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I haven't washed my clothes for months & got a £2,500 bill after contractors left me in the lurch – I'm furious | The Sun

A TERMINALLY ill pensioner who hasn't washed her clothes for months is fuming at a £2,500 bill from contractors who left her in the lurch.

Mum-of-two Margaret Phillips, 72, took part in The Warmer Homes Scotland scheme in early September to have a new heating system installed.

But she was left without her washer and tumble dryer after work from the contractor and managing agent Warmworks.

Margaret said the machines were disconnected during the installation of a new heating system with no physical space to reconnect them afterwards.

And the pensioner says she is now unable to clean any clothes or bedding at her home in Edinburgh, let alone afford the necessary repairs.

Margaret, who has a terminal health issue and lost her husband to Covid, told Edinburgh Live: “At first the scheme felt like a lifeline for me to help me have a better heating system in time for winter.

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"In reality Warmworks have just replaced my problem with new ones."

A Scottish Government spokesperson acknowledged the "distress" caused to Margaret and assured they will investigate the matter with contractors.

Warmworks, meanwhile, confirmed a new heating system has been installed free of charge but the scheme does not cover the cost of moving other appliances.

Margaret, who has two sons, Scott and Robbie, is currently receiving chemotherapy and has to attend haemodialysis multiple times a week.

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It was because of this she was eligible for the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme funded by the Scottish Government, which aims and aims to reduce energy bills for the vulnerable by installing insulation and more efficient heating systems.

Margaret had been referred to the scheme after calling Home Energy Scotland because she was struggling to pay her energy bills.

She added: “Schemes like these are supposed to help vulnerable people stay warm in their homes this winter. They shouldn’t be allowed to run these schemes if they aren’t willing to support those vulnerable people.

If they had told me that this would happen there is no way I wouldn’t have continued with the scheme."

"They keep telling me that they’ve acted appropriately and in good faith.

"Leaving someone with a basic function in their home isn’t good faith and considering who the scheme is for the way they’ve acted is far from appropriate."

They shouldn’t be allowed to run these schemes if they aren’t willing to support those vulnerable people."

Margaret said it was clear as soon as her new biomass boiler was fitted that there was insufficient space to reconnect her machines and support would be needed to resolve it.

“We phoned Warmworks as soon as we saw the space the contractors had left.

They measured it a month before install and said it all would fit back in with some reconfiguration.

"It is obvious to anyone that there was no way they were going to be able to fit. It’s been over two months since and no one is willing to take responsibility for what has happened."

Margaret said Warmworks have failed to support in resolving the issue – instead offering a ‘good will’ gesture of £200 for the inconvenience she has experienced.

Meanwhile, she has been footed with a £2,500 bill from another firm to complete the work and make room to re-connect both her washing machine and tumble dryer.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We acknowledge the distress that this incident has caused Ms Phillips. We are taking this up urgently with Warmworks to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding her case.

“It is important that services delivered on our behalf are to the highest standards in order to ensure that our objectives are met.”

While a spokesperson for Warmworks said: "Ms Phillips received a full new biomass heating system through the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme, the cost of which was fully covered by the grant.

"Warmer Homes Scotland is a Government scheme that has been set up to help households to stay affordably warm and to improve the energy efficiency of their property. The scheme has already helped more than 30,000 households across Scotland over the last seven years.

"Before this new system was fitted, Ms Phillips was advised by the installer that the washing machine would need to be moved to allow for it to be fitted.

"The funding provided by the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme does not extend to cover the cost of moving or re-siting other domestic appliances around the home

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"However, on this occasion we offered Ms Phillips £200 as a goodwill gesture to allow her to either arrange for the appliance to be reconnected or to purchase a new one.

"Given that the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme’s primary aim is to make homes warmer, it’s very positive that Ms Phillips is now in a position where she should see considerable benefit from this new, high specification biomass heating system in terms of supporting her to manage her energy bills and to stay warm at home."

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