British Gas - Bereavment

Anyone had issues with British Gas in advising of a bereavement ?

Phoned on 16/11/23 to let them know about my 101 years old Mother in Law's passing - scanned & sent Death Certificate whilst on call & gave my details - name, address, phone & e mail.

Rec'd an automated e mail in response with the subject 'Thanks for telling us you've moved in' but the text in the e mail stated 'You've moved out' which was a little odd.

The final bill arrived correctly at our address but with Mother in Law's name, and a cheque arrived for the credit 6 days later - again addressed to the Mother in Law...and therefore uncashable.

Contacted CEO and subsequently rec'd a call from Exec Office apologising and advised a replacement cheque would be raised and sent

Following day rec's a generic e mail from B.Gas addressed to the Mother in Law - 'Tell us how you feel. Help us get better' - We'd love to know more about your experience of move out process complete a quick survey it'll only take a few minutes - you can do it while you wait for the kettle to boil' - very insensitive and not what we wanted to hear 4 weeks after the original contact.

Again, registered our disappointment with the Exec Office and that the whole bereavement process needed to be reviewed which they claim is in process, so other families don't have to suffer such distress at what is already a difficult time.

Finally, on 29/12/23 a cheque correctly made out arrives with a standard letter no apologises etc. to finally bring the matter to a conclusion 6 weeks from our first contact.

Following this the Exec Office e mailed us to both apologise and ask if we are now satisfied for the case to now be closed.

The Council, DWP, BT, United Utilities, Post Office were all helpful, courteous and efficient in dealing with the situation - Hopefully, British Gas are going to improve their extremely poor levels of customer service in respect of handling bereaved families in a more sympathetic manner going forward !







Comments

  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,211
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    rhaughton said:


    The final bill arrived correctly at our address but with Mother in Law's name, and a cheque arrived for the credit 6 days later - again addressed to the Mother in Law...and therefore uncashable.





    Your MIL presumably had a bank account. The cheque could still have been deposited into this account despite it being locked. As the money forms part of the deceased's estate. 
  • KxMx
    KxMx Posts: 10,548
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    edited 4 January at 4:00PM
    Had a very poor experience following the death of a relative 3 years ago.
    Bill was paid, reminder arrived executor looked at dates it had crossed in post, as happened with another company.
    Next thing there is a solicitors letter chasing the "debt". 
    Then the solicitor had trouble locating the case. 
    Proof of bill payment was sent via solicitor, no further contact not a word of apology from British Gas. 
    Sad to see they are still bad around bereavements.

    I moved in 2022 into a property supplied by them, not impressed with their conduct as my energy supplier either I left as soon as my smart meter connected to the network. 
  • Dave_5150
    Dave_5150 Posts: 246
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    You need to deal with the dedicated bereavement department at utilities (and banks etc. too). The usual customer services numbers really struggle to deal with these matters effectively or sensitively.
  • Bue21
    Bue21 Posts: 12
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    My late mother was also with British Gas. Phoned to let them know of her death and agreed the bills would be put in my name but suspended until probate granted. Following week received a bill demanding payment. Phoned again (another hour spent on the phone) and they agreed to wait again. Once probate came through (the house sale was agreed at the same time) I called to inform them of probate and the completion date and was told I had to call again on the day contracts were completed (the house was completely empty and no gas or electricity had been used for several weeks). Called yet again on the day to be told Electric was still in credit but Gas was in debit. They advised of figures and said bills would be sent. I arranged for the credit to be applied to the outstanding amount and paid the balance by debit card to avoid another phone call! 2 weeks later I got a cheque in the post and an outstanding bill for the same amount as the cheque. Yep another hour on the phone to sort it all out again. Only Utility that was worse was the water company.
  • haze23
    haze23 Posts: 9
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    OP, since you asked (!), most definitely yes. Similar to others here, went through huge hassle with BG over a prolonged period where they couldn't get anything right and were incredibly difficult to contact, poor comms when they did respond etc. Ended up having to involve the ombudsman. So this isn't intended to be unsympathetic but it could have been much worse and much slower.

    Perhaps they have got better  ;)
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 18,633
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    rhaughton said:
    Anyone had issues with British Gas in advising of a bereavement ?

