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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My aunt is 93 years old, partially sighted, very hard of hearing

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My aunt is 93 years old, partially sighted, very hard of hearing and has arthritis. Her husband is almost 88 and is also partially sighted, is on constant medication and very confused. A leak was discovered from their central heating boiler. The boiler had been installed in an airing cupboard in an upstairs bedroom, water had started to come through the ceiling below. In panic and wondering how to stop it, my aunt’s husband telephoned First Choice Plumbing and Heating Ltd in Oldbury, West Midlands on 20th January. As they both live in the Liverpool Area it was puzzling why he had done this, especially as he has a Care Plan with British Gas.
The following day a plumber arrived from First Choice Plumbing and Heating Ltd during the morning. A job sheet was left by the plumber indicating a new boiler has been ordered in excess of £2,600. I personally arrived just after 12 noon, as I do daily, and proceeded to complete some chores in the kitchen and discovered that there was no hot water. My aunt or her husband didn’t know why this should be. No hot water either in the upstairs bathroom. I telephoned British Gas around 2 o’clock and explained that there were two elderly people with no hot water, and it was very cold and my aunt suffered with arthritis. An engineer from British Gas called at approximately five o’clock. He discovered the leak almost immediately which was a crack in a small pipe. Subsequently, I found a job sheet which had been left by the plumber from First Choice Plumbing and Heating Ltd, indicating a new central heating boiler would be ordered.
First Choice Plumbing were then telephoned, explaining the position and were asked to cancel the job sheet order, (there was a 14 day cooling off period). The manager became quite belligerent and said that a new boiler had already been ordered, very quickly I thought, within an hour or so. After explaining that these two elderly people had dementia and partially sighted, he said “well they shouldn’t be left on their own” and they would have to pay for the call out charge.
An invoice for callout and work carried out, dated 25th January, has now been received for an amount of £141.60. Labour is charged at £59 per half hour. It was stated that the work carried out:
(1) Attempting to stop a leak, and
(2) Ordering a new Glow Worm 30 cxi boiler, (which was not necessary).
The British Gas Engineer stated that the central heating boiler was in excellent working order and there was no necessity whatsoever for a new one to be ordered
The labour charges amounted to £118.00 (turning the water off) plus VAT at £23.60. Quite frankly I think this is an absolute ripe off by this company, especially since I have now priced these particular central heating boilers. Also knowing that there were two very elderly people in the house, and leaving them without any hot water – for how long? I feel that they have been taken for a ride by this company. I cannot believe that turning water off and writing a job sheet constitutes £141.60 in labour charges. Could you please give me any advice as to how I may continue with this complaint.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
What is it you want to achieve please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The amount that this company has invoiced is far in access of what was achieved. Is it necessary for these elderly people to have to fork out such an excessive amount of money charged?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Indeed. Have BG said what a similar charge would be?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They have a Care Plan with BG which is paid monthly I think and is approximately £12 but not absolutely sure on that, but they were originally quoted (I feel excessive amount) for a new boiler which British Gas said was not necessary. It took only a few minutes for the BG engineer to see what the problem was, which was superficial and a small leak in a pipe which was replaced. How First Choice can claim such a extortionate amount for the time they were there I cannot understand. Plus the fact that they didn't need a new boiler anyway.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Ok, then you do not need to pay. They are in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 by failing to act with all reasonable skill and care. As such you do not have to pay.
If they continue then you should contact their regulatory body if they are a member (such as Federation of Small Business etc) and also Trading Standards
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alex - thank you for that. I will follow your advice. There is nothing else at the moment thank you.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Good luck
Alex
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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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