A couple from Angus in north east Scotland lost £199 to Kwik Fix Plumbers,which was recently fined £90,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for harassing elderly victims with cold calls.
Jessie and David Lindsay received a phone call from Kwik Fix Plumbers, informing them that it was time to renew their central heating service contract.
Mrs Lindsay told the Daily Express: “I began to think that the date had come around quickly. I checked and realised it was not actually due until January and we’d been speaking to strangers we’ve never dealt with before.”
This was confirmed a few days later when they got the paperwork, which was to cover for a gas-fired heating system when theirs is oil.
The paperwork also came from a company called Kwik Fix Boiler Care, which advertised a trading address in Croydon, south London.
Mrs Lindsay cancelled it immediately to stay within the 14-day cooling-off period for distance sale of goods and services and received a confirmation email this would happen.
However, it did not. The couple was told by Kwik Fix Plumbers that their cheque was in the post or that they would receive it immediately.
Kwik Fix Plumbers had been recently been trading as Kwik Fix Boiler Care, and prior to this it had been called Boiler Shield.
The Daily Express reported that Boiler Shield had gained a bad reputation for cold-calling the vulnerable and persuading them into taking insurance they did not need, even those registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
Contacting anyone registered with TPS without their consent involves breaking the law.
ICO said the company was aware of complaints in early 2014 and had had plenty of opportunity to rectify its systems.
It found the firm had no processes in place to stop calls being made to those registered with the TPS.
Kwik Fix Plumbers blamed the problems on a combination of naivety about the regulations and technical problems.
The Daily Express has reported that Mr and Mrs Lindsay have now received their £199.
Kwik Fix Plumbers attributed the late payment to confusion about “refund paid” and “refund pending” by a new member of staff. They added that a “human error on the system” also made matters worse.
ICO has no plans for further action against Kwik Fix Plumbers. However, it warned there was nothing to prevent it doing so if new evidence emerged that unsolicited calls were continuing.