Like other guides have stated on this site, Dunster House has an appalling customer services record. They refuse to speak to anyone on the phone, only communicating via letter or email, and whever anything goes wrong they hide behind their Terms and Conditions and deny responsibility even when a problem arises through no fault of the customer.
We've recently purchased a log cabin and paid for it to be installed by trained Dunster House installers onto a base my father had built. A warning to anyone planning to build a base for one of their log cabins: make sure they send you the correct base plan with the
correct dimensions. My father was unsure of the right dimensions for the base, and made a trip to their showroom to talk to some of their installers and ask them about the base. They gave their advice, which my father duly followed when making his base. However, it turned out that the installers whose advice my father followed have now left the company (one of the oldest excuses in the book, surely) so that when a different pair of installers arrived to erect the cabin, they told us that the base was too big by
6cm all around, and they couldn't use it. They promptly dumped £6000 worth of untreated timber onto our damp lawn and departed to one of the other jobs between which our cabin installation had been "fitted in". Customer services told us that the installers could come back...two months later! I'm sure this says a great deal for how popular the company is, but it doesn't say much for their planning.
Dunster House has since decided to refund only part of their installation fee, retaining over £400 as a "reasonable" payment for the time wasted on the abortive installation (which had consisted of the delivery, which should have been free, and the brief use of a tape measure). Despite the fact that none of our problems had been our fault, Dunster House's attitude has been consistently rude, insulting and stubborn. They repeatedly refer to their Terms and Conditions, which contain a ridiculous number of clauses to remove responsibility from the company entirely, and refuse to accept any circumstances that can't be covered by one or other of their Terms. It is also impossible to talk to anyone higher up in the company - we attempted to write to the CEO, only to receive a letter from Customer Services saying, in effect, "how dare you"! I strongly advise anyone considering trading with Dunster House to
read their Terms thoroughly to avoid problems. Do not, I warn you, be mislead by their website, which sets the company up in a friendly, family-run light, priding themselves on customer service standards, and fails to live up to this in any way, from our experience at least.
The real tragedy of this is that Dunster has a good product - their timber, a slow-grown spruce, is superb, but their Customer Services' attitude has put us right off the company! Their installers and manufacturers clearly know from long experience what works and what doesn't in terms of their product, but letting the Customer Services department speak for the entire company is their worst possible arrangement. Apart from anything else, you would think that a department that represents such a large company would employ people who could write clear, correctly worded letters rather than the rambling typo-ridden missives we've been sent. Oh yes, and was the word "sorry" used at any point? Of course not.
So to sum up: lovely product, cheerfully misleading website, appalling customer services. If you're a competent DIY person, you might be able to interpret their minimal installation instructions well enough to put the cabins up without a hitch, but if you're in any doubts of what to do, any missing pieces, or any questions at all come to that, then contact their Customer Services before you do anything, in case something goes wrong. Just don't expect a polite reply. Or an apology.
Dunster House Log Cabins
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29 November 2009
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