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  • FIRST POST
    sambristol_online
    British Gas have passed an incorrect bill to debt collection agents - help!!
    • #1
    • 30th Dec 11, 6:59 PM
    British Gas have passed an incorrect bill to debt collection agents - help!! 30th Dec 11 at 6:59 PM
    Hello. This is my first post on the site and I'm in need of support and guidance in managing an ongoing incorrect bill with British Gas. The company have passed an incorrect bill, for meter readings paid by the previous owner, on to a debt collection agent (30). This company are now chasing me for payment. I have raised the problem four times over four months with British Gas and have been assured each time that the matter will be addressed and to wait for a revised bill. Clearly the company have preferred to pass the issue on to a debt collector rather than rectify the issue.

    I have consistently told British Gas that I am willing to pay the right bill, for the right amount of units, but they have consistently failed to send me a bill with the two correct meter readings on them. As the bill will only be for around 25 you may ask why I am concerned. There is a point of principle to be followed here, but I think I'm losing the battle

    My questions are: Do I wait for British Gas to rectify the issue?
    Do I wait for the debt collector to take me to court so I can provide the evidence to show the bill is incorrect? As I've told British Gas that they have made a mistake, would going to court close out the account or do the correct meter readings remain in the system?

    Here are the details for info....

    I moved in to my new property on 28 July this year. The meter reading was 3516.

    I immediately contacted Scottish Power to change accounts to them and they agreed to contact British Gas. I would be sent a final bill when the transfer had taken place.

    On 10 October I received a first and final bill from British Gas for 73.14. opening meter reading 3516, closing estimated reading 3564 (for the period up to 14 September). I phoned British Gas and Scottish Power to let them know that as the actual reading on 16 October was 3534, I was being billed for far more than the actual usage and would require a new bill.

    Each party agreed that based on actual daily usage, the bill should be 3526. Scottish Power agreed to confirm this handover reading with British Gas (which was done effectively).

    To summarise, the start reading should therefore be 3516 and final reading 3526. 10 units used in total, circa 25 expected.

    on 18 October, a new bill was received from British Gas, addressed to the occupier rather than me and for the same amount - 73.14. I called British Gas again and had a detailed discussion about the bill to a very polite customer service person. we agreed that I expected a revised bill with the above start and end meter readings. I was assured that the bill dated 18th should be ignored and a revised bill would be sent in the next couple of weeks.

    On around 12 November, I received a bill (to the occupier) for 30.17 for meter readings start - 3491 and end reading of 3503. This was therefore for gas used by the previous owner, as I understand it (I have a letter from my solicitor which states the opening meter reading of 3516). I called British Gas as soon as I received it and again spoke to a polite member of the home movers team. She assured me that British Gas had made a mistake. She would raised the right forms to have the matter dealt with. She also assured me that I shouldn't be concerned over the bill being referred to debt collection agents - the final bill would be sent within 4 weeks, so not to worry.

    I've not received either a reminder or a final bill to date.

    On 27 Dec, I received a letter from a debt collection agency, asking for details on my utilities account. On 28 Dec I received another letter from the same company chasing for immediate part payment of the debt.

    I called British Gas, understandably concerned that an incorrect bill had not been rectified but had been passed to a debt collector instead and was also annoyed that I simply wanted a bill to reflect the right meter readings to allow me to settle the account with British Gas once an for all. The lady I spoke to again assured me that there was an anomaly on the account. The forms raised by the lady I spoke to in November had not been processed and she was not sure why the matter had not been finalised or why the bill had been passed on to a debt collector. She advised that I was likely to have to deal with the debt collector myself now, as the issue was out of their hands!!! After a long conversation she organised for the debt collector to be put on hold for 21 days.

    I am now waiting for British Gas to either correct a problem that for four months they have been unable to resolve, or I wait for a debt collector to chase me for payment. I'm not sure whether to pay them and take British Gas to court for the money or let the debt collector take me to court so I can demonstrate that the bill is inaccurate. I also wonder if British Gas are able to pass an invalid bill over to a debt collector, when it is clear that in doing so it could affect my credit rating.

    Please help and advise. I have raised a complaint with British Gas but don't expect them to resolve the matter within the remaining 20 days and don't know what action I can take?

    Many thanks in advance,

    Simon.
Page 1
  • Cardew
    • #2
    • 30th Dec 11, 7:11 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Dec 11, 7:11 PM
    Welcome to the forum.

