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Boiler Cover Plan with @YourRepairUK **Resolved**


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I need some advice please for my mum (she's 85), sorry this post is long but have put as much detail as I can.
 
My mum has a boiler cover plan with YourRepair. It covers annual servicing. The boiler is about 12 years old and has been working fine. The service was carried out last week – YourRepair subcontracts the work to local plumbers. The engineer came last Tuesday. Whatever work he did resulted in the boiler pressure showing low and he reported 3 faults, saying he didn’t have any authorisation to fix anything but that the boiler was in a safe condition to be left even though the red button on it had started flashing. His report says it passed visual inspection and told my mum he’d left it in a safe condition despite showing low pressure and the red button flashing.
 
That evening, by brother detected a faint smell of burning. My mum went to bed and discovered the radiator behind her bed was mad hot so she went downstairs to turn the thermostat down (did this action save her life?)
 
Next morning mum noticed the boiler had stopped working. Spoke to YourRepair who arranged another engineer to come on Friday.
 
My mum started to feel sick and had difficulties breathing Wednesday and Thursday – and actually ended up calling an ambulance and was taken to hospital on Thursday. At the time we didn’t link any boiler problems with her feeling unwell.
 
2nd engineer from a different company came on Friday and gave a red notice to say the boiler was in an unsafe state and turned it off. He said he’s never seen a boiler being left in such a state as the internal wires had melted – hence the burning smell detected.
 
Spoke to YourRepair and they arranged a 3rd engineer from a different company to come out on Sunday. My brother was there and recorded the conversation on video. The engineer said that the 1st engineer had replaced a seal, but in doing so he had failed to tighten a nut which meant it was not compressing down on the heat exchanger, meaning the heat was escaping through the gap and systematically burnt through all the cables. He shook the inside to show how loose it was. He said that the boiler was ruined and mum would need a new one.
 
I spoke to YourRepair on Saturday and he said that there was nothing they could do and that mum would have to claim through the 1st engineer’s public liability insurance, as YourRepair legally couldn’t claim because it wasn’t their property damaged, it was my mums. They said a claim would typically be 3-4 weeks assuming it wasn’t contested so we would need to go through this process to claim the cost of a new boiler. All the while leaving my mum without heating or hot water.
 
I tried explaining that my mum’s contract is with YourRepair so we expect them to sort it – it’s them who brought in the 1st company, not us, so we expect them to sort it. But they maintain that the only solution is for us to claim under the 1st company’s PL insurance.
 
I’ve spoken to YourRepair again today who have organised for the manufacturers of the boiler to come on Wednesday as they seem to think they can fix the boiler. We’ll see. But if they can’t we’re back to square one.
 
There is a clause in the YourRepair contract stating “We may at any time transfer any or all our rights or responsibilities under this agreement to any other organisation. We will tell you as soon as we reasonably can if we do so. We may also subcontract anything we have agreed to do under this agreement. None of this affects your rights.”
 
Does that clause exempt YourRepair from being responsible for the cost of a new boiler?
 
Do we have no choice but to claim through the first company’s PL insurance ourselves?
 
My mum is 85 and this whole episode is stressing her out. Not to mention serious health and safety concerns - there could be a link to her being hospitalised if the boiler was omitting dangerous odours and if she hadnt gone and turned the thermostat down that evening and if the boiler didn't have inbuilt shut off safety features, the boiler could have caught fire overnight and burnt the house down..... What ifs, but the potential consequences are scary...
 
I’ve reported the first company to Gas Safe. They seem to have Gas Safe registration but in talking to the 2nd and 3rd engineers who have come out, they’ve both said they’ve never seen such a mess made to a boiler and can’t believe the engineer didn’t tighten that nut.
 
The report from the 1st engineer and the pictures he took clearly show that the nut was loose because of the gap in the screw thread. So we have enough evidence to pursue a claim as his own images show the nut that he failed to tighten. But we just want YourRepair to take responsibility and fix or replace the boiler for her.
I would like to know what our rights are. Thank you.
 
