A RETIRED couple are raging after being hit with a huge repair bill for nearly £1,300 after their insurers refused to pay out.

Richard and Kathleen Williamson are counting the cost of a decision by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers to reject their claim for work carried out on their Murdieston Street block of flats.

They were sent a bill for £1,279 by their factors, Oak Tree Housing Association, for their share of a variety of jobs, including £900 to address 'subsidence' which caused a wall in the cellar of the building to start collapsing.

The couple agree that the work was badly needed and that the outstanding balance has to be settled but they insist it should be covered by their policy.

Mr Williamson, 66, who is a retired former school technician, said: "You pay buildings insurance for years and years and what's the point? "If they don't pay out, why waste money on it for so long when you can't put in a claim?

"We want to get the message out to others to beware.

"It's money for nothing."

Oak Tree initially billed the couple for work relating to 'subsidence' although the term was removed from future correspondence.

Mr Williamson says they were told this was due to an 'administration error'.

Letters from insurers Bruce Stevenson state there was no evidence of subsidence - and used that as a reason not to pay out.

Mr Williamson said: "Something somewhere made that wall start falling down and crumbling.

"A small retaining wall had to be built in the cellar.

"Both companies are now trying to say it's not subsidence, so what is it?

"What caused it?"

The couple, who have three sons and four grandchildren, have been married for four decades and have lived in their owned flat for 35 years.

Mrs Williamson, 64, said: "We've never claimed on home insurance before, let alone buildings insurance. "We're very disappointed about it."

To add to their woes, Oak Tree are now haggling with them over a payment plan.

The couple have offered to pay the bill at a rate they can afford, over a term of 36 months.

Oak Tree have proposed 18 months with £279 up front, but have invited the Williamsons for a meeting to discuss alternative arrangements.

Nick Jardine, a director of the housing association, said: "They pay their bills regularly and we have a good relationship with them.

"In terms of repayment, the finance people have extended it to 18 months, which is as far as we would normally go, but if Mr and Mrs Williamson can't pay the amount over that period, we have staff who can offer advice and if there's a case to be made we will look at it.

"We're not trying to put people into hardship."

The Tele contacted Bruce Stevenson several times for a comment and we received no reply.