Rescue for customer caught in heating maintenance wrangle – The Crusader

Disappointed about how he had been treated and anxious to sort out matters before winter, Peter Kenton asked Crusader for help with what is also a timely reminder for others.

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected] ++;

Peter’s problem centred on power flushing, the maintenance that protects boilers by removing dirt from pipes and radiators.

A longstanding customer of repairs provider HomeServe, in May when an engineer was visiting to replace a valve sludge was also found. A subsequent water sample showed the system needed a thorough flush.

“I was told this had to be completed within 28 days and that was down to me to organise,” explained Peter who asked British Gas to do the work.

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Getting confirmation afterwards that all had been completed properly proved harder however. 

“The flush was carried out according to the deadline, but I struggled to get any details from British Gas,” said Peter.

“I sent its invoice – which I had paid to HomeServe, but this was considered insufficient. No certification was available but British Gas said it would supply a job report although that didn’t arrive. I did ask several times and let HomeServe know. They then cancelled my policy. It was all so tiring and unfair.”

HomeServe did take another water sample, something it says it does not normally do, which did pass the test. The company told Peter it could not be responsible for other’s delays and a new policy needed to be set up.

Crusader contacted British Gas which apologised for the hold-up and it has now sent Peter the engineer’s report plus a £100 goodwill gesture.

Reflecting on the exhausting business, Peter says: “I’ve decided to stick with HomeServe and no doubt the staff played by the rule book. But there was no support when I could really have done with it. At times I felt almost like a fraudster.”

HomeServe explained that after a cancellation it did not keep customer’ details after a certain date for security reasons. “We are really sorry [his] experience did not meet our usual high standards,” a spokesperson added. “We will make sure in future he receives the excellent customer care he expects.”

[Peter’s name has been changed]

Good order: don’t forget to have your system power flushed

It is so easily overlooked, but power flushing is essential in avoiding boiler breakdown and keeping your heating on. “When you have a new boiler installed, a power flush is part of that. Then make it a routine every four or five years,” advises gas engineer and plumber Patrick Kenny of Harken Heating ( which covers the London area. Be sure to get the completed work certified and for any invoice to detail what work has been carried out.

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