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  • FIRST POST
    • markyb555
    • By markyb555 30th Nov 17, 7:15 PM
    • 13Posts
    • 1Thanks
    markyb555
    British gas refund blunder
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 7:15 PM
    British gas refund blunder 30th Nov 17 at 7:15 PM
    Hi folks,

    After abit of advice. Story goes and as I've found out today, BG refunded me twice last year on the 24th November. (After reading up, there was a spat of doubled up direct debits in November 2016)

    The letter tells me that as an act of goodwill they are knocking off 25% and that I owe them £17 ish.

    After a few searches (which lead me here) ofgem have what's called a back billing principal which stops energy companies seeking money AFTER 12months of the date. This only seems to mention about direct debit issues relating to being in credit, not their mistake by refunding me twice and trying to recoup this after 12months.

    The direct debit is dated 23 and 24th November 2016 and the date of the letter informing me of the administration error is dated 28th November 2017.

    Do I have rights to refuse to pay it?

    Any help would be appreciated as its not as clear cut as being owed money.

    I've linked to the article here
Page 1
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 30th Nov 17, 7:31 PM
    • 4,665 Posts
    • 2,833 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 17, 7:31 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 17, 7:31 PM
    I doubt that you have a case as this is not a billing issue. You are the victim of a simple administration error which the supplier has every right to correct. It is playing fair by admitting its error and offering a small goodwill payment.
    • spiro
    • By spiro 2nd Dec 17, 8:24 AM
    • 5,861 Posts
    • 2,818 Thanks
    spiro
    • #3
    • 2nd Dec 17, 8:24 AM
    • #3
    • 2nd Dec 17, 8:24 AM
    The back billing rule is about when you have not received a bill, it has nothing to do with the accuracy of bills.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 2nd Dec 17, 8:35 AM
    • 3,189 Posts
    • 1,908 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 17, 8:35 AM
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 17, 8:35 AM
    It seems BG are having a bit of a blitz at the moment as you are the third person in the last day to have have a request for payment from BG due to refund errors.

    I'm sure you'd be quite happy for them to refund you if you'd overpaid so it's not unreasonable for them to recover their money from you.

    If you'd been checking your bills and statements and making sure that they they were corrected at the time then you should have noticed it yourself and got it sorted out.

    They are allowed to go back six years, as are you so it's worthwhile saving bills and statements for a decent amount of time so you've got your own evidence to challenge if necessary.
    Last edited by matelodave; 02-12-2017 at 10:40 AM.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • gsmlnx
    • By gsmlnx 2nd Dec 17, 9:57 AM
    • 722 Posts
    • 587 Thanks
    gsmlnx
    • #5
    • 2nd Dec 17, 9:57 AM
    • #5
    • 2nd Dec 17, 9:57 AM
    @matelodave
    I guess that after BG lost 800k customers in a year, then BG staff have to find some work to do or get a new job. So they are going back through all the old bills to avoid the big heave ho
    • SammenForLivet2
    • By SammenForLivet2 2nd Dec 17, 1:30 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 563 Thanks
    SammenForLivet2
    • #6
    • 2nd Dec 17, 1:30 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Dec 17, 1:30 PM
    https://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-advice/Bills-payments/Direct-Debits/How-Direct-Debit-works/What-is-the-Direct-Debit-guarantee.html
    If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when British Gas Trading Limited asks you to.
    Unfortunately, I doubt the back billing code applies here. Your bills were correct; it was the case that on that day they processed double refunds and collected double direct debits.
    Thank you all for helping me make my day by saving money!
    Although I work for a big six energy supplier, any views, opinions or ideas are my own, and don't represent the views of my employer.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 2nd Dec 17, 1:59 PM
    • 27,114 Posts
    • 13,227 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #7
    • 2nd Dec 17, 1:59 PM
    • #7
    • 2nd Dec 17, 1:59 PM

    After a few searches (which lead me here) ofgem have what's called a back billing principal which stops energy companies seeking money AFTER 12months of the date. This only seems to mention about direct debit issues relating to being in credit, not their mistake by refunding me twice and trying to recoup this after 12months.
    Originally posted by markyb555
    Hi, The 12 month back-billing principle is one of the most discussed subjects on this forum, with literally thousands of posts over the years.

