£2,000 back bill paid but can I get it back?


I had a Direct Debit contract for Dual Fuel with British Gas for a few years up to the end of 2020, they sent me a £2,000 back bill going back about 2 years and I paid it in a panic, then switched suppliers.

According to them, they hadn't had actual meter readings from me for years, despite having a Smart Meter.

After I got the bill, I called them in a panic to find out what was going on. They agreed that the Smart Meter had a communications fault and needed to be replaced, but I still had to pay the bill going back 2 years of consumption.

I was discussing this with a friend recently and they've basically told me I should not have paid the full bill under the back-billing rule.

I work Mon-Fri 9-5 which is the only time British Gas are open. 

What are my chances of getting a refund from them?

Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.


  • Reed_Richards
    Back billing applies to any charges for use more than a year before the bill was issued.  So if the bill went back about two years you might be able to reclaim about half of what you paid.
  • MWT
    MWT Posts: 9,286 Forumite
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    edited 10 October 2022 at 10:00PM
    The application of the rules is a lot more nuanced than just the 12 month time period, but if the result was 'bill shock' caused by increased billing for a period more than 12 months ago due to a lack of previous accurate billing, then there should be something to recover.
    I would start with a complaint, but it will take a little effort to get it started if you are no longer a customer, so I'd put it in writing from the outset...
  • MWT
    MWT Posts: 9,286 Forumite
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    ... just to expand on that a bit, if you want to assess what may be recoverable, go back to the point where the adjusted billing begins and work forward, deducting from the claimed use, DD payments, any existing opening balance and add back any refunds of credit that you may have received, all of that is considered as payments made to BG and not subject to 'bill shock'.
    The excess of billing made over and above those amounts for the period before the 12 months preceding the adjusted bill is what you are looking to recover using the back-billing rules.
  • jones87_2
    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for your replies and advice.
    I've spoken with their complaints phone number and the fact the account is closed is causing a lot of problems. Their systems are very slow. They claim that they have asked a back office team to send all of the invoices via post so that I can cross reference the meter readings and further my complaint with the correct information.

    We'll see if those invoices arrive in 2 weeks.
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