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?
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
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
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.
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
We've had very good experiences buying from Megabad
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 07:39:40 +0100, Andy Hall
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).
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.
On Thu, 25 Oct 2007 09:24:23 +0100, Andy Hall
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.
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.