Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Simonmw
    • By Simonmw 20th Feb 17, 6:29 PM
    • 5Posts
    • 4Thanks
    Simonmw
    Watch out for British Gas
    • #1
    • 20th Feb 17, 6:29 PM
    Watch out for British Gas 20th Feb 17 at 6:29 PM
    I was a Sainsburys Energy (British Gas) customer and swapped over to another supplier. I handed over the final meter readings and waited for the balance. The balance came to over £500 so I phoned up to query as you would; we had been paying direct debits for a year.

    The customer services confirmed and said not to worry as you could pay it off over a year. I checked to make sure it was interest free and he said it was. I thought I might as well do that as the money is better in my pocket then theirs. I could have paid at the time but thought I might as well take advantage of the 0% loan they were offering. I was transferred over to another department where they took my details and told me what the repayments would be. I said fine and left it at that.

    Today, a week or so later, I checked my credit report and hey presto I had effectively defaulted on my !!!!!!! payment and signed up to an arrangement to pay. I phoned them up, shouted a bit and settled the payment in full and opened a complaint. At no point did the bas***ds tell me I was defaulting and I was going to screw up my 100% credit rating that I have been nurturing for the last 20 years. It will stick with me for 6 bl**dy years if they don't fix it.

    I'll report back with what happens to the complaint.
Page 1
    • Arleen
    • By Arleen 20th Feb 17, 6:34 PM
    • 826 Posts
    • 601 Thanks
    Arleen
    • #2
    • 20th Feb 17, 6:34 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Feb 17, 6:34 PM
    What did you think did you agreed to if not for a payment plan? I mean you admit yourself that you could've paid but wanted to take advantage of the 0% loan, without actually asking if it is a loan, or what sort of thing it is - just whether it's interest free.

    Call them, explain calmly that you didn't understand what you were agreeing to, offer to repay it in full if they will remove the markers and they will most likely agree.
    • Lemonsqueezer78
    • By Lemonsqueezer78 20th Feb 17, 7:02 PM
    • 285 Posts
    • 344 Thanks
    Lemonsqueezer78
    • #3
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:02 PM
    • #3
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:02 PM
    I would say it would certainly not be obvious to many people that agreeing to make payments to a utility company for a particularly large "surprise" bill over a number of instalments would immediately be lodged as some kind default - especially if you have actually been making Direct Debit payments every month in good faith - as the OP appears to have been doing.

    Something like this should not be down to the customer to quiz them on - many people are not even aware that some utility companies even record data on CRAs (not all of them do).

    The most you could accuse the OP of is not providing meter readings regularly enough.

    If none of this was clearly explained to the OP - then it should have been.
    • Arleen
    • By Arleen 20th Feb 17, 7:16 PM
    • 826 Posts
    • 601 Thanks
    Arleen
    • #4
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:16 PM
    • #4
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:16 PM
    Then people need to start reading the agreements they sign, or at least do a very cursory google search: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-advice/Bills-payments/Trouble-paying/Sharing-information-with-credit-reference-agencies.html . It says, in plain letters:

    We share information with credit reference agencies, including details on whether you pay bills on time or late. If you don’t pay your bill in full and on time, you may find that this shows on your credit record. So it’s important you pay what you owe on time.
    And with a further link to terms of service that has a lot more clauses explained, although in less plain format.

    But this isn't even a matter of someone in a bad situation being taken advantage off. OP simply was greedy and wanted to take advantage of what he thought (without asking) was 0% loan rather than simply pay his bill in full, and it bit him in the patootie. The old adage applies - if it's too good to be true - it is. Luckily for him, it's very early into the agreement and should be easy to roll back as long as it is paid in full.

    But seriously, read what you sign. Contrary to what people think, T&S do not have 90 pages, are not unreadable. And if you don't understand something, there are various internet boards where people will be happy to clarify.
    Last edited by Arleen; 20-02-2017 at 7:20 PM.
    • GingerBob
    • By GingerBob 20th Feb 17, 7:38 PM
    • 3,618 Posts
    • 1,646 Thanks
    GingerBob
    • #5
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:38 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:38 PM
    Who's at fault here: British Gas 100%, the OP 0%.


    This is not the first time we've had a post on here about British Gas maliciously reporting this type of payment as a default or late payment. It's simple enough, the call centre operator should have said "yes, you can pay this off over 12 months, but please note that if you do so we'll flag it up with the CRAs as a continuing late payment, and this will almost certainly affect your ability to obtain credit."


    British Gas are the worst offenders at malicious CRA reporting. Their actions described here by the OP are pretty close to fraudulent. OP, please report this to the ICO.


