I was left without heating and hot water for five days after a Vaillant boiler engineer wouldn’t wait a few minutes while my partner came home
- Reader booked a Vaillant engineer to fix his broken boiler
- The engineer refused to wait for our reader’s partner to return home
- This was despite it being only a few minutes
- Our reader was left without heating and hot water for five days
I booked a boiler repair as I had no hot water or heating. My partner took the day off to be at home but the engineer arrived just when she’d gone up the road to drop off our daughter at school at 8.53am.
The engineer rang me and I told him she’d be back at any minute. She arrived home at 9.09am but he’d left three minutes earlier because he had a ‘15 minute wait time’.
We were left for five days without hot water or heating. TT
Left in the cold: Our reader was left with a broken boiler for 5 days because a Vaillant engineer drove off after a few minutes of waiting
Angharad Carrick of This Is Money replies: I’m sorry to hear about your experience with Vaillant.
Being without hot water and heating at any time of the year is tough but now we’ve reached winter I can’t imagine how distressing those five days would have been. Not least with a young child.
On top of that you had paid for a full day parking permit for your engineer and your partner had arranged with her work to be at home, which further rubs salt in the wound.
Vaillant has a policy of a 15 minute waiting period for their engineers.
Your engineer arrived at 8.50am, when no one was in, but he spoke to you three minutes later when you told him your partner would be home within minutes.
The engineer left at 9.06am just three minutes before your partner came home.
You say that from when the engineer pressed the buzzer he actually only waited 14 minutes until leaving.
The engineer claimed to be watching the door to see if anyone had arrived home but your CCTV shows he was parked facing in the opposite direction and he made no second attempt at pressing your buzzer.
One of the most mind boggling parts of this tale is that you were given no warning as to when the engineer would show up. Instead he arrived unannounced.
Even the very worst delivery companies give you some estimation as to when your parcel might arrive, even if it’s a time frame of five or six hours.
I contacted Vaillant myself to ask whether it was common practice to stick so rigidly to the 15 minute grace period, especially given you had told the engineer your partner would be home shortly.
A spokesperson for Vaillant said: ‘Our engineers are working hard to make sure homes are warm and have hot water throughout the winter.
‘For every appointment we have a 15-minute grace period to wait for a customer if they are out, this is to make sure we can deliver our services to all scheduled customers throughout the day, without having to cancel appointments.
‘In this instance, the customer’s warranty needed to be validated by a Vaillant installer as there hadn’t been an annual service carried out for more than a year. The customer’s warranty has now been re-validated and the repair carried out under its terms.’
While they might dispute when their 15 minute grace period starts, you had clearly communicated with the engineer that he would not have to wait for long to be let into your flat.
While Vaillant claim their engineers work hard to make sure homes are warm, you, your partner and young child were left cold for five days.
I understand the next time Vaillant sent out an engineer they rang ahead to let you know they were on their way.
I therefore asked Vaillant whether it is standard practice to call ahead and if it is, why it did not happen in the first instance.
Unfortunately they were reluctant to tell me and referred me back to their original statement.
Instead of the engineer waiting for a few minutes, Vaillant had to send someone back out to fix your boiler causing more work for themselves in the long run.
I’m sure you’ll now think twice about using Vaillant again but at least your boiler is now fixed.
Have you had any bad experiences with Vaillant? If so, please email me at email@example.com