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Chimney sweep for no chimney....

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I wonder if anyone could help me with some advice. For a few months l was getting a musty smell from my chimney which is unused and has been since l moved in 3 years ago. I contacted a local chimney company who appear to be legitimate, have a physical shop and online reviews etc. When making an appointment they insisted that l pay in advance for a chimney sweep and install of new chimney caps, I did so which l realise was probably foolish. 

Chimney sweep came out, he arrived alone (despite the job being at height and telling me he’s meant to work in pairs) and without any kit. I gave him a torch and he had a brief look up the hearth, he then went outside and looked at my roof from the street and came in and told me my chimney had been removed at some point. I should say that I live in a 2nd floor flat so this wasn’t obvious from the street to me and I wasn’t sure if the chimney stack sat further along the roof where it wasn’t visible or obviously l wouldn’t have called a chimney sweep out for no chimney! 

The chimney sweep gave me some advice on having ventilation tiles fitted and told me to contact the office as they have a company they work in affiliation with who could carry out the work. He was at my home for less than 10minutes.

I then contacted the office to request a refund of the sweep and cap fee of £179 l did ask if there was a call out fee which I was happy to pay and asked for details of the affiliated company. They replied a few days later simply saying they are waiting on a report from the assessor. After 10 days l contacted them asking for an update and pointing out that the chimney sweep was at my home for less than 10minutes. A week later I’ve still had no reply. I suspect they are hoping if they ignore me I will go away. Is this something l could claim back on my credit card which l used to pay? I have been very polite in my dealings with them but it is infuriating that l am down £179 for a visit of less than 10 minutes and that they are simply ignoring my emails :/

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Comments

  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 14,360 Forumite
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    What were the terms of the booking?  Were you given any?  It's reasonable for them to charge a call-out fee, so it will depend what proportion of the £179 was assigned to the capping.  Maybe half?
  • Ilovecupcakes
    Ilovecupcakes Posts: 38 Forumite
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    edited 21 October 2021 at 8:28PM
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    Yes the terms said they reserve the right to charge a nominal call out fee if it can’t be carried out, I have no issue with this and requested details on the call out fee in my first email to them. I just don’t think that I should be charged £179 for a visit less than 10mins long, they are based very locally also so no excessive travel costs.

    Charges stated were: £95 to Sweep redundant chimney and £84 to supply and fit blanking cap to top of chimney
  • silverwhistle
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    Crikey! I paid £40 for my sweep last week and the previous two years they didn't charge anything for the inspection up the flue without the need for a sweep, but required a payment for an insurance certificate. The sweep told me not to bother with the inspection next year as I burn so clean.
  • Ilovecupcakes
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    Yes and they didn’t actually carry out the sweep or anything else so I’m down £179 and still have a musty chimney  :/
    The guy who turned up to do the sweep didn’t have any paperwork for any certificates or anything, he literally turned up with no equipment whatsoever and l had to lend him a torch to look up the chimney.
  • pinkshoes
    pinkshoes Posts: 20,166 Forumite
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    Post on their social media page:

    "charged £95 for a chimney sweep and £84 for a blanking cap, made to pay in advance before they'd seen the chimney. They turn up without even having a torch to look up the chimney, moan that they should be working in pairs but had been sent alone, declared my chimney has been blocked up, and leave 10 minutes later, yet have still charged me for a service that was not needed so thus not carried out".

    You might find they are then more forthcoming with their refund and can just charge you a call out fee instead.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
  • Ilovecupcakes
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    Thanks @pinkshoes l have emailed them asking for an update again and stating if l do not hear from them in the next 5 working days l will be posting a review of their poor customer service on all social media and online review platforms. 

    I think the most infuriating thing is that they are completely ignoring my emails, clearly hoping that l will just go away and they can keep my money  :o 

    If they still fail to respond does anyone know if l can claim a section 75 refund through my credit card l used to pay? 
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,760 Forumite
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    There certainly shouldn't be any charge for the blanking cap which wasn't required, but they may have a minimum charge which will be payable.  They wouldn't know there was no chimney to sweep until they got to you.  They have their own time and overheads to cover.
  • mobileron
    mobileron Posts: 1,218 Forumite
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    On jobs like this i always use face book and get recommendations first.
  • Smurnov
    Smurnov Posts: 12 Forumite
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    Odd for a chimney sweep to request a pre booking fee.
    I think if your sweep is certified with a trade body you can expect to pay more. See: https://purplesweep.co.uk/f/financial-frugality--how-did-you-find-your-chimney-sweep
    However £85 for a sweep does seem like a lot to me.
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,793 Forumite
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    Smurnov said:
    Odd for a chimney sweep to request a pre booking fee.
    I think if your sweep is certified with a trade body you can expect to pay more. See: https://purplesweep.co.uk/f/financial-frugality--how-did-you-find-your-chimney-sweep
    However £85 for a sweep does seem like a lot to me.
    Do you realise you are responding to a thread that is more than 2 years old?
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