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Or is it reasonable to have to take out a service contract at £240 a year to get an engineer to fix my boiler

(38 Posts)
olderandwider Tue 30-Nov-10 17:44:47

OK. Boiler is broken. So, no heating at all (apart from one small fan heater, sob). We have an immersion heater so at least have hot water.

Rang British Gas, who are offering a next day one off fixed price repair service on their website. Except, due to the cold weather (it's winter, it snows, quelle surprise) they say it will take until next Tuesday to send out an engineer. 6 days!
But lo! If I take out a £20 a month service contract they can find an engineer for me tomorrow. I will also pay £99 for the repair, so all in £340 quid!

Just seems a rather cynical piece of marketing to me. I used to have BG maintenance cover, but stopped as we rarely needed it and also when we did once call for a breakdown engineer, we were told we were not a priority as we had hot water!

I know I could call another engineer but worried about astronomical charges and lack of references. Just have to suck it up, but still,, grrr!

reallytired Tue 30-Nov-10 17:48:11

Where are you based. If you are in Hertfordshire then I could recommend a good heating engineer.

If you live in a different part of the country then I am sure that someone else could recommned a heating engineer.

sethstarkaddersmum Tue 30-Nov-10 17:48:34

profiteering bastards.
I think you need to find a local boiler firm and be prepared to wait.

bestbefore Tue 30-Nov-10 17:49:46

reallytired..whereabouts in herts? am thinking of leaving BG contract but would like a back up plan!!!

whatdoiknowanyway Tue 30-Nov-10 17:54:30

BG contract felt like a con when we had it. Paid for years but always given excuse as to why our work outside of contract. Better to get a local firm. Why not ask here for local recommendations?

wildbillhickok Tue 30-Nov-10 17:54:46

I dunno - I had to get Baxi out to fix my boiler as the fan had gone. Repair, part and call out was £347. If I took out a 1 year plan it would be £329 spread over the year and would include fixing the fan, having a full service and the work guaranteed for the length of service agreement.

Yours seems about right given that. I would just pay the £20 a month.

wildbillhickok Tue 30-Nov-10 17:56:05

But then I'm the kind of person who pays for gym but never goes, pays for Love Film and keeps the same film for 6 months at the cost of £9.99 a month...

PinkElephant73 Tue 30-Nov-10 17:58:29

British Gas are notorious for ripping people off for boiler repairs - AVOID.

please try and find a local firm instead.

trixie123 Tue 30-Nov-10 17:59:28

also would like to know reallytired!
OP I had one of these contracts and they're shit. They will come out to you within 24 hours but that doesn't mean they'll fix it quickly. In one instance, they took over three weeks and seven visits before they fixed the problem because each time they did the smallest thing possible that might fix it because they are not getting paid any extra. Happened like that more than once. Steer clear if poss.

lovemydog Tue 30-Nov-10 18:00:24

I pay £145 per annum to heateam for unlimited callouts, parts and labour and an annual service. Well worth it imo.

exexpat Tue 30-Nov-10 18:03:22

I'd try and ask around for local engineers before agreeing to the British Gas blackmail contract.

My boiler had a problem a week or so ago and the local guy who came to fix it charged me less than £70 for parts and labour, which included two visits (he didn't have the part in stock the first time). If you're in a hurry, and you can't find anyone local, you may end up with BG, but more than £300 to fix one problem sounds a bit OTT. Does the annual contract include a routine annual service?

JamieLeeCurtis Tue 30-Nov-10 18:07:32

Don't do it!!!. I did this 2 years ago. Had had bad experience with local gas fitters, was desperate etc, trusted BG.

Got crap service from them. They took 3 visits, spanning a week, to fix a simple problem (broken fan). They failed to spot a gas leak. Every time I called to ask what was going on, they tried to sell me new services, or upgrade the contract I had to a more expensive one.


Have now found a local firm.

exexpat Tue 30-Nov-10 18:08:46

I think I have also read a lot of complaints about the British Gas contracts in personal finance/consumer pages in the papers....

JamieLeeCurtis Tue 30-Nov-10 18:09:29

trixie - me too - they should have replaced the fan straight off. Instead they "oiled" it twice.

JamieLeeCurtis Tue 30-Nov-10 18:10:53

I am in NE london if you need a recommendation, OP

olderandwider Tue 30-Nov-10 18:18:44

lovemydog - that sounds a bargain. Have you had to call them out yet, and if so was the service good?

PinkElephant - I too think BG are a rip off. We had a problem with a valve to our hot water system and they wanted me to replace the hot water tank! £800 +VAt or something ridiculous!

I do have a friendly local plumber (no jokes about big wrenches please) but, he has suddenly put his prices up and I am not sure I trust him now. He charged me nearly £500 to fix the valve and I couldn't see the repair was worth that unless the part was made of solid gold.

So, I guess I need a friendly local plumber. Am in Central London.
The boiler is flashing on its display that it has an F7 fault, which apparently means electrode fault or water inside boiler or blocked flue. Any MNers who are boiler-savvy?

Failing that, please can MNers send the huskies round with chocolate, blankets and hot water bottles? Thermostat says 12C. Brrrr.

happycamel Tue 30-Nov-10 18:21:39

Use this, I do every time I need something done. It's great:

JamieLeeCurtis Tue 30-Nov-10 18:23:37

Jim Smith & Sons 0208 556 5689. They are in outer London but may well travel in.

pointydog Tue 30-Nov-10 18:32:18

Yes it is cynical marketing.

You need a good local self-employed bloke. That's what I've got. His prices are v reasonable and he always helps out sharpish if you are stuck. All this just for me getting an annual boiler check and service for £48 a year.

pointydog Tue 30-Nov-10 18:32:56

corgi registered natch.

Itsjustafleshwound Tue 30-Nov-10 18:39:22

Have you tried check a trade website?

I think Corgi is now gas safe ...

We have a contract with BG, but am thinking of cancelling ..

Have you got emergency home cover on your home insurance - would they be able to help?

olderandwider Tue 30-Nov-10 18:48:10

good thinking itsjustafleshwound. I will check my insurance policy.
Everyone - thanks for the recommendations. Going out now, but in the morning will try and contact a few of the people suggested here.

worldgonemad72 Tue 30-Nov-10 18:54:00

If your boiler isn't working since we had this cold spell it may be that your condense pipe is frozen, thaw it out by pouring hot (but not boiling) water over it, usually a big chunk of ice will fall out, either reset you boiler or relight you pilot and it should work again. If its a more serious problem then use a reputable local firm (try phoning a college that does apprentices they usually only deal with 'proper' companies). Contracts are normally never worth the money unless your boiler is old or crap, in which case you would be better off replacing it in the long run anyway.

activate Tue 30-Nov-10 18:55:17

British Gas are shit

their engineers are not all well trained

they are on commission to sell you a new boiler

avoid like the plague and find yourself a local, decent plumber

activate Tue 30-Nov-10 18:56:49

If you are prepared to be obnoxious and insist on another engineer coming out when first fails / cocks something up then it can make sense if you have an unreliable boiler

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