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How costs went through the roof

Fourteen years ago, I had a dodgy looking flat roof. I went into my local builders&#39 store and sought advice from the expert.I clearly recall that the chap carefully assessed my situation. “Got a leaky roof, guv?”

I told him: “Well, yes. Not quite leaky yet but what do you think?”

He considered this further and took down some more detailed facts. “How big is this roof?”

I answered: “Ten feet by eight feet approximately, made of asphalt.”

He then provided me with his expert wisdom and professional advice: “Well, you need that tub of liquid rubber – three gallons. Pour it on the roof, let it spread and find its own level and then ensure that it is at least a quarter of an inch thick on the entire area. That will give your roof at least 20 trouble-free years.”

Well, guess what. The summers were hotter in the past 14 years than they were in previous decades. The roof looks a bit dodgy again. Mind you, it has not started leaking yet. But the 20 years performance guarantee I clearly remember he provided me with could well prove worthless.

I called in to see the expert and he was still there and, amazingly, remembered me.I voiced my concern and he said: “Well, if it hasn&#39t failed yet, what are you on about? Anyway, we are just the retailer. We can&#39t be responsible for failure of performance of the product. That&#39s down to the manufacturer and the manufacturer cannot be responsible for failure due to unforeseen circumstances such as the unusual hot summers. If you are worried, stick some more of the stuff on the roof.”

All I can say is that this is a lousy industry which clearly do not care about their customers. Thank goodness, some industries still give free handouts. I have one of those endowment larks which I took out 15 years ago. After all the recent furore, I wrote to the agent&#39s office and he told me I can take this to those wonderful ombudsmen.

So I did. They looked at the file and told the agent to give me loads of dosh. Lovely.

I told a few of my mates and they claimed too. The agent no longer trades, something about his excess being so high, so he went out of business. Strange.

Name and address supplied

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