Due to the loss of all of the fixings whilst in storage with a relative, we were unable to put together our cot when we had it back a few months ago. No matter, for we placed an order with Mothercare, maker and supplier of the cot, for some replacements. Then we waited.
And when Gemma called them at the end of August, she was told some rubbish about the order not being processed. She learnt this was a nonsense excuse when she was asked to go in to pick up the parts a few days later. The delivery note was dated the beginning of the month. Ah well, at least we had the means to construct the cot.
Actually, we didn't. These were the wrong screws. I marched down to Mothercare and spoke to the manager. We determined that the design of the cot had changed and the new screws now too short. But she came up with a reasonable resolution. The screws on another own-brand cot looked about long enough, so I had her order a set. She also ordered a plastic insert for the front slider mechanism.
The parts duly arrived, and of course were wrong. The screws were still a little too short, whilst I was now told the slider had been discontinued and so a part from a different cot had been ordered. We felt that we'd been let down by Mothercare's inability to assist with a problem not of there own making. Now we were stuck.
Or were we? The above tale reckons without my new skills as a basic DIYer. I immediately knew what I must do.
I reached for my drill.
I could easily envisage what needed to be done to rescue the cot. The screws for the base threaded into a circular nut, which itself sat within a drilled out hole. I thought I would only need to make a new hole for each nut in order to secure the base. I estimated 15-20mm and pulled the trigger...
...and it worked. Although I needed to subsequently deepen my new holes, the plan was perfect, and the base and three sides of the cot were in place. The front, however, couldn't be put back; one of the two plastic sliders were also missing. I decided to replicate the method used for attaching the base by drilling new holes for a couple of screws and threads, and this worked a treat.
Now, there's one more thing we need to complete the cot. But we aren't due to get him for a couple of weeks...
Our toilet recently stopped working properly. Specifically, it was taking 10-15 minutes for the cistern to refill with water after being flushed.
The situation could not be tolerated. I had a fiddle to see if I could work out with my own two eyeballs what was up, before turning to my old friend The Internet for assistance. I wasn't disappointed. Upon searching the make of the refill mechanism, I found a forum thread discussing the exact problem.
It seemed to be the case the diaphragm might be split. This rubber washer is housed inside the ridged inlet valve (see close up below).
After turning off the mains water I unscrewed the valve and examined the diaphragm. And what do you know, there was a tiny tear in the rubber. Although only a couple of millimetres, this hole totally ruined the pressure-operated mechanism.
I quickly fitted the new part (above left) and found the flush to be as good as new.
Thank you for coming back to us on the repair of your Buzz 3.
We are sorry that you feel that your request was not handled as you would have liked. Consumer feedback is always taken onboard though and as such we are currently reviewing our pricing structure and which repairs can be done by consumers across the board taking their confidence levels into account.
As a mother myself, Daddy Pig normally does have the right answers and we must commend you on your ingenuity for processing the repair and we hope that your Quinny will give you many more years rolling along.
Should you require any additional assistance or information please do not hesitate to contact us.
With kind regards,
On behalf of the Quinny team, Estelle Salter
I like and appreciate this reply. Even though it is topped and tailed with standard-feeling response paragraphs, The core of the reply is a personal, humourous, no-hard-feelings message.
Well played Estelle; my faith is partially restored.
The first pram we bought was a Quinny, a Buzz 3 model. Olive has long-since been upgraded to a stroller-style pushchair, and it has recently been on loan to Deb, Neil and Lucas.
Whilst in their custody the mechanism to raise the height of the handle failed. We've now had the Quinny back but plan to loan it out again soon, this time to one of Neeley's expecting friends.
So, we've looked into getting the handle repaired. Gemma found that the manufacturers would charge us £72. But, as Daddy Pig would say, I'm a bit of an expert at fixingthings. So I thought i'd give it a go.
After removing the plastic cladding on the handle I immediately found the cause of the trouble: cable breakage. I also established that I would definitely need to detach the whole handle to gain access to its inner workings, but even this apparently simple procedure proved confounding. It was only when I searched online for help that I stumbled across the following vital assistance:
Handle now removed, I found that the end of the cable featured a bespoke end-piece to secure it in its fixing. So I fired of an email to Quinny, in the hope that they might be willing to sell me a cable in return for money. I received the following miserly reply:
I'm afraid the cables inside the handle on the Quinny Buzz are not available therefore the complete handle will need to be replaced.
As your Buzz is not covered by any warranty there will be a charge of £72 for a full safety inspection and replacement of the handle at our repair centre based in Suffolk which includes the collection of the frame from your home address and also the return. In order to make arrangements for this, please contact our customer care team on 01284 413141 between 8.30am - 4.30pm Monday thru Friday. An advisor will take full details from you and the £72 charge and provide you with a reference number. This needs to be clearly marked on the outside of the box that the unit is being returned in so that when it arrives the engineers can match up your unit with the computer record created and get it inspected, repaired, and dispatched back to your address as promptly as possible.
