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Domestic Oil tank leaking - manufacturer attempting to avoid liability

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MikeFloutierMikeFloutier Forumite
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We bought a "one off" new build house in March 2016 from an older couple ("developer") who had inherited a run down property and got permission for a nice new house.

Being in Cornwall the heating/hot water was oil-fired and included a bunded (double-skinned) 1000 litre oil tank which the Developer purchased from a company in Eire via a distributor in England. The tank came with a 10 year warranty covering manufacturing defects. During our latest oil delivery, our oil supplier pointed out that the outer skin of the tank was bowing and that the inner skin had probably split. I investigated this and found that oil was indeed leaking from the inner to the outer skin, although, over time this stopped, probably indicating the level of the split.

I contacted the Developer, who, being a bit of an amateur (his first and only project) had not registered the tank purchase with the manufacturer and had no paperwork, apart from the credit card receipt. However, the card receipt led me to the English distributor who has been very helpful. He advised me that the manufacturer had been making the tanks cheaply from much re-ground material and that around 20% of the tanks had been failing after 2-3 years.

Unfortunately, due to health reasons (2 heart attacks and a stroke brought on by stress in dealing with the tank manufacturer) he sold his business to An Other who is still trading, in the same way, from the same location. He has had to re-install 100's of these failed tanks and has great difficulty in getting warranty reimbursement from the manufacturer. He is willing to assist me in any way he can. He says that the strategy of the manufacturer is to fob warranty claimants off and most simply give up and just buy a new tank. He, however is willing to champion those who are willing to stick with their claim.

I am in contact with the heating engineer who commissioned the installation. He is registered and well qualified and also willing to help. I have now registered the tank's purchase with the manufacturer; the warranty is not dependent upon registration and a warranty card (which should have probably been completed by the house seller or installer) was affixed to the tank.

Sorry this is such a long introduction. My questions are:

1. What additional information do you think I need in order to successfully claim for a new tank (plus fitting and disposal) from the manufacturer +/or the distributor, and
2. How should I best go about my claim, especially bearing in mind that the manufacturer is based in Eire?

Many thanks,
Mike
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Replies

  • theonlywayisuptheonlywayisup Forumite
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    If you are claiming on a warranty then you need to follow the T&C of that warranty.   Unless the warranty covers fitting and disposal I cannot see it ordinarily being included. 
  • edited 2 June at 8:44AM
    davidmcndavidmcn Forumite
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    edited 2 June at 8:44AM
    Are you sure the warranty covers (a) the defect in question and (b) you, given you're not the original purchaser?

    It's your only hope, as you have no rights against the distributor (the original purchaser might have) or the vendor of the house (unless there was something weird in your contract).

    Generally there are no implied warranties when you buy a house, so if you're expecting guarantees about specific components you need to clarify what you're getting during the purchase.
  • MikeFloutierMikeFloutier Forumite
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    davidmcn said:
    Are you sure the warranty covers (a) the defect in question and (b) you, given you're not the original purchaser?

    It's your only hope, as you have no rights against the distributor (the original purchaser might have) or the vendor of the house (unless there was something weird in your contract).

    Generally there are no implied warranties when you buy a house, so if you're expecting guarantees about specific components you need to clarify what you're getting during the purchase.
    Thanks guys:
    1. I think it is totally reasonable for the warranty for an item included in the purchase of a new-build to be covered; sure I should have checked at the time but I had a lot of other priorities. Also, in practice, in these situations the supplier/manufacturer is liable and coughs up; that's my experience.
    2. The tank had a "warranty card" attached to it. I filled this out electronically and submitted it to the manufacturer; I have a record of this.
    3. The original supplier/distributor has honoured many of these warranties but has a lot of trouble getting reimbursed by the manufacturer.
    4. He has mentioned that he is involved with a big VAT fraud case in regard to this manufacturer.
    5.He mentions that the manufacturer is using cheap materials, hence the 20% failure rate.
    6. He mentions that the manufacturer is in cahoots with the INTERTEK rep who is supposed to validate his trading/manufacturing standards to satisfy OFTEC...

    The bottom line is that the manufacturer does pay out on the warranty claims BUT ONLY to people who don't give up persuing them.

