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A shade greener boilers- financial ombudsman success r DD


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In March 2016 I took out a boiler from a shade greener on a conditional sale for 10 years was approximately £40 per month for 10 years

 

It sounded a bit expensive but they advised that all parts and labour would be covered over that 10 years. Also an annual safety check which sounded great as it took away the worries of the boiler breaking down and replacing with expensive parts. 

Plus they said they would power flush it so I went ahead.   And also they had a call out of a maximum of waiting 24 hours. 

 

The whole installation and power flush took approx 4.5 hours.
I didn’t have any problems until 23 months later when the hot water was playing up and I was told when I rung that if it was debris in my boiler that the visit would be chargeable.

I advised none of this was mentioned when I took the agreement but they was insistent.

As it happened I was due a service within a couple of days so they did the visit and said it was debris and they cleaned the heat exchange plate as a gesture of goodwill.

Approx 6 months later started having intermittent problems with hot water so I called again and was told by an advisor over the phone that it was my heat exchange plate which was blocked due to debris and I would be charged.
 I asked the advisor if he was a gas safety registered engineer and he said he wasn’t so I asked how he could be making such technical diagnosis’s over the telephone and I asked why the boiler would be blocked with debris when a power flush is supposed to last 5-6 years,

I also asked if they cleaned the filter on a boiler service which they said they didn’t and they didn’t have to.

I got my own gas engineer to check and it was a different fault and rang back and they sent someone out.

I made a complaint to Asg and i posted on social media about the disgraceful way I was spoken to on the phone and their service in general only to be sent a letter threatening libel on me and I had two days to sign a letter promising I wouldn’t post anymore on such platforms.

Hence i didn’t sign and the Facebook group was changed to private however within 24 hours staff members of Asg tried to infiltrate the group and when I raised this with Asg they banned me from using the 24 hour call out facility and would only allow me to communicate by recorded delivery as I’d been abusive and threatening to staff which they apparently had proof of to provide to the courts if necessary.

I did a sars request to asg to request said copper of emails and call recordings to which they couldn’t supply so I made a complaint to the information commissioners office who in turn raised this with asg who admitted they in fact did not have these (because it never happened).

Also it transpired that my boiler wasn’t fitted to gas safe regulations/building regs/manufacturers instructions to which asg denied (the flue was discharging into next doors garden).

Asg sent their head engineer round who got my tenant to sign documents (with my name in the boxes) to say their was no issue with the flue even though this had been raised several time’s.

I also found out there was a charge registered against my property which prevented me from remortgaging even onto a better rate that was never mentioned when I signed up.

I took these issues to the financial ombudsman who looked at the case and in the meantime I got gas safe to inspect the boiler who confirmed it wasn’t legally compliant after my solicitor checked the boundaries of the property so the ombudsman ruled in my favour that they should wind down the credit agreement, remove the boiler and pay me £400 compensation.

As asg had many opportunities to rectify the issues and chose not to, they also didn’t believe that the boiler flush was done to a correct standard as after researching it should take 2 days to fit a boiler and do a complete power flush.

I have never dealt with a company like a shade greener in my life and sincerely hope that telling my story that no one falls foul to these again.

 

 

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Thanks for telling us the story. It's really very shocking. I spaced and punctuated your post a bit – and I'd be grateful if you could space things out properly in future because it's very time consuming. Solid blocks of text are very difficult for people to read and it puts them off.

Have you got the letter threatening you with libel please? Please could you post up here in scanned PDF format. We may as well have a laugh. It seems that there are lots of similar experiences with this company – and this issue of the system being choked with debris has come up very often and seems to be the standard excuse.

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Here’s a posting of my ruling from the ombudsman 

 

 

Quote

 

Dear Sir/Madam 

 

Miss xxs complaint about A Shade Greener (Boilers) LLP (trading as A Shade Greener)

 

I’m writing with regards to Miss xxx complaint.

 

I’ve now reviewed the additional evidence provided by Miss xxxin the form of the report from Gas Safe.

 

This additional evidence has not changed my outcome, but the redress will differ slightly. I’ll explain why below.

 

For ease, below I’ve attached a copy of my original assessment to refer to. As part of that assessment, Miss xxx had raised concerns with the installation of the boiler, citing that it wasn’t within building regulations. However based on the evidence at the time, I had concluded that there wasn’t any evidence to suggest this. However, Miss xxxxx has now provided a report from Gas Safe who have looked at the installation.

