British Gas late payment charges

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Hello, I hope someone can advise me about British Gas late payment charges.  I've been searching everywhere for information on how overdue you have to be before they can charge £13 fee but can't find any details anywhere! A few months ago they charged me the fee when I was 12 days overdue with my bill. They sent a letter claiming it was the third reminder but it was the only one I had received and since it was only 12 days later than the due date it was clearly wrong.  I contacted them on twitter and they said admin fees are charged after 60 days and they would waive the charge. However they still haven't done that.  They have now done the same thing adding a charge to my account  two weeks after the bill's due date.  I didn't receive any reminder this time, and only realised the charge had been added when I looked at my online account.  They have charged a further £7 for being 4 weeks overdue which they sent an email about. They say it has been passed to debt collectors. They didn't send any letters or reminders but instead have sent an updated bill with the government allowance credited and an extra bill for the last four weeks based on estimated readings, which is due in 2nd December.  I would really appreciate some advice on the time lines for adding admin fees to bills  and whether they can do that without sending any reminders to me. Many thanks for taking the time to read my message. 

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  • Jyana
    Jyana Posts: 744 Forumite
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    edited 25 November 2022 at 5:01AM
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    You may want to have a read through of your terms  and conditions from when you signed up to them as all the details should be in there. But generally when it comes to bills, if they are not paid on the date due then they are considered late and fees can be charged after the terms laid out to the customer previously.

    The bill itself is usually the initial written indication/reminder that you need to pay, and then you may get emails or text reminders rather than letters sent to your home. Due to the postal strikes of recent months and time scales of late fees applied by many companies, I imagine this will become ever more prevalent too. So keeping these details up to date, an eye on spam folders, and on top of things in general is key. 

    ETA: In case you don't have it, here's the BG number for help with paying bills 0333 202 9804. It's open 9am-5pm, Mon to Fri, and their site says they can help if you are needing help with late payments.
    https://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-support/struggling-to-pay/what-happens-if-i-dont-pay
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    edited 25 November 2022 at 12:04PM
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    There is no obligation on them to send reminders. Once you have the bill, it's up to you to pay it by the due date or incur late payment charges.
    Switch to DD and you will get a better rate and avoid this risk in future.
    Your contract will specify the point at which extra charges will be added, there is no legislation on this.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • The terms and conditions say that they will start adding interest (HSBC base + 3%) from 28 days after the missed payment - but there is no direct reference that I can see to say "how late is late".

  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,618 Forumite
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    edited 25 November 2022 at 1:24PM
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    The bill would be due on the day that its issued but most companies  allow a some time for payment which is usually specified in the T&C's. Generally though, it's within 28 days of its issue date and would be considered late anytime after that and processes could be in place to take action after the 28 days

    But as others have said, there's no obligation to send a reminder, although some companies do but its up to you to sort it out when the bill comes and not wait for a reminder. 

    As said above, having a Direct Debit save any hassle about late bills and frequently allows you to run up quite large arrears without incurring any charges providing that you are keeping to the T&C's. As we use around 70% of our energy between November and March I usually end up with quite significant arrears by about Marchas we used a lot more than the DD payments however it always gets paid down to zero by August-September with my fixed DD
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • wild666
    wild666 Posts: 2,126 Forumite
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    A friend pays his electric and gas bills on receipt of a bill and he has paper bills. He was hit with a late payment charge a few months ago so he asked the company to send proof of postage and receipt. That is something they cannot provide as they send them in the post as any other form of letter. He eventually got the late payment charge taken off after they accepted that he hadn't received the bill as he expected every three months.
    Someone please tell me what money is
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