Jeroen feels ‘screwed’ by rogue central heating technician: ‘We were desperate’

Jeroen, his wife Deborah and their four children were literally out in the cold on Thursday because the boiler broke down. Two men from a service company came by to repair the boiler. Within ten minutes, hot water came out of the tap again, but the family was 705 euros lighter. And yet a new part turned out to cost much less money. “We feel screwed.”

Written by

Danique Pals

Jeroen’s family from Etten-Leur had no hot water coming from the tap on Thursday and the heating was not working. Unfortunately, the company listed on the boiler was unable to do anything. “We called several companies, but they were all too busy,” says Deborah. Ultimately, she ended up with a company that offers 24/7 service. “I called them right away. They were supposed to come by the next day between ten and one o’clock.”

Meanwhile, the temperature in the family’s house dropped to sixteen degrees. After several phone calls stating that it would be later, the technician arrived with an intern around half past ten in the evening. “They were two friendly gentlemen. They took the boiler apart and said a crucial part needed to be replaced. That part cost 1,200 euros.” Jeroen and Deborah thought that was too expensive for an old boiler that was fifteen years old.

“It was brand new so we wondered if that really came from our boiler.”

“The gentlemen suggested taking a second-hand part. Then it would cost 550 euros. We were willing to do that,” says Deborah. The technicians were back downstairs within ten minutes and everything was working again. “We asked the men to give us the part that had been removed from our boiler. One of the technicians had to dig deep into his bag.”

It turned out to be a small pin with a wire. A so-called ionization pen, an electrode pen that measures whether the gas is burning. “It was brand new, so we wondered if that really came from our boiler.”

When the technicians wanted to leave, the family had to pay 705 euros via a QR code. These were the costs of the replacement part, but also the call-out costs and working hours. “As soon as the technicians left, we felt strange. I looked up on the internet how much a new ionization pen costs and it was about 35 euros.” When Jeroen and Deborah looked at their account, they saw that the amount had been debited to a private account with the description ‘groceries’.

“The technicians knew how desperate we were this late at night.”

Deborah immediately contacted the fraud helpdesk of their bank ING. “They could not refund the money because there was insufficient evidence. We transferred the money ourselves and we do not have an invoice or specification.” The Verstappen Service company is no longer available and the family feels ripped off. “The technicians knew how desperate we were, so late at night.”

Jeroen and Deborah contacted the police. They can come by next Thursday to tell their story. “And we have a recognized company come by to check whether the boiler is still safe, because that is important with four children at home.”