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Help with a British Gas complaint please

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
16 replies 3.4K views
wigwam12wigwam12 Forumite
86 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
HI
I need to escalate a formal complaint to British Gas on behalf of my parents.
Will do it in writing


review and help with the complaint draft is appreciated:


[FONT=&quot]I wish to request an urgent investigation into the management of my account and reversal of unsubstantiated erroneous huge gas usage bills in late 2017.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]The alleged is so high that price comparison sites are not even to review my account as they recognise this as Industrial usage not domestic.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]To confirm this relates to my house which is a 3 bed mid-terraced house with a 4-year-old combi boiler and no other gas appliance except our stove, occupied by my wife and I. Nothing has changed in our energy usage over the past 18 months, as reflected by the stable electricity billing. And the usage before and after this outlier 4 month period.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]You will see that there had been an alleged massive spike in usage from July-November. Indeed, the claimed gas usage in July alone was more than our entire usage in 2016, and in September and October each month was double this figure. Clearly this is nonsense.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]I see that £2400 of gas charged were reversed but then £1400 of charged added in November 2017. No explanation was provided to me what basis was used to undertake this nor this prompted a meter exchange at my house.
[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]I did raise a complaint via the website but I received a substandard reply as documented below which does not explain any of the discrepancies above. Clearly it is for you to explain this huge discrepancy – which I feel prompted the change of meters in the first place. Given the magnitude of the error I do wonder if the meter had begun to erroneously submit KwH readings which were being interpreted as cubic meter readings?[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]"I’m sorry you received a very high bill and for the delay in my reply.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]I’ve checked your bill for the period 16 June 2017 to 16 November 2017 and I see that there was a high usage of 2008 units during 16 June 2017 to 17 August 2017 leading to a bill of £1327.06. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]This may happen if an appliance left on or kept on standby mode. The readings we’d received were from the smart meter. Also, there was a meter exchange done at the property after which the readings were consistent. "[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]

[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]In the interim, hardship being caused by my direct debits being almost tripled to recoup an erroneous gas account arrears and I request the direct debits are returned to manageable levels until the matter is resolved – preferably with immediate effect by you, or else via escalation to the Ombudsman.[/FONT]
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Replies

  • JackandnJackandn Forumite
    23 posts
    I would try to change the letter more into a letter of concern rather than being accusative but include if the issue can't be resolved you will go to the Ombudsman. As there has been a clear error and an unusually high bill produced you should instead request an investigation into how this error has occurred. Also did the error continue to happen after Aug 2017 and if not try to find an explanation on why it did stop. They should be able to give an explanation into the problem rather than just saying that it is your parents unusually high use on an industrial scale.

    In the mean time I would directly ring up British Gas about paying an amount your parents can afford via direct debit rather than the triple amount they normally will agree to most amounts as long as the total debt does go down. If you and British Gas can't agree on an amount you can get your parents to comfortably pay cancel their direct debit and to pay either via cash (and pay in a shop) or to set up a standing order to prevent hardship but ensure that the total debt is going down (to avoid your parents being cut off)
  • dogshomedogshome Forumite
    3.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    So there was a Meter Change ?
    Quite common for suppliers to screw up the billing when meters are changed

    The change crew should have left a label on the new meter showing it's installation date, reading when installed, and the reading on the old meter as it was removed - CHECK the meter Meter readings on the billing against those on the meter label.
  • wigwam12wigwam12 Forumite
    86 posts
    dogshome wrote: »
    So there was a Meter Change ?
    Quite common for suppliers to screw up the billing when meters are changed

    The change crew should have left a label on the new meter showing it's installation date, reading when installed, and the reading on the old meter as it was removed - CHECK the meter Meter readings on the billing against those on the meter label.

    That’s a problem as they changed the meter twice in quick succession.
    I suspect they saw a problem which is why they changed it first and they’d a few weeks later they changed it again as it was the wrong type or something.
  • wigwam12wigwam12 Forumite
    86 posts
    Jackandn wrote: »
    I would try to change the letter more into a letter of concern rather than being accusative but include if the issue can't be resolved you will go to the Ombudsman. As there has been a clear error and an unusually high bill produced you should instead request an investigation into how this error has occurred. Also did the error continue to happen after Aug 2017 and if not try to find an explanation on why it did stop. They should be able to give an explanation into the problem rather than just saying that it is your parents unusually high use on an industrial scale.

    In the mean time I would directly ring up British Gas about paying an amount your parents can afford via direct debit rather than the triple amount they normally will agree to most amounts as long as the total debt does go down. If you and British Gas can't agree on an amount you can get your parents to comfortably pay cancel their direct debit and to pay either via cash (and pay in a shop) or to set up a standing order to prevent hardship but ensure that the total debt is going down (to avoid your parents being cut off)


    Thanks for this - appreciate and agree with the change of tone.
    How's this?


