Quotations and agreements
"The heat pump is not working. Sometimes it's too warm and sometimes too cold. The installer did a bad job."
This may be a complaint a few months after the installation of a new heat pump system. The house owner is not satisfied. But if there is no agreement with the installer, it may be difficult to have the fault corrected free of charge.
In other words, there are several reasons for asking for quotations and concluding proper agreements when retaining an installer.
Always ask several different installers for a quotation. Major contracts should always be preceded by an enquiry for quotations. When the quotations have been received, the owner can sort the chaff from the grain at first sight. You can also check whether the installer is in the Råd & Rön Black List that contains companies that have refused to follow a decision of the National Board for Consumer Complaints.
If your enquiry is for a new heating system, the quotation should be preceded by a calculation of the energy balance and annual energy demand of the house to obtain an indication of the size and rating of the heating system. The quotation should carefully describe what the work comprises and what is excluded. This should also cover follow-up after installation. After major changes, the heating system may often have to be adjusted to perform efficiently. Some follow-up visits may thus conceivably be included in the extent of the work. The quotation must obviously also include the price. If you are still uncertain of the installer, you can ask for a reference installation.
When you have chosen the installer, you should conclude in agreement that confirms the quotation, with or without adjustments and changes that have been included during the preliminary discussions. Both verbal and written agreements are equally binding in the eyes of the law, but a written agreement is always preferable if a dispute should arise.
After the work has been completed, you check that the installation has been carried out in accordance with the agreement. If operating problems arise, the agreement is of great assistance in determining whether the defect is due to the installation or whether it is caused by your use of the installation. If you still fail to reach an agreement, you can submit the problem to the National Board for Consumer Complaints for having the matter settled.
The installer is usually responsible for the quality of the equipment. But if you have brought the equipment yourself, e.g. a boiler or a heat pump, and then ask the installer only to connect up the equipment, three parties will be involved. The installer cannot then take full responsibility for shortcomings in the equipment, and it is particularly important for the quotation and agreement to describe what is included in the installation and what is excluded from it. However, in his role as tradesman, the installer is responsible for advising you not to have unsuitable equipment installed.
A simple hand-written receipt handed over when the money has been paid is the next stage. If the receipt exists, you have certain legal rights and obligations. However, if no other papers are available, the hand-written receipt provides poor support if a dispute should arise with the tradesman. Above all, it may be uncertain what the work comprises and how far the tradesman’s responsibility extends. In order to avoid misunderstandings and reduce the risk of interpretation disputes, the work should be described in a written agreement that is based on a comprehensive quotation from the tradesman.
If the work has been done on the black labour market, you as the house owner are totally without legal rights. In the legal sense, the installation has not been carried out by a tradesman. You yourself are therefore responsible for the installation, for any damage, and also for the tradesman’s health during the course of the work. Moreover, employing “black labour” is illegal. There is obviously no guarantee for the work and no possibility of lodging complaints for work that has not been done in the legal sense.
Complaints against a heating, ventilation and sanitation service are governed by the Consumer Purchasing Act (KkL) and by the Consumer Services Act (KtjL), depending on the nature of the work carried out. In the event of complaints, an assessment is made of whether the work principally consists of the sale of equipment (KkL) or the installation of the equipment (KtjL). Factors such as price of the equipment in relation to the price of the service and how complicated the installation is come into the picture in the assessment.
In the event of a complaint, it is generally you as the house owner who must show that the fault already exited on the occasion of the installation and is not due to incorrect use. If the work is assessed as consisting mainly of a service, i.e. that KtjL is applicable, you have the right to lodge a complaint within ten years. On the other hand, if it is a matter of the purchase of a product, you have the right to lodge a complaint within only two years, but if the fault occurs within six months from installation, it is assumed that the fault existed right from the start. To feel more secure with an installation, it may thus be advisable to ask the installer what guarantees he can offer.
Voluntary job security insurance
Voluntary job security insurance gives a six-year guarantee and can be obtained through authorized heating, ventilation and sanitation installers. Moreover, authorized heating, ventilation and sanitation installers have a special guarantee, whereby the installer must always conform to decisions made by the National Board for Consumer Complaints. The Heating, Ventilation and Sanitation Installer Trade Organization automatically takes over responsibility if an installer should go into liquidation or go out of business for some other reason.