Saturday, June 25, 2022

Your salvation: My utility accepts no responsibility for sheets spoiled by the water supply

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“I called United Utilities, our water company, and reported this, while also mentioning that I had washed with white linens before realizing it.”

I called United Utilities, our water supplier, and reported this while also mentioning that I had washed with white sheets before realizing it. The lady I spoke to said when the laundry is done don’t let it dry and wash again once the water clears. We did this but it didn’t work and our bedding is no longer white.

I recently discovered that we had discolored water one morning while my husband was doing the dishes. We had our white, rather expensive sheets in the washing machine before we discovered this.

I emailed them and a day or two later they called back and said the discolored water wasn’t necessarily their fault as it could be due to construction in the area or firefighters. I totally disagree as there has been work going on in recent months along the stretch of main road that runs parallel to our house causing a lot of disruption.

The person I spoke to insists there was no work in the area when my incident occurred. I feel frustrated. I was then told I would be given a form to fill out and my case was referred to an engineer but I have not heard from them since. Please can you help?

Mrs W

Grace says: It’s always frustrating to see your property damaged through no fault of your own – especially when the company responsible for it isn’t responsible for their fault. You were home a few weeks ago when you noticed that the water was coming through in a cloudy color.

Unfortunately, you had your new white bed linen in the washing machine at the time and you could see that it too had been affected by the color change. The bed linen will cost you £79.20 – after a 20 per cent reduction from £99 – a decent amount for you and your husband to spend on household goods, you tell me.

Regardless of the cost, it was still your belongings that were damaged due to a water issue in your home. You contacted United Utilities, your supplier, who told you to just wash the linens again once the water ran clear. Although you followed the instructions, it didn’t help matters and your bedding was permanently damaged.

Being white, they obviously remained discolored and not as purchased. Despite a complaint to United Utilities, the company took no responsibility, instead claiming it could have been the result of construction in the area. This frustrated you even more and you decided to contact me to see if there was any way to get the company to take responsibility for the ruined covers.

After I spoke to the water company, while they didn’t directly admit it was the cause of the problem, they recognized that they had received a claim form from you. Not long after it replied to me you contacted me to say you had received £79.20 credited to your account.

A spokesman for United Utilities said: “I am sorry to hear of the issue raised by Ms. W. Whilst discolored water can be caused by a number of things we have sent Ms W a claim form which is our standard process and when we receive this back we will honor the claim for damages. Additionally, our customer team will be in touch with Ms. W. to discuss this matter.”

It is likely that other households in your area have also had difficulties and if they encounter a similar problem they should contact United Utilities directly. For other households that have had problems with their water supply nationwide, you must always make a complaint to your utility first.

If your complaint is still unresolved after this, the Water Consumers Council should be able to give you advice and also answer general questions. However, if this still doesn’t work and you are still concerned, you can contact the Water Redress Scheme (WATRS).

They will re-examine your complaint and, if they find your company has not acted fairly, ask them to apologize to provide you with a service, e.g. B. repairing a pipe, or to pay you compensation. In some cases you can also complain to Ofwat, the water sector regulator in England and Wales. To find out under what circumstances you can contact them, visit the website for more details.

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