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Hidden Fees and Your Boiler

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 8 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Boiler Hidden Fees Hidden Charges Your

Boilers aren’t exactly the first utility appliance that you might think of when considering hidden fees. They sit in a concealed corner or cupboard, tucked away and quietly working away night and day. Only when they break or falter do we really think about them, mostly because they are so expensive to replace.

However, aside from the cost of the actual boiler itself, consumers may also have to cough up for other extra hidden charges associated with the running, repair, or replacement of a boiler. This article takes a quick look at some of the instances where you may be hit by hidden fees relating to your boiler.

Regulation Costs

For the vast majority of people, putting in a new boiler or flue isn’t a major issue. However, if your house or premises is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or you live within a listed building, planning permission is one hidden fee that you’ll have to consider.

The strict laws surrounding properties located in conservation areas and listed buildings mean that in some cases, a boiler or flue installation will be subject to successful planning permission or listed building consent applications. For instance, if you intend to install a wood-burning stove, the external flue may be visible and alter the appearance of your property. The regulations are designed so that minimal impact will be made on the outward (and sometimes inward) appearance of the buildings.

Labour Costs and Care Plans

We all know that if the boiler breaks, we have to call out a special team to deal with the problem. This is usually your gas supplier or an independent CORGI registered specialist or team. However, you may have opted to take out a boiler care plan – paying a small fee monthly that is supposed to vastly reduce the cost of normal labour for dealing with broken or faulty boilers.

But you should be aware that some of these care plans can have limits. For instance, if your boiler happens to break a certain amount of times a year, you may find that your care package supplier will only come out ‘free of charge’ a limited number of times per year - typically for a maximum of only two call outs.

You may also have to consider the age of your boiler – getting parts for older boilers can be tricky, and some boiler schemes will not accept boilers over a certain age limit. It’s also worth noting that some boiler care plans will stop providing a special care package once a boiler surpasses a certain age limit. So on top of having to fork out for a hefty call out fee, you may also find that you may have to spend a relatively large sum on a whole new boiler appliance!

The Other ‘Call’

Call outs to repair boilers can be expensive, but have you considered the cost of the actual call? Some gas suppliers that also provide boiler care and maintenance assistance may rather cheekily only provide premium rate numbers for their customers to call. This means that each time you ring your provider, you are effectively paying them to take your call.

Premium rate numbers begin with the prefix 0870. Local rate numbers, which are also above the standard cost of a call, often begin with the prefix 0845. Although the actual costs of the phone calls can pale into significance when compared to the cost of a boiler repair call out, installation or replacement, you’d be surprised how quickly this ‘hidden fee’ can mount up!

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