    I make no apology for saying this again: Utility companies (and phone companies) should not be allowed to report customer accounts to the CRAs.


    OP, you don't say which supplier you moved to. Most of the big six report, but EDF don't and SSE - I think - just report defaults. Hopefully you moved to one of these providers.
    • Simonmw
    • By Simonmw 20th Feb 17, 7:40 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Simonmw
    • #6
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:40 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:40 PM
    I just thought they were doing the decent thing. I had been sending in my meter readings regularly and I thought they had just screwed up. I didn't think anything of it as I assumed that it must happen to lots of people and BG don't want to go around annoying people with £500 pound bills when they can do the right thing and stagger them out.
    • Simonmw
    • By Simonmw 20th Feb 17, 7:47 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Simonmw
    • #7
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:47 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:47 PM

    We share information with credit reference agencies, including details on whether you pay bills on time or late. If you don’t pay your bill in full and on time, you may find that this shows on your credit record. So it’s important you pay what you owe on time"

    I had paid everything on time and all the time. I had several phone calls with them to make sure the transfer to the new supplier was going OK and I thought I had resolved everything. At no point did I think I wasn't paying what was owed.
    • Arleen
    • By Arleen 20th Feb 17, 7:57 PM
    • 826 Posts
    • 601 Thanks
    Arleen
    • #8
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:57 PM
    • #8
    • 20th Feb 17, 7:57 PM
    I just thought they were doing the decent thing. I had been sending in my meter readings regularly and I thought they had just screwed up. I didn't think anything of it as I assumed that it must happen to lots of people and BG don't want to go around annoying people with £500 pound bills when they can do the right thing and stagger them out.
    Originally posted by Simonmw
    They were doing the decent thing - offered someone who can't pay a no-hassle way to spread it into interest-free installments, instead of for example hounding you to pay the whole thing, in full, now.
    The reason your end bill was most likely because you didn't submit meteres for long time. If you will check your statements they should say whether they are estimates or according to the meter readings you've provided.
    If your statements for last months are not estimates (and those were the important heating months) then you may want to check with your previously provided meter readings, as they may have indeed made a mistake in the amount.

    ď
    We share information with credit reference agencies, including details on whether you pay bills on time or late. If you donít pay your bill in full and on time, you may find that this shows on your credit record. So itís important you pay what you owe on time"

    I had paid everything on time and all the time. I had several phone calls with them to make sure the transfer to the new supplier was going OK and I thought I had resolved everything. At no point did I think I wasn't paying what was owed.
    Originally posted by Simonmw
    You didn't pay that last bill in full, instead you've asked for installments. And it says clear as a day "full and on time", not "or". And of course that the transfer went fine, why wouldn't it? You've set a plan to pay back the bill, are paying it, why would they make any troubles?
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 20th Feb 17, 8:36 PM
    • 910 Posts
    • 579 Thanks
    rtho782
    • #9
    • 20th Feb 17, 8:36 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Feb 17, 8:36 PM
    Either you did not provide correct readings or you used a ton of electricity/gas in the last period.

    If you had provided accurate readings all the way through, the debt would never have built up.
    Deposit Saved since 01/12/15: £13,000 / £15,000 House Bought!

    Debt Cleared since 01/12/15: £6,000 / £7,500
    • GingerBob
    • By GingerBob 20th Feb 17, 8:47 PM
    • 3,618 Posts
    • 1,646 Thanks
    GingerBob
    Either you did not provide correct readings or you used a ton of electricity/gas in the last period.

    If you had provided accurate readings all the way through, the debt would never have built up.
    Originally posted by rtho782

    Somewhat missing the point. Yes, maybe that's true - bear in mind we're in the middle of winter - but the issue here is one of BG trickery. Their T&Cs do not state that if you pay off a final debt in agreed instalments this will be treated as an "arrangement to pay" ŗ la CRA arrangement to pay marker. It would cost them nothing to inform potential victims of this fraud; they don't do so (other cases on this board). They are guilty.
    • Chappaz
    • By Chappaz 20th Feb 17, 10:17 PM
    • 130 Posts
    • 56 Thanks
    Chappaz
    Is it deceiving? Absolutely.

    But to me, this is one of those "if it's too good to be true" type of things. I would immediately be cautious of any company which offers a deal like that with seemingly no ramifications at all.

    You almost have to wonder if the customer support person thought they were doing the right thing. After all, what does BG gain out of black marking someone's credit file in exchange for longer-term repayment with no interest? It would be in their own best interest to demand payment upfront and at least try for that first with the staggered payments as a last resort. I doubt they prioritise being spiteful over earning money.

