Customer dispute - thoughts please

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by Plum55, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. Plum55

    Plum55 New Member


    While fitting a new kitchen recently the customer asked me to take a look at a leak in their utility area. It looked to be a loose connection on the cold tap which I tightened.

    Fast forward two weeks and the customer calls as the sink has had a major leak and has flooded the cellar while they were at work. My colleague pops round to help and finds that the washer had failed.

    The guy feels I am somehow responsible but IMO the original work was shoddy. I only looked as a favour and thought I had resolved the issue.

    Does the guy have an right to be holding me partly responsible?
  2. PhilSo

    PhilSo Active Member

    Been there . ........

    No good deed goes unpunished.

    The wisdom inherent in the understanding of and resignation to the unyielding fact that no matter who is being helped, what assistance is offered, the circumstances surrounding the gesture or the nature of the actual support offered...there will always be a hidden penalty inflicted on the good deed goes unpunished.

    PhilSo (philosophical ) :cool::cool::cool:

    Merry Christmas everyone :D:D:D
  3. Gawd, that's a toughie.

    IF you had been a plumber called out specifically for this slow leak, and all you did was to tighten the nut and walk away, then - yes - I reckon you'd have been 'liable' as you didn't fix the 'cause'.

    Instead you did this as an unpaid 'favour'. What, reasonably, were you 'expected' to do - dismantle a dripping tap connector 'just in case' there was something ominous going on? Or just do what 99.9% of us would have done in that situation - 'tweak' it up a teeny bit and jobbie jobbed?

    You definitely didn't charge the person for this wee job? It was definitely a 'favour' as you were there? In that case I can't see how he has a case - and he is being unfair in his expectations. What's more he has household insurance for precisely this sort of thing...

    But, will the customer 'accept' this? I fear not; the very fact he's expecting you to accept liability indicates where he's 'coming from'.

    I think you could tell him 'where to go', and he'd have no chance whatsoever in doing anything about it. But, of course, you ain't going to do that 'cos you are a pro and have a reputation.

    So, you ain't going to tell him to 'stuff it', but you will explain clearly and sympathetically why you are not liable in any sense whatsoever - neither morally nor legally - but you do feel 'bad' about what happened as they were particularly lovely customers it and would wish to arrive at some compromise if possible.

    Then it depends on what they expect. If they are being stupid, then you walk away. Worse case is they post a bad review, in which case you have the chance to answer in balanced terms.

    That's my best guess...
    Wayners, Plum55, KIAB and 2 others like this.
  4. Looks like the choices are

    Admit liability? Why?

    Try and compromise? Again, why, but they might be long term customers etc.

    Or walk away, and possibly expect court action if he is that sort? If so, get all your comments, actions, dates etc written down now, and only communicate in writing.
  5. Isitreally

    Isitreally Well-Known Member

    This is exactly why people don't help others out in emergency be it as per OP or even medical in the case of say a car crash, the risk of being sued these days is just not worth it.

    Nice world we live in isn't it..
    KIAB likes this.

  6. Our world appears to be going down the American avenue don't you think ?

    Theres profit in everything for somebody.
  7. Isitreally

    Isitreally Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately yes, but it not limited to just America, the whole western world is like it.

  8. And you do realise we are about to get further into bed with the USA and its ways ?
  9. Aw, maaaaan - this was a Brexit-free thread until then :(

    Niiiiice :)
    Deleted member 164349 likes this.
  10. Crowsfoot

    Crowsfoot Well-Known Member

    He's just trying it on.

    You can't be responsible for what happened it would have happened anyway even if you hadn't had a look at it.

    Plumbers fix leaks they're not the cause of them.

    Is it the doctors fault if your poorly?
    Jord86 likes this.
  11. Yes if he tightened your nuts too far...
    Crowsfoot likes this.
  12. Isitreally

    Isitreally Well-Known Member

    But it took a remoaner to bring it down, you lot just can't help yourselves can you.
  13. Isitreally

    Isitreally Well-Known Member

    Someone needs to tighten yours. :D:D:D
  14. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    The 51st state.[​IMG]

  15. Yes, scary really.

    But obvious too
  16. Isitreally

    Isitreally Well-Known Member

    What's a film about drugs got to do with it.???
  17. Plum55

    Plum55 New Member

    Thanks @Devil's Advocate. Nope didn't charge. I saw it as a quick favour.Will think twice about that in the future!
  18. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    Sorry, i' going to disagree with DA here. What's the worst case? They contact their houshold insurers and make a claim. Their insurers say "you've got legal protection so why not use that to claim from the kitchen fitter?" Then you end up on the wrong end of a legal claim. Now that probably won' t happen but what can you do now to prevent it?

    You need to write to the customer sympathetically but explain very clearly what you were asked to do to and what you did. Second your colleague needs to provide the details of what he found the leak was in the same letter. As much detail as possible. Deny clearly that the leak is your fault and state its true cause. Also state no leak when you left (after the attempt to fix)

    Then the important bits, quote something about your experience(so anyone reading the letter can see you know what you are doing). Then (only if it is true) you need to say that the pipework that leaked was not in good condition and should have been maintained properly. That is the important piece.

    First of denying the leak was your fault means that to bring a claim against you they need evidence to the contrary. Second the reference to poor condition of pipework and not properly maintained, that give the customers house insurance a way out of not paying. That means they don't have any incentive to chase you either!

    Be polite as possible in writing this but the essence is to get your defence in before a claim come. It may never happen in which case no problem, but if it does, you've got a bit of protection
    Jord86 and Deleted member 33931 like this.
  19. I like :)
  20. Wayners

    Wayners Well-Known Member

    How do you know you were the last person to mess with it? You don't. Somebody else could of fiddled again. So it was fine when you walked away so that's it.. Anyway. Can't you hand over to your insurance company to handle if they start to push hard.Think we all try and help people but I have stopped doing these little jobs now because they can come back on you. Its not easy to turn a blind eye though.. Seems routine maintenance is ignored by many and one job leads to another when you start fiddling above.. Write a letter to say it was in poor condition and you pointed it out.. Good luck

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