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Warranty with undeclared work?

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Always a right to a guarantee, also in the case of undeclared work.

As a customer, you have an agreement with the tradesman. He does certain work for you. And you pay him an amount for this. This applies to all work that someone carries out for you, whether it is white or black, large or small. You can assume that your job will be done properly. And that if, for example, a repair is done to a pipe, or a wall is plastered, it is done by someone who could reasonably do the job well. (Unless you pay an amount that you could know was unrealistic for the job that had to be done). It also follows from that agreement that there is a legal guarantee. Whatever you have agreed with the tradesman. Whatever guarantee clauses he may have invoked. The guarantee is shorter for a job that costs a few tens of euros than for an enormous job that costs thousands of euros (or when building a house, for example.) Even if you have not agreed anything with the tradesman about this, you still have a right to a guarantee.

How does that work, the guarantee?

There are two difficulties

1. You must be able to prove that there was an agreement.

2. You must be able to demonstrate that damage has occurred or is likely to occur as a result of the actions or omissions of the tradesman if he does not intervene.

This is certainly more difficult in the case of undeclared work. There has been no flow of money that you can demonstrate. So you'll have to make a small job description and both put your signatures to it. An A4 page with your names, a date, the work and the period of execution and the agreed price. Don't be afraid that judges will point their fingers and say: "You shouldn't have had this done in black, should you?" They will look at the agreement. And not what the tax situation is like. That is not part of the difference at all. You could also take a photo while the craftsman is at work.

Secondly, you have to show that damage is occurring or is likely to occur as a result of the craftsman's actions or omissions. If a pipe was repaired last week and it starts leaking again, it is almost obvious that the leak was not fixed properly. Leaks in pipes often occur almost immediately after the repair. Even months later. If the plaster is falling from the walls after only two months, this is also a reason to ask the professional to repair it.

The oldest and the youngest
People aged 65 and over and young people aged 18 to 24 most often think that they have no right to a guarantee. The age groups in between most often think that they are entitled to a warranty.

The study does not focus on where the differences come from. But young people have probably not yet dealt with this often. Older people are more used to the informal economy and I think they expect less from guarantee schemes if you have something "deliberately" done in the black.

Consumers' Association not interested
This subject seems eminently suitable for the Consumers' Association to pay more attention to. As a result of the investigation, I contacted the spokesperson. The Consumers' Association, through their spokesperson Joyce Donat, was not interested in looking into this further.

The handyman sector is a market that involves an annual turnover of 800 million euros. There is a lot wrong in the market. People are not helped properly, pay high rates, call-out charges, but often do not dare to invoke their right to warranty with the professional. Our mission is to change this quickly.

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