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New combi boiler - am I being bullied and ripped off?

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by Blue_Cat_DIY, 1 Apr 2021.

  1. Blue_Cat_DIY

    Blue_Cat_DIY

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    Hi all,

    I currently have a 13 year old Worcester Bosch Greenstar 28i Junior Condensing Boiler installed. It's unfortunately developed a leak on the right hand side as you face it, but it's not losing any pressure and we've still got heating and hot water.

    I went on Checkatrade and found a local gas safe registered company to come out and take a look at it. The gas engineer very quickly diagnosed the fault and said that the "manifold and pump" needed to be replaced, and the quote to repair (all-in) was £579.60. I thought this was steep, but he explained that the WB parts are very expensive. He did say that I would probably be better off getting a new boiler, rather than having my existing one repaired, as "once one thing starts to go, other parts start to go wrong with them". I asked him how much a new WB boiler would be and he said I was looking at £3000 ish. Due to my current financial situation, I opted to go down the repair route still. The engineer made comment that it was going to be a "nightmare job", as these things are fiddly and not easy to replace and he has very large fingers.

    The engineer ordered the parts and today he came back to fit them. He had not taken much apart when he said that he didn't realise that the replacement manifold didn't include a filter? (I'm not sure exactly which part it was that he showed me, but I'll call it a filter for the purpose of this post). So he said he would have to put the old filter into the new manifold, and said again that it was going to be a "nightmare job". He was concerned that by him doing this work, he could disturb other parts of the ageing boiler...and basically he was putting the "hard sell" on me having a new boiler installed (I had felt like he was trying to put the hard sell on me the day before, too). He stopped the work and said I had to decide there and then before he installed the parts, by which point I would get charged for them (and as I say, they weren't cheap parts!). I felt under so much pressure to decide whether or not to carry on with the repair work (which he was advising against), or to scrap the repairs and bite the bullet with a new boiler. He sealed the deal for a new boiler when he said that there was evidence that there had been another leak in my existing boiler, so I asked him for some new boiler quotes.

    The quotes to supply and fit 2 different new combi boilers, to be installed in the same place, including cost to drain and remove existing boiler, alter pipework to suit, fully flush system through with chemicals, supply and fit a new wireless clock and room thermostat, vertical flue and extension, internal filling link, and leave in good working order:-

    1/ Worcester Bosch 30i Greenstar Combo Condensing boiler + 7 year warranty - £3000

    2/ Biasi 30kw boiler + 5 year warranty - £2520

    Of course I am thinking about getting other quotes to compare, but the engineer said that if I DON'T use his company to install a new boiler, his manager would "charge me for coming out yesterday and again today". When I asked how much the charges would be, he said something like £89 per hour + VAT. Plus he said I would be charged PER HOUR for the time he had spent at my house, bearing in mind, this engineer spent most of his time at my house TALKING and engaging in non-stop chit-chat with me and my family members, showing me photographs of his dogs and work that's been done on customer's bathrooms etc. I didn't want to be rude and tell him to shut up, but I ended up not being able to do my own work! I don't mind paying something for the time he genuinely spent looking at my boiler, but I do mind paying for him to stand there chit-chatting.

    So the threat is - "buy a new boiler and have it installed by us, or else we are going to excessively charge you loads of money".

    And then there's the quotes for the boilers - from looking online, £3000 for the WB seems incredibly steep. Comparative quotes for the same WB model, to be fitted, all-in, are coming in between £2090 and £2200 ish. I told the gas engineer this when he rang me, and aside from giving me all of the blarney sales pitch, he said, "I'll speak to my boss - he's here now" and I heard him talking to someone. He then came back with £2760 for the WB - so immediately he took £240 off his original £3000 quote! Does that not show that he was ripping me off, if he could just drop the price like that? I don't trust this company now, but I feel like they've "got me over a barrel" and are going to charge me god-knows-what for coming out to my house yesterday and today if I do not agree to have a new boiler installed with them.

    Advice please? Do I legally have to pay this company whatever it is they will charge me for coming out to inspect my boiler if I choose not to have any work done by them? Because I would much rather choose another company to install my new boiler.

    (Thank you for taking the time to read).
     
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  3. CBW

    CBW

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    Ok, I’m no legal expert, nor am I a business. I would certainly expect you to pay for any parts and labour, unless supplying a new boiler (as they are) and offset some costs against this. They should have repaired it as you originally requested, but perhaps asked you to sign a disclaimer that they can’t be held accountable for leaks from disturbing joints. I have only changed one of the right hand blocks yourefer to, and it took me approx 4 hours, but I did find a washer troublesome. Also, no other joints disturbed, however not long after the fan packed in.

    My advice is to speak to citizens advice/consumer rights. You may need to prove engineer was chit-chatting. Don’t agree to anything and let them know you’re seeking legal advice.
     
    Last edited: 1 Apr 2021
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  4. HERTS P&D

    HERTS P&D

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    Did you sign anything?

    Job sheet or contract?

    Andy
     
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  5. muggles

    muggles

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    OK, first things first on the legal stuff. If he pressured you into having a new boiler while he was in your house, you have a legal minimum of 14 days to cancel without penalty. The 14 days begins on the day that they inform you in writing of your right to cancel, up to a maximum of one calendar year after the work was agreed. In other words, they have no legal grounds to force you to have a new boiler, and you should inform them (preferably in writing) that you wish to cancel the boiler replacement. Similarly, if they call you and you agree to the boiler replacement during that call, you have a right to 14 days cancellation. If, on the other hand, you have called or emailed them to accept a quotation or estimate left with you to consider in your own free time, you have no right to cancellation and they can be compensated in line with their T&Cs, if they have any, have provided you with a copy, and decide to pursue it.

