When a couple paid almost £8,000 for swish new electric gates for their driveway, they thought they would be the crowning glory of an extensive home renovation.
Graham Watt and Britta Krueger had the custom-made double sliding automatic gates installed by Aberdeen Alarm Company in October 2017.
The full price, along with fitting and 12 months of maintenance, came to £7,951.
The couple had bought a field adjacent to their bungalow in Fortrie, Aberdeenshire, to expand their garden and design a new entranceway.
“The bespoke electric gates were to be the finishing touch to the project but instead it has turned into an ongoing nightmare,” said businessman Graham, 50.
Not long after the gates were installed, a number of mechanical problems arose.
“There were continuous operational faults with the sliding gates, which was very frustrating,” Graham explained. “Also, significant rust and erosion appeared on the gates, which was surprising given that they had only been installed for a year.
“It does not look good at all.”
Graham said he contacted the Aberdeen Alarm Company on numerous occasions to try to get the issues rectified.
“Engineers sent by the firm had tried to repair the gates several times but the problem we had persisted,” he said.
“During one visit last year it was clear to me that the engineers were not familiar with the motors.”
On this occasion, the engineer had to call an outside technical expert in order to be talked through how to programme the motor.
“Following this visit, the gates were functional for about 30 minutes before they failed again and the engineer had to be called back.
“After further repair works, the gates worked for two weeks before they again stopped functioning.
“At this point my partner and I chose to exercise our right to reject the gates.”
Graham and Britta turned to independent specialists Beattie Automation to assess the issues.
In a report, a consultant noted that the motors for the gates were configured in such a way “as to render them inoperable”.
It was also noted that, in the consultant’s opinion, the motors were significantly over-rated for the size of the gates, which “makes the anti-crush forces within the gate system harder to control and significantly increases the risk of injury”.
It was also logged that “the gates had obviously not been prepared properly before painting” and that they were rusting rapidly.
The report concluded the installation was “not fit for purpose”. Graham paid a further £600 to another firm to get the gates functioning. He then engaged a lawyer, but said Aberdeen Alarm Company did not respond to his written complaints.
“It would have cost me many more thousands of pounds to take this through the courts,” he said.
“The whole thing has been infuriating.”
At the end of his tether, Graham wrote to Raw Deal.
We contacted Aberdeen Alarm Company on his behalf. Gordon Brooks, a director of the firm, insisted that the company had done all it could.
“As far as we are concerned, we tried to rectify the problems and it is not our policy to rip anyone off,” he said.
“These are one-off gates that we couldn’t take back and use elsewhere.
“A discount was offered to the clients but they turned this down.
“Outwith that, the matter is with our solicitors.”
Graham is adamant he should be given his cash back. He is now trying to claim his home insurance policy for the defective and rusting gates and will lodge a complaint with the ombudsman.
He added: “I just want these gates uplifted and my money back so we can start again.”