    [FONT=&quot]I wish to request an urgent investigation into the management of my account and reversal of what is clearly an error leading to huge gas usage bills in late 2017.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The alleged usage is so high that price comparison sites are not even able to review my account as they recognise this as Industrial usage not domestic.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]To confirm this relates to my house which is a 3 bed mid-terraced house with a 4-year-old combi boiler and no other gas appliance except our stove, occupied by my wife and I. Nothing has changed in our energy usage over the past 18 months, as reflected by the stable electricity billing and the usage before and after this outlier 4 month period.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The online usage records list a massive spike in usage from July-November. Indeed, the quoted gas usage in July alone was more than our entire usage in 2016, and in September and October each month was double this figure. This I am sure you agree must be a mistake.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I see that in November 2017 £2400 of gas charges were reversed but then £1400 of charged added back. You can I am sure appreciate that this is the source of significant concern and merits an investigation and explanation. It was around this time that my gas meter was changed not once but twice and I wonder if these changes contributed to the errors?
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]I did raise a complaint via the website but I do not feel the reply as documented below explains any of the discrepancies above.
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Given the magnitude of the error I do wonder if the original meter had begun to erroneously submit KwH readings which were being interpreted as cubic meter readings?[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]"I’m sorry you received a very high bill and for the delay in my reply.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I’ve checked your bill for the period 16 June 2017 to 16 November 2017 and I see that there was a high usage of 2008 units during 16 June 2017 to 17 August 2017 leading to a bill of £1327.06. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]This may happen if an appliance left on or kept on standby mode. The readings we’d received were from the smart meter. Also, there was a meter exchange done at the property after which the readings were consistent. "[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]In the interim, it is a hardship to have my direct debits being almost tripled to recoup what are almost certainly I feel erroneous arrears and I request the direct debits are returned to manageable levels until the matter is resolved. It is my hope that following your investigation this can be resolved swiftly and amicably by yourself without the need for escalation to the Ombudsman.[/FONT]
  • JackandnJackandn Forumite
    23 posts
    That sounds fine to me. From their point of view It sounds a lot more like they can respond to you and more likley want to help you. Leaving the ombudsman in just highlights to them you are aware you can go there but are giving them the chance to stop it from getting that far.
  • dogshomedogshome Forumite
    3.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    As already posted suppliers often foul up the billing when meters are changed, with two meter changes in quick succession the risk is doubled

    WRITE to the supplier heading the letter *Complaint, setting out the history of the meter changes asking them to supply you with Opening & Closing readings of each of the 3 meters involved
    * This puts the problem onto an official basis where the supplier must resolve it in 56 days.

    Two meter changes in quick succession ?In a recent post on this site, a customer had a meter change to a particular Digital model made by Landis & Gyre which was known to quickly failThe supplier then fitted another meter, but this meter was an old re-furbished Analogue meter - Re- furbished meters are not adjusted to read zero, and stillshow the reading registered when they were taken out of service
  • British Gas would have fitted their metric smart meter on the last exchange unless there was an objection to it going in. This would have started at 00000, or 99999. On the meter would be a yellow sticky label showing the date of exchange, meter serial number and the reading of both the old meter and the new meters start reading.
    If it is a smart meter BG have accurate metering for at least that period it was installed.
    A fairly common mess up is for suppliers to bill customers on the old Imperial meter rates even though they now have a Metric meter. This results in the bill almost tripling . You can see on the bill if they are billing for the correct meter when they multiply gas units used to kwhs
  • edited 13 July 2018 at 4:34PM
    wigwam12wigwam12 Forumite
    86 posts
    edited 13 July 2018 at 4:34PM
    It!!!8217;s slightly more complicated.
    The spikes in !!!8220;usage!!!8221; started in July and Aug (£400/£800pm) before Sept and Oct recorded as £1600!
    But the meter was changed in Nov with the reversal and semi-reversal also in Nov.

    So I!!!8217;ve assumed they saw the trend and figured the meter was faulty so changed it. But as there were 4 months of recorded silly usage I!!!8217;m not sure the label on the first meter would help me even if they found it.
    I think my mum said when they came that the one they had was the wrong type for their house which is why it was changed again within a couple of weeks in early Dec.

    I!!!8217;m struggling to get that across in the letter without leading them to a possible answer they would just debunk without !!!8220;proof!!!8221;

    Even the intial reply above confirms the readings became consistent after the meter change which I feel makes it even more likely that first meter started to go doolally in July
  • wigwam12wigwam12 Forumite
    86 posts
    dogshome wrote: »
    As already posted suppliers often foul up the billing when meters are changed, with two meter changes in quick succession the risk is doubled

    WRITE to the supplier heading the letter *Complaint, setting out the history of the meter changes asking them to supply you with Opening & Closing readings of each of the 3 meters involved
    * This puts the problem onto an official basis where the supplier must resolve it in 56 days.

    Two meter changes in quick succession ?In a recent post on this site, a customer had a meter change to a particular Digital model made by Landis & Gyre which was known to quickly failThe supplier then fitted another meter, but this meter was an old re-furbished Analogue meter - Re- furbished meters are not adjusted to read zero, and stillshow the reading registered when they were taken out of service

    Yeah letter will be headed “Formal Complaint” and then dad’s account details.
    Comments re meter in my reply above
  • MoneyMateMoneyMate Forumite
    3.1K posts
    Seventh Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Hung up my suit!
    ✭✭✭✭
    Why not use Resolver it's free and simple ?

    https://www.resolver.co.uk/companies/british-gas-complaints
    There are more questions than answers :shhh: :silenced:
    WARNING ! May go silent for unfriendly replies
    Please excuse me Spell it MOST times :o
    :)
    :A UK Resident :A
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