    Firstly you are absolutely right to make a stand on such an issue - apart from anything else an 'admission' of failure to pay a bill could affect your credit rating.

    It seems to me that your tactical error was to keep phoning. You must put such matters in writing.

    If you haven't already done so, I suggest you send an Email to 'BG complaints' with the same detail as above and follow it up with a hard copy. Demand an acknowledgement of your email.
  • DUTR
    • #3
    • 30th Dec 11, 7:15 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Dec 11, 7:15 PM
    Welcome to the forum.

    Firstly you are absolutely right to make a stand on such an issue - apart from anything else an 'admission' of failure to pay a bill could affect your credit rating.

    It seems to me that your tactical error was to keep phoning. You must put such matters in writing.

    If you haven't already done so, I suggest you send an Email to 'BG complaints' with the same detail as above and follow it up with a hard copy. Demand an acknowledgement of your email.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    I agree with what you have replied, my concern though is that now the debt ahs been passed onto a collection agency then BG may acknowledge the matter is resolved (as far as they are concerned) and that the OP is now dealing with the collection agency, once a ourt hearing is heard it should resolve in the OP's favour, but I fear the scars may remain for a while on a credit check
  • nuttyp
    • #4
    • 30th Dec 11, 7:19 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Dec 11, 7:19 PM
    our daughter has just had the very same problem with british gas. theyve paid every month over 100 and they received yesterday a bill for 320 for 3 months use!! they have told them they have used 620 electric in 3 months on a 2 bed house!!

    I personally rang tham today, gave tham again the meter reading from moving in day and todays meter reading and advised them they have 7 days to provide a correct statement. Have also started the search for a new supplier, seems they are quite well know for these tactics. God help themif they instruct a debt collector for my daughters bill - it will be a very irate telephone call to the customer relations department and then esculated higher.
    BSC member 137

    BR 26/10/07 Discharged 09/05/08 !!!

    Onwards and upwards - no looking back....
  • bengasman
    • #5
    • 31st Dec 11, 9:24 AM
    • #5
    • 31st Dec 11, 9:24 AM
    A very common situation for BG customers, and very easy to solve.

    1. Do NOT communicate with BG by phone at all any more, you MUST do all by letter or email. Do NOT call them, and do NOT discuss the situation if they call you, but insist they write to you.

    2. Send in a WRITTEN complaint.

    3. If you are not satisfied with the way they handle it, contact the ombudsman.

    4. Be prepared for heavy handed scare tactics, but don't let it bother you; it is all bluff. I've had a similar thing where they even threatened to break in if I didn't pay in full immediately. In the end, they knocked about 1000 off the "debt".
  • Cardew
    • #6
    • 31st Dec 11, 10:53 AM
    • #6
    • 31st Dec 11, 10:53 AM
    I agree with what you have replied, my concern though is that now the debt ahs been passed onto a collection agency then BG may acknowledge the matter is resolved (as far as they are concerned) and that the OP is now dealing with the collection agency, once a ourt hearing is heard it should resolve in the OP's favour, but I fear the scars may remain for a while on a credit check
    Originally posted by DUTR
    The problem is that a DCA(Debt Collection Agency) will never go to court for such a small amount, and in any case are simply not interested in the merits of the case - they want their money.

    Just left the damage is done to your credit record.

    That is why BG must be made to sort out the situation, and as I said earlier - it must be done in writing.
  • undaunted
    • #7
    • 31st Dec 11, 11:53 AM
    • #7
    • 31st Dec 11, 11:53 AM
    I'd basically agree with what has already been said - ringing call centres rarely resolves any significant problem so don't - put it in writing (in the unlikely event this were to proceeed to Court it enables you to prove what has been said & happening)

    As to the debt collector you can either ignore them or if you prefer simply write back stating that there is a dispute on the account which British Gas need to address & requesting that they therefore do not bother you further & either way you will be entering into no further communication with them whatsoever but are happy to see British Gas in Court if necessary
  • sambristol_online
    • #8
    • 3rd Jan 12, 10:07 AM
    • #8
    • 3rd Jan 12, 10:07 AM
    Thanks everyone for your responses, they help me feel a bit more comfortable that I have a reason to keep pushing British Gas. I have written to the customer complaints team and to the ombudsman (as the issue has been running for over 3 months). I'll post the outcome once i get one.

    Thanks again!
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