A firm that promised reader Fred Bright a fast and reliable service to repair his washing machine took his money but refused to send out an engineer when it developed a fault.
Fred’s domestic appliance service plan expired at the end of last year, so the disabled 56-year-old from Paulsgrove decided to shop around on the internet to get the best deal.
After discussing it with his wife and full time carer Sharon he settled for Go Assist Ltd, a Bournemouth company that had an impressive website boasting fully guaranteed fixed-price repairs with thousands of engineers across the UK.
Fred explained: ‘They made it all really easy. When I rang they confirmed they were a reputable company. All I had to do to sign up was to give them the make and model of the fridge, washer, tumble-drier and cooker and they’d give me a price. It was as easy as that.’
Content that he’d bought peace of mind if their appliances ever broke down Fred happily gave the firm his bank details to pay £17 monthly by direct debit. He was then told the paperwork would be sent in the post.
But only a few days later the shine started to come off the deal when he says the promised paperwork didn’t arrive.
Instead he had a call from the firm asking for more money because they’d mistakenly believed his cooker had a single not double oven.
That sorted, a couple of months later the washing machine went on the blink.
Confident he could soon get it fixed, he phoned Go Assist for an engineer to come out, but to his surprise they insisted talking him though a list of potential faults.
The machine wasn’t draining properly, so he was asked to check the filters, and go through other fault finding procedures, all to no avail.
By this time Fred was getting a little frustrated because he doesn’t have more than a layman’s knowledge of washing machine engineering.
He thought it a little odd that he was paying the company to repair his appliances but they appeared reluctant to send an engineer.
Bizarrely despite the firm taking four monthly direct debit payments from his bank account they said he didn’t qualify for an engineer’s attendance because he hadn’t been with them for 30 days – a restriction which he believed was either a mistake or a cop out.
When Fred contacted Streetwise about it he told us he was fed up with the firm giving him the run around. In his view he’d paid them for a service and was getting absolutely nothing in return.
We tracked down company boss Richard Waters and emailed him a copy of Fred’s complaint. We also checked out the firm’s website but failed to trace anything that required a customer to be signed up for a specified period before they would book an engineer call.
We also noticed that they had a rather unconventional service plan approach requiring the customer to do a DIY job identifying a potential faults over the phone. While we understood the rationale behind this business model, refusing to send an engineer appeared to support Fred’s claim he was on a hiding to nothing.
When a week or so later Mr. Waters failed to get back to us with his side of the story, we emailed him again both directly, and via the company’s website enquiries facility.
When this drew a blank we made contact for a third time with a request to refund Fred’s payments of £68 but apparently no one was available to comment.
Streetwise concluded that the company was in breach of contract.
Their published promise to him was to supply a ‘swift and reliable service that would keep his appliance maintained at all times’ and the delivery of a personalised service ‘right from the start’. Clearly they’d substantially fallen down on the job.
An angry and disillusioned Fred said: ‘I’ve now cancelled the direct debit after phoning them at least half a dozen times to complain. Despite promises to call me back they never did.
‘This firm has just taken my money and left me in the lurch.’