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kmslaw, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 207
Experience:  I have 15 years legal experience behind me and I graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in Arts/Law.
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In 2007 we had a fire suncorp rebuilt the interior of house

Customer Question

in 2007 we had a fire suncorp rebuilt the interior of house including bathroom. in2011 tiles loose,. grout falling out. suncorp remedied this under" life time guarantee on repairs" now we have major problems with water from showeer damaging floor an walls . suncorp says our fault for not maintaining grout between tiles.after tennant was asked to move out so it could be repaired we removed some tiles because we doubted the integrity of the "wet seal"as required bythe australian building code.i had a builder with me (to give an estimate on repairs .he observed that the waterproofmembrane was of poor quality and also that there was no sign of the silicone seal that would be expected in the corner(under the tiles and waterproof membrane was absent. suncorp tells me that it was up to me to mainttain this silicon even though it cannot be seen to be missing without removing tiles. This silicon should last lfora lifetime.i have never heard of the need to dismantle and rebuild a shower cubicle every few years
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  kmslaw replied 8 months ago.

Hello my name is***** am a solicitor in NSW who will help with your inquiry today. I'm just going to re-read your description and get back to you in a second.

Expert:  kmslaw replied 8 months ago.

Can I assume that you have put in a claim with Suncorp asking them to repair the damage to the floor and walls and they have refused then? If so, you will have to lodge a claim against them. Let me just give you the bare facts about how to lodge a claim. Give me a moment to get all the information together.

Expert:  kmslaw replied 8 months ago.

I'm sorry that took so long, I wanted to make sure I give you the right answers to suit your needs.

Okay so usually disputes with insurers can be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service. But you need to ensure that the insurer is a member. So check here to make sure they are. I've checked Suncorp at that link and there are a few entities that come up with that name so best if you check your policy to see which entity you contracted with and see if it comes up. The steps for making a claim through the Financial Ombudsman Service are here. Make sure you check the steps you must take before you lodge, which you will find here. Sometimes you might find you need to pay for the repairs before you can be compensated - this will certainly be true for the next option we shall discuss. A quick call to the FOS to ask should clarify this (I can't call now, phone lines are closed).

However with the FOS, you may not achieve a binding result - it depends on what you are seeking. Be sure to go through the Insurance Contracts Act to find out what you think the insurer has breached. I can't advise you of this as I haven't got your policy. The Act is here.

Another way around it is you can just sue them for breach of contract in a Court of law. The Magistrates Court of Queensland would be the one to sue in for this type of claim. You will probably need a lawyer to draft your statement of claim but you can give it a go yourself if you wish. It will be for breach of the term giving the guarantee if you can find it in the policy and reference it. Or there may be another term breached. Perhaps a term about quality of repairs or repair service. Have a look through the policy. The Magistrates Court webpage has a section on how to represent yourself in Court, so work through that. You'll find the webpage here. It costs money to lodge a claim in a Court but the result is binding on both parties. If you lose, you may have to pay their costs, that is the risk you take.

If you want to save money on legal fees, you can try and find the local law bookshop and buy a simple text on contract law, it should cost under $100. Or sometimes the fees are fixed for small claims, so in NSW for example it costs a little over $600 to get someone to lodge your small claim.

I hope that has helped. If you are happy with this service, please rate my answer highly. Best of luck.