Consumer complains when insurer refuses to replace motar on his home

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The mortar around the bricks on Charlie’s new house was defective and he complained about it. 

What happened

Charlie lived in a large estate of newly built homes. All the houses were nearly identical in terms of size and construction.  

Charlie noticed that his neighbour’s house had scaffolding on it. He asked his neighbour what was happening. The neighbour explained there was extensive damage to the mortar around the bricks because the mix of mortar was wrong.  

Charlie asked the insurer to replace the mortar on his home too, but they said no. Charlie thought his insurer was being unreasonable, so he complained. Unhappy with the insurer’s final response, he contacted us to make a complaint. 

What we said

We looked into the information provided. The insurer agreed that the mortar on Charlie’s home was the same as the mortar on his neighbour's, so Charlie’s mortar was defective too, in line with warranty terms.  

However, the neighbour’s house was more exposed to the wind and this had caused damage to the mortar. Charlie’s house was sheltered and although the mortar was defective, there was no damage. There was no expert evidence to suggest that Charlie’s mortar would be damaged in the future.  

We explained to Charlie that the warranty was intended to put right any damage caused by a defect. As there wasn’t any damage to Charlie’s house, he didn’t have a valid claim. We were satisfied the insurer acted fairly, so we didn’t uphold Charlie’s complaint. We also explained that if there was damage within the warranty period, the warranty would apply.