    It wouldn't be the first time that customer support staff in a company have been blissfully unaware of the credit file implications. The person might have thought they were doing you a favour and then the automated system marked the file.

    Anyway, I hope the complaint works out well for you.
    • seatbeltnoob
    • By seatbeltnoob 21st Feb 17, 2:01 AM
    • 162 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    seatbeltnoob
    people need to be more shrewd. too many naive people in the world.
    • sargeantsalt
    • By sargeantsalt 21st Feb 17, 2:51 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    sargeantsalt
    The problem here is that British Gas domestic supply is not regulated under the consumer credit act and is not regulated by the FCA. It is a criminal offence to offer a loan without authorisation. I do not think it is appropriate for a gas supplier to have access to a persons credit file. Gas is not consumer credit as defined by the 1977 act. If the utilities wish to make use of CRAs, then by all means they should register with the FCA like a bank and offer CCA regulated loans to their customers to pay their gas bill with.
    • Simonmw
    • By Simonmw 21st Feb 17, 9:14 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Simonmw
    'Either you did not provide correct readings or you used a ton of electricity/gas in the last period.

    If you had provided accurate readings all the way through, the debt would never have built up.'

    Accurate readings every quarter when the bill came through. In November I sent two just to make sure I was as accurate as I could be for the switch over. Every other supplier has told me they think there will be an overshoot, if there is one, and changed the direct debits to bring it in line. I though that this is how BG deal with it...why should I have thought otherwise? Nobody said I was defaulting a payment, and I certainly didn't, so how should I know?

    It didn't seem to be 'too good to be true'. I owed £500 and was paying it in a way they offered. I never said to them I can't pay it, or refused to pay it or anything similar. If they said I had to pay it then I would have.
    • Simonmw
    • By Simonmw 21st Feb 17, 9:22 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Simonmw
    'You didn't pay that last bill in full, instead you've asked for installments. And it says clear as a day "full and on time", not "or". And of course that the transfer went fine, why wouldn't it? You've set a plan to pay back the bill, are paying it, why would they make any troubles?'

    I didn't ask for instalments. They said you owe £500. I said ouch that's a lot. They said they would sort out the repayments and I said thanks.
    • nic_c
    • By nic_c 14th Mar 17, 9:51 AM
    • 752 Posts
    • 470 Thanks
    nic_c
    Big companies often ride rough shod over people, congrats on getting a decent resolution . Many people probably just don't make any complaint official or take it further after complaining initially. The flamers here probably spurned you on to taking it all the way just to prove the point
    Last edited by MSE ForumTeam3; 14-03-2017 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Quoting deleted post
    • Ben8282
    • By Ben8282 14th Mar 17, 9:28 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 761 Thanks
    Ben8282
    I don't think the energy supplier is at fault here.
    You switched providers to a new supplier.
    There was £500 outstanding on your last bill from the original supplier.
    How that came about I don't know but it would appear that you had not been providing correct meter readings or this would not have happened.
    £500 is a lot to be owing if you had been paying by direct debit for a year.
    If you had continued with the same supplier, in all probability your direct debit would have been adjusted for the next year.
    But you changed suppliers thereby closing your account with the original supplier.
    Obviously, they cannot close the account with £500 owing ....
    So at the same time as you took your business to the new supplier you told the original supplier that you are unable to pay.
    They then very kindly allowed you to repay over time.
    Personally, in there place I would have defaulted the account and let a DCA take care of the matter but they didn't do that did they? They gave you time to pay at 0% interest ....
    • GingerBob
    • By GingerBob 14th Mar 17, 9:54 PM
    • 3,618 Posts
    • 1,646 Thanks
    GingerBob
    But they didn't explain the consequences.
    • mrmagooooooo
    • By mrmagooooooo 15th Mar 17, 11:40 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    mrmagooooooo
    For this once and probably one time only i am gonna have to agree with GingerBob here. ;-)

    Granted under their terms and conditions they were possibly in their rights to have done what they have but either way they should have told the op exactly what this meant if not cleared in full whilst they were on the phone. At least then the op would have had all the information to make a decision.

    What they have done here is not moral or ethical even if they can. For those on here saying you should read the terms and conditions.. maybe for some yes, I for instance read the terms and conditions of credit cards or bank loans but would i for electricity or gas? probably not.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,481Posts Today

6,822Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • The strange thing with a 4yr old is having to play & smile while inside feeling sick for those in trauma in my birth town #Manchester

  • Just a quick ta-ta for now. I'm taking the week off for family time with mini and Mrs MSE. So I won't be here much. Back after the bank hol

  • Ugh another one trying it! Beware https://t.co/Ab9fCRA76F

  • Follow Martin