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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25451
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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, This enquiry relates to a domestic fire that occured

Customer Question

Hello,
This enquiry relates to a domestic fire that occured in my appartment in Oct 2013.The fire emminated from a fridge/freezer appliance (Teka manufatured).In the end l was able to dowse the flames and was told by the investigating fire officer that another 30secs and l would have just had to run.There was roughly 8k damage to the flat and this was overseen by the Landlord's(Berkeley Homes) Insurance.The fridge freezer was taken away for forensic investigation.I was sent a report which highlighted a fault in the unit.Teka denied this at the time.
Now l have recieved a round robin letter from Berkeley Homes saying Urgent please inform us if you have a Teka fridge/freezer installed in your apartment as it could be danergous and in minimal siituations cause a fire.Teka have apparently,after extensive testing,that there is a fault in the condenser and because of the seriousness they will be replacing the said unit free of charge.
My question is,yes we had a fire and luckily l was there to put it out.Iff the fire had happend at night we could have been killed by the massive smoke plume.I know we were not but i have never had a letter to say that they were sorry or a letter relating to compensation.Have l got a legitimate claim against the fridge/freezer manufacturer?
Yours Steve Groves.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask if you know whether the fridge model in question was first put into circultion more than 10 years ago or is less than 10 years ago when the model was first put into circulation please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

I purchased the apartment as a 'new build' six years ago this Sept.The fridge freezer was a fixture and fitting and therefore purchased as part of the apartment.Berkeley Homes had created a formica cupboard housing around the appliance to look like a built in unit.

As there has now been a round robin related to the units being potentially dangerous Berkeley Homes must have purchased the units to install into their new developments.

Yours Steve.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the above. Just to clarify a little further, what we need to understand is when the manufacturer first put this particular type of model into circulation in order to determine if you have a claim or not. for example I could buy a fridge today but that fridge may be a model that has been in production for since 2010. My fridge would be brand new and may have only been made a few months prior but the model itself would be a five year old model.Do you think (I appreciate you may not be sure at this time) that the model itself is likely to be older than 10 years - i.e. that it has been produced for less than 10 years?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

At this moment l am unable to answer that question and really do not know how l would be able to actuall find out whether the model has been in production for more than ten years.

I will try to obtain information.

I suspect that it is a foreign manufacturer,i do not think that the Teka Fridge freezer is really a high street brand.

My assumption at this time is that Berkeley Homes purchased large quanties of the applainces to get a cheap cost per unit.

I can contact the manufacturers to ask how long the unit has been in production.As the other apartments in the block are having the suspect condenser units replaced l have an email contact.

It might take a couple of days to furnish you with the answer.

Steve.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. There is potential for redress under the Consumer Protection Act which is a comparatively little known piece of legislation that provides that a manufacturer can be liable for damage or injury caused by its appliance regardless of any contractual limitations of liability if its product or any of its component parts are defective. The particular strength of this legislation is that there is no need to prove that the manufactuerer was negligent in order to succeed in a claim. Rather all you need to prove is that the applicance was defective and that damage or injury was caused which damage or injury caused more than £275 of damage. A product is defective for the purposes of this legislation if its safety, being the risk of personal injury but also the risk of damage to property, is "not such as persons generally are entitled to expect". The reason I asked about the above 10 year period is because there is a limitation period on how long you have to bring such a claim. The limitation period for a claim is the earlier of either three years from the date of damage or injury or ten years after the product was put into circulation. Therefore it is important to ascertain when the product model was first produced and put into circulation in order to ascertain whether you are still in time. In terms of a potential claim against the developer it is possible to claim against them under the above legislation if they cannot identify the supplier of the fridge thogh from what you say that is not the case here. Otherwise there is no claim available for breach of contract because the Sale of Goods Act or Supply of Goods and Services Act does not apply to residential property contracts. You could potentially frame a claim for negligence against them but this would be difficult unless you could show that they should have reasonably known that the fridge was dangerous. Accordingly a claim under the Consumer Protection Act is likely to be your best approach because it does not require you to prove negligence. It appears that Teka is a German manufacturer - which you likely already knew - so it shoud in principle be not too difficult to pursue them if you have a claim on the above basis. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry seem to have rated bad service and what you have said is excellent.

Thank you for all the help thatyou have given me today.

Steve.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for coming back to me. It is easily done. It may be possible to rerate but if not please don't worrk. I am glad I could assist. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me
Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry,

One last question.Would this have to be done through the Small Claims court?

Thank you again.

Steve.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
No problem. It would depend on the amount you sought to claim and for what. If the amount claimed was for less than £10K and contained no element of claim for personal injury it should be head in the small claims court. If it was over £10K or contained a personal injury element then it may be heard in the Fast Track of the county court.