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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am a 71 year old lady living on my own. I recently had a

Customer Question

I am a 71 year old lady living on my own. I recently had a new domestic combi boiler installed in my home (30th july), but have experienced a number of problems ever since it was installed. Last Monday (24th November) the boiler failed completely, and the installer advised that there was a split pipe(!) The installation firm have never responded satisfactorily and are now telling me that I do not have a right to either a full refund or a new boiler, and that they only have a responsibility to repair the boiler.
Previous problems have included the following:
-the boiler would fire up without using any water
-water has been scalding in the extreme
Please can you advise me what recourse I have, and in particular whether I have a legal right to either a full refund or a replacement boiler?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask whether the installation company you refer to supplied and fitted the boiler please or did you purchase the boiler from someone else who in turn appointed the installation company?

JACUSTOMER-jklddf3v- :

Local plumbers purchased the boiler and installed it for me

Joshua :

Thanks. May I ask how you paid? i.e. cheque, credit card etc? If you paid using more than one form of payment please let me know.

JACUSTOMER-jklddf3v- :

I paid by cheque

Joshua :

Thanks. Finally I hope how many times has the boiler gone wrong and how many time have they returned to fix the boiler to date? Is it the same thing or different things that are going wrong each time?

JACUSTOMER-jklddf3v- :

Whilst it has malfunctioned a number of times they have only been out twice to repair, but clearly inadequately as evidenced by the boilers total failure. Very surprising given this is still only a four month od new boiler

Joshua :

Thanks. As you will be aware. the position here is that you have two differing sets of rights. The first set of rights you have under any warranty from the manufacturer of the boiler which are somewhat limited insofar as that they are limited to the terms of the warranty which are probably not overly generous. I will leave this here though because of what follows.

Joshua :

You have a another set of rights by virtue of your contract with the contractor which carried out the work. This set of rights are much more extensive as terms are implied into your contract by virtue of the Supply of Goods and Services Act that the work carried out must be satisfactory and fit for purpose and as agreed and any materials supplied in the course of their work (in particular the boiler) must be of satisfactory quality. During the first six months, any faults are automatically assumed to be inherent as opposed to having been caused by damage or otherwise under the provisions of the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002. After the first six months, the burden of proof switches to you to show that any faults are inherent as opposed to having been caused by damage.

Joshua :

Accordingly because it is less than six months since you had the unit installed any faults are automatically the responsibility of the installer unless they can prove otherwise - i.e. that you have damaged the boiler

JACUSTOMER-jklddf3v- :

Thank you. That is very helpful, but what remedy do I have? Can I insist on a full refund or replacement?

Joshua :

Under these rights you can insist upon a repair or replacement of any faulty workmanship or materials the contractor has supplied initially at the contractor's discretion. This right last for up to six years under the Limitation Act against the contractor though will be limited to what is reasonable given the life expectancy of the work carried out in practice. You are required to give the contractor reasonable opportunity to repair or replace. There is no specific prescribed number of times that you must must allow them the opportunity to do so however if they have failed to repair the same more than two-three times or refuse to repair the same this would usually be held to be satisfactory opportunity to do so and you would then be within your rights to instruct an alternative contractor to quote to remedy the matter and look to the original contractor for the cost or insist on a replacement boiler if they have repeatedly failed to repair the same. .

JACUSTOMER-jklddf3v- :

Many thanks. I think that satisfactorily answers my question

Joshua :

Ideally you will have some evidence of the number of times you have requested repairs and the number of times they have attended. I appreciate much of this is done by phone but ideally you would have copies of emails instead requesting repairs or failing which make notes of the times and dates of any phone calls and brief details of what was discussed. In terms of how you may consider proceeding. You may wish to write to the contractor by email and/or letter or fax referring them to your previous correspondence or conversations which you are disappointed has not rectified the boiler and reminding them of their obgliations under the above legislation. and that as you have given them more than reasonable opportunity both verbally and in writing to attend to remedy the matter you propose to instruct a third party contractor to identify the faults and quote for the repair or replacement of the boiler as is necessary and look to them for the costs.

Joshua :

Ultimately if they refuse to cooperate you can consider issuing proceedings against them for breach of contract in the county court. This is easy to do and should not be daunting. A claim can be issued using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.

Joshua :

Assuming less than £10K the matter would be heard in the small claims court and whilst you would appear to have a good basis for a claim if you were to lose you would only be liable for court limited court fees and if they attend any reasonable claim for loss of income in attending capped at £90. However consumer protection legislation is very strong and providing you can show that you have given them reasonable opportunity to repair / replace as discussed above the basis for a claim is generally good.

Joshua :

I am glad I have been able to be of some assistance. Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?

JACUSTOMER-jklddf3v- :

Yes. Thank you so much

Joshua :

A pleasure. Good luck and please do come back if I can assist any further.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

JACUSTOMER-jklddf3v- :

Will do, and again thank you.

Joshua :

Best wishes

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