Boiler Service engineer left my boiler with a fault!

I organised a service and gas safety check for my tenants boiler, the servicing went well and the boiler was declared to be in good working order, the following morning my tenant contacted me to let me know the boiler was making a noise and struggling to provide hot water, the boiler needed a reset and then it was okay for a day or 2 and would then require another reset.  I contacted the boiler service company to report the fault.  The response was as follows:

"if there was a fault which could be the result of items that we conduct during a service (such as a water leak or a pressure fault etc) then of course it would lend more evidence to the fault potentially being caused by the engineer. However, performing a boiler service would not create a new fault to occur on a boiler, in some cases it can cause underlying faults to occur (as servicing is literally stress testing the appliance at its maximum working capacity). Unfortunately it is very common for faults to occur after a service, this certainly is not a surprise to hear but of course I can understand that the convenient timing of this taking place, would make you question the engineers attendance. 

If you are not happy to make payment prior to the visit, then I could offer you the chance to have an engineer attend without requesting payment from yourself. On conclusion of this diagnostic the engineer would then confirm the cause of this fault, if the cause is confirmed to be an underlying fault - then we would expect the £xx be paid on conclusion of the diagnostic. If the engineer confirms the fault was caused by actions taken by our engineer (actions not related to standard checks as part of a service or gas safety) then we can discuss a refund/repair further. You can also be present with the diagnostic engineer whilst he is on site if you would like to have a guarantee." 

I arranged for the diagnostics engineer to attend the property last week and he was able to witness the fault, and diagnose a faulty PCB board and fan, the repair would cost around £600.  As the boiler is over 10 years old they also recommended a new boiler at around £2.5k.  However the plot thickened and the engineer fiddled around with some internal components, his main focus was on the air inlet pipe to the fan whereby he disconnected and reconnected the pipe, after this the noise went and the fluctuating temperature readings on the PCB board disappeared. The problem is intermittent so I expected the fault to happen again the following day, however ever since the diagnostics visit the fault has disappeared and the boiler is back to good working order as before the service.  I have now challenged the service company as the boiler appears to have been fixed somehow whilst the diagnostics took place, they are insistent that the fault is underlying and that it has nothing to do with the boiler service therefore I should pay for the diagnostics appointment. However, my argument is the boiler no longer has a fault and the PCB board / fan diagnostic is incorrect.  It seems that something was not put back in place during the boiler service which led to the noise and the boiler being unable to heat water on demand.   

The facts are the boiler doesn't have the fault now, it didn't have the fault before the service, had the fault after the service and the fault disappeared when the gas engineer checked out the issues. I have been told to replace the PCB board and fan but the fault no longer exists.  

When challenging the service company this was their response

"I understand your perspective here - However, as the engineer noted the issues relate to the fan and PCB, this does confirm that the faults were not the result of any previous service or inspection. As these 2 items are not touched or tampered with when performing a service. The reason the engineer is able to return the boiler to a good working level now - is because he can take account for the existing faults and attempt to rectify them. However, these underlying faults were not present during initial testing so the engineer could not advise or attempt to rectify them. The engineer has now taken steps to rectify this and I am glad he was able to do so - However, as noted previously this is certainly the case that the faults were underlying on the appliance due to faulty components and not the result of the past inspection." 

I told them I don't believe these faults were underlying as they no longer exist since the diagnostics, but they are insistent that I have an issue with the PCB board and fan.  If the boiler is working perfectly well since the diagnostics then why are they insisting I still have these problems?  Surely the resolution of the faults point to an issue during the service which has now been resolved during the diagnostics, therefore I should not be paying for the diagnostics appointment as it appears they created the fault. I feel I am being fobbed off and unless I filmed the service and diagnostics I have no leg to stand on. I feel like I'm being told a load of rubbish in order for me to pay up for fixing their own error. Would it be worth reporting this to Gas Safe Register or any other type of ombudsman? I feel injustice :(