 

As I referred to in my previous view, ASG under the supply and installation agreement were to –

 

  • Install the “Equipment” in a careful and considered way, following best working practices.
  • Carry out a gas safety test and power-flush of the existing heating system and radiators, advising of any leaks.
  • Install a programmable room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves where required.
  • Dispose of the old boiler.

 

The conditional sale agreement was between ASG and Miss xxx. And within the agreement it very clearly states that ASG will supply and install the boiler. There was an express term in the conditional sale agreement that ‘the installation will be carried out in a professional manner with best working practices followed’. I must also take account of relevant legislation when deciding what is fair and reasonable in this complaint. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (‘CRA’) implied a term in the agreement that any service provided would be carried out with ‘reasonable care and skill’. The installation of a boiler is a service.

 

Gas Safe attended Miss xxx property on 29 January 2020, which then leads to them subsequently issuing a report on their findings. The report stated the following;

 

 

 

As per the extract above, a number of issues with the boiler meant that it was not installed to current standards. The standard in particular that raises concerns is the location of the flue and the fact it’s located 0mm from a boundary facing terminal. This means that the chimney/flue discharges directly into the adjacent neighbours garden. Miss xxx has also provided Gas safe and I a copy of a letter from a Solicitor confirming the boundaries of the property in question (please find attached). As you can see from the report, the minimum requirement is that the terminal should be located 600mm from a boundary facing to the terminal.

 

Given these findings, I don’t find it unreasonable to conclude that the boiler hasn’t been installed with reasonable skill and care, as required under the CRA 2015. This therefore constitutes a breach of the implied term in Miss xxx and ASG contract. I’ve therefore had to consider the remedy of this breach. 

 

From looking at the case as a whole, also taking into consideration that Miss xxxhad raised this previously and ASG had confirmed there were no issues during their visits to the property to conduct services, I don’t feel repeat performance / repair would be appropriate. It’s also worth noting that these visits to the property were ASG’s opportunities to repair the boiler. 

 

I therefore believe that the boiler should be allowed to be rejected and removed from Miss xxxx property.

 

conclusions

For the reasons I’ve explained above, I’m persuaded Miss xxxx complaint should be upheld.

 

I think it’s fair and reasonable in this case that Miss xxx should be allowed to reject the boiler - especially given the problems covered in my original view (power flush issues) and now the evidence of the incorrect installation. 

 

It will also have been inconvenient for Miss xxx to keep calling out an engineer and having a non-compliant boiler for as long as she did. I find ASG should pay Miss xxxx compensation of £400 for this.

 

I’m therefore recommending that ASG do the following:

  • Remove the boiler from Miss xxx property and not cost or inconvenience to her.
  • Unwind the credit agreement with nothing further to pay, removing any adverse information for her credit file (if applicable)
  • Pay £400 in compensation for the distress and inconvenience caused.

 

what happens next

 

 

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Well a definition of a libel statement is a statement which is untrue. There are other part of the definition but that is the most important thing.

As long as people post up what has really happened – especially when it is supported by evidence and the posts are not made maliciously – then there is no defamation.

I think you should let the people on the Facebook group know that. It is important that anything which is posted on this forum is honest and straightdealing.

It seems to me that your letter from the FOS is perfectly acceptable evidence of the truth of what has happened and frankly I think that ASG have gotten away very lightly – but I'm afraid that the ombudsman is often very half-hearted or conservative in the remedies which they suggest.

 

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Has the charge been removed from your property? Have ASG undertaken all the steps which has been required of them by the FOS? I'm not sure that I notice the dates that all of this happened – the installation, the complaints, the FOS complaint and the FOS decision.

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The FOS decision is very recent and as ASG have agreed to the remedy then this ruling won’t be available to read on the fos website as it’s not gone to a final decision. The remedy has not been carried out due to the issue of coronavirus and social distancing so once this is over the boiler will be removed and the charge/compensation will be paid.

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I don't understand why the money can't be paid and the charge lifted immediately. They can be done online.

Who's handing out this reason – ASG?

Of course the level of compensation is wholly inadequate – but that is the FOS

 

Also, there is a risk that ASG might go out of business for some reason or other in which case the FOS decision will be very difficult to implement and they could be complications about removing the charge.

