“It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you”
Sorry it’s been quiet here this year. I shall explain, but this has nothing to do with houses, Schwoerer or otherwise, so fast-forward to What’s Next if you’d rather skip this bit.
Long story short: in January this year, our daughter, Lucy, who was then 8, was diagnosed with a heart condition. Technically, she had developed a muscular right ventricular outflow tract obstruction, or double chambered right ventricle. Untechnically, she required open heart surgery.
Not what any parent wants to hear. We put significant parts of our lives on hold whilst we came to terms with Lucy’s condition, and did what we could to give her the best possible outcome. Suddenly our dream home wasn’t so important, and that too went on hold.
On Friday, 24th June 2016, Lucy was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for surgery. Her operation took four hours, and it was successful. She was discharged the following Wednesday, recovering well albeit that she tired easily, and she’s gone from strength to strength since.
For a couple of years now, when we sit down as a family for our evening meal, before we start eating we go round the table. Each of us has to name something we’re grateful for. It may be something trivial or deep; it may affect that person only or all of us. Between us, we’ve been grateful for having unlimited clean drinking water, have supportive work colleagues, living in a war-free country and living somewhere that experiences beautiful sunsets. You get the idea.
The week after Lucy was discharged, for once we were all grateful for the same thing. The staff – surgeons, cleaners, nurses, doctors and volunteers – at Great Ormond Street Hospital are beyond amazing. Lucy is doing well; life is returning to normal; the Schwoerer story continues.
Putting Schwoerer on hold was easy. Getting them back off hold: not so easy. The problems of communication that have soured this project from the outset continue.
An email from the UK sales team which we received in June stated, in part:
We will be back in England at the 6th of July. Over the weekend we will discuss with Karl the schedule for July and get back to you as soon as possible.
On 20th July, we emailed Schwoerer:
It's now been two weeks since your scheduled return to England, but we have heard nothing from you. I realise that we have taken some time out because of our daughter's surgery, but from the outset it has been very hard to get timely responses from Schwoerer. We absolutely need to fix that problem. We would like to meet with Schwoerer (you and Theo, if possible) and Karl, and discuss how this project will proceed. Ideally, we would meet somewhere around where we live, or at least to the west of London. However, if we need to, we can travel to London. The agenda for our meeting will include: - Agree expectations about future communications - House size - House design - Provisional timescales Of course, we're happy for you to add any items you'd like to discuss, too. We look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, Keith & Cecilia
Amazingly, we have received no reply. Or perhaps it isn’t amazing. While we had our project on hold, I was contacted by someone who had come across this blog whilst searching for information about Schwoerer in the UK. That person has asked to remain anonymous, so let’s call them – in a burst of inspired originality – “X”.
X had been talking to both Schwoerer and some of their competitors, and wanted to know whether we could speak on the phone. It took a while to arrange it, but one Sunday we spent about 40 minutes chatting. It seemed that X, too, had had difficulty in getting replies from Schwoerer. Telephone messages not returned; emails not answered. Not all of them ignored, but enough for it to be a concern. At the end of our conversation, X was going to consider the next move.
Since then, we’ve exchanged a few emails, and X’s frustration has grown. Finally, early this month, X contacted me and said that they had finally been able to talk to Schwoerer, but it was too late: they had decided to go with a competitor. I replied, saying I wanted to update this blog and asking if I could include their story.
This was the reply, in part, that I received:
It would be great if you'd keep up your blog. PLEASE I beg you not to mention my name [...] But yes, do say that others ('Anonymous') confirm similar experience re (non) timely communications. When I was looking for info about Schwoerer, I found your blog. Really, really helpful. So if you could, it would be useful for others to be updated. Schwoerer as you know are new to the UK, so there is hardly any info other than what Schwoerer themselves put out. Brilliant that you put your email address on the blog so that people like me could contact you. Thanks so much for all the info. Invaluable Keith.
So, Schwoerer, what are you going to do? You’re spending tens of thousands of pounds to find valuable leads, such as X and us, and then you’re ignoring them to the extent that you’ve lost X.
Just last Thursday, we sent a follow up mail to Schwoerer. No reply yet.