Buying Grohe fittings from other European countries

Hi all,
I am after some Grohe fittings - taps and shower mixers - and I notice
that I can buy them over the web from other European countries for
about 2/3 the price of anything I have found in the UK. As far as I
can tell, the parts are identical - they have the same description and
the same Grohe part number - but will they actually fit UK plumbing?
thanks,
dan.
Reply to
dwtowner
Yes, but two issues.
1) Watch for shipping cost. This can eat most or all of the saving.
2) If you have a problem with the product, you will have no protection from UK consumer legislation.
Reply to
Andy Hall
Don't know, but having worked for several european equipment manufacturers in the past, the part number is what matters. e.g. the only difference bewteen two machines is that one had a 13 amp plug fitted & another had a silly euro plug. They have different part numbers because its the only way a factory can function.
So if the UK & Euro part numbers are the same the product will be the same AFAIK.
Reply to
The Medway Handyman
There has been some harmonisation on some things. One of the more recent involved making the time period where the supplier can be pursued (i.e. statute of limitations) a minimum of two years. The UK already had 6. However in other countries this led to a lot of confusion with people believing and consumer groups pushing that the two years meant a two year warranty. It didn't, but that is how it has ended up in some places like Germany.
I was talking here more about consumer protection rather than warranty. Consumer protection operates on the basis of the contract between the supplier (i.e. retailer) and the customer. The warranty is a possible selling point for the customer and may be a convenience for the retailer. Warranties are now referenced in consumer legislation in the sense that if one is offered it must be honoured, but the responsibility in terms of who may be pursued is the retailer.
So from these perspectives, one could not pursue a UK retailer on a legal basis since the item would have been bought in another country.
The manufacturer, and Grohe is a reputable one, may have a pan Europe warranty. The question would be how that is operated. They may say that this has to be done through the original retailer, through a service centre or directly themselves. If it's the latter two, then one is no worse off.
In practical terms, for a quality brassware manufacturer, this is probably not an issue because the product is unlikely to be defective or become defective during the warranty period anyway. However, if there is an issue, it may prove logistically more difficult to resolve in terms of timescales. OTOH it may not. For example, manufacturers such as those of Mira and Aqualisa offer a very good spares service and customer support.
My point was really that the legal protections in terms of pursuing the retailer are not there in the same way AIUI.
Cars may have something specific or perhaps Ford have something in their dealer agreement about honouring warranty.
Reply to
Andy Hall
I don't think it is specific to cars For cars, but like say cameras, laptops etc., they are the sort of thing that people may want to take with them when travelling so a warranty valid everywhere does have a perceived value.
Reply to
djc
We've had very good experiences buying from Megabad
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in Germany. Including the money transfer and the shipping, which was only a few tens of Euros anyway, our new bathroom cost us less than half the cheapest we could find the same stuff in the UK. We saved thousands of =A3s. We've done it twice, once for a large bathroom and once for a small downstairs loo, all Geberit, Duravit, Hansgrohe and Grohe. It was all well packaged and shipped by speciallist courier on pallets. The one small piece of damage took a little while to get sorted but they came good in the end.
Assuming you speak German (as their website has no english translation) the biggest hassle by far was transfering the money. UK banks charge a nonsense fee for a SWIFT transfer and seem largely incompetent at it. My experience is that if you want top quality bathroom fittings they will be presented as "special" in the UK and so will attract "special" prices. In Germany they are the norm and available at normal prices.
Compatibility can be a bit scary but it's all worked for me. The worst I've come across is that UK plumbers merchants aren't used to this stuff so getting a piece to join your Grohe 3/8 tail to a Geberit wallhung spigot can be interesting although I've always managed it in the end. Of course thouse issues are the same even if you buy in the UK at our inflated prices.
Good luck.
Reply to
Calvin
Also there are two companies Hans Grohe and Grohe which operate in different segments of the market!
Reply to
Ed Sirett
Yes, there is a value, no question; the issue comes in how to invoke said warranty - i.e. is it more onerous if the supplier is in another country...
Reply to
Andy Hall
What were the largest items shipped? Did you have the bath, ceramic ware and brassware from them?
Did they not accept credit card?
Reply to
Andy Hall
I wish they did accept a credit card, it would be so much easier. Continental Europe generally doesn't put as much emphasis on credit cards as we do, they were introduced later and just haven't caught on in the same way. As a consequence many businesses don't accept them. On the other hand bank to bank transfers are commonplace and people simply can't get their heads around our inability to do them quickly and cheaply - or in the case of some banks competently.
Our downstairs loo order was only for a wall-hung WC and a basin. Our bathroom order though was E2,500 and included a Duravit WC, bidet and basin, Grohe taps, three Geberit wall hanging frames and a Hansgrohe shower panel plus various little bits. It all arrived on a 2m by 1m pallet wrapped in industrial cling film. You'll notice that list didn't include a bath as technically it's a shower room and we couldn't find a shower cabinet we liked anywhere abroad so we ended up paying an eye-watering price for a UK one (it's good though).
