experience.

The worktop was a complete farce with us ordering Quartz in a particular colour as told by the sales guy who wasn’t exactly sure which colour the example he had was. We checked online and confirmed it was the wrong name and visited the store to tell them personally the correct colour and check against their sample. They told us they were going to phone it through, they didn’t. My wife phoned again to check if they had the right colour and was assured they did. It was only on checking the paperwork from the templating guy I found he had the wrong colour and the wrong material, granite rather than quartz!  When it finally came it arrived in the wrong thickness to what we originally ordered, sometimes you just have to accept when your swimming up stream you have to land were you end up!

Betta Living customer service and installation managers

The only benefit I can see of using Betta Living bearing in mind they sub-contract  various bits of work rather than just hiring those trades yourself is that in theory you get a Betta Living Installation Manager. Its a shame I could not get hold of mine, I left messages and had promises of calls back from other members of staff but they never came. Eventually I got her email address when I posted on the sites facebook page that nobody was getting back to me, but even then after nine email sent to her or her colleague, I only got 4 replies back, one of which was promising she would get back to me on the other issues on the 4th of March which she still hasn’t as of the 4th April.

When I didn’t hear from here after a week I chased on the Monday found she had gone on holiday for a week. I was given an alternative managers number and eventually got through to him who would also get back to me by the end of the day but did not. On chasing him the next day I found that he had also gone on holiday! He fortunately was only on holiday for a day, but still didn’t have any information for us on his return when I phoned up again.

My wife phone him again the next Friday after he was also going to get back to her and didn’t. She phoned back to chase and got the message at 17:38 ‘Our offices are now closed, our offices are open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday…’ Early pub Friday perhaps?

Today on the 4th of April  the Betta Living appointed fitters were meant to come out and fit the dishwasher and rectify a few remaining things but they didn’t turn up. My wife chased to see if they were coming and what time and was promised a call back which never came. After a few hours she chased and was told they were not coming today now, we would get a call back when they would which of course you have probably guessed, never happened.

The whole ‘we will call you back’ but failing to has been consistent throughout the process and has been infuriating because you can never get hold of the people you need to speak to directly. I know my wife did manage to speak to Andrea a couple of times but I haven’t managed to once.

The installation managers at Betta Living from my own personal experience are totally ineffective. Its more hassle trying to pin them down and get some kind of information or response out of them than it would be to just liaise with everybody and do it all  yourself. Take the dishwasher for example, waiting 7 weeks for a dishwasher to be delivered and installed? That’s simply not good enough, I could call an one of a dozen online retailers and have one delivered and installed within a couple of days.

To be frank Betta Living’s customer service in my experience  is shockingly bad. Unresponsive, ineffective and unavailable. I would have preferred to have arranged everything myself so I was at least kept abreast of what was happening and when.

So whats good about Betta Living

Betta Living have a nice looking showroom in Farnborough.

The  doors look nice, if you look around you can save yourself a lot of hassle and cost can get the same ones at lots of places, just look for companies that sell Summerbridge doors.

Summary

In my experience Betta Living were unethical or incompetent at every level. From the misleading information we were given by the salesman, right through silly mistakes with office admin, the lack of response from the installation managers and the bungled electrical work by the fitters.

What annoys me the most however was that they deliberately misled us telling us they had their own fitters I know the end result with these things is only as ever as good as the fitter and it was the main reason I bought from Betta Living and a lot of the issues we had were with the fitting of the electrics.

In summary I really regret using Betta Living and knowing what I know now I would not use them again or recommend them. If I had known they were just middle men sub-contracting all the work out I would have done it myself to save money, have more control and do a better job of it. If I ever do a kitchen again I’ll be buying units from another company and hiring a local fitter to fit and my recommendation is you do the same.

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