Article 19 - Don’t blame me – it’s the product!
Over the years it has not been unusual for a contractor to blame the product they used when a problem returns. With the advent of cream type damp proof course materials to control rising damp, operative error is less likely and the ability to prove product failure more achievable. Manufacturers beware!
Over the years I have received numerous calls from householders who have had rising damp treatment undertaken but are still experiencing a continuing damp problem. Quiet rightly the householder has contacted the contractor responsible for the work only to be told it must be a product failure as they did everything right and the householder should contact the manufacturer! Unbelievably some contractors, I am told, have made this diagnosis over the telephone without even visiting the property!
Whilst it is not impossible for defective products to leave manufacturers premises it would be very unlikely as virtually all subscribe to a quality control system such as ISO 9002. If applied correctly this quality control system imposes stringent quarantine and batch testing of all products prior to dispatch making it extremely unlikely for inferior products to leave a manufacturers premises. I am not aware of any case where defective products were the proven cause of an on going rising damp problem.
To prove the effectiveness of a rising damp treatment operation is relatively easy albeit time consuming and expensive to undertake. However to prove that the actual product used was defective after it has been injected is fraught with difficulties and some would argue impossible.
When investigating on going damp problems standard investigative procedures usually always reveal the cause. Unfortunately contractors who seek to blame product failure tend to adopt this approach either through ignorance or a lack of understanding of what they are doing and the attendant problems associated with it.
Should you experience this situation then you should pursue the contractor as your contract was with him. Do not let yourself be palmed off on to the manufacturer. You may have to consult a solicitor but you probably have Contract Law, The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and The Limitation Act 1980 on your side. Should the contractor be adamant that product failure is the cause then the onus of proof is on the contractor, not you, and it would be up to the contractor to pursue the manufacturer.
Another possibility to consider is that the original diagnosis was incorrect. For example you may have been told that the problem was rising damp but the cause was actually condensation. Under these circumstances if you are able to prove that the original diagnosis was incorrect then you could be entitled to a refund under The Misrepresentation Act 1967.
It is fully appreciated that this type of situation is hassle that you could do without. Unfortunately it is only when such circumstances arise that you discover the integrity and competence of the contractor whom you originally engaged.
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