When Cheaper Is Not Always Better

Ever had workmen in your house to do some repairs or renovation? Well, my family and I just moved into our new home, and as most Malaysians do, we too did some renovation before moving in.

However, it was nothing ostentatious — just the usual kitchen tabletop and cabinets, built-in wardrobes for bedrooms, and a few additional power points here and there. And of course the customary grills which we hope would prevent a break-in.

Ignoring Murphy’s Law, my naiveté took over and I believed everything would go smoothly on the three-week job. How wrong I was – the tiles for the kitchen tabletop was not what we had picked, and the colour of the wardrobe in one of the bedrooms was so wrong.

But worse of all, the grills in my house have yet to be sorted out. We couldn’t wait and just moved in despite this. First, the measurement for some of the grills was wrong and it didn’t fit the window sills. This caused some delay in having them fixed.

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Then, shockingly, they forgot the lock mechanism for the some of the three-panel upstairs grills. I was in disbelief. Did I somehow hire workmen from hell?

If the truth be told, the renovation was a real pinch to the bank account as the cost of building materials had gone up in price due to our currency depreciating. So I just went for pricing, and this company was much cheaper than the others I had approached.

The salesman too was so convincing on the company’s professionalism that I fell for it, much to my regret.

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It’s been five weeks now, and the grill job was just completed this evening. My elation quickly turned to horror when we realized that the welding job was not done all that well. But this is not the half of it. At least one three-panel grill is crooked, and my complaints fell on deaf ears!

Aren’t companies that offer renovation services supposed to have properly trained tradesmen? Which agency actually monitors these companies anyway? I asked around, and believe me, my only redress is to institute civil action and take the company to court.

Obviously this will cost me a fair bit in legal bills too. So for now, my family will just have to live with the shoddy work. Our happiness of moving into our new home has taken a dent … but I guess we just have to learn from experience. Cheaper is not always better.

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