Recommendation 9: “Ensure proper presentation of maintenance contracts when commissioning individual heating systems, when they are offered under a contract with a single-family home builder”

Recommendation 9: “Ensure proper presentation of maintenance contracts when commissioning individual heating systems, when they are offered under a contract with a single-family home builder”

1-     Customer observation

The applicant purchased a house from a single-family home builder. As part of the delivery of the property, ENGIE Home Services was tasked with the commissioning of a boiler and a thermodynamic hot water tank. When the technician arrived, documents were handed over to the complainant, who through a consumer organisation representing him challenged the value of the contract.

2-     Mediation solution

After analysis of the file, it appears that, in the context of a contract between the single-family home builder and ENGIE Home Services, the latter ensures the commissioning of heating appliances. It is also stipulated that ENGIE Home Services can offer the customer an annual maintenance contract for the appliance put into service. If this contract is taken out, the service is free for the first year. At the end of the commissioning intervention, a work report is given to the client. The maintenance contract is then proposed.

In the context of a maintenance contract proposed following an agreement with a single-family home builder, there is a specific procedure. The contractual document is normally pre-drafted, as the company is already familiar with the technical characteristics of the appliances. To produce this document, it is also necessary to tick a box to display a sentence explaining the no-charge nature of the contract for the 1st year. As this is an off-premises contract, a withdrawal form is attached to the contract, along with a form to waive it in the event that the customer would like the service to be performed before the expiry of the withdrawal period. These documents are kept in a sleeve with the applicable General Conditions of Sale, an explanation of the different offers and a guide to using the installation effectively. All of these items are given to the customer. In the event that the maintenance service is performed following signing of the contract, a certificate is also provided.

In this case, it turns out that the process and the documents submitted to the complainant did not correspond to the process in force for this type of situation. The Mediation team therefore reminded the company that its existing processes should be properly followed.

In addition, standardised documents also had shortcomings. It was therefore recommended, and accepted by ENGIE Home Services, that the term used should not be “free” but “complimentary”. And, it must be indicated that the final amount to be paid by the customer is indeed €0, when nothing was mentioned on the current documents. The Mediation team also insisted that documents should not be scored through or feature additions such as “bill paid”. The “Resumption”, “New contract” or “Amendment” boxes must also be ticked systematically according to the situation. This will allow the customer to be fully aware of what they are committing themselves to when signing the contract and so give it full validity.

3-     Generic observation

In the context of the purchase of a new house from a single-family home builder, ENGIE Home Services was tasked with the commissioning of heating equipment. When the technician arrived, documents were handed over to the complainant, who through a consumer organisation representing him challenged the value of the contract.

4-     Recommendation / generic solution

In the context of an agreement with a single-family home builder, care must be taken to ensure that the proposed maintenance contracts are presented when commissioning individual heating systems. The company must follow the standard processes in place for taking out maintenance contracts as part of a wider agreement with a single-family home builder. For full validity, it must also make some changes as to the form of these contracts and the indications it contains, which ENGIE HOME SERVICE has accepted.

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