Agency charging tenant for 'unnecessary call-out'

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    Agency charging tenant for 'unnecessary call-out'

    Hello, I hope to get peoples opinions on this dispute with my letting agent (I am the tenant).

    I was concerned that my freezer was over heating- suddenly it was extremely hot to touch, and inside seemed to be frosting over in overdrive (there was no frost in the freezer before this point, lived here for 3 months). I had previously logged an issue with this appliance within the first two weeks of living here- it stopped working whilst I was on holidays and miraculously came on again a couple of days after I returned- therefore I cancelled the arranged call-out.

    This time, being concerned after having lost a full freezer worth of food previously, I reported my concerns of the sides of the freezer being extremely hot to touch, and it seemed to be operating intensely. I simply reported the concerns and did not specifically request a call out. A contractor called and said he would come out on a certain day, I was working so I left the key out for him and consented to him entering the property. Keep in mind that I was not asked anything regarding usual maintenance points/ preliminary checks/ what was make and model of appliance. Also there is no manual for the appliance located in the premises to consult so I was not aware of the specs of the appliance.

    He found no fault, saying it is in fact, not a frost free freezer, and the hot panels were just door panel heaters? These heaters were not active up until the day I discovered and reported my concerns. The agency has sent me the bill for the call out saying that it could have been avoided and was unnecessary, as I provided misleading information leading to the contractor's call out.

    They give these clauses to say the responsibility is on me for the fee:

    ''to keep the Property including fixtures, fittings, and furnishings clean and tidy and maintained to the same condition as at the start of the Tenancy (fair wear and tear excepted)

    to pay the Landlord's or his agent's reasonable costs in respect of any failure by the Tenant to fulfil his undertakings contained in this agreement, including bank charges incurred by the Landlord or his agent in relation to cheques, standing orders or direct debits for the payment of Rent not being honoured and the full cost of the taking of legal advice and legal action in relation to any breach of this agreement by the Tenant.

    to protect the Landlord from any liability arising from the Tenant failing to comply with any part of this agreement.''

    However, I feel this to be an unreasonable expectation for me to pay due to the circumstances as I genuinely believed there to be an issue with the fridge.

    I am interested to hear peoples opinions on this one, thanks.

    #2
    Just as an aside, the majority of manuals are available online.

    Comment


      #3
      "Door panel heaters"! You are being taken for a fool. There is clearly a fault here. You should also have notice that there were continuous operating sounds. I'd expect the metal grill (heat exchanger) at the back to be very hot, as well.

      There are two places where freezers deliberately generate heat, not simply to reject it to the atmoshere.

      1) is in the interior, where the the part that generates the cold is generated. This is to melt ice that has formed. That heater will be electric and intermittent.

      2) around the door seals, to avoid them freezing shut. This actually uses heat generated by the refrigeration process. Only if that was excessive would the whole panel become hot.

      As a general principle, I'd say it was reasonable to charge for wasted callouts, but this sounds like a valid problem. Is the symptom still present.

      Is there any chance that the door was left ajar? Do the doors fully close?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
        Just as an aside, the majority of manuals are available online.
        That's true, and I often search online rather than searching my pile of manuals, but the landlord should be supplying all the user guides.

        I doubt that the guide will cover this symptom.

        Comment


          #5
          First, they are not your agent; they are the landlord's agent.

          I presume we are talking about an upright freezer, not a chest freezer.

          I have had such a freezer frost up when a tea towel prevented the door from closing; door didn't get hot, though


          A web search suggests that there may be a problem with dust and/or a failed fan.

          Comment


            #6
            How old is the freezer?
            What does the manufacturer advise for this model?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
              "Door panel heaters"! You are being taken for a fool. There is clearly a fault here. You should also have notice that there were continuous operating sounds. I'd expect the metal grill (heat exchanger) at the back to be very hot, as well.

              There are two places where freezers deliberately generate heat, not simply to reject it to the atmoshere.

              1) is in the interior, where the the part that generates the cold is generated. This is to melt ice that has formed. That heater will be electric and intermittent.

              2) around the door seals, to avoid them freezing shut. This actually uses heat generated by the refrigeration process. Only if that was excessive would the whole panel become hot.

              As a general principle, I'd say it was reasonable to charge for wasted callouts, but this sounds like a valid problem. Is the symptom still present.

              Is there any chance that the door was left ajar? Do the doors fully close?
              Yes, it was operating continuously and the grill on the back was hot also.

              So to be the clear, it would only heat the door of the fridge on the side of where the rubber seal is?


              The door was not left open and they seem to seal well when closed. It still overheats but it seems not as much.

              Would it be justifiable to write to the landlord explaining the situation, as the agency are playing it off as I should have just defrosted the fridge -

              ‘The call out was unnecessary, and could have been avoided, if only you had fulfilled your obligation as a Tenant- this would be to maintain the appliance and defrost the f/freezer which is not unreasonable to be expected from the tenant’.

              Even though the contractor advised to defrost it manually every 6 months, I have only lived here less than 3 months.

              Thanks for your reply.

              Comment


                #8
                If you have thoroughly defrosted the freezer as advised and it now works fine, then the callout was uneccessary.

                Comment


                  #9
                  There is no way that a domestic freezer should ever be hot to the touch.
                  I would pay for someone who knows what they're doing to come and investigate.


                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Some agents give us landlords a bad name. They should be grateful you are letting them know when there are problems
                    So you did not specifically ask for a call out, you just reported a problem?
                    How are they charging you? Can you just ignore it. I mean they will have to take you to small claims to get the money if you refuse to pay and it will just get laughed out.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                      There is no way that a domestic freezer should ever be hot to the touch.
                      First search hit (sorry for the font!);

                      https://www.lg.com/uk/support/produc...6713499-others

                      Why are the sides of my fridge freezer getting hot, is it safe?
                      Answer;
                      This is normal




                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by boletus View Post
                        If you have thoroughly defrosted the freezer as advised and it now works fine, then the callout was uneccessary.
                        The technician reportedly described it as frost free. There generally aren't any user instructions for defrosting these, as they are not supposed to be able to frost up. (Having said that, I've had to defrost one twice, and it involved partially disassembling to a level that a user would not be expected to do. It may well be getting near end of life; it's probably a good 15 years old.)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by boletus View Post

                          First search hit (sorry for the font!);

                          https://www.lg.com/uk/support/produc...6713499-others

                          Why are the sides of my fridge freezer getting hot, is it safe?
                          Answer;
                          This is normal



                          This will be the door seals I was referring to. They should, of course be on all the edges of the door not just one, but what heats up is not the door, but the place where the seal contacts the main body. The heat used is from the same source as the heat being given off by the grill at the back, so if the device is overworking, both will be hot. The door seals only need to be a little warmer than the rest of the interior, so that the condensation happens away to them. If they are too warm they put heat back in, for which you have to use energy to pump it back out.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post

                            The technician reportedly described it as frost free.
                            Sorry but he didn't;

                            Originally posted by poiuy View Post

                            He found no fault, saying it is in fact, not a frost free freezer

                            Occasionally, even tenants are in the wrong.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Apologies, I misread that one. Frosting would cause the device to overload, but should also be very obvious to the user.

                              Comment

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