Huge bill due to BG error!!

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British Gas decided that they needed to up our direct debit without telling us, which was not an issue. However, they made a clerical error and instead of raising it to £50 per month, they entered it as £5 per month.

We didnt notice for a while as we had swapped to Click 6 and didnt have access to a pc for some weeks. Eventually, OH queried the £5 on his bank statements and called them to find out more.

At this point he was told that they had made a clerical error and that we now owed over £400. They requested that we set up another direct debit, but not for £50 for £98 per month!! OH complained about this and we were told that the dd would be set up for £50.

A week letter we were receiving letters chasing for full payment or to set up dd for £98 per month. When we phoned BG we were put through to debt collection. After complaining about this, we were told to go through the complaints procedure, which we have started and are awaiting a reply to our email.

This morning, we received another letter asking for £98 per month but also telling us that we have now lost our right to duel fuel credit until the balance is paid!!

Can anyone tell me whether we have a genuine right to be annoyed? I know that we have used the electricity, but £98 per month will hurt....
"A" is for Opple if yowm spaking loike a yamyam!
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Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,042 Forumite
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    You obviously have a right to be annoyed - both at BG - and yourselves for not noticing.

    The bottom lines is that you owe £400. If you needed to pay £50 to cover your payments, the DD will obviously have to be raised considerably to pay off the arrears - or you pay a lump sum.

    What do you think the solution should be?
  • Magentasue
    Magentasue Posts: 4,229 Forumite
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    Yes, you have a right to feel annoyed but no more than that, I think. For a couple/few months, you were £45 a month better off but didn't put that aside to pay the deficit. Now you are being given a choice of increasing the DD or paying the debit balance. Fair enough, I think.
  • Raksha
    Raksha Posts: 4,570 Forumite
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    Call me sceptical, but I hear of more and more people being caught out like this.

    Is this the energy companies way of entrapping you?
    Please forgive me if my comments seem abrupt or my questions have obvious answers, I have a mental health condition which affects my ability to see things as others might.
  • LadyT_4
    LadyT_4 Posts: 14 Forumite
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    Raksha wrote: »
    Call me sceptical, but I hear of more and more people being caught out like this.

    Is this the energy companies way of entrapping you?

    I'm not in exactly the same situation, but nPower haven't been sending me bills even though I've been phoning them frequently and asking them to (it's been going on for the best part of a year). The more wary side of me is wondering if this is something they do to stick people with debt so they can't switch to another company. It's a bit conspiracy theory-ish, but constant terrible service is pushing me in that direction!

    To the OP, the situation you're in is BG's fault or at least the result of their mistake. Fair enough, you maybe could've noticed the extremely low amount coming out as a Direct Debit each month, but it's also reasonable to not check the details of a Direct Debit all the time since they're often used for precisely that reason - so you don't have to worry about your monthly bill and payment. Have you tried asking BG if you can pay a lower amount over longer? It's not like you're trying to get out of paying, just that you need to pay a bit less a month for it to be affordable.
  • roosterbean
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    Thanks for everyone's comments. I do indeed feel extremely crap that we didn't notice as we keep a tight rein of our finances usually and have never had any problem before with direct debits. I would ideally like to keep payments at £50-£60 during the tough winter months and try and catch up with payments during the summer - I know this is probably wishful thinking...

    I do, however, think that not allowing us the duel fuel credit is really sh1tty as it was their fault in the making....
    "A" is for Opple if yowm spaking loike a yamyam!
  • Magentasue
    Magentasue Posts: 4,229 Forumite
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    I would ideally like to keep payments at £50-£60 during the tough winter months and try and catch up with payments during the summer - I know this is probably wishful thinking...

    I do, however, think that not allowing us the duel fuel credit is really sh1tty as it was their fault in the making....

    Well, not really. You've built up a debt and are not paying it back as requested. Nor are you prepared to settle the outstanding amount so you're not keeping to T&C. Even if they made a clerical error, it was in your favour as you paid less than you should have for a while.

    That aside, you're not doing yourselves any favours delaying the inevitable as you're paying less than you should at the most expensive time of the year and building an even bigger debt.

    Best thing to make some cutbacks with the non-essentials if you can and make an offer of the most you can afford. If it's not acceptable, seek advice to avoid charges and the possibility of having a prepayment meter. Don't let days and weeks go by waiting for e-mails - you need to get this sorted.
  • roosterbean
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    As far as I understand, as we are direct debit, they will take the £98 per month in any event. I guess that I'm just not used to being in debt, our account has never been in debt as we have kept up all payments - our gas account is in credit.

    I would like to see what reaction BG would give though, if the error had been mine....
    "A" is for Opple if yowm spaking loike a yamyam!
  • Magentasue
    Magentasue Posts: 4,229 Forumite
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    As far as I understand, as we are direct debit, they will take the £98 per month in any event.

    In that case, I think you should get your discount back.
  • roosterbean
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    Thanks - although I can't see it happening, the energy companies seem to be a law unto themselves. Still, if they do make us pay it back as soon as possible, there is nothing stopping us from switching. Is there such a thing as a more reliable energy company??
    "A" is for Opple if yowm spaking loike a yamyam!
  • Magentasue
    Magentasue Posts: 4,229 Forumite
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    I've been with several suppliers now and never had any problems, but BG and Npower seem to get a lot of unhappy customers posting on this board.
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