Comments

  • As a landlord, I think this constitutes a business contract, so you'll need to pursue legal action if you think they've acted incorrectly.  You might report it to the Gas Safe Register, but it sounds like an intermittent problem that is impossible to predict or replicate, so I can see their point that they didn't cause it.
  • As a landlord, I think this constitutes a business contract, so you'll need to pursue legal action if you think they've acted incorrectly.  You might report it to the Gas Safe Register, but it sounds like an intermittent problem that is impossible to predict or replicate, so I can see their point that they didn't cause it.
    Yes an intermittent problem developed after the service and was resolved after the diagnostics appointment (a service whereby the boiler was deemed to be in good working condition), It seems very fishy and I have been told by another gas engineer that these individual components are unlikely to both fail at the same time. If either had failed then it is also most unlikely to repair itself. Both the PCB and fan are required to be working correctly for the boiler to be working at all. The boiler is now working perfectly and doesn't need the quoted £600 repair. 
    Is it worth the time and effort to pursue legal action? Probably not and they know that!  
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 13,805
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    As a landlord, I think this constitutes a business contract, so you'll need to pursue legal action if you think they've acted incorrectly.  You might report it to the Gas Safe Register, but it sounds like an intermittent problem that is impossible to predict or replicate, so I can see their point that they didn't cause it.
    Yes an intermittent problem developed after the service and was resolved after the diagnostics appointment (a service whereby the boiler was deemed to be in good working condition), It seems very fishy and I have been told by another gas engineer that these individual components are unlikely to both fail at the same time. If either had failed then it is also most unlikely to repair itself. Both the PCB and fan are required to be working correctly for the boiler to be working at all. The boiler is now working perfectly and doesn't need the quoted £600 repair. 
    Is it worth the time and effort to pursue legal action? Probably not and they know that!  
    If this were a consumer scenario, you would ask that other gas technician to write a report stating his view, and take that back to the service company asking for a refund of the unnecessary visit.  

    Assuming the company is correct, and the fan and the PCB are untouched in the check, their reasoning that they didn't cause the problem seems sound.  It sounds to me (and I am completely unqualified to know any better) that something in the service caused the PCB to have a meltdown and show a fault, which suggests that the PCB does have some sort of inherent fault.  If they refund you the £600 and the same fault crops up next week, they're out of pocket.
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 18,657
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    The fault didn't correct itself, they claim  engineer fixed the fault. 

    But once a component fails it is likely to fail again.

    We had a fault on our boiler which a local engineer was able to fix and get eh boiler working agin. However it failed again after several months and we decided to replace the boiler due to it's age.
  • sheramber said:
    The fault didn't correct itself, they claim  engineer fixed the fault. 

    But once a component fails it is likely to fail again.

    We had a fault on our boiler which a local engineer was able to fix and get eh boiler working agin. However it failed again after several months and we decided to replace the boiler due to it's age.
    The engineer was baffled or pretended he was baffled, he didn't understand why the fault cleared itself up and was unable to take a video of the fault. I'm sure I saw him reattach the air intake pipe and everything seemed to immediately resolve. Could this have been left off on the boiler service.  Either way I have no video evidence. If it does play up again I'll just replace it, it's actually getting of age now and I'd expect issues in the not so distant future.  
  • As a landlord, I think this constitutes a business contract, so you'll need to pursue legal action if you think they've acted incorrectly.  You might report it to the Gas Safe Register, but it sounds like an intermittent problem that is impossible to predict or replicate, so I can see their point that they didn't cause it.
    Yes an intermittent problem developed after the service and was resolved after the diagnostics appointment (a service whereby the boiler was deemed to be in good working condition), It seems very fishy and I have been told by another gas engineer that these individual components are unlikely to both fail at the same time. If either had failed then it is also most unlikely to repair itself. Both the PCB and fan are required to be working correctly for the boiler to be working at all. The boiler is now working perfectly and doesn't need the quoted £600 repair. 
    Is it worth the time and effort to pursue legal action? Probably not and they know that!  
    If this were a consumer scenario, you would ask that other gas technician to write a report stating his view, and take that back to the service company asking for a refund of the unnecessary visit.  

