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Bathroom fittings – what and where to buy?

February 5, 2010

We recently replaced a stainless steel washbasin mixing faucet in the bathroom of the apartment we live in presently (mainly because the owner couldn’t be bothered), with a model bought in a DIY shop for around 25€. It’s nothing unusual in terms of design but it is light, easy to manipulate and a cinch to install.

Therefore it is, on the face of it, surprising that a not much more sophisticated shower fitting should cost upwards of 1000€ in shops such as Facq, Van Marcke and Van Poucke.

The last house project I did was already illuminating in this regard. Apparently, if you buy all that stuff through your plumber they will often install it for “free”. The reason they can do this for “free” is because the shops concerned give them trade discounts which apparently are of the order of 50-60%.

I am an economist and I do not believe that markets behave like this without a little “help”. And indeed, the European Commission has been investigating, it seems, an alleged cartel in the bathroom fittings sector for quite some time. What impact, if any, that might have on retail sales and in particular on this astonishingly high retail surcharge I do not know.

In any case, purchasing brands which engage in price-fixing would leave a very sour taste in my mouth. The same goes for purchasing from retail outlets whose margin is apparently so colossal that they think nothing of slicing the price in half for trade clients.

For the moment, I have no fixed ideas in terms of esthetics and no brand preferences other than the abovementioned negative ones. But bathroom (and kitchen) So: what and where to buy? Has anyone out there gotten round these evil attempts to steal our money and gotten a good deal on nice fittings?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean permalink
    February 6, 2010 10:34 pm

    Visited Van Marcke in Zaventem today, I have to admit that the showroom is fantastic – they’ve improved it vastly since I was last there ten years or so ago. That a funky bathtub might cost 8500€ for the design, ok (it won’t unfortunately make it into my bathroom though). However, I still draw a line at 1000€ for a faucet.

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