Questions of Cash: 'Boiler problem' was tracked down to faulty plumbing


Q. I have had the same problem with a boiler that does not work as your correspondent DH (Questions of Cash, 19 January). Mine was a Vaillant boiler, supplied and fitted by a local plumber. Since installation, I have had repeated problems.

In November last year the expansion vessel had to be replaced – we had been continually topping up the boiler because of lost pressure. This cost £280. My plumber suggested this action as he has had the same problem with other Vaillant boilers he has installed.

Clearly the boiler was not fit for purpose, or of marketable quality. The boiler is out of warranty, but I believe I should be reimbursed for the cost of the repair. The boiler has been losing pressure since installation, with the rate of loss increasing. I have tried repeatedly to get hold of Vaillant by phone, email and via its website, but without success. VS, Oxford.

A. The problem seems to lie with your plumber, not with the boiler – which may explain why the plumber experienced the same problem previously. It has taken two months to arrange, but Vaillant has very helpfully undertaken a site visit to diagnose the problem.

A spokesman for Vaillant says: "Despite being out of warranty, as a gesture of goodwill Vaillant arranged for one of its engineers to inspect [the reader's boiler] free of charge. The cause of the pressure loss was identified as being a fault within the heating system pipework, unrelated to the boiler itself. [The reader] is now satisfied her boiler is operating as it should and is looking for a new plumber.

"We'd like to take this opportunity to remind homeowners that a boiler is just one component of a central heating system and is often unfairly assumed responsible for any problems. However, we appreciate most people are not heating engineers so we recently joined with the Plain English Campaign to publish a helpful guide to boiler jargon, which readers may wish to download from"

We have offered to contact the plumber to suggest he refunds the repair costs, but you say that as you know the plumber well, and have used him for several years, you will speak to him.

Q. I had a problem last year with British Gas sending me a bill for £305 for a property I had moved out from in 2008. You arranged (Questions of Cash, 26 January) for the bill to be cancelled. But now I have had a further bill from British Gas for £1,614. Like the previous bill that was cancelled, it covers the period 4 January 2008 to 31 August 2010. RC, Glasgow.

A. Previously British Gas explained that its billing system had not been set up correctly, which led to you being billed for gas and electricity for a period of several years after you moved out. You were unaware of the bill until you were contacted by debt collectors.

Chris Mills of British Gas's customer relations office says: "It appears that the occupiers, who moved in some time after [the reader], were also disputing the dates and readings on their account. By amending the details on their account, this unfortunately also affected [the reader's] account.

"There appears to be a gap of two years where we don't know who the occupier of the property was and the adviser, who has changed the dates on [the reader's] account to cover these two years, clearly hasn't read my notes. I will be providing feedback to them regarding this issue, as clearly this is not acceptable. To rectify this I've now written off this balance of £1,613.63 and will be emailing [the reader] to confirm that the balance has been cleared."

Q. I have had telephone banking from day one with Northern Bank, now Danske – probably for 20 years. But now I am having problems. When I call the 24-hour banking service from my landline, before I even get to the end of my customer number a voice tells me that this is not the right number. The customer account number is allocated by the bank. This began happening in November last year.

 I have made several visits to my branch, and signed new agreements with the bank, but no one seems able to resolve my problem. But strangely I can access my telephone banking service using my mobile phone. I have asked BT if the problem is with the landline, but they have checked this and say there are no faults and the line is working perfectly. I don't want to use the mobile as the service has an 0845 number, which is expensive. AH, Lisburn.

A. This may be a coincidence, but your problems began last November, which is when Northern Bank was rebranded to use the name of its parent company, Danske Bank.

A spokeswoman for Danske, which operates in Northern Ireland, apologises and says: "It is important to us that customers can access their bank accounts whenever it suits them, and we are continually investing in new technologies such as eBanking, a mobile banking app and a tablet banking app, to make it easier for customers to do so. We are disappointed that the level of service experienced by this customer falls short of what we would expect, and are examining this thoroughly.

"There are no known issues similar to this with our telephone banking service and so this would appear to be an isolated, but unfortunate, occurrence. We are investigating further to resolve this quickly to our customer's satisfaction and to ensure that she is able to consistently access her account through telephone banking, with no further difficulties. The branch will stay in touch with our customer and update her on progress."

It is understandable that you want to avoid using a mobile for an 0845 call. While calls from a landline to an 0845 number typically cost between 1p and 10.5p a minute, on a mobile the cost typically ranges from 12p to 41p a minute.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

    Laura Norton: Project Accountant

    £50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine