British Gas Direct Debit Discount

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I have been on a fixed direct debit with British Gas which they want to raise from £150 to £280 per month. My usage has been about £225 pm average over the year. I made a payment to put the account just into credit.

I managed to find a phone number with great difficulty and the gent I spoke to agreed a variable direct debit based on actual usage where I read the meter monthly, assuring me that I would pay at the same rate.

Next thing, I got an email saying that I will lose the direct debit discount of 5% if I go on the variable direct debit.

I called again and was told 'the tariff is the same' but after a lot of beating around the bush the lady told me that the discount will indeed not apply. There seems to be no mention of this on their site, or it is well hidden.

I am cross about the deceptive way they talk about the same tariff when the cost is actually different, and wanted to warn others, and also ask whether other companies do this. Thinking about changing because I really dont like B Gas!


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  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,763 Forumite
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    I have been on a fixed direct debit with British Gas which they want to raise from £150 to £280 per month. My usage has been about £225 pm average over the year. I made a payment to put the account just into credit.

    I managed to find a phone number with great difficulty and the gent I spoke to agreed a variable direct debit based on actual usage where I read the meter monthly, assuring me that I would pay at the same rate.

    Next thing, I got an email saying that I will lose the direct debit discount of 5% if I go on the variable direct debit.

    I called again and was told 'the tariff is the same' but after a lot of beating around the bush the lady told me that the discount will indeed not apply. There seems to be no mention of this on their site, or it is well hidden.

    I am cross about the deceptive way they talk about the same tariff when the cost is actually different, and wanted to warn others, and also ask whether other companies do this. Thinking about changing because I really dont like B Gas!
    I suspect someone was going to change you to "pay on receipt of bill" because British Gas do not currently offer variable Direct Debit as a payment method, they withdrew it when they "upgraded" their billing system. The easiest option would be to move over to Octopus or EDF and go on their variable option, personally I would go with Octopus.

    The other thing I would consider is why the estimate was so high, are you correctly accounting for your usage, eg. if they think that £280 was the correct level based on your usage then whilst you might have a nice low amount over the summer, next winter you could be in for a very expensive shock.
  • izzythedram
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    No they have put me onto a variable DD, that was confirmed and it's available on their website.
    I based my figure on B Gas statement of the annual cost divided by 12!
    Yes, I was on Octopus once and I found them better to deal with.

  • pochase
    pochase Posts: 3,449 Forumite
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    The website still mentions variable direct debit, but if you are alreaady on their new system you cannot get it any longer, it was/is only available on the old system just likle @MattMattMattUK said.

    If they give you variable direct debit there is no additonal cost, you still get the direct debit discount. It is only more expensive for paying on receipt of the bill, and it is not just 5%, more like 7 to 9%.
  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,763 Forumite
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    No they have put me onto a variable DD, that was confirmed and it's available on their website.
    That is odd because firstly variable Direct Debit includes the Direct Debit discount, and secondly because others on her have been told by British Gas that they are not currently offering variable Direct Debit, maybe that is part of the problem.
    I based my figure on B Gas statement of the annual cost divided by 12!
    The kWh consumption figures, multiplied by the unit rates, or the previous year's figures? 
    Yes, I was on Octopus once and I found them better to deal with.
    Octopus do seem to have the best systems and the best customer service, although of course like everyone they have the occasional issues as well. 
  • izzythedram
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    How do you mean, the variable DD includes the discount? The fact is that was told today that I can have a variable DD, and that it does not include the discount...

    The exact figures aren't the issue. The amount based on KWH calulated with the calculator on this site more or less agrees with the actual cost for last year.

    I will get a quote from Octopus.
      
  • Mstty
    Mstty Posts: 4,209 Forumite
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    So you have caught British Gas in the middle of transferring all their customers from an old IT system for energy to a new IT system.

    Although this should not affect you in anyway as a customer it generally always does.

    It has been explained in this thread that as you appear to be on the old system you can arrange a variable DD which will include the discount (btw I always email energy companies to get these things on record).

    If you had been on the new system they would and could not have offered you this.

    Don't forget to grab an Octopus member here for a £50 discount if you do move your supply.
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