16 Mar, 2009 @ 09:25
1 min read

It’s no Gas!


Bogus gas fitters conning expatriates

A PAIR of shady gas fitters are conning unsuspecting people into repairing their boilers for no reason.

The duo have been reported to the police in Alameda after they took hundreds of euros off two British pensioners.

Turning up in uniforms and with bogus documentation they explained that the boilers were due for a “check”.

“They explained in perfect English that it was according to the regulations,” explained Robert Gordon, 74, who moved to Alameda with his wife Helen from Glasgow.

“He had red overalls with a logo and apparently all the right documents. “After about half an hour we were 225 euros out of pocket.”

Broken down into a mix of spare parts, labour and the “repair of a leak”, they then insisted they were paid in cash.

“He was quite firm and insisted it had to be cash,” explained Gordon.

All they were left with was a folder and a piece of paper which purported to be a Maintainance Contract from a company called Del Gas SL, allegedly based in Cadiz.

According to Gordon, around three or four families have been conned in the town of Alameda, near Antequera alone.

His neighbour Stuart Elton, 61, also got caught out.

The retired manager of Parcel Force was stung for 172 euros, after a visit from the conmen.

He said: “My wife let them in and they immediately started dismantling the gas boiler.

“When I got back I demanded to know what they were doing but they said it was a requirement, according to the regulations.

“They had an orange folder and when it came to paying they insisted on cash and would not take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Elton has since been to the police with some local Spanish friends.

But the Guardia Civil insist there is nothing they can do unless the men are caught in the act.

“My advice would be to call the police the minute these guys turn up,” said Elton. “Either that or do what the Spanish do and close the door on them.”


  1. Another area one should be wary of is dubious gas boiler repairs. A little story for you…

    When my own boiler had a problem a couple of weeks ago and a Spanish boiler repair man came to look, and after an hour (cost 130 euros!) he said that I needed a part costing 700 euros + labour (so around a grand). One can purchase a brand new boiler for that…

    To cut a long story short, I got a second opinion by an ex UK corgi qualified plumber. It turned out that the ignitor (~30 euros) had been snapped off on purpose – these parts just do not snap off – and that everything else was ok. There was no way that any repair person could have missed this problem.

    So, the boiler had been sabotaged to allow the repair man to charge 1000 euros instead of 60 euros (part + 1 hour labour). Even if the snapped ignitor was an accident, it was still not mentioned and a much dearer part was required and suggested.

    When I refused to pay cash to the Spanish guy he became very upset and then after a while his office called to explain to me that he needed cash because “he needed to prove to his superiors that the work had been done.” Yeh, right. Never, ever, pay cash; cheque is better since many times a company or individual will just say “I have never worked for you.” Also of course, with cash, the repair man can take what he likes and charge what he likes… and tell his superiors something else.

    Spain is, unfortunately, a great big rip off for foreigners. Quite simply, deep down, the Spanish really hate extranjeros and at every opportunity they rip us off. They do it with cars, houses, boilers and just about everything else inbetween. Sad, but true. It is also sad that I have had to resort to using mainly English and German contractors; the Spanish have ripped me off on numerous occasions and their skill and training (and general attitude and customer service) is appalling.

  2. Por favor! Don’t make ridiculous, unsubstantiated allegations! The reason so many Brits get ripped off is that they are easy prey. They make no effort to learn the language nor to integrate into the local community. They are ignorant about the country they are living in and they don’t know what’s going on around them. That’s just great for all the conmen — and they are of all nationalities. Trusting somebody just because he is a fellow countrymen is a sure way to being swindled, as many can testify.

  3. I was waiting for a stupid reply like that. Listen, fool, why suggest a 1000 euro repair and not even mention the smaller componant that was broken… pretty obvious to anyone with a few brain cells, which is not you clearly.

    Another little story for you. My Bosch induction hob started to malfunction a couple of months back. A Spanish guy was reccomended from the shop where it was bought. He came in looked at it for 5 minutes, didn’t take it apart, and said “it cannot be repaired, there is no way it can be fixed, buy a new one!”.

