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Damages Claim Against United Utlilities ~ Legal Help Required


Adam76
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Hi,

 

I am desperately wondering if anyone may be able to help me?

 

UU replaced a faulty Water Meter in March of this year, which has transpired that its been fit incorrectly by their contractor (H2O Plumbing ~ the Plumber agreed that it was their fault in his report due to being incorrectly fit). This in turn has resulted in substantial damage to a storage area in our house (the water was leaking extensively without detection for 4 months), in addition to severe mould growth on our personal belongings (including my prized Golf Clubs which are only just 2 years old!!! and Children’s Buggy again under 2 years old, plus some coats etc...).

 

I phoned up UU Emergency Team, who in turn advised me to contact their Legal Dept. as the claim would be in excess of £500. I duly did this and was advised by them to contact my insurers (Fortis) instead to resolve the issue (great help!!!). I contacted my insurers who said that they could handle the claim, however, if 100% of the full value of the claim was not reimbursed by UU, then it would affect my premium, plus I would have a significant excess for Water Escape, and it would therefore be better to contact UU again to resolve the matter with them directly.

 

After going back and forth again, I have since got a quote from an Insurance approved Builders for the Internal Building work required (due to smell and mould damage it needs completing ASAP), and taken my damaged Golf Clubs to my local club to assess the damage and quote for a like for like replacement. Due to the severity of the mould on our belongings we have been advised by our Surveyor to seal all of the items damaged and put them in the local landfill (they have extensive Black Mould growths/spores which is apparently quite severe). I have written an extensive letter to UU Legal Dept. outlining the full summary of events, and highlighted the Building work required and the items damaged and cost to replace (plus details of purchase dates etc.), plus the corresponding quotes (from Builders & Golf Shop). I have also included a large number of pictures to highlight the damage to both Building & Belongings.

 

Following the letter I contacted UU on Friday last week (only 2 days after receipt of letter), I spoke to one of their Legal team who advised me that they had received it but not processed it yet, and reiterated that I should go through my Insurers instead as it "could take weeks for a resolution", I outlined my concerns around what my Insurance company said about my premium etc and she went on to say that I would only receive "Indemnity" from them, and again that "it would take weeks to resolve" if they even accepted liability, "which we may not". I reiterated that my house was becoming almost inhabitable due to the smell of mould and the growth spreading and that I would like it to take precedent on Monday (next week). We then entered into a circular debate about how they would not pay me to replace the items damaged on a like for like basis and liability etc... I then contacted my insurers again, who were more helpful this time, and again said they could process it for me, but outlined if they (UU) only pay for Indemnity then it would not be 100% of the claim, as they (my insurers) replace on a new for old basis, in which case the claim would affect my premium (its almost like Groundhog Day now!!!).

 

In the midst of all this my family and I are suffering as the house seems to be getting worse by the day (with Mould), I have since disposed of all of the damaged goods (based on advice from Surveyor and Golf shop) and informed my insurers of this (just in case in need to go through them a later date), however I am reticent to claim from my Insurers as I do not see why it should affect my premium.

 

Please can anyone advise me on what kind of timescales to expect from UU to settle the claim (acknowledging that I may only receive Indemnity, however does Indemnity to apply to Building work as well, i.e. will they make me an offer or pay the actual amount to restore back to original??), or alternatively should I just go through my Insurance in order to speed things up? In which case if it is the latter, could I request that the Builder who has already quoted me complete the work in order to speed the process and not have to wait for alternative assessments, plus will it matter that I have disposed of the damaged goods (I have photos of the larger items but not some of the clothes as they were beyond that state!)? Additionally, if UU pay me for the Building work sooner (I am willing to wait for the belongings) and I can start the Building work process, approximately how long until they settle for Belongings, and what level of depreciation would they apply to Golf Clubs & Buggy etc? Or am I just fighting a losing battle with UU Legal Dept. try to get the money back on my own???

 

Apologies for the length, however I wanted it to be as informative as possible in order for anyone to be able to help.

 

Any assistance with the above would be much appreciated.

 

Many thanks,

 

Adam.

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  • 5 months later...

Have you got any further with this matter? I ask as I am aware of a similar matter where they have left an 84 year old lady with 3" of water over the ground floor of her house after a water meter fitter cut the wrong pipe and then couldnt stop the water flow for over an hour when a second fitter arrived. They then brought in a dehumidifer and plugged it to an electric supply which was wet through and left her to deal with it alone. She had pneumonia and was very ill so spent 0ver 10 days in bed with the water still there. She had terrible trouble getting anything from them and I am wondering if you finally got them to deal with it adequately. Good wishes and I hope you got through OK.

Edited by Stirling2005
typo
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Hi,

 

It was eventually resolved by UU, however it took c. 2 months (from complaint) for settlement. It was initally passed to the Contractor to resolve then the Sub-Contractor etc. etc. where nothing really happened. However I then persisted and contaced UU anywhere between 2 & 5 times per day asking if it had been resolved and when was it likely to be! It eventually worked, as UU decided to settle directly with myself and seek the damages claim directly from their Contractor.

 

Hope this helps...

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