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Received an invoice when no work was performed

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We asked Heigenmoser elektroanlagen for a quote for a small but tricky job in our house - switching the ventilation system off automatically when the fire is burning which is a safety requirement. A guy came round on 21/10, talked with me for 15 minutes on the phone, then left - I was at work and my wife doesn't know the technical stuff. On his departure he asked her to sign on an electronic screen, like the ones DHL use, which she understood was to confirm he kept the appointment.

 

My recollection of the call is that we agree he will send us a Kostenvoranschlag and a list of components that could be used and I will call the ventilation system manufacturer and inform myself about their system. Then the next thing we hear from Heigenmoser is an invoice on 13/11 for 30 euro for a half hour of his time. My wife and I both phoned to clarify when the Zahlungserinnerung arrives on 2/12 and the guy was very aggressive, immediately threatened lawyers when we said we weren't paying. Our reasons for not paying are we only wanted a quote, his guy hadn't done what we agreed, in fact he'd done nothing except come to our house so charging for Montagezeit is absurd. Now, rather predictably after us saying we wont pay, the 1. Mahnung arrives.

 

Interestingly the Zahlungserinnerung contains a 'Regiebericht' form apparently signed by my wife stating she understands what is obviously his perspective of the telephone conversation I had with the guy (which she could not hear), and agrees that he spent a half hour working time. This is her signature digitally printed on a form she never saw and were it to have been presented like that she would never have signed. We never received a copy of this form before receiving the invoice.

 

I'm not sure what to do now. Naturally paying this would piss us off hugely as the Heigenmoser boss is clearly a massive arse, and his bullying makes me want to do everything not to pay. But then life is short and this is only (now) 34 euro. I told him that were he not to be more reasonable I'd write reviews of him and his company all over the internet, to which he, rather predictably, answered he'd sue me. Clearly a massive arse.

 

What should we do? Should we pay it and move with our lives, or if he's got no justification to write an invoice like that then how do we fight it? Thanks in advance.

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Thanks El J, that's very helpful. As far as I can understand the position that Heigenmoser is taking is that he was waiting for me to contact them, which I did not, so he sent a bill for the guy's time. My position is that I was expecting the quote independently.

 

Your post set me thinking that there's a Verbraucherzentrale near the office and they basically confirmed the same thing. They had lots of useful information, said things like 'seltsam' a lot and I left with a letter to send to them, which mentions the same BGB reference. I'll post here when I get to a scanner.

 

The summary was that the Regiebericht *could* constitute a contract, primarily because for 30 euro nobody could really be bothered to look closely. The whole thing is highly dubious. At the very least this guy is aggressively persueing something that's legally questionable but it sounds like he's done this before and, in summary and having written me a letter telling him to bugger off, the girl at the Verbraucherzentrale suggested that life is short and perhaps just paying isn't the most stupid thing to do.

 

Just be warned about the business practices of Heigenmoser Elektroanlagen.

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Actually it´s not that unusual a practice to charge for a "Kostenvoranschlag". Often it is waived if you give them the job. But in all cases I had to deal with I had been told so beforehand.

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Must admit to never having received an invoice for a quote, especially one that took a quarter of an hour phone call not to arrive. As El Jeffo points out § 632 Absatz 3 BGB is the deciding rule here, and it says that normally you can't charge for quotes unless there's a contract in place that says you will.

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Well, last time I paid it (€ 98.-) was for my Bauknecht washer/tumbler. Only to be told that it wasn´t worth the repair. But as I said, they had told me beforehand that I´d have to pay for the quote.

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A guy came round on 21/10, talked with me for 15 minutes on the phone, then left

Did he do some looking around before the phone call or was that it?

 

We've never had anyone show up for free.

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My experience has been that there is always a call out fee for tradesmen. If someone travels from a firm to my place and spends time talking to me about or looking at the problem I have then I don't mind paying for that service. I don't expect anyone to do it for nothing. On the other hand some of the call fees have been extortionate especially from heating engineers so I would be interested to hear if there is any legislation that covers this practice.

 

I did search here and got nothing and all I got from google was ads about call out girls; this is someone else's normal pc so I am beginning to wonder what he does in his spare time. :)

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what about cost of time and evaluation of problem for 45 minutes. I feel 30 euros is ok. Maybe he waited for you to send him a contract and this price could have been added to the final bill. But since you did not pursue, it, he needs to charge you for coming and spending 45 minutes in your home.

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To make a price calculation doesn't only take 45 minutes . The job isn't done until all the calculation necessary is made and the offer written . Etc. etc. May take hours.

 

Nevertheless is simply unfair not to inform the customer beforehand if there will be a charge. El Jeffo gave the best advice how to proceed.

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I think there's some misunderstanding here - if you call a guy out to fix a washing machine, for example, he'll usually tell you there's a call-out fee of X euro to diagnose the problem and tell you if it's worth fixing. That's fair enough and not what happened to us. This is an electrician job on the fixed installation of the house that would probably be ca. 1000,- euro and for that sort of work it's normal to get a quote, and it's also usual not to pay for it.

 

When I phoned Heigenmoser I pointed out to him that I still need the work doing and if he'd calm down for a moment I'd be happy to continue the conversation in the constructive manner we started. He wasn't interested. I think the Germans describe people like him as 'Koliker'.

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Helles... You should be greatful that I didnt send you a bill for drinking your coffee and "coooochy coooing" and your twins!!!

 

Oh.. wait a minute... you didnt make me a coffee you tight arse and come to think about it, I didnt get to see the kiddiewinks either!!

 

You rotten sod!

 

:lol:

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"Choleriker" = Choleric, anger management issues.

 

Thank you :) I've heard the term many times and now I can spell it too.

 

SpiderPig - it's PG Tips this time of the day, fancy a cuppa? Plenty of nappies to change too...

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