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Central Heating

Retrospective charge


After some advice.

We had a Plumber/Heating Engineer round to look at an issue with our Central Heating not coming on. Hot water was fine.

I suggested it was to do with a stuck valve, good old Google.

The scope of his visit was to identify the issue and produce a quote, so no price was discussed at all at this point.

He discovered it was a valve and would need to get a price for a part and would supply us with a quote.

His visit lasted 20 minutes.

The next day our Central Heating sprung back into life so we let him know to still supply a quote but we would see how long it lasts rather than pay for something we don't need to.

He then insists that he will now supply us with an invoice for his time?

Now I don’t agree with this but would like your opinion.

Thanks in advance.

2 Answers from MyBuilder Heating Engineers

Best Answer

I do not think it is unreasonable to be invoiced for this service (assuming of course the invoice itself is reasonable). The heating engineer did attend your property to locate a fault and advise on cost, he provided diagnostic services and incurred travelling costs. It is my opinion that it would devalue this tradesman's skill and time not to pay something for this service.


Answered 11th Sep 2015

The 'reasonableness' test.

If you knew, or ought to have known (ie, it was stated on advert or similar) that the Contractor's visit would incur an expense, then it is fair that you are invoiced for it.

If the Contractor's visit was offered and accepted as a free visit, or if you have valid reason to believe it was free, then the invoice would not have to be settled.

Clearly, it would be best to avoid any protected dispute, so stating clear and candid facts to the Contractor, about why you believed it was a free visit may help.

If you are invoiced, and refuse to pay, the Contractor is left with the decision of what to do next. He may do no more, he may continue to request settlement, he may propose further action.

Ultimately, if considered by those with the power to make binding judgment, I guess it will come down to consideration of contract law / 'reasonableness'. Remember, contracts can be made on the basis of verbal agreements, letters of intent etc.

I am not qualified in any legal capacity. The opinions expressed here are my own, based on my experience. You should seek competent legal advice.


Answered 11th Sep 2015

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