    There are many different scenarios see:
    http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/customers/energy-industry-codes/code-of-practice-for-accurate-bills.html

    However as indicated above it doesn't cover mistakes. In essence you can only take advantage of that provision if you haven't been billed for over 12 months and the energy company are at fault for failing to bill you. Even then you still have to pay for the last 12 months energy; so if you hadn't been billed for 15 months, you would only get the first 3 months free.

    So very clearly you are not covered under that back billing provision.
    Last edited by Cardew; 02-12-2017 at 2:02 PM.
    • MrsGMrG
    • By MrsGMrG 2nd Dec 17, 6:04 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    MrsGMrG
    • #8
    • 2nd Dec 17, 6:04 PM
    • #8
    • 2nd Dec 17, 6:04 PM
    Hi,
    My question is exactly the same and am too looking for some advice on this. We've closed our account with BG in September - had the final bill (tonwhicj we were in credit and they have refunded us and closed the account).
    We've now (November 2017) had a letter saying we owe them £70 odd (with a 25% discount) from a double payment they've given us in November 2016...
    Am I right in thinking they can't just demand this money? It's not something we've requested (we didn't even realise until receiving this letter!) they do, nor is it any fault of ours if they've wrongly paid us any money...and to request it back after a year and after the account is closed?
    Any advice here would be much appreciated.
    Thanks.
    • MrsGMrG
    • By MrsGMrG 2nd Dec 17, 6:14 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    MrsGMrG
    • #9
    • 2nd Dec 17, 6:14 PM
    • #9
    • 2nd Dec 17, 6:14 PM
    Hi,
    My question is exactly the same and am too looking for some advice on this. We've closed our account with BG in September - had the final bill (to which we were in credit and they have refunded us and closed the account).
    We've now (November 2017) had a letter saying we owe them £70 odd (with a 25% discount) from a double payment they've given us in November 2016...
    Am I right in thinking they can't just demand this money? It's not something we've requested (we didn't even realise until receiving this letter!) they do, nor is it any fault of ours if they've wrongly paid us any money...and to request it back after a year and after the account is closed?
    Any advice here would be much appreciated.
    Thanks.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 2nd Dec 17, 8:11 PM
    • 27,114 Posts
    • 13,227 Thanks
    Cardew
    Hi,
    My question is exactly the same and am too looking for some advice on this. We've closed our account with BG in September - had the final bill (to which we were in credit and they have refunded us and closed the account).
    We've now (November 2017) had a letter saying we owe them £70 odd (with a 25% discount) from a double payment they've given us in November 2016...
    Am I right in thinking they can't just demand this money? It's not something we've requested (we didn't even realise until receiving this letter!) they do, nor is it any fault of ours if they've wrongly paid us any money...and to request it back after a year and after the account is closed?
    Any advice here would be much appreciated.
    Thanks.
    Originally posted by MrsGMrG
    I am afraid you are not correct.

    Any firm can rectify an error they have made and reclaim money; and they have up to 6 years to make such a claim.
    • mttylad
    • By mttylad 4th Dec 17, 7:50 PM
    • 1,474 Posts
    • 889 Thanks
    mttylad
    It's a fair cop!
    For what it's worth - I too have had this.

    Back in 2016 the refunded us £442 twice, we kept our gobs firmly shut as it helped us over a really bad period (inc some unemployment) and now they want it back minus 25% so we have to pay only £331 for what was a little loan

    Despite being before Christmas we accept that we owe it to them and rather than pay little bits every month etc. I have just paid it off (I guess the new lounge carpet will have to wait).

    If anyone is going to be in "severe financial hardship" because of this then mention it on the phone and they have a team ready to help you and arrange a repayment plan.

    I'm just waiting for a new statement with a big fat zero on it.
    • LewisHamilton
    • By LewisHamilton 4th Dec 17, 8:44 PM
    • 66 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    LewisHamilton
    The back billing rule is about when you have not received a bill, it has nothing to do with the accuracy of bills.
    Originally posted by spiro
    This couldn't be any further from the truth. The back billing code covers a variety of different issues with billing and inaccurate bills can fall under The Code of Practice for Accurate Bills - hence the name.

    OP, as others have stated, an energy company is entitled to seek payment for a refund it has issued in error. Just like an employer is entitled to ask you to pay money back if they have overpaid you or a bank transfers money into your account in error.
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