    Assuming the company is correct, and the fan and the PCB are untouched in the check, their reasoning that they didn't cause the problem seems sound.  It sounds to me (and I am completely unqualified to know any better) that something in the service caused the PCB to have a meltdown and show a fault, which suggests that the PCB does have some sort of inherent fault.  If they refund you the £600 and the same fault crops up next week, they're out of pocket.
    The faults disappeared during the diagnosis and haven't returned, due to this I didn't need the quoted / recommended repairs. I'm just disputing the diagnostic fee, if it was their fault I would not have to pay.  I'm sure the engineer had to reattach the air inlet pipe which connects to the fan... I have no evidence so I think I'll be taking this on the chin and wait and see if the fault returns.     
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 13,805
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    As a landlord, I think this constitutes a business contract, so you'll need to pursue legal action if you think they've acted incorrectly.  You might report it to the Gas Safe Register, but it sounds like an intermittent problem that is impossible to predict or replicate, so I can see their point that they didn't cause it.
    Yes an intermittent problem developed after the service and was resolved after the diagnostics appointment (a service whereby the boiler was deemed to be in good working condition), It seems very fishy and I have been told by another gas engineer that these individual components are unlikely to both fail at the same time. If either had failed then it is also most unlikely to repair itself. Both the PCB and fan are required to be working correctly for the boiler to be working at all. The boiler is now working perfectly and doesn't need the quoted £600 repair. 
    Is it worth the time and effort to pursue legal action? Probably not and they know that!  
    If this were a consumer scenario, you would ask that other gas technician to write a report stating his view, and take that back to the service company asking for a refund of the unnecessary visit.  

    Assuming the company is correct, and the fan and the PCB are untouched in the check, their reasoning that they didn't cause the problem seems sound.  It sounds to me (and I am completely unqualified to know any better) that something in the service caused the PCB to have a meltdown and show a fault, which suggests that the PCB does have some sort of inherent fault.  If they refund you the £600 and the same fault crops up next week, they're out of pocket.
    The faults disappeared during the diagnosis and haven't returned, due to this I didn't need the quoted / recommended repairs. I'm just disputing the diagnostic fee, if it was their fault I would not have to pay.  I'm sure the engineer had to reattach the air inlet pipe which connects to the fan... I have no evidence so I think I'll be taking this on the chin and wait and see if the fault returns.     
    I think that's the problem you have.  You might try a goodwill approach and offer to halve the fee?
  • saajan_12
    saajan_12 Posts: 3,572
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    How much is the diagnostic fee they are asking? not the £600 right? 

    I see your point as if the 2nd engineer spotted what the existing, underlying problem was and could fix it, they would have said so at the time (and charged for a fix, not just a diagnostic). Why did he recommend the faulty PCB, quote £600 etc if he knew it was an underlying problem and fixed it? If his diagnosis of a faulty PCB is incorrect, then you could argue the 2nd fee isn't due because he failed to diagnose! 

    You could argue that you believe the 2nd diagnosis was simply incorrect, as the boiler is fine without needing a new PCB, and suggest that you'll let their misleading practices go if they rescind the invoice. If not, and they insist on the invoice via courts, you would be forced to defend by hiring an independent engineer to inspect. If their diagnosis is found to be incorrect, you will be claiming the costs of the independent engineer as well as no fee paid to them. 
  • Jonboy_1984
    Jonboy_1984 Posts: 1,195
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    We had a similar scenario last year with our warm air unit, ultimately it was because the air intake pipe was full of dust/dirt and so giving a fault signal.

    This dust/dirt was probably moved during the service, but probably ultimately caused because there is a filter to be hoovered regularly and the previous owners tenants likely didn’t bother…

    As the pipe is not a service item and it was likely an “environmental” issue rather than caused by the engineers negligence we paid and moved on.
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