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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3840
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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In 2006 I had Solar panels installed by Smart Energy. The

Customer Question

In 2006 I had Solar panels installed by Smart Energy. The firm went into liquidation 3 years later and I found it difficult to find a local firm who could service the equipment. Towards the end of 2013 I contacted Alpha Heating (Chesterfield) Ltd who on 16 November gave me an itemised quotation totalling £1864.00 which I accepted.

I was told that the work had been completed and paid the account. Shortly afterwards a red warning light began to flash. Alpha were informed and came back. They said I needed a new pump, which was fitted, at a cost of £244, but the warning light continued to flash This happened many times, then the light stopped flashing but I was still getting too much hot water. The electrician said he would come back on 9 June. (To this point Alpha had not charged me for the repeated visits). At 6.15pm on Saturday 7 June I received a telephone call from a woman I had never heard of. She was very rude and aggressive and informed me that she owned half of Alpha I would have to pay for any future work, and ended by slamming the phone down. The next morning the red warning light started to flash again.

At that time I was ill and did not contact Alpha regarding the warning light, I did get a letter from Alpha which was dated 7 June, but I did not get it until 11 June, suggesting that I employ another firm as "there appears to have been a loss of trust by you with our company"!

One night recently I could smell what seemed to be burning and i became frightened. The next day I telephoned Alpha (I didn't know anyone else), told them I was scared and would pay for the call. I did not get a reply. I am 86 years old and live alone.

I then contacted Trading Standards and contacted another firm who have been out. They seem to know what they are doing, but I am waiting for a second visit.

I feel that I have been totally let down by Alpha, who are a "Trusted Trader" (a Derbyshire Council rating - please don't suggest that I contact them, I already have but they don't seem very knowledgeable. Their quotation was accepted in good faith, and paid in full, but the work was not satisfactory. Please advise me
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question and welcome my name is AJ and I will assist you.

When you engage anyone in any service there is an implied term under S.13 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, that any service will be carried out with "reasonable care and skill". If service provider fails to do this, it will be treated as a breach of contract and therefore they will be liable for your losses arising as a naturally occurring consequence.

On the basis of the above what I suggest you do is the following:
1. Get the new service provider to complete the works and give you some indication preferably in writing as to what the additional costs are and what Alpha have done wrong;
2. Once you have done this, it will be evidence hopefully of your loss suffered and what part of the job they failed to carry out with reasonable care and skill;
3. Normally once you have proved the breach you should allow them an opportunity to repair the damage. They have however said that they are not prepared to work with you anymore so this makes things slightly quicker from your perspective.
4. As you have started a claim with Trading Standards I would suggest that you carry on with this as a starting point. Trading Standards will be slow but will be the most cost effective way of getting compensation paid;
5. If Trading Standards cannot deal with the complaint the final option is to go to County Court and start a money claim against Alpha for breach of contract and the failure to act with reasonable care and skill -

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards