British Gas One Off Boiler Repair Issue

edited 29 June 2015 at 9:10AM in Energy
6 replies 4.2K views
fallen121fallen121 Forumite
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edited 29 June 2015 at 9:10AM in Energy
It's all in the advert.

We fix your boiler in under 30 mins and it costs you £79, it takes between 30 mins and 2 hours and it's £199, it takes over 2 hours and it costs £409.

The situation we had was that our boiler was dead. We'd previously had a Homecare contract but cancelled it after it tripled in price on renewal for no apparent reason (we hadn't claimed or had any problems).

The engineer phoned in advance of the visit to understand what was wrong with the boiler and make sure everything was ready so he could be in and out as quickly as possible. My husband told him he had spent best part of a day tinkering with the boiler and checking the manual and the lights indicated that no gas was reaching the boiler (it's LPG, not mains gas) and we had changed to a brand new gas bottle. The guy says he thinks he knows what is wrong.

The engineer draws up outside, and because it is all done by SatNav the clock starts ticking as soon as he gets out the car. He comes in and explains that he won't take the front off the boiler because that will definitely take the job over 30 mins. He then goes straight to the gas bottles, unscrews a small plastic dome and resets a valve. My husband hears the gas coming through and the engineer then goes to the boiler, relights it and it starts first time. Writes on the job sheet "re-set valve". He then notices that the pressure is quite high so he and my husband spend the next 5 minutes bleeding the radiators. In total he's been on the premises LESS THAN TEN MINUTES and fixed the problem in under a minute.

He then spends the next 20 minutes sitting on his toolbox laboriously typing into his computer, watching the clock on the computer and constantly tutting as he makes a mistake, has to delete it and slowly starts typing again. he also fills out some forms by hand, again very slowly.

The second it blips over 30 minutes the paperwork is miraculously done. He slams the laptop shut, says, "I'm sorry but you've just gone 2 mins over 30 minutes that's going to cost you £199, shoves the paperwork at my husband and leaves.

Wouldn't mind if he had actually been there for up to two hours actually fixing our boiler, but he was there for 32 minutes, fixed it in under a minute and we've had to pay an extra £121 because he sat on his !!!! slowly typing and chatting about the weather.

Apparently the paperwork forms part of the job, but ISN'T WHAT IT SAYS ON THE WEBSITE and this is not how it is explained on the phone when you call up to book it. On the basis of our experience no-one would EVER pay £79 because ours was one of the fastest repairs ever.

Trying to get hold of anyone in British Gas to actually complain about this has been a succession of being transferred by the telephone operator to the appropriate department, and then finding ourselves back at the main telephone menu and having to press 1 for this and 2 for that all over again.

Is there a British Gas Representative on here? Because this is a total and utter ripoff.

We would like to know how many people actually get their repair done for £79. Because of the basis of our experience, it's impossible.


  • poppasmurf_bewdleypoppasmurf_bewdley Forumite
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    I wouldn't EVER call British Gas for anything, ever since they charged my mother three times as much for a new boiler as they should have done. Three thousand quid for fitting a new boiler, which retails at £500+!

    They are well known for being the most expensive company for anything they provide.
    "There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe a 'Princess Coronation' locomotive in full cry. We shall never see their like again". O S Nock
  • fallen121fallen121 Forumite
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    We have now had a call back but it was an automated service which wasn't a lot of help! Forgot to mention that the engineer also went to the toilet whilst doing the paperwork which will also have contributed to us going over 30 mins. Bloody cheek!
  • JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
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    Same call out did a brilliant job for me .
    Explained the charge scale .
    Looked at the job sorted the problem and said i can fit a new pilot light free of charge and still be under 30 mins for the £79 fee . Brilliant really impressed with the service .
  • edited 16 July 2015 at 7:23PM
    fallen121fallen121 Forumite
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    edited 16 July 2015 at 7:23PM
    Have now spoken to someone in British Gas who confirmed that paperwork shouldn't form part of the fix time.

    In the meantime credit card charged £199.

    After looking at the SatNav logs for when the engineer arrived and when he left and his report which clearly states "Re-set Valve" British Gas agreed that the engineer was wrong and that paperwork ISN'T included in the fix time and refunded us £120.

    Presumably the same engineer is still going around telling other customers that fix time includes paperwork though, and that sort of bothers me.

    Result for us because we questioned what we were told by the engineer, but how many times a day is he doing this? This wasn't something he said on the spur of the moment, this was standard patter. If he is seeing 7/8 people a day and getting away with this scam 3 times a day, that £360 a day, £1,815 a week, £7,260 a month or £87,000 a year. Times that by 1,000 engineers in the UK (and Centrica have 10,000 engineers, so am assuming 10% of engineers operating this scam which I feel is quite conservative) that means British Gas could be raking in approx. £90m a year in additional revenue. How many people realise or complain?

    Tried to contact the Ombudsman to point out that there is a potential for a serious amount of overcharging here. But because it wasn't an ENERGY issue they weren't interested. Even if only one engineer is perpetrating this scam, this is a serious amount of money.

    I can't believe I can be the only person to have spotted this. Yes one poster above appears to have been very happy with the service they received from an honest engineer. My figures above have assumed an honesty percentage of 90% after all. BUT HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE BEING UNKNOWINGLY OVERCHARGED FOR PAPERWORK?

    Does nobody even care? Or is British Gas going to continue to get away with this?
  • McKneffMcKneff Forumite
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    I don't have a problem with British Gas, I have a 15 year old warm air boiler, no one but Brisith gas will take it on.

    I pay BG £16 a month and for that I get peace of mind and a repair anytime it breaks down and an annual service.

    That's find with me. My last service with an independent was over £200.....
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • edited 16 July 2015 at 7:33PM
    fallen121fallen121 Forumite
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    edited 16 July 2015 at 7:33PM
    McKneff wrote: »

    I pay BG £16 a month and for that I get peace of mind and a repair anytime it breaks down and an annual service.

    I'm genuinely glad you're happy, but this isn't a complaint about the BG regular service plan at all. I don't mean to be rude about what you said, which is perfectly valid in itself, but that's a bit like someone complaining that the coffee in Starbucks is rubbish and someone else coming along and saying that they quite like the hot chocolate, actually. I hope you get what I'm saying?

    In terms of regular service contracts, we had no quibble with British Gas when we had a contract with them, either, but this complaint was actually about the one-off repair time based charging criteria and the potential for abuse through engineers claiming to some customers that the fix time includes paperwork, having a wee in the customer's bathroom, etc. when British Gas have now confirmed to us that it quite clearly DOESN'T include that time. No-one is planning to speak to this engineer. So he's going to carry on doing it. He may even be getting a bonus for doing it.

    Ok, I'll assume no-one is interested that thousands of people are possibly being overcharged for one-off repairs without them even realising and shut up then! :cry:

    Sorry to have bothered everyone with something so apparently trivial.
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