NETTA McBain had been looking forward to having a new hot water boiler installed in time for winter.
The old feeder tank in her loft had seen better days and she also wanted to replace the appliance fitted in a kitchen linen cupboard at her 1980s bungalow in Aviemore.
All seemed fine when the 75-year-old first had a visit from Fischer-Future Heat UK Limited in October.
She ordered a new boiler and paid a deposit of £680 towards the total cost of £3400.
But when an engineer arrived to install the appliance in November, Netta was shocked at the size of the 150 litre tank. And the only way it would fit into her cupboard was if a shelf was removed.
“The boiler was bigger than me and I realised it wasn’t what I wanted at all,” she said. “I did not want any alterations to the cupboard and this had never been mentioned to me beforehand, so the engineer took the boiler away with him.”
Netta then tried to cancel the job but had trouble contacting the Leicester-based company – so in December she wrote to Raw Deal.
We then contacted Fischer-Future Heat on her behalf.
Netta was soon offered a smaller, 125 litre “bespoke” boiler for the cupboard that would not require alterations to the shelves. It was also £498 cheaper than the original boiler.
She still wasn’t happy with this, however, and insisted on having her full deposit back.
Trouble is, the original contract she signed stated the cancellation period was 14 days from the date the order was placed, which was in October, and not a fortnight from when the goods arrived.
So when Netta declined the boiler when it was delivered on November 28, the deadline for cancellation had already passed.
“I appreciate I was then offered a smaller boiler for the kitchen but I just didn’t want to lose all that space in my cupboard,” she said.
“I simply hadn’t realised the contract meant that I couldn’t cancel it and get my full deposit back.”
Fischer-Future Heat wrote to Netta last month pointing out that their terms and conditions stated that “any customer wishing to cancel their order after the 14-day cancellation period elapses will be liable for the full purchase price of the contract”.
After being contacted by Raw Deal, on January 16 the company wrote to Netta offering to retain her original £680 deposit while waiving the rest of the original costs. “We are happy to leave this offer open for one month to give you some time to consider your options,” they said.
Netta said she was resigned to losing the £680 but accepted it could have been a lot worse if she had lost the full £3400. “I want to thank Raw Deal for helping this come to a conclusion, and I now don’t have to pay the lot,” she said.
“But I would like to remind people to really check the small print before you sign anything because it can come back to haunt you if you don’t.”