I made the mistake of going with a cabinet company recommended by my designer. Gem Cabinets was supposedly one of the 'best in the city'. If they are one of the best then it is a sorry state for the Edmonton consumer.
My cabinets were promised to me by mid July 2013. Indeed all of the cabinets except for the 'custom' table top were delivered to me on the 16 of July. Upon delivery I removed the existing cabinetry from my kitchen to make room for the new installation.
I made two more mistakes at this point. The first was to release all the remaining funds upon delivery of the cabinets and the second was to not inspect each and every piece that was delivered. I should have held back at least $5000 of the $30000 kitchen until all pieces were verified as correct. I simply did not have the room in my house to unpack every piece prior to removing the existing cabinetry. I was relying on a trust factor that any problems that occurred would be handled quickly and effectively. That was another mistake on my part.
I was doing the installation myself as cabinet installation is not difficult with the proper planning and procedures. This was my fourth kitchen cabinet installation.
I soon realized that Gem Cabinets is not really a 'Custom Kitchen' supplier. At best they are a second rate redistributor of mass produced cabinets shipped out of the States. The 'Custom' open shelves that were built at Gem’s facility were of very poor quality and looked as if they were built in high school shop class. The 'Custom' posts that I was told were $1000 a piece were 3 inches to deep. When I questioned this, Gem Cabinet's rep said that the posts were always oversized to accommodate any variations in the walls and that installers cut them to size on site. Believing this, I cut one of the posts to size. However, cutting off 3 inches, also cut off the filler at the back of the post. Therefore, I had to recut and glue the filler in place. The post was also not cut flush on the top so it would have to be cut and/or sanded flush before the crown could be installed. I realized that this was not a 'normal' issue and forced Gem Cabinets to take the posts and open shelves back to their shop to be fixed.
In the meantime I tried to continue on with the other wall of the kitchen. One of my pantries was cracked. Also, the original cabinet supplier, in all their wisdom, decided to screw brackets into my new custom pantries to hold the loose shelves place for shipping. I asked that the pantries to be replaced. Gem Cabinets rebuilt the open shelves and attempted to rebuild the pantries. The open shelves came back acceptable but the pantries had the holes in the wrong place for the doors and shelves. So back they went again. The third time the pantries came back, one was still 1/8” too high. 1/8” may not be a lot but it certainly makes a difference when you are trying to put crown moulding on top of the cabinets and the cabinets do not line up. I agreed to accept the cabinet as I had no confidence that Gem could manage to do a better job. After installing the pantries I tried to put on the decorative door panels and discovered they were too small and had to be reordered. Then, after sending me a text that the door panels were reordered, I found out 1 month later the panels had not been ordered and would take another month to come in.
In all, 11 of 25 components that were delivered were either the wrong size, damaged or substandard in some form. The custom table was delivered a full 2 months after initial delivery.
All his time I had an unusable kitchen as I could not install my appliances until the cabinetry was complete. Every delay cost me time and money.
I was told, as compensation, I would be provided with Granite at cost. When I was provided with the quote for the granite it was almost double the price of what I could buy it for retail at a reputable granite supplier.
Right to the very end, Gem Cabinets could not accomplish the simplest of tasks. Even the cabinet hardware came without screws.
In all, I received the last piece of my kitchen a full 6 months after the initial delivery. The excuses that were provided to me were unacceptable and sometimes laughable. Mostly they blamed the issues on a lack of an installer. (An installer would have resolved the issue or had screws). They even offered to provide an installer to me as compensation, but the problem was that Gem Cabinets could not provide me with product to be installed. So what would the installer install?
I documented every aspect of my experience and presented it to Gem Cabinet management looking for compensation. I received none. Gem Cabinets has a AAA rating with the Better Business Bureau but when I lodged a complaint, it was denied as I purchased the kitchen through a designer and not directly though Gem Cabinets. I believe most kitchens from Gem would be purchased through a designer so I question the validity of the AAA rating.
I chose to pay more to a custom cabinet company thinking I would get better product and service. I received neither. I could have easily saved $10000 or more by going with IKEA or Home Depot and had a better experience.
My recommendation is run, don't walk, away from Gem Cabinets.