As an aside, it really is easy to make a first class job using some of that kit. Geberit in particular make frames which are so simple to use it's shocking. Four bolts and the frame's fitted, pop some cladding on (Mermaid panel or equivalent) and two more bolts hold the ceramic in place. The WC frame arrives fully plumbed so all you need to do is screw on a push fit coupler and it's done. The result is way better than an average British bathroom.
Reply to
Calvin
Yes and no. It certainly used to be the case in Germany that paying by card in some hotels was difficult and still is in some restaurants in comparison with the UK and Nordic countries. I don't think in general that it's true to say that there is more reluctance to accept cards in continental Europe - in fact in France the chip/PIN technology has been in use for a long time.
Possibly in this case, there is an issue of the card company service charge. With low margins, this becomes a real issue.
I have done quite a few and not had problems, except that I agree with you that Swift transfers are unnecessarily expensive. I was considering opening a Euros account in somewhere like Netherlands but don't have the volume at present to make it interesting.
Which one did you go for?
I used a Grohe frame similarly and I agree with you, the results are good.
Reply to
Andy Hall
A Majestic Radiance 1200 by 900. The cabinet is great - very low tray, about 4cm, nice and solid, frameless so all you see is glass. With a 1m wide heated mirror making up most of the long wall and gloss board on the other it looks fantastic. The instructions and fitting procedure were dismal. The instructions were obviously written by someone who designs shower cublicles for a life - they probably made perfect sense to him and now it's in I can sort of see what was meant but before hand they were more scary than helpful. The design only allows for 10mm of tolerance in any direction and that's cumulative so a few mm here or there really matters! You have to bed the tray down on self levelling compound which means you only get one shot at it, all the time needing to get it square, level and exactly the right distance from each wall having first calculated exactly where the finished wall face will be once the decorative layer is in place. Aaaarrrgh!!!
Reply to
Calvin
On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 07:39:40 +0100, Andy Hall wrote:
Not altogether so. In consumer sales the warranty is now a separate implicit contract directly between the warranty provider and the customer. The retailer (unless they are also the warranty supplier as occurs with some larger chains) has no part in this contract. A purchaser therefore has two separate channels in the case of a fault - the normal Sale of Goods Act recourse against the seller or a quite independent claim under any warranty against the manufacturer (or whoever is the warranty supplier).
Reply to
Peter Parry
OK.
The question would still be how to invoke said warranty. Would this then have to be against the manufacturer in the country of purchase or could one pursue their local subsidiary? Is that enshrined in law or is it at the whim of the manufacturer? How would one obtain details of the warranty and make sure that T's and C's are the same - i.e. the warranty offered in Germany is the same and is transferable to the UK without buying the product? Even with all that, there can be the issue that a local subsidiary may not be quite so co-operative because the product has arrived on the "grey market". I realise that with the Single Market this is all supposed not to happen and we are all supposed to be one big happy family. However, I suspect that if one were to contact the UK office of most manufacturers and ask them whether their operation is funded and individuals are rewarded on the basis of European sales or UK sales, the answer will be the latter.
None of this to say that this is a large reason not to source taps from Germany from a manufacturer of good reputation, but that there could be an extra cost and hassle factor. If the price difference were < 20%, I think that I might not bother. At 2:1 it's interesting to do the homework and assess the risks.
Reply to
Andy Hall
On Thu, 25 Oct 2007 09:24:23 +0100, Andy Hall wrote:
It would be against the issuer of the warranty, this is usually the manufacturer but might well be a distributor or independent warranty supplier. Within the EU if the manufacturer issued the warranty the claim can be against any national office.
It is within the original directive and supposedly transferred into national laws so you can assume the Germans will follow it, the French will just ignore it and the UK will add the branches in Mars and Venus just to be on the safe side.
For the first, with some difficulty possibly. For the latter warranties issued in one EU country apply throughout the EU, manufacturers have no choice in the matter.
Gray market can only apply to goods bought outside the EU. It would be a brave (or foolhardy) manufacturer who tried to impose restrictions within the EU, it is about the only thing that gets EU officialdom off its corporate backside and stirred into action.
Reply to
Peter Parry
That's why I put the term "grey market" in quotes because of course, it can't be in terms of goods in free circulation as you say.
I'm also quite sure that a reputable manufacturer wouldn't *overtly* impose restrictions. However, it may turn out that response for a warranty for goods purchased outside the geographical area for which a subsidiary is measured is not as good if the manufacturer has chosen to operate his warranty through his dealer network. It would be very hard to prove second class service.
Reply to
Andy Hall
On Thu, 25 Oct 2007 17:14:48 +0100, Andy Hall wrote:
Indeed, I don't disagree at all with your assumption that in many countries, and especially France, reality and theory may be some way apart.
Reply to
Peter Parry

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