Persimmon seeks to rebuild trust through fee 'retention' plan

(c) Sky News 2019: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/persimmon-seeks-to-rebuild-trust-through-fee-retention-plan-11671636">Persimmon seeks to rebuild trust through fee 'retention' plan</a>
 

House builder Persimmon says buyers will be able to hold back thousands of pounds worth of the price of a home so that faults can be fixed, in an industry first.

The initiative comes after it promised to improve customer satisfaction levels after being dogged by complaints about poor build quality.

Persimmon last month said it was making changes after the departure of chief executive Jeff Fairburn over pay awards worth £75m - boosted by bumper profits since the start of the government's flagship Help to Buy scheme.

The under-fire company announced last month it had grown annual profits to £1.1bn in 2018 .

But the milestone was revealed against a backdrop of uncertainty for the firm following a report by The Times that the government was considering stripping Persimmon of its right to sell properties under Help To Buy because of poor satisfaction levels.

Gripes not only included woeful build quality but also delays in fixing problems and hidden fees.

Persimmon said on Thursday it was looking to build on recent efforts to help restore trust, with the "retention" policy set to be in place by the end of June.

It explained that it would write in to its standard contracts that "1.5% of the total home value (equating to around 6% of the build fabric costs) can be withheld by a buyer's solicitor until any faults identified at the point of key release are resolved."

Chief executive, Dave Jenkinson, said: "Persimmon is listening hard to all of its stakeholders and we hear the message that we need to continue to raise our game in customer care.

"The initiatives we have already announced, including the action taken in the new year to deliver greater accuracy of anticipated moving in dates by adopting a more targeted approach to the phasing of sales on specific sites and the improvements and investments that we have made in our customer care team, operations and technology over the last few months are beginning to take effect.

"We are now accelerating the pace of change through the introduction of a contracted retention which will give homebuyers far greater satisfaction at the completion of the purchase.

"Moving into a new home should be a positive experience enhanced by all the benefits of a new build that is designed for modern living."