House-builders Persimmon claim to be committed to the highest standards of design, construction and service. However complaints from their customers who have contacted Watchdog have shown that they don’t always live up to those big claims.

Martyn Dade-Robertson bought a Persimmon home and expected the process to be “enjoyable” and “informative” – They did promise it after all. Instead they left him stressed out – and in the dark.

He kept visiting the site every couple of weeks to check how things were progressing. He was due to move into the Newcastle Upon Tyne property in June. But by May it was still missing a roof.

When he raised this with Persimmon they checked the paperwork and that’s when he learnt it wasn’t going to be ready until July. In fact, Persimmon gave Martin five moving in dates before they finally picked up the keys.

Because of the confusion this cost Martyn and his family a great deal.

They were renting out their flat and had tenants lined up to take over when they moved out. But with all the delays they had to tell the prospective tenants that they couldn’t move in. This cost them the offer and they lost money because they weren’t getting any rental income from that flat.

Martyn experienced problems before moving in, but Holly Large found that problems started to arise after moving into her Persimmon home – questioning Persimmon’s promises of “quality” and “attention to detail”.

Holly bought her Persimmon home in Selby, Yorkshire.

Since she moved in three months ago she’s had number of issues, from a jammed door, wobbly unsafe electrical wall sockets, unsealed loose doors to a bannister that was hanging off and only held on by two pins.

Persimmons make another pledge to buyers like Holly – “Less stress, expert guidance and no nonsense help and advice.”

So, whatever the problem you’re having with your new home, this builder promises dedicated experts – just a phone call away.

They claim they respond to complaints within a month but despite Holly contacting them around every other week since she moved in, everything still wasn’t resolved – And the faults that they did fix still left a long list of faults to be repaired.

It’s expected that developer’s new houses will have minor problems at the outset, but as David Lewis found, such problems can be encountered even once you’ve settled into a Persimmon home-build.

David Lewis moved into his home in 2010 after three months of living there he saw things weren’t quite right looking at the walls they were bowing quite prominently.

The staircase had a big bulge through the middle of the wall and running down the wall. Then he noticed that it was the same over other walls.

Later investigations revealed that the property’s timber frame was left unprotected from winter weather during construction. Some parts were damp causing the walls to warp and remedial action was required.

When Persimmon finally agreed to do the work David had to move out for a whole three months and they had to find their own accommodation because Persimmon weren’t forthcoming.

Over the last year, Watchdog has had scores of complaints from Persimmon customers.

And while they may not be as serious as David’s they do call some of the company’s marketing promises into question.

Company Response

Persimmon Homes is one of the leading housebuilders in the UK, building more than 10,000 new homes a year on more than 400 sites nationwide. Founded in 1972, we have a 40 year track record of operating to high standards of design, construction and customer service and work hard to make sure these are maintained at all times throughout the business.

While the vast majority of sales are completed very satisfactorily, inevitably when building more than 10,000 new homes annually, issues do arise from time to time but we aim to resolve these swiftly, in consultation with the customer. We are therefore sorry to hear from Watchdog that a small number of customers have been in touch with the programme to complain about the standard of service they have received.

We take all complaints seriously and have made significant efforts to resolve these specific issues as swiftly and equitably as possible. A summary of our response to each situation follows below:

Martyn Dade-Robertson

Mr Dade-Robertson reserved his new Persimmon home on 10th December 2011, with a completion date of June 2012.

Due to nature and style of the build at the Newcastle Great Park site, Persimmon Homes work to a programme of approximately five months from reservation to completion. We acknowledge that in this instance the process took six months, but that was due to a number of factors, primarily a delay in exchange of contracts and a delay in confirming the chosen specification of the property.

Persimmon Homes was in touch with Mr Dade-Robertson at each stage of the reservation process and despite contracts not being exchanged in accordance within the agreed timescales, Persimmon committed to build the property, but this could not be completed until Mr Dade-Robertson confirmed his colour choices and sales extras.

As a result of the delay, Mr Dade-Robertson was advised of a revised completion date of July 2012, in May 2012. At this point Persimmon were advised that Mr Dade-Robertson’s mortgage would expire in June 2012. As a gesture of goodwill, and despite the delay in exchange of contracts, Persimmon agreed to would reimburse Mr Dade-Robertson for the mortgage valuation fee that was due for extending the mortgage to the end of July 2012.

In respect of Mr Dade-Robertson’s request for compensation for the delay to completion, a conversation was held between Persimmon Homes and Mr Dade-Robertson to advise that an agreement to compensate their loss had already been made in the form of the mortgage valuation fee. No further communication has been received from Mr Dade-Robertson regarding compensation since this time.

Holly Large

We acknowledge the problems experienced by Ms Large and believe we have now addressed all the issues highlighted by Watchdog, relating to the front door, TV and telephone points and bannister.

It was unfortunate and unusual that the locking mechanism on the front door failed. The Persimmon on-site team responded quickly to ensure Ms Large could access her property and then replaced her front door within 24 hours.

We have provided a two year warranty on the rectification works and are happy to address any remaining issues, in order that they can be resolved as swiftly as possible.

David Lewis

Mr Lewis moved into his property in March 2010. After a period of approximately three months, it became apparent that an issue with regards to the internal walls had arisen.

Persimmon Homes arranged for an independent survey of the property, which concluded that the building had not dried out sufficiently, a highly unusual situation which arose following a prolonged period of exceptionally wet weather during the build.

Within the warranty provided, Persimmon Homes carried out all the remedial works recommended by the independently appointed surveyor. Unfortunately, this resulted in Mr Lewis having to vacate the property while the work was completed.

Mr Lewis chose to source his own accommodation for this period, to suit his personal needs. Persimmon Homes subsequently reimbursed Mr Lewis for all expenses associated with him having to temporarily vacate the property.

Persimmon Homes has apologised to Mr and Mrs Lewis for this highly unusual situation and the inconvenience they experienced while the rectification work was completed.

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