    What an imbecile; it turned out this guy was not from Bosch (he said he was) but was a friend of a friend blah blah blah. Got through to Bosch in Spain, perfect English service (proper company, note) and thay said all Bosch guaranteed for 2 years, all parts for all models are kept for 10 years (yes 10) and anything can be repaired. Bosch engineer came in 2 days, got the part in a day, fixed it. No charge, done. THAT IS HOW SERVICE SHOULD BE!

    Buy German!!! The Spanish are quite simply, USELESS. I know what is going on around me and I don’t get conned.

  4. Little update for you again… just spoke to my English plumber friend and he told me an interesting story. Whenever he goes to Malaga to get parts for boilers, the supplier (which is the largest in Malaga for boiler parts, I won’t name names but it begins with “S”) makes it as difficult as possible to get parts if the person requesting it is not a Spanish engineer.

    He has ordered parts and it has taken 2-3 months to get them from the supplier, who “forgets” the orders and otherwise are being as obstructive as possible. His Spanish friend told him that this is because the Spanish want to keep all the work for Spanish engineers and not give any work to the extranjero plumbers. He now orders parts from the UK for his clients in Spain. This closed-shop attitude is illegal, but hey it’s Spain! Anyway, this is straight from the horses mouth, not me.

  5. Fred

    You know more than your telling us. Have you ever heard of gypsies. Spain runs the country as if they where gypsys. Europe has similar ways too. Go to a bank and they rob you. 30 EU a year for fees and if they can it will be every 6 months or every month. Humans in general are thieves, but your in a country who has been blinded by the catholic church for too many centuries. You don’t think the people in the top are not thieves. Look at Madoff. We all steal from each other and justify that we are different. Spain has many nationalities. Basque, Gallegos, Castellanos, Catalans, andaluzes. As a born american, who’s parents are from spain, we have had nothing but problems with spaniards. Theives, charlatans, con artists. we haven’t found too many that are decent. We are even scared of them. Franco knew how to work with them, but Franco also kept the country so backwards. When he died spain exploded. your living in a poor, poverished country, with follish believes and a government who is horrible. You have to rely on anglo saxons.

  6. what you are getting from spain is excellent food, excellent service. A spaniard will clean the floors, and after will smile and do it again next week. While you hire someone else and they might think of killing you for having them clean the floors. Today spain has attracted all the flees of the earth. Luckily the economy is bad and they will have to go try to hich a ride on another dog. Spain will very badly need immigrants, but they will never attract good once. They have a habit of treating workers like animals. You see how dogs live in spain, they don’t even get the crumbs without fighting for them.

  7. Have you heard of the word Envy, comes probably from our muslim blood. Envy is the national sport in spain. Probably the number one reason for no progress. When you see a soccor match if they are spaniards they fight for the goal, and end up not getting it. Spain is a interesting country that you should be happy with. They kicked out the smartest people in the world and many went to your country. Although your country also kicked them out at one time, we didn’t learn any lessons. Maybe the new muslims will change our culture for the better, along with your country too. I am a athiest but Europe as well as the United States needs immigrants, crime moves the economy believe it or not, everyone gets paid. Our cultures are old and rotton. Money talks, and saudi arabia has it. We no matter how middle class we may be, matter a little more than the poor. As you can see in spain, to find a police officer on the street is not easy.

  8. Badly installed and serviced gas appliances can kill.
    This issue is not taken seriously enough in Spain.
    That means those bogus fitters are putting your life in danger

  9. I had the same problem with S######c boiler spares company in Malaga, I needed a new part for my boiler & they were completely obstructive. I eventually got the new part after complaining to the head office In Granada. But the new part was faulty and they insisted they send a technico out before refunding me, the technico switched the timer to off so the machine wouldn’t start at all & tried to persuade me it was unreparable and a new boiler was required. Just a disgustingly dishonest company, I resolved the problem by ordering my parts from Italy where the parts are made…..

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