Consumer rights -gas safe over charge?

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    Consumer rights -gas safe over charge?

    Hi guys

    Just after some thoughts, if that’s ok.

    Most of my properties are looked after by one, extremely good local letting agent who charges £35 for a gas cert. I know this is a good price, however even when I managed these properties myself before moving abroad, I used to be able to get them done for £40.

    I have one other property slightly away from these others, so have to use a different national letting agent. My point of contact is the manager of the local office there, and a really nice guy. In the past I have paid around £55 for the gas cert for this property, when it was let with other letting agents or by me.

    Anyhow the property became empty just before covid and the local lettings manager was furloughed so I had to speak with another branch of this national letting agency. They told me a tenant was moving in, in a weeks time, so not much notice! The property needed a new gas cert and they said they would do it for £85. This was all in an email. It was a little pricey, but time was of the essence. They said they would not instruct the gas cert until I paid upfront so I called them and gave them my debit card details over the phone. A few days later they emailed me saying the gas cert was done and everything was fine.

    It took an age for me to get a landlords statement from them. After I received my statement, £110 had been deducted for repairs. By this time, the manager had come off being furloughed, so I queried it with him. He didn’t know what it was so went to find out. Anyhow it was for the gas cert. He did provide an invoice also for £110.

    I complained about this, and he went back to his accounts department and said you cannot do this to a landlord. You told the landlord £84, took £84 from her debit card, and then, without informing her took another £26 from the rent. They are however still refusing to refund me. The whole experience with their accounts department has been hopeless with them deducting tax at source despite me giving them my tax exemption number months previously, charging me additional vat for services after telling me vat was already included. These issues I have successfully got refunds for although it took several weeks of chasing for and not withstanding leaving me a little cash poor.

    Given this, I thought I had the following rights in this instance ...

    The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 give you rights against a trader when you buy goods, services or digital content. The Regulations split contracts into three types:
    • on-premises contracts. Buying from their business premises
    • distance contracts. Buying without face-to-face contact, such as via the internet or telephone
    • off-premises contracts. Buying away from their business premises such as on your doorstep

    For on-premises contracts (which includes regular market stalls) you are entitled to expect that a trader gives you the total price of the goods, services or digital content, including taxes, in a clear and understandable way before you enter into the contract (if the price cannot be worked out you must be given the method of calculation). A trader must also give you details of any additional delivery charges.

    The same information must be given before you enter into a distance or off-premises contract but, in addition, you must also be given the total costs per billing period / monthly costs for open-ended or subscription contracts as well as any costs involved in using distance communication to finalise the contract. If a trader does not give you this information you do not have to pay those charges.


    Can anyone advise, or been in a similar situation?

    Thanks









    #2
    We use a national company for properties distant from base. £40 for a gas certificate is a mirage. Double or triple that sum, depending on how many gas appliances.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
      We use a national company for properties distant from base. £40 for a gas certificate is a mirage. Double or triple that sum, depending on how many gas appliances.
      I used a guy who charged £45, but he was unreliable (messing tenants about), so I found someone else who does them for £50. Might depend on the part of the country you're in - I imagine it's more expensive in London, for example.

      Comment


        #4
        Fire agent: Either self-manage (it is possibe even if in a different country) or get a better agent.

        Then perhaps sue, small claims, after going through the existing agent's complaints process & then letting agent redress scheme if still unhappy.
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          Fire agent: Either self-manage (it is possibe even if in a different country) or get a better agent.

          Then perhaps sue, small claims, after going through the existing agent's complaints process & then letting agent redress scheme if still unhappy.
          Agree with first para but second seems an awful lot of effort for £26.

          Comment


            #6
            The economics of running an agency are such that revenue has to be earned. Staff have to be paid. If you ask the agent to do anything for you, dont baulk at having to pay for their time on a commercial basis.........

            Comment


              #7
              I think he's baulking at being charged a different price to the one quoted.

              I think you need to make a formal complaint and if you dont get satisfaction, complain to their redress scheme.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
                The economics of running an agency are such that revenue has to be earned. Staff have to be paid. If you ask the agent to do anything for you, dont baulk at having to pay for their time on a commercial basis.........
                I'd imagine everyone on here understands the basic principle of running a business.

                The gas engineer who carries out the gas safety inspection spends up to an hour doing it, and has studied hard to pass the relevant exams, and jumps through hoops to remain 'Gas Safe'. The idea that it's okay for the letting agent to apply a 100% mark-up to the engineer's fee (or any mark-up at all) simply because they have phoned up to book the safety check is just ridiculous, especially as the LA is holding back around 10% of the rent for 'management'.

                As for 'on a commercial basis', you're not exactly talking about a solicitor or accountant.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
                  I think he's baulking at being charged a different price to the one quoted.

                  I think you need to make a formal complaint and if you dont get satisfaction, complain to their redress scheme.
                  Agree with this

                  Comment

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