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Unadvertised call-out charge


stjuninho
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Hi, any help would be hugely appreciated

 

I rang a locksmith "friend-of-a-friend" and asked if he could come and look at our door. We arranged a time for him to come. He looked at the door for 20 minutes, gave us a quote and ultimately we said "no" because it was extortionate.

 

He's now invoiced us for a £65 call-out fee.

 

It's not a huge amount I know, but it's a lot to us, and I feel cheated since this wasn't a middle-of-the-night call-out, and I was never made aware of any call-out fee. I might have paid a smaller fee if I'd known about it before, but this seems OTT>

 

Are such firms obliged to inform you of such charges before the appointment is made? What should I do?

 

Very glad for any advice.

 

St Juninho.

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Well my first reaction is 'nice try'. If this was an arranged appointment and he knew he was coming to quote for a job it's certainly unusual to charge. He's probably miffed because he assumed the job was his.

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There is an expectation that quatations 'are free', but they do not have to be. The fact you call on a professional to visit you would normally incur a charge UNLESS there was an offer (or agreement) to provide this service at no charge.

 

This isn't the same as a 'sales call' like double glazing, where you evaluate the offerings from a variety of suppliers. Pummbers, Joiners who are called in to do work of a bespoke nature may usually visit at no coast, but that is their choice. Working through an intermediary, you lose the protection of discussing this aspect directly with the tradesman, but I'd suggest that in cases like this, the tradesman should have made it clear his visit woud be chargeable. If he's simply charged because you did not accept his quotation, that should have been made clear too.

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Thanks, yes, I agree with what you say. If I'd known then I could make a choice.

 

But my question is whether the onus is upon me to ask, or for them to say?

 

?

 

Cheers, Mark

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Both, really. Supposing the intermediary was told there would be a charge if you didn;t get the job done, but didn't let you know....? This is why (as a dispute) it is difficult to take position favouring either side!

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I rang a locksmith "friend-of-a-friend"

I think the OP had direct contact Buzby.

 

and asked if he could come and look at our door

It's the term 'look at' which might have led to any misunderstanding. Did you specifically ask him to come and quote. However you may have worded it, did the guy know he wasn't coming out to do the job there and then? If so then I'd say he can't invoice after the event for merely quoting as he didn't let you know there would be a charge. Even if he thought the job was automatically his and was subsequently disappointed he should have informed you he would be invoicing a callout charge at the time.

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Yeah, we just said it was bust and could he come and look at it. I suppose if it was a simple fix-it-there-and-then job I would have expected to pay labour cost for the repair. But he said he couldn't fix it, and would need a £150 - £200 new lock. We got back in touch after finding out we could get it done a lot cheaper, and said no. Now he wants call-out fee.

 

I don't know if he'd have a leg to stand on if he tried to pursue me for it. If he'd said it would have cost £65 call out, we wouldn't have asked him to do it (that's an emergency call-out charge, surely. we arranged a time). But I would have paid something more reasonable

 

Anyway, thanks for the help guys.

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It's not unheard of for some trades to charge for a quote but they do tend to take the amount off the full bill if you decide to use them and they do make it clear in their T&Cs before they attend. I don't think he can charge an emergency callout fee when it was a pre-arranged appointment.

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