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AIBU not to pay this call out charge?

40 replies

IrritatedUser1960 · 18/06/2017 13:25

My hot water hasn't been working for a while. The system is quite complex so I spent a while going through the yellow pages looking for a local gas registered plumber with the necessary qualifications to come and look at it.
He came over, looked it all over for no more than 10 minutes and clearly decided he couldn't fix this system as he didn't have the necessary expertise even though I had explained the system on the phone beforehand.
Left and then sent me a bill for £50 which is his call out charge, now i'm sorry but anyone can stand in front of my boiler sucking their teeth for 10 minutes. He didn't do any work, didn't make any suggestions or recommendations just said he didn't know what to do then left.
he lives one mile away, I offered £10 for petrol and damageto teeth from sucking them and thought that was quite reasonable.
He says he wants the full £50. I'm not paying him.
I'm a podiatrist, if I was to go to someones house, look at their feet for 5 minutes before saying I have no idea what to do with their particular problem there is no way I would charge my full fee. I would also make a recommendation to a colleague or ask them to go to their GP.

OP posts:

BikeRunSki · 18/06/2017 13:30

But he'll have used his knowledge to eliminate other possible problems surely? A call out charge is just that; the charge for getting him to come out and look at the boiler. Was this advertised? If you knew this in advance, you've got no comeback for not paying him.


Mrsglitterfairy · 18/06/2017 13:34

You would be VVU not to pay. He came out on a Sunday and surely he would have told you his call out fee before he came out? He may have only stop been there for 10 mins but you're not taking into account travelling time, possibly changing his plans with his family on a Sunday etc.
DH gets called out for work and they charge £90 +vat just to come out so think yourself lucky it's only £50


IrritatedUser1960 · 18/06/2017 13:40

It wasn't on Sunday it was during the last week. He lives one mile down the road and clearly had absolutely no clue.
I asked him if he had worked with this system on the phone and he said he had but when he looked at it he kept asking me where everything was and what things on the boiler were.
To me that is not somebody knowing what they are doing.
I'd pay it but I think he clearly hadn't worked with this system before ever and didn't touch or test anything - just stood there looking clueless.
I think he thought this was just easy call out money quite honestly.

OP posts:

FizzyGreenWater · 18/06/2017 13:44

You would be reasonable to expect at least SOME form of recommendation or suggestion as to the issue.

If being picky then yes you would also expect that a reasonably qualified person would listen to your description of the system and conclude that it would be likely that they didn't have the relevant expertise.

I wouldn't expect someone to definitely be able to fix a problem just because they came out. However I would expect some kind of advice and would NOT be happy for a supposedly qualified person to simply say 'I don't know' and leave, and then expect renumeration as a professional.

So no I wouldn't be paying until I had some form of advice from him.


cansu · 18/06/2017 13:46

I agree with you. People take the piss massively like this.


DancingLedge · 18/06/2017 13:49

I think your offer of expended of £10 is reasonable and appropriate.
I would send him a £10 chq, with an accompanying note, giving the reasons as to why this is what you are offering, and include the words ' I offer this payment in full and final settlement'.
If he pays in the cheque, he's accepted your terms, and the matter is closed.

He could sue you, but, realistically, for £40?


OdinsLoveChild · 18/06/2017 13:50

YABU you knew that he charged a call out fee when you called him. Hmm

Your description of the boiler system may have been way off what the actual problem is. He wouldn't have any idea whether he can fix it without actually seeing it himself. You pay for that exact service 'a call out to determine whether he can actually fix your boiler'.

You dont have any right to withhold the payment just because he didnt have a go at ficing it. In fact had he attempted to fix it and failed I'm guessing you would have posted on MN asking if YABU to not pay him because he didnt fix it.


TheGoodEnoughWife · 18/06/2017 13:50

Oh my goodness. Don't pay him!

As you had explained the system to him on the phone he should have said then he couldn't fix it. Otherwise really easy money for him!


Oldraver · 18/06/2017 14:02

What were his terms re call out ? I think if you explained what kind of system it was, he agreed he could deal then he has a cheek to charge you for NOT fixing it.