    My question is, "how best can I persue them?", especially bearing in mind they are in Eire.

  • lincroft1710lincroft1710 Forumite
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    davidmcn said:
    Are you sure the warranty covers (a) the defect in question and (b) you, given you're not the original purchaser?

    It's your only hope, as you have no rights against the distributor (the original purchaser might have) or the vendor of the house (unless there was something weird in your contract).

    Generally there are no implied warranties when you buy a house, so if you're expecting guarantees about specific components you need to clarify what you're getting during the purchase.
    Thanks guys:
    1. I think it is totally reasonable for the warranty for an item included in the purchase of a new-build to be covered; sure I should have checked at the time but I had a lot of other priorities. Also, in practice, in these situations the supplier/manufacturer is liable and coughs up; that's my experience.
    2. The tank had a "warranty card" attached to it. I filled this out electronically and submitted it to the manufacturer; I have a record of this.
    3. The original supplier/distributor has honoured many of these warranties but has a lot of trouble getting reimbursed by the manufacturer.
    4. He has mentioned that he is involved with a big VAT fraud case in regard to this manufacturer.
    5.He mentions that the manufacturer is using cheap materials, hence the 20% failure rate.
    6. He mentions that the manufacturer is in cahoots with the INTERTEK rep who is supposed to validate his trading/manufacturing standards to satisfy OFTEC...

    The bottom line is that the manufacturer does pay out on the warranty claims BUT ONLY to people who don't give up persuing them.

    My question is, "how best can I persue them?", especially bearing in mind they are in Eire.

    1. It doesn't matter if you think it is totally reasonable, what does matter is what the warranty actually says.

    2. What did the warranty card say?

    3. But I presume he won't honour yours.

    4. Irrelevant

    5. If he knew this why the **** did he continue selling their inferior product?

    6. Irrelevant, possible hearsay.

    You need to find out how those people who have received refunds achieved this. Is there a user's forum for these tanks?
  • MikeFloutierMikeFloutier Forumite
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    2. The tank had a "warranty card" attached to it. I filled this out electronically and submitted it to the manufacturer; I have a record of this.
    3. The original supplier/distributor has honoured many of these warranties but has a lot of trouble getting reimbursed by the manufacturer.
    2. What did the warranty card say?

    3. But I presume he won't honour yours.
    You need to find out how those people who have received refunds achieved this. Is there a user's forum for these tanks?


    Thanks Lincroft, the warranty card says "...the bunded tanks have a ten year warranty for manufacture defect only" I meet all the other terms of the warranty that cover fitting instructions and base construction etc.

    The reason the distributor wont honour my claim is that he has sold his business to AN Other. Whilst fighting the manufacturer in pursuit of payment for warranty claims he HAD honoured, whilst still in business, he suffered two heart attacks and a stroke. Whilst hospitalised, he had to sell his business to the AN Other who currently runs it, still selling the same tanks. I have contacted the new owner who has not replied.

    The forum for these tanks is limited to the old UK distributor who has been very helpful. The owners of split tanks who are successful are the ones who don't give up. The strategy of the manufacturer is clearly to increase profits by building cheap tanks from sub-standard materials and fobbing off warranty claimants.

    As I said, I do have a valid warranty card, I have registered my ownership with the manufacturer ALL I WANT TO KNOW is how best to pursue the manufacturer who is based in Eire.
  • mattyprice4004mattyprice4004 Forumite
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    Personally, I would avoid litigation unless absolutely necessary. Companies are slippery things, and it's just not worth the hassle - I'd write it off as a bad job and replace the tank. 

    Sorry, I know it's not what you want to hear - but there's only one winner when solicitors are involved. 
  • MikeFloutierMikeFloutier Forumite
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    Thanks Matty, I am not planning to use a solicitor, just a solicitors letter, I will use the Irish Small Claims Court, for €25 I can get judgement against them which they will have to pay, in the absence of a valid defence, which they don’t have.

    I have obtained the latest company accounts for the tank manufacturer which I will be perusing shortly, they cost about £2
  • brisbris Forumite
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    They have a valid defence in that you didn't buy it from them so they are not liable to you.

    Have you checked the warranty is transferable and is proof of purchase available.
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