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British Gas refusing to issue deadlock letter

Good afternoon,

My wife and I have had a terrible time with British Gas. We had issues after being switched over during October 2021 when our previous supplier, Peoples Energy, went bust. They initially insisted we were on a smart meter as we were unable to provide accurate readings for electricity, which we were not. And then after our first complaint which included the lengthy wait to even be switched over and start paying British Gas so that we wouldn't be left with a huge debit. This was eventually sorted after we phoned them 2 months in (December 2021) and they set up a direct debit to start being taken in February 2022. 

They offered to come out and fit a smart meter to the property rather than just adjust our account so we could provide the accurate readings, and the engineer never showed up. They gave us £50 in goodwill and closed the complaint. 

We then left the property in June 2022 and requested a final bill. This was £327 after the final readings had been taken. Their estimated electricity readings would have had us paying around £100 less. We again complained about this and requested to set up a payment plan. We had to demand to set this up through the complaints team as the regular home move team could only set it up for 6 months and as prices had drastically increased we could not afford that. 

We spoke to a lovely woman in the complaints team who set up a direct debit (after some pushing as they wanted to give us a pre payment card) and the payment was due to be taken in August. They didn't take the payment by direct debit. This is when our latest round of issues started. As soon as we had been told by British Gas that we had missed the payment they demanded full payment immediately and we raised a complaint regarding the issue.

We also called them every time we were chased, to check the account was on hold in the 5 weeks it took to get a response, as we were chased for this bill twice a week. We now refuse to foot the whole bill down to their sheer incompetence and the response I had from the debt collector was a blanket response where they did not even address the reason the complaint was raised and refused to offer compensation and that the account had been put on hold to stop any debt collection action. 

As we did not accept this and with the hellish 5 weeks we had with emails and messages being sent chasing this debt with 0 contact regarding our complaint I requested a deadlock letter. The next email I got from the complaint handler simply said 'I'm unable to deadlock your account and advise you to contact the debt collector'. Although the handler had said they put a hold on the account they had indeed sent it to debt collection. There was no reason offered for this refusal to deadlock the account and now we are stuck. 

We have 3 more weeks until we can go to the ombudsman without a deadlock letter and we fear in that time we will be aggressively chased for this debt. What can we do?


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Newbie
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 7 October 2022 at 6:32PM
    Technically, the supplier does not have to issue a Deadlock Letter: hence, the 8 week rule. You cannot just reduce a bill on the basis of incompetence.  You, of course, have the right to defend any legal action taken against you.

    I would also offer some words of caution about going to the Energy Ombudsman. You need to produce substantive facts to support your complaint as the EOS investigator investigates nothing. He/she just reviews the evidence submitted by the complainant and the supplier. Investigators do not always find in favour of the complainant.

    I get it that you are annoyed: I would be as well. However, you need to think through your actions in case they make the situation worse.
  • I've been to the Energy Ombudsman a few times (the last time was when i was with Iresa). From my experience they will ask you to pay the full bill, as they will say you have used the energy. They may offer £30 goodwill payment for customer service failings, or they may not.

    The Energy Ombudsman is like some people make it seem. It's basic, they look at the facts that you give and the supplier give then decide what he/she feels is correct. They do not look into anything apart from what you and the supplier give.
  • adamski92
    Thank you both for your responses. I guess we just have to wait out to the 8 weeks then.

    As I mentioned we had every intention of paying the bill and were happy to set up a direct debit but they just didn't take it, which is what the latest complaint fpcused on. Now that option has been removed for us as they have sent us to debt collection so they want the bill paid in full 
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