I had similar issue with some British Gas engineers not knowing about pressurised systems and Megaflows..even told me off for re-pressurizing the tank, when it's a consumer job


BachingMad · 18/06/2017 14:05

YANBU. A cowboy! Don't pay!!


kaitlinktm · 18/06/2017 14:09

I feel for you OP - I had the same thing only with a drain company who left me in a worse state than before he came, (and with a oil leak from his van on my newly-cleaned drive) said the drains would need digging up, and I had to pay him £80 before he would bugger off.

I felt I had to pay because he had quoted his call-out fee in his advert (but I reather naively thought he might be able to fix the problem).

I left him a stinging review on line though - and only one star (you couldn't leave zero stars) Angry


JacquesHammer · 18/06/2017 14:12


You called him out. He came out.

That is the very definition of a call out fee surely?


StillDrivingMeBonkers · 18/06/2017 14:14

Is it worth it when he takes you to the small claims court and you end up with a CCJ.

You called him out, he came out. He fulfilled his side of the bargain.


alltouchedout · 18/06/2017 14:14

A call out charge is exactly that and you called him out so you have to pay.
Doesn't stop you leaving very poor reviews of him online and by word of mouth though.


BewareOfDragons · 18/06/2017 14:15

I wouldn't pay him more than the offered £10.

You explained the system on the phone to make sure he was experienced with it. He said he was. He clearly wasn't.

I'd also tell him if he presses you will be formally complaining to whoever licenses plumbers as he had clearly misrepresented his experience and was taking the piss. (I would do that anyway, tbh.) What he did borders on fraud.


timeforabrewnow · 18/06/2017 14:16

YANBU - ridiculous that he would charge £50 for nothing - he must have known beforehand that he would not be able to fix it


DJBaggySmalls · 18/06/2017 14:17

I'd contact Trading Standards. He should be able to show them some evidence he has passed training to work on your type of boiler.


CrawlingNotRunning · 18/06/2017 14:18

Agree with you OP. I had a burst pipe in a previous flat. The pipes were lead. I called plumber and told them they were lead as most plumbers aren't interested as they are a nightmare to work with. All fine apparently. Turned up. Announced he couldn't help as pipes were lead. Then charged £75 call out fee.

I disputed it. Took awhile but I won. I,have no problem paying fees but if I tell someone a detail which they agree to then they can't work because of the detail, that is their fault not mine. And they also made the problem worse by the time delay of finding someone who will work with lead


RoseVase2010 · 18/06/2017 14:21

DH is a heating engineer, he wouldn't charge for just looking, only if he did actual work on it, at which point it would be time and materials.

Tooth sucking and head shaking is always free of charge. Wink


RoseVase2010 · 18/06/2017 14:24

I don't agree that a phone explanation would be enough for him to know if he could fix it or not. But as I said, our company policy is no call out fee, but others may vary.


CremeFresh · 18/06/2017 14:35

What's to stop anyone doing this though ? 2 call outs a day £500 a week - easy money for doing nothing else but getting in your car and driving a few miles.


CremeFresh · 18/06/2017 14:36

Oh and sucking on your teeth obviously!


Rafflesway · 18/06/2017 14:37

I agree with Dragons!

This guy is a chancer!! 😡 Blatantly lied about his "expertise"!

£10 is more than reasonable but I would still report him to his trading body.


Judashascomeintosomemoney · 18/06/2017 14:39

On the other hand, if he clearly advertised a call out charge, and there was no conditions attached to said call out charge (i.e. It doesn't say the charge applies only if the issue can be fixed), then you're BU to not pay it. Don't use people who advertise a call out charge if you don't want to pay it. If, however, the call out charge wasn't advertised, YANBU to not pay it.


Slightlyperturbedowlagain · 18/06/2017 14:41

Have you checked the Gas safe register on line to see if he is personally registered on it? If he isn't then he is clearly not qualified to do the work anyway and should have told you this when you phoned. If he's using the gas safe logo in the yellow pages and isn't on the actual register then you can report him.

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