I'm not the type to complain about poor service and this is the first time I've ever publicised a concern I've had about any kind of service. In fact it didn't even cost me a whole lot of money. It's just the seemingly blatant rip off that compelled me to warn others about Thames Gas.com.
I called them (as it turns out, and this is contrary to the attractive website and flashing references and the close name association with a very large company, that this is a small one man owner/operator) to repair my boiler that had just stopped working for no apparent reason. He sent a repairman around then next morning who spent approximately 15 minutes looking at it then called me to discuss the problem. He said that I needed a new PCB (printed circuit board) and that he could replace it for £483 plus VAT, but that there would likely be other things wrong with the boiler so he suggested I replace the entire boiler and quoted a price of £2150 plus VAT. I explained that I had to think this over due to the high cost of the estimates. When I explained that I couldn’t afford to spend that kind of money the engineer gave what seemed reasonable advice if I was to try to change the PCB myself but emphasised there would likely be other things wrong with it.
Following the directions in the boiler service manual I took out the PCB in preparation for looking for a replacement but noticed that the fuses were not in it. The engineer didn't mention blown fuses to me at the time. But I also noted that 2 of the capacitors on the board had broken leads. In addition one of the resistors next to one of the capacitors was flattened against the board. It immediately appeared to me as if someone gave those capacitors a twist with a pair of pliers.
I replaced the 2 damaged capacitors, straightened up the resistor, put new fuses in and reinstalled the PCB. I found that the fuses blew when I turned the house heat on, just as it did when I tried to turn the heat on before calling this service in the first place. I installed a new spark generator and the boiler ran normally, and has been running normally since. The new spark generator cost a mere £32 plus shipping.
Now I'm not a boiler repairman but it doesn't take an engineer genius to see what likely happened. What I believe happened is that the engineer took the blown fuses out then gave the 2 capacitors a twist with his pliers and tried to sell me a new boiler. He was very clear that there would probably be other things wrong with it once the PCB was replaced when I told him that I couldn't immediately afford for him to do the work. I tried to speak with the manager (Adrian Cronin) but he wouldn't return my calls. He also didn't answer a letter of complaint. I'm sincerely open to alternative explanations but Mr Cronin wouldn't even speak with me so what am I to think. What would you think?
Not knowing much about boilers I spent two days off work learning and effecting the repair. I definitely didn't want another engineer in my house at this point, because of how betrayed I felt paying someone to come in and sabatage my property. And guess what, in the end it only needed a new spark generator which I bought online for a mere £32. A little less expensive than £2150 plus VAT that I was told I should be spending. My boiler has been running normally since then, 3 months ago.
You've been warned. Use this company at your risk. Even if you have a fat wallet, you may not like the idea of someone so dishonest coming into your home.