With kind regards,
On behalf of the Quinny team, Becky Smith
Uh-huh. I understand. You're a business, and your model includes making profits from out-of-warranty repairs to your products. Fine. But don't forget, I'm a DIY 12th dan, a repair ninja, with a masters in mending from the University of Recycling, Reconstruction and Restoration.
I sourced a new cable of appropriate thickness and a pack of 'Crimp Connector Butts' (me neither) that I figured I could use to join two cables together; remember, I would need to use the good end of the existing cable.
I took one of the Crimp Connector Butts and threaded the two cables, which I then cut, allowing sufficient spare length at both ends to make adjustments in case of measuring error. When I was happy with the positioning of the cables I squeezed the Connectors with the wire cutters on my pliers. This created a permanent connection between the two cables.
It was only when I put the handle back together that I found my 'new' single cable to be exactly 3mm too short. This tiny error meant that the catch was permanently depressed, and therefore the handle could only be used properly in its lowest position.
I decided that I would need to buy a second new cable and start again the next day. Fast forward 24 hours, and taking a little more care with my measuring, and I was rewarded with a perfect fit.
After testing, I popped the handle back onto the frame of the pram, and adopted the slightly smug glow of a man who has eaten a little too much Ready Brek.
So, £2.99 spent, £72 saved. Net saving: £69.01
And, as a final action, I have sent a link to this post to Becky Smith. If she reads this she might learn that business is a two-way street, where post-purchase customer care and, dare I say, gestures of goodwill, are important. For want of sending me a part that costs no more than a couple of pounds (a price I was happy to pay), she has most likely lost any future custom we may have considered putting in the direction of Quinny.
The radiator in our hallway has recently been slowly and quietly oozing an effluent the colour and consistency of treacle. I think it is water seeping through the increasingly rusting valves.
I've been meaning to do something about it for a while, but I was finally spurred to action when I saw a contact on Twitter mention late one evening that their bedroom radiator had burst, causing a fair bit of damage.
The first step I took, this being 2012, was to fire-up the Internet to search the phrase 'how to replace a radiator'. Because, I've never done this before. I figured it couldn't be too hard, and the two video guides I watched seemed to confirm this view. Another search located a replacement radiator of the correct size at Wickes, and for only £20, I was well on the way to another excellent saving.
It was easy to take off the old radiator. Just loosen, bleed, and remove. I did this in 15 minutes. Here I hit my first snag - the old brackets were too high on the wall for the new radiator. "No problem Tom, just go to the cupboard to get your drill...erm, Gemma, where is our drill?" Gemma now reminded my that I had lent it to her sister. Who was at work. Until 7pm. I sent her a message, and two hours later I was able to arrange to get her keys from her and pick up the drill from her flat. Back in business.
Once the radiator was in place, I found that it needed some new valve connectors, you know, to connect the radiator to the valves. The old ones were no good to use, so this necessitated a trip to B&Q. They only sold whole valves, so I had to pay a little more than I wanted, but by now the house had cooled right down and I was keen to get the job finished.
I connected the valves and commenced re-filling. Uh-oh! Both connectors were leaking. I hadn't tightened them nearly enough, and I didn't have the correct tool, a radiator spanner. So, back to B&Q to buy one, plus some sealing tape for good measure.
One evening a couple of weeks ago, we found the washing machine to be in a state of confusion and despair. Full of soapy water, failing to spin, lights flashing, and generally refusing to complete the whites-wash.
It had done this previously, in the summer, but the tried and tested 'turning it off and on again' had been a sufficient repair on that occasion. This time, however, we tried and failed.
Given the prospect of having to call out an engineer, I thought it would be worth checking for a solution on the Internet. After all, you never know. The answer might be a simple fix, within the grasp of my limited technical abilities.
And so it was. It turned out that the particular sequence of flashing lights corresponded to a specific fault. Our machine was suffering form a jammed pressure switch, which was a symptom of a blocked filter. I opened up the Hotpoint WT540 user manual on Gemma's laptop, and decided to give it a go.
Gemma had grave reservations about this; she feared I would get angry and break something. But I kept a cool head, and with some patience and a little elbow grease, managed to drain the machine and remove the filter (shown above, accessible via a removable panel, removable by turning anti-clockwise).
I had to use a baking tray to catch the draining water, which took ages (and filled one-and-a-half standard washing-up bowls), then struggled for some time to free the filter. The cause of the problem is illustrated below:
£1.57 in chemically-scarred coins, a flower button, a label, and (not shown) a significant amount of sodden lint and fluff. As well as recovering the cash, I guess I've saved around £100 in not having to get an engineer.