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Daylight robbery, an interesting business model


Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
This week we had a boiler failure (always happens in cold weather, it happened to my brother as well) so no central heating and no hot water. The problem was a failed pump. The boiler was three months out of warranty. It's an Ideal boiler, so far from the most expensive boiler, always attractive for developers, so my daughter tells me from her past experiences working for Savills. They come with a 5 year guarantee.

So the engineer came round, and having diagnosed the pump failure, ordered one from Ideal. Who sent the wrong part for that model, despite having all the right details. So that was yesterday. He got the right pump this morning - he came in specially, doesn't work Saturdays for the company. Fitted it, then looked at the price. £300. He nearly fainted. That;s not just expensive, it is ludicrously so. His company normally recommend and fit Worcester Bosch, the best and most reliable boilers according to Which, but they are a couple of hundred quid (at least) more than an Ideal. Their warranty is for ten years, and the price of a pump is £100. He didn't dare tell me the price of the control board (another possible diagnosis) which was more then twice the cost of a Worcester Bosch. The total cost of those two parts came to more than the price of the boiler.

To me, it's obvious that Ideal sell their boilers at a loss, and make their profit from selling inflated price spare parts when they break down after the period of warranty. The engineer said he wouldn't have one in his house for any bribe. A frankly odious way to run a business.

Needless to say that after Christmas I will be replacing it with a Worcester Bosch combi boiler. I know a ten year guarantee will probably see me out, but at least I will be safe in the knowledge that in the unlikely event of a breakdown it won't cost anything.

Ideal's business model is similar to computer printers. They are invariably cheap, (depending on your view of cheap) and make all their profits from the ink supplies, and decline to repair any printer that uses anything other than their ink under warranty. And the same model is growing for electric cars and their chargers.

I should add, the money doesn't bother me ( neither does the cost of a new boiler) but it's the principle that bugs me. And the engineer.


Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
You have a 5 year old model, the £300 pumps are oe for something like the Ideal Domestic ISAR HE 30.
Most Ideal pumps are still less than £100, and a copy part for even that boiler is less than £100, which is fine if it's out of warranty. Some models come in at less than £35.
Control boards come in well priced for refurbs as well.
Check the Worcester Bosch guarantee out, the full t&c's used to have a fair amount of preliminary work, and the use of a Bosch accredited fitter to give the full term guarantee.
(Just had an Ideal boiler fitted to a house here, they're good enough for the job they do)
The Ideal Vogue range comes with a 12 year warranty when fitted by an accredited installer.
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Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I doubt if ideal sell their boilers at a loss so that they can make a killing on spares. Manufacturing businesses just don't work that way. As you say, they are cheap boilers, built down to a price so that they can be sold in large numbers to developers. They are not particularly reliable (my plumber mate won't fit them because he has a reputation to protect) as much of the componentry inside them is cheap and quite honestly a bit nasty. I think that Ideal are not really interested in supply of spares, and that they don't hold spares for much other than current models. My guess is that the price of the pump actually reflects what it costs Ideal to supply one profitably for your particular boiler. Supplying spares for things not made from generic parts is a complete pain in the whatsit and is part of the business they could well do without.

I know this because we replaced the Ideal boiler in our house a couple of years ago when the heat exchanger started to leak. My plumber mate said he would check but doubted if Ideal would have a spare, and if they did it would be stupidly expensive. He would not want to fit one anyway because the chances were that something else would fall apart whilst he was stripping the thing down. He was right, list price silly but there was no stock anyway.

We went for the top end Baxi as a replacement on his recommendation. Cost us near twice the price of one of the cheapos like Ideal, but excellent reliability and Baxi have a long term spares stocking policy to back up their 10 yr warranty. More important, I see him every week in the local chippy so he knew damn well that if he made a poor recommendation he would get a lot of grief every Friday tea time forever.

Moral of the tale... you get what you pay for.