 
 
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In principle the liability would be borne by YourRepair.  But there is a rule – which relates to something called "vicarious liability" which says that a company is only liable for the wrongdoings of their employees and not of their contractors.

YourRepair might try to rely on this – but this is a liability which generally speaking only applies to negligence actions and we would have to be looking at a contract action here.

In the case of an action for breach of contract, then certainly I would say that it is YourRepair.  I'm simply making you aware of the vicarious liability rule in case they try to run that by way of some kind of defence.

Have you got a copy of the policy? Please could you post up here in PDF format.

You say that your boiler is 12 years old. This means that you have had a substantial amount of use from it. Even if you manage to establish a liability in contract, it is unlikely that they would be liable to pay out for a new unit. The contract rules would require that you are only awarded a pro rata sum which would be calculated against the expected life of the boiler.

On this basis you would have to find out what the reasonable expected life of this kind of boiler would be – properly maintained and serviced as you one seems to have been. However, it may be that the reasonable expected life might be 15 years, for instance and if you have had 12 years of good use out of it, then it might be the case that you would only be entitled to recover compensation equal to 3 years of the total value. I suppose this would be about 20% of the value of new one – and you would have to find the remaining 80% to cover the cost of a new installation.

If you aren't sure what I'm trying to explain here then please let me know and I'll see if I can word it differently.

Of course I understand that you may well not have the money to pay for even 80% of a new unit – but that is where you might find yourself if the existing unit can't be repaired by the manufacturer.

You should be aware that it is at this point where everybody sees an opportunity to sell a completely new installation rather than to repair an existing one.

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Well I've had a look at the repair contract.

On page 10 they referred to – Beyond Economical Repair.
They say that if it is judged to be beyond economical repair and if it is older than seven years – which yours is, then the best that they will refund you will be your agreement fees up to a maximum of £350.

So if the boiler is so badly damaged that this occurs, you would be entitled to £350 plus a pro rata value of their new boiler because it has been caused by their breach of contract.

You need to find out what the reasonable life expectancy of this make and model boiler is. I expect that you may be looking at about 15 years or so.

You had probably better do some hunting around the Internet

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Well if it's 12 years then you're on a hiding to nothing. You're going to have to argue that it is 15 years because it has been well maintained and also because it hasn't had excessive use.

However, be careful because the repairer will probably want to say that it's 12 years in order to reduce their liability to you to a minimum.

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ok. Surely if YourRepair are going to the trouble of getting the manufacturers out to try and fix it, both parties must think there is still life to be had out of it?   Or is that a possible red herring?

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They've done that because they don't really understand the principles yet and they haven't thought it through.

If you are really lucky, they won't consider the pro rata aspect of it and offer you more than you are entitled to – but we will have to see that when we get to it.

These people aren't bright enough to throw red herrings

You might want to start researching the cost of a replacement unit plus installation – just to understand your position a bit better.

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We've had one quote from the 3rd company that has seen it - £2,300. Waiting for other quotes.

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It will be useful if any independent inspections can also give you in evaluation – not of its money value at the moment – but of its condition and likely continued life expectancy.

15 years is a reasonable life expectancy. However you might get some people who will look at it and say that it is in fantastic condition and could easily go on for another seven or eight years. That will help you

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good idea. She's always used these boiler plans but has recently switched over to YourRepair as they were cheaper.  So it's been serviced every year of its life 

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How long has it been with this new company?   YourRepair?

 

Has she been there long enough to have chalked up £350 worth of monthly payments?

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That's a real shame. I'm sure that you can appreciate that that has reduced the amount of available compensation substantially.

We have to work on the reasonable life expectancy angle.

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it's just typical isn't it?  She's probably spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds through the years on boiler cover and never had any problems and when she moved to a new provider, the problems start.

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update - YourRepair have brought in a Worcester boiler engineer who has replaced the ruined parts and the boiler is now working

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Excellent. Good for you and thank you very much indeed for letting us know.
 

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thank you very much for your help. Still going through reporting the engineer at fault but YourRepair seem to have come good.

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  • BankFodder changed the title to Boiler Cover Plan with @YourRepairUK **Resolved**

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