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Is it fair to be charged for work that didn’t fix the problem?

I hired someone to fix the lock on an pvc front door that wouldn’t hold shut when pushed closed and would only latch closed if the handle was pushed up after pushing the door closed. When he came to quote for the work, the door did actually latch shut when pushed closed but I explained that this was not usually the case and usually the handle had to be pushed up for the door to hold in place. He told me it didn’t matter as he would change the lock. I also told him that while I was getting this job done I might as well get him to change the handle and letterbox at the same time to make the door look better.

I was away when he did the work but he invoiced me for the work with the message that the work had all been done. Speaking with my son who was at home, he said the workman had done the work but had told him something couldn’t be fixed. On questioning the locksmith he then told me he had changed the cylinder but the door mechanism was faulty and needed to be changed if I wanted the door to lock. He told me a new mechanism would cost around £300 if he was able to get hold of the same mechanism (which seemed doubtful). He told me he also changed the handle and letterbox and asked me to pay him asap.

This has left me with a door with the exact same problem it had before the work was done but with a new lock that doesn’t work and a new handle and letterbox. This is on a door that will now need to be thrown away and replaced with a new one (which seems better value than £300 + labour for a new mechanism).

I would have expected a decent tradesman to have realised the problem with the door mechanism if not at the time of quoting for the work then at least while fitting the cylinder and then stopped the work, put the old cylinder back and told me about the problem and asked if I still wanted the handle and letterbox changed as it would cost so much to fix the door mechanism. I would expect him then to charge me no more than reasonable labour for the work he had done (he was already at the house doing an additional £240 of work that I had no issue with). Instead he wants to be paid the full amount.

I understand that work has been done to change the cylinder, letterbox and handle but the door still has the problem I hired him to fix and I do not understand why he continued replacing the letterbox and handle on a door that he must have known would need to be replaced.

Any thoughts on how much I should pay him? The quote was £180 and he is asking me to pay the full amount. Thanks for any advice/comments.

8 Answers from MyBuilder Locksmiths

Best Answer

The original problem of the door not latching would have been an issue with the strip or the door being misaligned with the central keep and nothing to do with the cylinder. When carrying out the inspection to provide you with the quote a problem like this should have been easy to diagnose correctly and quickly. If there is a problem with the strip a replacement would generally range between £60.00-£120.00 and depending on the make and model a replacement gear box (the central unit operated by the cylinder and handle) can be replaced instead for a general cost of £30.00-£60.00 plus the labour charge which should have been given to you clearly in the quote. If the strip is obsolete which can often be the case with older Upvc doors then an alternative can usually be sourced within the above price range. There would normally be some alteration required to the door and frame which is not too big a job but I would not personally trust the knowledge and capabilities of someone who believes replacing the cylinder would resolve the issue of a multi-point door not latching. It’s also worth mentioning that having a multi-point door secured purely on the latch is a bit of a lapse in security as the latch is very easy to manipulate from outside or through your letterbox so you should always lift the handle and lock the mechanism. Security is just as important if not more so when you and your family are home as being present when an intruder enters your property can be a far more distressing and dangerous situation. Really the job should have been established and priced correctly during the inspection, failing that the locksmith should not have fitted the handle or letterbox as this was additional work to the actual job required and instead should have called you to inform you of the situation once they realised they could not resolve the issue in the manner they intended and offer you a new quote giving you an option to decline.


Answered 1st Jun 2018

Sorry to say you have been ripped off, but the door will work fine, you just need some one who knows what they are doing. I can get any lock mech, I'm an independent service engineer, and I use a lock library.


Answered 20th Sep 2018

Hi there, a mechanism for a upvc start at about £30 To £ 60, with labour on top of that it would end up being about £120.I always explain my charges over the phone so there's no confusion, when the job is complete. Sounds like he was a bit of a cowboy.


Answered 26th May 2018

There was no need to replace the lock at all, a slight adjustment of the central keep or the door itself would of most likely solved your problem, it sounds to me he was trying to con money out of you for work that didn’t need doing but like the answer above says, you should always engage your locking mechanism and lock it off as it’s very easy to gain access quickly and quietly otherwise.


Answered 10th Jul 2018

Sounds like a terrible experience you've had. Like the replies above it sounds like an adjustment of the door keeps could have solved your problem. The prices you have been given are grossly inflated .
These experiences give the industry a bad reputation.


Answered 26th Sep 2018

I can't offer any more advice than what has been given. The advice above hits the nail on the head.
It's more shocking that there are people in the industry that still take advantage of people in stressful situations. Before any work was done, the engineer should have contacted you before hand not just do it then say "hey here's my bill". Scandalous that!


Answered 9th Oct 2018

Most of time PVC door locks mul t point locks need adjusting the alignment to the frame lock keeper .


Answered 25th May 2020

By your description there is nothing wrong with your multipoint mechanism and there was no need to replace your cylinder at all. The only problem being that your latch is misaligned with it's keep, this is usually a simple adjustment that takes little time to do.


Answered 10th Nov 2021

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