    As to the replacement parts, if they were fitted then it is reasonable that you should be expected to pay for them, as well as labour for time taken to diagnose and repair. That being said, I've always taken the personal view that my customers are paying for me to repair a boiler, and if I have mis-diagnosed then I have not fulfilled my side of the contract and so no payment is due. No fix, no fee, in other words. If he hasn't fitted them then I'd certainly dispute a labour charge for installation, and unless he left the replacement parts on site I'd also dispute any charge for supplying them too.
     
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  6. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    I suggest tell him to complete the repair at the quoted price. He's the expert, an "all in" price is just that. If he's missed bits off, that's his bad luck. If he can't fix it, or doesn't want to finish it for the price quoted, don't pay anything. You can then decide what to do. The contract you have is the quote to repair and your acceptance. We paid £2.5K 4 years ago to have a tank system converted to combi with a new WB 30, so that's a fair bit more work than just a boiler swap.
     
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  7. Blue_Cat_DIY

    Blue_Cat_DIY

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    Hi Andy, no I did not sign anything - I just have the quotes written down on a paper form that engineer handed to me for the repair work, and then for the new boiler. Thanks
     
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  8. HERTS P&D

    HERTS P&D

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    Do you have a ring or nest door bell?

    This would prove what time he came in and out.

    I would contact the company and tell them you are getting other quotes and see what they say.

    Andy
     
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  9. muggles

    muggles

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    And beware of Checkatrade/MyBuilder/RatedPeople etc etc. The only review site to be trusted is Buy With Confidence, which is independently run by Trading Standards, or you could go to The Heating Hub who have properly vetted all of their recommended installers. The others are almost entirely funded by the tradesmen who are on them, and so have a huge motivation to keep them happy. Print too many bad reviews and your tradesman, and thus income, will go elsewhere... Other than BWC or THH, just ask around for local recommendations.
     
    Last edited: 1 Apr 2021
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  11. Blue_Cat_DIY

    Blue_Cat_DIY

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    Thanks Chris. Just to clarify: NO parts were installed, the engineer took them away with him, and he only said I would be charged for the parts IF he installed them. What is he saying I will be charged for however, is all the time that he spent at my address if I do not purchase a boiler from them and I go elsewhere to get one fitted. As I say, I do not mind paying something towards the engineer coming out and diagnosing my boiler issue, but what I do mind is paying "by the hour" for him chit-chatting to me and my family for absolutely ages, when no work as such was being done. The only "work" the engineer did was very quickly diagnose the fault, order parts, and then come back the following day with the intention to install said replacement parts - but he talked me out of having the repair work done and wanted me to buy a new boiler from him. If the quote for the boiler was reasonable (it doesn't seem to be?), then I would have agreed to have a new boiler installed with him, but I think the quote is excessive, so want to go elsewhere.
     
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  12. Blue_Cat_DIY

    Blue_Cat_DIY

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    Thanks muggles. No parts were installed and the engineer took the parts back with him. Nothing is signed. I had verbally agreed to the repair work going ahead, but no repair work was done, as the engineer advised against it and I accepted his advice. When he quoted me for the brand new boiler today, I said I needed to think about it, so I have not verbally - or in writing - agreed to that. I just don't know what he legally can charge me for coming to my house to diagnose the boiler problem yesterday, and then for coming to my house today with the intention of carrying out repair work (but not actually carrying out any repair work).
     
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  13. CBW

    CBW

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    If the parts have disappeared with him, then I’d be verbally informing them, following up in writing, that you’re seeking legal advice, see what they come back with.
     
    Last edited: 1 Apr 2021
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  14. muggles

    muggles

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    I think he can charge you for diagnosis, but no more. If you followed his advice to not have your boiler repaired, then he can't very well expect to charge you for repairing it
     
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  15. Blue_Cat_DIY

    Blue_Cat_DIY

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    That's what I mean - £3k for a combi to combi swap, without changing boiler location, seems a tad excessive?

    I don't have one of those types of doorbells unfortunately - that would've been good!

    When the engineer called me later today, I said I thought the £3k quote to have the Worcester 30i Greenstar installed was too much. That's when he said "I'm with the boss now, I'll just ask him if we can move on that", and he came back to me and said "£2760". I said it was still too high and that I wanted to think about it. I've got to call him tomorrow to confirm what I want to do.
     
  16. Gasguru

    Gasguru

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    Don't be pressured...they sound like a bunch of crooks.
    99% of leaks on the RHS are the plastic adapter a £5 part (simple job), if the return manifold is leaking that part's under £150 (an hours job).
    So add in the legal safety checks and he's ripping you off.
    Every part's available for that boiler and there's always the option of Worcesters own fixed price repair.
    Offer to pay £60 for diagnosis to get rid of them (of course they had no intention of repairing it) and if they want more tell them they can invoice you and go down the CCJ route...and they are very unlikely to do that knowing how incompetent they are.
    These boilers although not always particularly easy to repair are certainly not a nightmare...there are far worse models out there.
     
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  17. DP

    DP

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    Did you say the boiler was not losing pressure but pump was mentioned as a contributing factor. If pump was leaking, then system pressure would have been dropping too. Might be an idea to talk with trading standards and gas safe as well ( see if he is registered and not working out of scope)
     
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