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Problems with my heat pump - what are my rights?

Gironde Gal

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After several years of heating with expensive electric wall heaters, we decided to purchase an Airton pompe à chaleur 'dc inverter' from Bricodepot, with a 2 year guarantee. We put a 6 inch hole through our foot thick kitchen wall and put up both units, and in November the Airton appointed frigoriste came and fixed it all together and we were up and running.

2 months later, it had broken down. The exterior unit appeared to run normally, and the interior one also appeared ok for aircon, but when set to heat mode sat inert as if the required temperature had been reached in the room.

After 3 weeks of fruitless calling a premium SAV line, and 4 ignored emails I finally spoke to Aircon after the installer had intervened on my behalf. I confirmed that I had run the test of 20 minutes cold and 20 minutes hot. "Were the valves cold?" "Yes". "Then you have a gas leak. We will send you a form, you have to dismount the units and take them back to Bricodepot, they will return them to us for repair and then return them to you."

Just like that.

"So I have to live with a huge hole in my wall until you decide to repair my pump, do I not have any choice, can't you send someone round to look at it?"

"If you want it to work again you have to send it to our workshop for repair". Aaaarrgghh!

I don't truly understand how these things work, but it is only 2 months old. Is it worth getting a frigoriste out at my own expense for a second opinion?

How come I am authorised to dismantle the thing when I was forbidden to install it in the first place?

Could I get a full refund from Bricodepot, I would still be 300€ down for the installation though.

If I did send it for repair and it was returned (by which time it would be spring and not really required) who would pay the frigoriste to reinstall it?

DO I HAVE ANY RIGHTS AT ALL or was I just a big mug to part with my money in the first place? I doubt that a registered letter would really be a magic wand in this case.

If anyone can advise me I would be so grateful, it has all turned into an expensive farce. Last resort is to take the blasted thing down and back to the shop. Meanwhile we are back to using the expensive wall heaters...





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You might try here, the French equivalent of the UK CAB http://www.clcv.org

Or here: http://www.europe-consommateurs.eu/en/

Also French trading standards http://www.dgccrf.bercy.gouv.fr/anglais.htm

Have you spoken to Bricodepot though, as far as I am aware the retailer you buy something from is the responsible party.

Good luck but remember this is France where they seem to have learnt their customer service skills from Monty Python !

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I had a problem with one of theirs as well, same make as yours and this is what I learnt about Bricodepot. Take the inside and outside units with you and in the original packaging (that's the same normally for returning most products to most store). Do not allow them to tell you to come back, demand you speak to the manager. If they say he is not in then ask for his manager etc. If they tell you to go and somebody will call you will wait for years. I took the second time copies of the French consumer rights document and the EU one. When I produced them and asked did they know what they were I started to get results almost immediately. None of this "we have to call the manufacturer" rubbish they tried on me before I got new unit's straight away.

My problem by the way was the fan on the inside unit 'clicking' as it rotated, clearly a manufacturing fault as it was touching something.

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I don't have a link for the EU website but I found it by Googling, it should not be too hard.

It was Clair that gave a link some time back, I found the link but it does not work although the following link may lead you to what you want.


As to the units, well yes I am happy with them. I have been gradually replacing my (quite expensive) electrical radiators with them and yes my EDF bills have gone down (by about 1/3rd). There is one danger with them in that you find yourself turning them on in the summer even though you managed without them before so a bit of self discipline is required. It was only one unit and it failed 'out of the box'. I use pre gassed pipes which I would recommend to the OP if he finds he has to reinstall the units. You can fit them yourself, the electricity bit is very simple as it plugs together and you really can't make a mistake. The pipes are just under 100 Euros which beats paying 300+ Euros for another person to install, vacuum down and gas up your system. Do watch the DVD's before installing as the paper instructions are terrible.

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