INFORMATION ON - SERENE HEATERS

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Serene Heater Advice for electrical contractors

Master Electricians is aware many of its Members have been affected by recent safety/compliance issues discovered in several Serene heater models (“Serene Heaters”):

  • Serene S2068 has been identified as a significant fire risk and is subject to a comprehensive prohibition notice.
  • Serene S207T has been found to be non-compliant with safety standards and is also subject to a prohibition notice restricting its sale and installation.
  • Serene S2069 has also been found to be non-compliant with safety standards. It is not currently subject to prohibition but vigilance with these units is recommended.

Master Electricians has sought legal advice for the purpose of assisting its membership to address issues arising from these Serene Heaters. Many Members have installed and/or supplied these models. Below you’ll find some practical advice in relation to three common scenarios which sets out your rights, obligations, and some practical advice in relation to three common scenarios.

All members may contact Master Electricians’ legal services provider, Ford Sumner, who will provide you with advice regarding your rights and obligations in any of the particular circumstances above or those that may be unique to your situation.

Ford Sumner can be contacted on 04 910 3200 or helpdesk@fsl.nz. Alternatively, you can submit your enquiry at https://www.fsl.nz/contact/. Please include your membership number.

For further and ongoing information regarding the affected Serene Heater models, please refer to the guidance from Worksafe

I have installed, but not supplied a Serene Heater for a residential customer

What are my rights and obligations?

Subject to your terms of trade and provided there were no issues with the quality of your workmanship when installing the Serene Heater, you are not liable to replace the Serene Heater.

The customer may have rights against the party who supplied them the Serene Heater under the Consumer Guarantees Act (“CGA”) because the CGA requires suppliers to provide goods to consumers that are of acceptable quality (which, depending on the model and whether it is displaying faults, the Serene Heater may not to be).

The customer may also have rights against the manufacturer, Serene, under the CGA because of the 10-year warranty Serene gave in respect of the Serene Heaters.

What should I do?

You should not replace a Serene Heater unless the customer first confirms in writing they will pay you to replace the Serene Heater.

You should consider asking for all or part of your quote to be paid before carrying out any work for the customer.

You should point out that the customer may have an ability to recover the cost of replacing the Serene Heater (a new unit and your costs) from their supplier or the manufacturer.

I have installed and supplied a Serene Heater for a residential customer.

What are my rights and obligations?

If you have supplied a Serene Heater to a residential customer, you will be legally responsible under the CGA for replacing the Defective Heater at no cost to the customer, unless:

  • it is Serene Model S207T or S2069 and it is not displaying any faults;
  • the customer is no longer the owner/occupier of the property (the CGA only protects the original customer, not a subsequent homeowner); or
  • you supplied the Defective Heater more than 6 years ago (in which case the customer is time-barred from bringing a claim against you).
What should I do?

Check your supplier and review their terms of trade to see whether they will provide a replacement heater for the S2068 model at no cost.

Check which model the Serene Heater is and ask the customer whether it is displaying any faults.

Check whether the person requesting the replacement is the original customer you supplied the Defective Heater to. If they are not, then approach the matter per the above scenario.

If the Defective Heater was installed over 6 years ago (before May 2018), approach the matter per the above scenario.

Check your insurance policies to see whether they will cover the cost of replacing the Defective Heater.

Some customers may be comfortable with meeting the cost of a replacement new heater (they will be getting an upgrade in terms of a new compliant product – betterment) and negotiating a reduced fee for installation, notwithstanding the legal position.

You may negotiate any outcome you wish, provided it is agreed with the customer. The legal position must be borne in mind as a starting point in all discussions.

I have installed and/or supplied a number of Defective Heaters for a commercial customer

What are my rights and obligations?

The CGA will not apply in this scenario. Your rights and obligations will be determined by the agreement you have with your commercial customer.

What should I do?

You can contact Master Electricians’ legal services provider, Ford Sumner, on 04 910 3200 or helpdesk@fsl.nz.

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