Wodonga retiree to complain to Consumer Affairs Victoria over failure of her 21-month solar hot water system

Boiling point: Joan Bramley with her Dux hot water unit which she had disconnected and replaced after it failed. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
Boiling point: Joan Bramley with her Dux hot water unit which she had disconnected and replaced after it failed. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

THE failure of her hot water unit has a Wodonga grandmother steamed up and calling for a refund.

Joan Bramley said her Dux gas solar water heater had broken twice in June in subzero temperatures.

“We had minus one at that time with frost and the water froze in the tubes to the collector,” Mrs Bramley said.

“It blew the electronic components driving things.”

The retired conveyancer and her husband Colin had the system installed at their Streets Road house in 2015 as part of a Alatalo Bros house six-star energy rating deal.

Mrs Bramley said Alatalo told her it no longer dealt with Dux and referred her to a Border supplier Southern Plumbing Plus.

“Southern Plumbing Plus’ employee informed me that there had been and are continuous problems with this particular Dux hot water heater and phoned Dux on my behalf,” she said.

“Later that day a Dux employee phoned and informed me that our hot water heater only had a 12-month warranty and as it was 21 months old they could not help us.”

Mrs Bramley thought it should not have failed.

“We believe that there is an implied warranty that an expensive solar hot water heater should be covered under warranty for between seven to 10 years which is normal for most domestic mains pressure hot water units,” she said.

Mrs Bramley has since had the Dux replaced with a Rheem, which is not attached to the solar panels.

Mrs Bramley is complaining to Consumer Affairs Victoria and wants a refund from Dux and it to pay for the unit and panels’ removal.

She said the company’s response did not meet the promises made in its owner’s manual.

“If you should ever have a problem – and we’ll bet you won’t – you’ll find that we’re easy to get hold of, friendly to talk to and quick to act,” Dux stated.

Dux chief executive Simon Terry defended his after-sales team, saying they did not go “home until any and all jobs raised are actioned”.

“In this specific situation, our after-sales team has never received any warranty call from anyone for that specific address including any and all names that you have provided,” Mr Terry told The Border Mail.

He said Dux was meeting Southern Plumbing Plus over a service issue next week.

Southern Plumbing Plus declined to comment, Alatalo Bros general manager Tony Moyle said: “We’re using a different hot water service, but not for those reasons.

“The unit that Joan’s got was outside a warranty, so I can’t comment any further.”

Consumer Affairs Victoria has received 70 calls relating to hot water systems and solar hot water systems between 1 April and Thursday.