It seems to me that these elements should be expedited as soon as possible – especially removing the charge.

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 Not sure how to pdf it as doing it from a phone. A shade greener are concerned that once they’ve paid me said compo and taken the restriction off that I will then refuse to give them the boiler which couldn’t be further from the truth as I’d happily gift wrap it for them.

Edited by Bunnyrabbit2509
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Are they saying this in order to explain a delay in paying the money and remove the charge?

If they are then it sounds to me that this is a clear case for moving on with the ombudsman –

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Why don't you post up correspondence was you have received from them on this matter – and don't worry about blanking out their names. The more publicity the better. Are they going to threaten to sue you in defamation because you publish their own letters?!!

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Here is the email

from the ombudsman as I have sent a few emails to asg but they haven’t responded to them.

 

Quote

 

Dear Miss Xxxx

 

your complaint about A Shade Greener (Boilers) LLP (trading as A Shade Greener)

 

Thank you for letting me know that you agree with how I think your complaint should be sorted out. A Shade Greener have now also agreed to my findings and confirmed this to me in writing.

 

I've now asked the business to get in touch with you directly to arrange what we agreed – so I won’t do anything more unless I hear from you.

 

As we discussed, due to the effects of Covid-19, ASG will be putting the settlement on hold until it is safe to send an engineer to your property and remove the boiler. Therefore the finance agreement being unwound and the compensation payment being paid will be completed once the boiler is removed.

 

If you have any further problems with this in the future, then please let me know.

 

 

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I think that there is no reason for them to hold back on the charge – this is especially important and I think that this is just a delaying tactic.

It is clear that dealing with heating issues is an essential service – and if instance one had parenting responsibility or looking after old people – then it would be beyond doubt. When was the decision received from the ombudsman?

Also, what is the date of the above email? There's no reason for you to withhold dates – and it helps us to put things in context.

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Also, who signed the email? Please don't withhold these names. It's very important

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Sorry, I thought it was from ASG. You haven't given us the date although as it refers to the virus crisis, presumably you can't be too long ago. What date was it sent?

In that case I think you should write to the ombudsman and say to them that in view of open-ended nature of the current crisis and the necessary confinement, that you think it is reasonable for the chance to be lifted immediately. You understand that ASG believe that you may not release the boiler once you have been paid your compensation. Tell them that nothing could be further from the truth but you are more than happy to give whatever undertaking is necessary to satisfy all parties. Tell them that as far as you're concerned the amount of compensation can wait – but the charge cannot. Tell the ombudsman that furthermore, in view of the current climate you are concerned that ASG may go out of business in which case you will be left to remove the boiler at your own expense, that you will lose any compensation and that there will be difficulties in having the charge removed if the company is in administration. I think you should point out the history of this company and the fact that they have dissolved before and then resurrected under a new name.

I should tell the ombudsman to things first of all that you suggest that a far better arrangement is that the compensation should be paid into an escrow account and also whatever documentation is needed to remove the charge should be similarly lodged with an intermediary so that it can then be applied once the boiler is removed and returned – with the proviso that if the company goes out of business, then the remover the charge will be implement it immediately and the funds will be released.

Tell the ombudsman that this would be an arrangement which should satisfy everybody unless ASG's has some other agenda in mind.

Secondly I think should tell the ombudsman that you consider that the restoration of the heating system in your home is an essential matter and that if ASG will not arrange it, then you are content to get to quotations from suitably qualified persons and have it removed by them - and returned directly to ASG as part of the contract.

Before you send this letter, I would suggest that you find the time tomorrow – Monday – to telephone around and see who is prepared to come out and undertake this work in short order. You can then jot down a number of business names and addresses and supply goes to the ombudsman and tell the on the spend that you had no difficulty in finding people who are prepared to carry out the work and therefore you feel that you are confirmed in your view that ASG are simply prevaricating.

Finally I think you should indicate that you are fully aware that the ombudsman's duty is to find a solution which is fair to both sides and you think that this solution satisfies that criterion completely and there can be no objection from anyone. If the adjudicator will not accept it then you want the matter moved up to an ombudsman with that particular solution to be considered. I think that you should emphasise your own personal circumstances when arguing whether or not the proposed solution should be considered essential.

Have you any comments to make about that?

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Also in view of the number of successful ombudsman complaints against this company – which by and large tend to involve the same issue.

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