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Can i refuse to pay the engineer if he didn't do anything?

I believed I had a non service affecting issue with my glow worm boiler, whereby I had been unable to top up the system pressure due to what I had suspected was a faulty part. Heating and hot water was/is working fine but I wanted to preempt a bad situation when it drops below 0.4 bars and goes off! I've had the boiler +2yrs and have topped it up at least 5 times no problem. However, 2 weeks ago I tried to do this and water exploded and gushed out of the disconnector. No matter what position I put the disconnector in, open or closed, I was unable to top the pressure up and water would gush as soon as I opened the taps. It seemed apparent to me that the disconnector was broke.

So I booked an engineer through British Gas Local Heroes and received a call from a local business who explained that there were no call out charges and ANY charges at all would be discussed beforehand so I could choose to proceed or not. Local heroes website also states no call out charge.

Putting aside the initial no show, and him being a few hours late when he did show up the following week, he arrived on site and we established within the first 5mins that there was no issue as he topped up the boiler immediately with no problems. I was embarrassed and apologized for wasting his time. He explained that what had happened was that I hadn't pushed the disconnector up far enough because the locking collar was in the wrong position (I feel I should also mention that he broke the locking collar by accident in front of me and then sheepishly tried to make out that he hadn't - I'm not too concerned though as he is the second gas engineer who has commented on them being redundant, and I was just happy that I could top up the system pressure again). I'm no gas engineer but this logic is flawed for many reasons (one being I've topped it up the same way at least 5 times with no issue - following the instructions) and so a part of me suspects that there is still an issue and he just got lucky/managed to wing it.

He then proceeded to "check my radiators" despite me not mentioning an issue with them and also reiterating that they were all fine. He managed to waste 10mins or so there and had now been on site for 20mins when he "called the office to let them know what he'd done". This was the point when he said that it would be £65! I pointed out he hadn't done anything at all as there was no fault, but he contested that he'd given me advice and topped the pressure up for me.

I have said I am not happy with that and he said I will have to take it up with British Gas. To add to it, the gas pressure is now sat at 2.6 bars and the display is flashing with a water drop icon with a line through it! The heating and hot water is still working fine though.
In any case the fee was cancelled when I mentioned "The consumer contracts and information cancellation and additional charges regulations 2013"

5 Answers from MyBuilder Gas Engineers

Best Answer

I don't understand what you or they meen by there will be no call out charge do you pay a premium for this? It does seem abit of a con, what you've said, although he did turn up and top your system up, which you couldn't seem to do! Problems don't usually fix themselves, have you tried filling your system since, because I'm guessing it would leak again, cuz your not doing it right!!! Their was no promblem to fix I suspect because the qualified engineer topped it up with no issue, so he sorted the problem you couldn't, so instead of thinking he did nothing you didn't do, think he did, he's an heating engineer trained to do so. You are clearly not, so instead of trying to mask your own stupidity, he came did what you couldn't do, now pay the 65 quid! I think people like you should be charged more, for calling out professionals to sort a none professional job, then have the cheek to say they did nothing!!!!


Answered 12th May 2017

The fault sounds like the pressure releif valve had stuck and then settled itselfonce the engineer twisted it, it returned to its sealed position. The charge of 65 seems excessive however he was called out, drove to your house and spent time so a charge is valid . To check the radiators is also valid and what any professional would do to establish a. Are there signs of leaks which would cause the pressure dropping over time and b. Has air been introduced into the rads when filling and needs bleeding out to allow efficient operation. All water contains air molecules when taken from the mains and this air settles in the top of the radiators and requires bleeding off. So the engineer was just being professional by checking the rads. The local heroes organisation will no doubt take a finders fee from the 65 so the tradesman will likely get 45 which he then has to take out his fuel costs etc and after insurances, tools, professional body memberships, training, he is left with surprisingly little. When employing tradesmen such as gas engineers, electricians, alarm engineers, its not about their time but their years of experience , intuition to find faults and education. So if a fault is sorted in half an hour and you get charged say 50 quid , its good value as you have drawn on the years of experience to get up and running again.


Answered 6th Apr 2017

So, actually he fixed it, but then you decided not to pay him on the basis he did too much to help you out and found every excuse under the sun not to pay-anything. Absolutely agree with Martin O'Toole here. You got an absolute bargain there. You say there was no fault, so why did you call anyone out in the first place.


Answered 7th Apr 2017

Facts are YOUR boiler wasn't working, you've called some one in and its now working but you don't want to pay?


Answered 7th Apr 2017

Without getting too technical on the legal side, he did help you get your system going again. Having said that, if I had done what he did I'd have asked for a cuppa as payment.

I certainly would not charge for something like that.

He should not have checked or done anything else without permission or reason and it sounds like there is none. I believe, but don't know for absolute certain, that looking for other jobs is now illegal if done without reason. Garages used to do it on cars and some of the bigger firms now advertise that they don't do that...

If there is no call out charge, you should not have been charged for what was, when all said and done, a none job. I can't see how he can charge for putting a hose pipe on and turning a tap. It might be worth talking to BG and see what they think...

But unless there are extenuating circumstances, like you live in the middle of nowhere and he had a long way to travel there should not have been any charge without telling you first.

Legally, I believe that you should not be expected to pay and strongly advise you to talk to the CAB or google a solicitor who deals with consumer rights. You should get basic information from a solicitor over the phone for free and if they think there is a case they will not charge you unless they lose.


Answered 6th Apr 2017

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