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Napkeeper

Gate repair carried out without quote, when we'd actually thought it covered by warranty

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Hello everyone.

 

We moved into a house with an unreliable electric gate. After two years of problems, we chose a gate company to undertake over £4000 of modifications that would make our gate reliable. They gave us a two-year warranty.

 

Now, we do appreciate they were putting new work on top of old work, but they surveyed everything and were keen to do the work, as were seven other companies (this company was the second most expensive quote, but they seemed impressive).

 

One function they installed, was 'pedestrian opening' where the gate opens just wide enough to slip out on foot. This function stopped working after several months, and we called them out under warranty and they showed us that a slug had crawled across a circuit board causing the fault. So, we paid for that repair happily enough.

 

After 15 months, the same function failed again. I called them out to repair it, mentioning the warranty coverage several times on the phone, and also to the repair man that appeared.

 

He claimed it was an old wire from the original installation (nothing could be shown to me, of course), and moved a receiver to a position that would not need the old wire (so why wasn't it done like that in the first place?). As he left, I again reiterated that it was warranty work.

 

Of course, three weeks later we get a bill for £140.

 

Now first, we're dismayed it wasn't covered by the warranty, with fingers again pointed at earlier work done prior to their involvement.

 

But in truth, I'm annoyed because if I was told it would be chargeable, I would not have had the work done. It's just a minor gate function, even though it's something they installed at the modification stage.

 

Can they do work without quoting a price for us to accept or leave?

 

I have queried this firmly, but politely and had amicable chat with one of the senior staff involved in their original work. In that conversation, I stated my thoughts, but did say I felt paying half the bill (£70) might be a gesture of goodwill on MY behalf, because of their good work in the past.

 

This seemed agreeable to the chap, though he said he'd have to clear it and get back to me. He did admit they should have quoted a price for the work and given me a choice to go ahead or not.

 

But after a fortnight with no news, I've rung them today and they've said they've re-sent the bill with a £50 credit, meaning £90 to pay.

 

I've spoken to consumer advice, but their answers can seem a little robotic sometimes, with generic advice being given, although they did seem to feel I had a good case.

 

I've told the company I felt they should have accepted MY gesture of goodwill of £70, because I truly feel there should be nothing to pay. They know I'm not penny-pinching, because they know they were more expensive than 5 other companies for their modification work.

 

Do you feel I should now take this further? Any thoughts?

 

Thank you for reading this.

 

...James

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As you have offered £70 already I would stick to that and send them a cheque as full and final settlement, on the grounds they never quoted you a price before they did the work, which you believed would be free anyway. I very much doubt they are going to chase you for the £20, however they may be reluctant to come out if you have any future problems, so the choice is yours.

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