British Gas "forcing" me into new fixed contract.

Hi, can anyone offer any advice?

I have been looking into switching energy supplier from British Gas, as a comparison website indicates a decent saving if I switch to EDF.

However I have just realised that I have unfortunately overlooked a letter from British Gas in Dec 08 :exclamati (have been working away from home for a few months - usually very good about responding to these things!). My fixed price tariff (Fix and Fall 2) was due to end in Dec 08. The letter states that UNLESS I wrote back to decline, they would automatically switch me onto their Fixed Price August 2010 tariff (rather than just reverting to their standard tariff).

I see in the small print of this letter that to cancel incurs a charge of £70 (gas and elec combined). Had I read this letter at the time, I would definitely not have agreed to be locked into another tariff. Is it legal to tie me into a new contract without my actual permission? I find this a fairly sneaky way of forcing people to stay with them and surely I haven't signed anything agreeing to stay with British Gas beyond the Fix and Fall 2 tariff? It was my mistake not to have read the letter but I'm still not sure that British Gas are acting fairly here.

With car/home insurance etc, the companies can renew your contract automatically if you do not inform them you wish to exit, but they can not tie you in (and charge exit penalties) if you subsequently decide to leave.

Feel really annoyed about this:mad: . Does anyone know if they can legally charge me if I leave? (Will probably leave anyway even if have to pay as will still probably save more than the £70 penalty fee, and feel that British Gas have been sneaky).

Would really appreciate some advice, thanks.

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