HOW long does it take to fix and claim for a broken toilet?
Almost two years in the case of Dalton man Denis Gallivan.
Back in July, 2008, he put a claim in with his insurers Homeserve to get a plumber to repair a valve in the toilet cistern at his Wakefield Road home.
And since then he’s had to fork out for the work and wait almost a year for the Financial Ombudsman to review his case after his insurers failed to pay out.
Now Mr Gallivan is questioning who is mediating the people who mediate such disputes.
It was almost 12 months ago when Mr Gallivan was awarded £1,734.68, plus £100 for inconvenience after the Financial Ombudsman ruled in his favour in a claim with Homeserve.
Homeserve objected to the pay-out – as is their right – and Mr Gallivan has been told that due to the large amount of claims the Financial Ombudsman has pending, he has to wait for his case to be reviewed.
Mr Gallivan said: “It’s the first time I’ve ever used an ombudsman for anything and there’s been a bit of a wait.
“Ultimately I have had to replace the toilet myself, but can you imagine if we didn’t have another toilet in the house – four years ago we didn’t.
“What started out as a maintenance claim became a big problem.
“The Financial Ombudsman is a choice for consumers, but what happens when they can’t get round to the reviewing the claim?
“People are left waiting, so who’s watching the people who are meant to watch out for you?”
“It’s frustrating to have taken so long.”
It all started with a faulty valve which should have been an easy repair job.
But while the work was being done, the cistern cracked, causing a leak with water seeping through the ceiling causing damage.
A second visit by another Homeserve plumber stopped the leak by cutting off the water supply to the toilet, rendering it inoperable.
The cistern could not be replaced so Mr Gallivan put in a claim to Homeserve to replace the toilet, costing £504.68 plus £100 for the carpet and £1,130 for the redecorating, totalling £1,734.68.
Homeserve offered him £250 to cover the work, which he rejected.
So he took the case to the Financial Ombudsman who, last April, ruled in his favour and awarded Mr Gallivan the £1734.68 plus £100 for inconvenience on April 20, 2009.
Since then, it’s been a waiting game.
Mr Gallivan was told the Financial Ombudsman has a lot of claims and hasn’t got round to looking at his.
Mr Gallivan added: “Who monitors the performance of the Financial Ombudsman?”
A spokesman for the Financial Ombudsman apologised for the delay, admitting: “We have taken too long to look at this. It’s outside of our usual time and we have written to Mr Gallivan to address this.
“While it is unusual we are in the process of resolving the outstanding issue as a priority.”
A spokeswoman for Homeserve added: “In July, 2008, HomeServe reviewed the case closely and did not believe the workman in question caused any further damage. For this reason, we appealed against the decision.
“Having said this, it is extremely important to us that our customers are left satisfied and we therefore offered the customer a good will gesture of £250. “This offer still stands today.”