Many many years ago we thought that a deck on the side of our house would be a good thing - the boys were little and it would have been a great outdoor play area for them as well as somewhere for us to entertain. But when we got a few quotes it was just out of our price range at that stage.
So it was forgotten for a long time.
Come October 2016 we were at the shops and hubby noticed a stand for Australian Outdoor Living and he asked if they did decks, Yes was the answer and so he asked if someone could come and give us a quote. My hubby likes to do things on the spur of the moment so I was quite surprised he was thinking of the deck again. By now the boys were all grown up and the use of the deck would be more for parties and adult entertainment. We were excited this was happening again.
So we waited and waited and eventually got a call to say a rep could come that week to talk to us.
Richard turned up one afternoon and we explained what we wanted and he did measurements and drew a plan and we listed everything we wanted. He stayed for hours and gave us a price which was then reduced time and time again with calls to his boss (who he couldnt get onto) if we would promote the company online and do reviews and have photos put on their website of the before and after - etc etc etc - finally we got a final price which was very suitable to us. So we signed up then and there and couldnt believe it was finally happening.
By then it was Oct 31st 2016 - we paid the deposit and the council fees/insurance to start things off and we were told that nothing would probably happen till the new year as council approval can take some time.
In January 2017 we hoped we would hear something - we didnt
In February we got back to the company and were told that there were lots of jobs and backlog due to the Christmas break but things were happening and we would hear soon.
In March we got on to them again - yes the plans have been sent in and should be approved soon but not sure when, they would get onto us as soon as they had them. Finally the plans arrived on a Friday - we did a quick look and were relieved we were on the home run but something didnt seem quite right, we looked at the plans again and noticed the measurements didnt seem correct and when we looked closer - we realised why. The whole back section of the deck was missing - they had only drawn up the size of the patio roof not the deck which was larger and not completely covered by the roof.
So we had to get back to the company on the Monday and explain the problem. They checked the original plan drawn up by the rep and admitted they had made a mistake and would correct the plans and resubmit at their cost to council. Of course this meant more delay.
In early April we contacted them again and they said - not long now - just waiting for the plans to come back. In the mean time they had sent a builder to do another measure and check to see things were correct. We were then told that the part of the quote saying they would replace the end gutter before doing the roof of the deck, was incorrect and we would have to organise that ourselves. So thinking that the deck would be started soon we had to organise to get the gutters replaced quickly - we did get a small reduction in the price of the deck due to the gutter not being replaced on that end of the house when it had been included in the original quote.
So we got the gutters replaced and waited some more - a few more emails and its now May 2017 - it had been 6 months since we signed on for this deck. The people at the company seemed to have changed and we were now dealing with different ones to the original ones.
So early May we get an email saying its all on - could he (the person in charge of decks) ring me to chat about the plans and sort out things. Spoke to him on the Friday (5-5-17) he had a builder who he trusted and wanted to call by with the builder when he did the check measure so he could meet us and apologise in person for the delays and he couldnt believe how patient we had been. He said he would organise with the builder to come on a day suitable and would either phone or email with the time/date.
On the Monday (8-5-17) still hadnt heard from him - but got a call about 6pm saying he was in the area and could he call by to chat to us in person. Seemed strange but things were moving and we just wanted to get this started.
About 7.30pm he arrived - all chatty and apologetic, chatted about the deck and the plans, he seemed surprised we had all the paperwork from the beginning all in a folder (Im organised like that) - then eventually he started hinting that the price we had been quoted was very low and that was the reason why the job was taking so long, no builder would take it on as they wouldnt be paid enough, so it was passed from one to another. The rep who gave us the quote had been sacked, his boss, the one he had been trying ring when giving us discounts, had been sacked, most of the office staff had been sacked. The draftsman had been sacked and we were told there was all new staff in the Qld office as well as new builders. The problems were so bad that the CEO of the company based in Adelaide had flown to Brisbane to sort out all the problems and there were 17 jobs like ours that had been underquoted.
Then the final blow - as the quote was at least $15,000 under the price it should have been, the CEO said it was to be cancelled and our deposit etc money refunded in full. The job would not go ahead (unless we wanted to be re-quoted and pay the higher amount)
We were shocked and to say the least - disappointed - we were told we didnt have to make a decision then, to think about it and get back to him in a day or so.
We were upset and angry that we had waited for so long only to be told it was all off.
A few days later we sent an email to the company to say we would get our money back and this was refunded in record time - they obviously wanted to clear the slate as soon as they could.
So our dreams of a lovely entertaining deck has been dashed. Thanks so much Australian Outdoor Living for nothing!
I think the CEO should have been the one telling the bad news seeing he was the one cancelling the low quoted jobs - and we know they would have still made a small profit even if it wasnt what they wanted so you would think, to keep the good name of the company, you would do those jobs and end up with good reviews and thankful customers instead of extremely pissed off people who will tell everyone they can to keep away from this bastard of a company.
So make sure you get at least 3 quotes and also ask around to see who has had a good job done, check the review sites like this one http://www.productreview.com.au/p/australian-outdoor-living.html
and keep at them - dont let any company treat you like this one did to us.