In the Doors Plus showroom, the salesman showed me the wooden door frame around the internal bi-fold doors I was considering buying and said I could have it installed along with the doors. The timber would be supplied raw and ready for staining. Great, I thought - there’s no door frame currently in the doorway and by staining it I’ll be able to make it match the others in my home.
Then the ‘carpenter’ came and installed the doors. When he finished he was in a hurry to get to his next job, but the doors worked fine and looked great and there was the timber frame, although twice as wide as the one in the showroom. So I paid him and stood back to admire the installation. Gradually I began to notice some odd details, like the considerable gap between two parts of the frame. And then another gap, and another. Then I noticed on the other side that there was a gap all around the inside edge of the frame wide enough to insert a thick ruler into. Then I noticed large areas of the frame edge consisted of a combination of small pieces of mismatched timber joined with sawtooth joints. If I stained it, it would bring out the discrepancies beautifully.
So I phoned Doors Plus the next day to complain and was told to email them some photos, which I did, complete with ruler inserted into gap. The following day I received an email from the manager which asserted my photos ‘revealed’ my door frame to be of a ‘high standard’ ‘which far exceeds mandated Australian Building Standards’. ‘Please remember that timber is a natural product and no two pieces ever fit together perfectly’ he advised. He told me I needed to fill the nail holes and mitre joins with wax and stain the timber and that ‘finishing the timber correctly will address the issues you raised’! It was like he was answering someone else’s email: he failed to mention the 2-3mm gap at all, or the quality of the timber, both of which I described in words and which showed up clearly in my photos.
Sensing a battle I could never win, I emailed him with a reminder of specific parts of the Australian Consumer Law and thanked him for the links to the four review websites that were sent to me before I complained. I also advised him I was a member of Choice and would be sharing my experience online, but his only response was ‘We regret you feel this way with the frame, unfortunately we can’t help you any further. Your installation is consistent with all work carried out by us.’ And there, I think, lies the truth.
So now metres of gaps are being filled with wood filler and the frame is being painted instead of stained. The doors are great though.