A kitset building company boasting “NZ’s largest range of quality sheds and cabins” has left a Consumer member out of pocket and failed to comply with a Disputes Tribunal order to refund her money.

Kate Roberts entered into a contract in September 2016 with Get Design and Sales for a $13,800 kitset cabin. Get Design markets its products through several websites including mydiy.co.nz, kiwi-built.co.nz and econobach.co.nz.

The contract required Kate to pay a $4100 deposit with the balance payable on delivery of the cabin. But after she’d paid the deposit, Kate says she had trouble contacting Get Design and had second thoughts about dealing with the company.

Consumer adviser Maggie Edwards says Kate’s contract gave her the right to cancel at any time before the cabin was available for delivery. “The company reserved the right to seek compensation for losses arising from cancellation but there was no evidence work had begun on the cabin and any costs were likely to be minimal,” Maggie says.

Kate advised Get Design she was cancelling but was forced to lodge a claim in the Disputes Tribunal when the company failed to provide a refund. The tribunal found in Kate’s favour, ordering Get Design to refund the sum claimed.

But Get Design, which didn’t attend the hearing, failed to pay by the 13 January deadline. We’ve also heard from other unhappy Get Design customers. Another claim against the company is due to be heard in the Disputes Tribunal next month.

The Companies Office Register shows Get Design is owned by Emma Gestro and Grant Hulena. Hulena was previously the owner of Kiwikitsets North Shore, which was put into liquidation in 2013.

After we contacted Get Design, it refunded half the money owed to Kate “as an act of good faith”. Gestro said “cash flow has been tight” over the holidays and she intended to settle the debt by the end of the month.

If you’ve had problems with this company, let us know.

Legal points

The Disputes Tribunal is an inexpensive option for consumers to resolve disputes with traders. However, even if you win, you may still have to take other action to extract payment.

You can apply to the courts for a warrant, which empowers a bailiff to visit the other party to seize assets that can be sold to pay the debt.

To check whether a trader has previously been a director or shareholder of a company that’s been put into liquidation, you can search the Companies Register at companiesoffice.govt.nz.