    Phoned on 16/11/23 to let them know about my 101 years old Mother in Law's passing - scanned & sent Death Certificate whilst on call & gave my details - name, address, phone & e mail.

    Rec'd an automated e mail in response with the subject 'Thanks for telling us you've moved in' but the text in the e mail stated 'You've moved out' which was a little odd.

    The final bill arrived correctly at our address but with Mother in Law's name, and a cheque arrived for the credit 6 days later - again addressed to the Mother in Law...and therefore uncashable.

    Contacted CEO and subsequently rec'd a call from Exec Office apologising and advised a replacement cheque would be raised and sent

    Following day rec's a generic e mail from B.Gas addressed to the Mother in Law - 'Tell us how you feel. Help us get better' - We'd love to know more about your experience of move out process complete a quick survey it'll only take a few minutes - you can do it while you wait for the kettle to boil' - very insensitive and not what we wanted to hear 4 weeks after the original contact.

    Again, registered our disappointment with the Exec Office and that the whole bereavement process needed to be reviewed which they claim is in process, so other families don't have to suffer such distress at what is already a difficult time.

    Finally, on 29/12/23 a cheque correctly made out arrives with a standard letter no apologises etc. to finally bring the matter to a conclusion 6 weeks from our first contact.

    Following this the Exec Office e mailed us to both apologise and ask if we are now satisfied for the case to now be closed.

    The Council, DWP, BT, United Utilities, Post Office were all helpful, courteous and efficient in dealing with the situation - Hopefully, British Gas are going to improve their extremely poor levels of customer service in respect of handling bereaved families in a more sympathetic manner going forward !







    Did you contact the Bereavement Team?

    https://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-support/probate
  • British Gas don't actually have a Bereavement Team - despite the special phone numbers that they promote, your call is added to their main accounts query lines so don't expect the ultra sensitive well trained individuals that other firms provide (take a bow Aviva, Nat West, LV). The first time I reported my Father's death I spoke to an overseas call centre and whilst they tried to help, they were pretty useless in understanding what they had to do and as it transpired they didn't actually succeed. So 3 months later (this morning) I went through the process again of calling and waiting in a queue for 20 minutes before speaking to someone again in a call centre who told me that there was no Bereavement team but that she would try to help.
    She confirmed that the previous contact was all recorded and on file, but that it hadn't been completed properly and this was why my Dad was still receiving letters at his house in his name, rather than to me at my address. As I live 2 hours away from his house, I don't go there very often to check. She was very helpful and kind, but at one point she was going to close my dad's account and set up a new account for me at the property address - similar to one of the posts above. After a little discussion when I explained that I wasn't going to be living in the house and was waiting for probate to sell it, she found an alternative way to set up the account - still in my Dad's name, but bills being sent to my own address.
    We will see over the next few weeks if that worked. My complaint such as it is about British Gas is that so many of the other companies that I have had to be in touch with, have specialist teams that are understanding of the potential trauma that callers are going through and deal with you carefully and with great knowledge of what they are doing - because they specialise in it - every day. As a former employee of British Gas (albeit 30 yrs ago!) I am saddened that they just don't seem to care enough about their customers to set up this team properly and treat people in a dignified and professional way as it was when I worked for them and the company was regionalised. Condolences and good luck to anyone just embarking on this journey. 
  • kipsterno1
    kipsterno1 Posts: 323
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    For balance we had no issues.

    Contacted them via the bereavement number, they put the account on hold with a review point in 10 months or on obtaining probate. They explained that they would still send bills and othe correspondence during this which could be ignored. On informing them we had probate and were now actively marking the property they just said continue as you are and when sold provide the final reading. We did this and within a couple of days they sent out the final bill.
  • Dave_5150
    Dave_5150 Posts: 246
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    For balance we had no issues.

    Contacted them via the bereavement number, they put the account on hold with a review point in 10 months or on obtaining probate. They explained that they would still send bills and othe correspondence during this which could be ignored. On informing them we had probate and were now actively marking the property they just said continue as you are and when sold provide the final reading. We did this and within a couple of days they sent out the final bill.
    My experience was exactly the same. In fact all the utility providers were brilliant. 
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