British Gas incompetence? Or is it me?

sparky0138
sparky0138 Posts: 479
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edited 11 February at 4:38PM in Energy

Can someone please confirm I'm not going crazy? I've opened a case against British Gas with Resolver and the responses I've had from them is making me question my own sanity.

Apologies in advance for length.

I was on a brilliant fixed rate tariff with BG which ended 30th September 2023. I'd seen an old post on here in which a BG rep confirmed that if you switched from a fixed rate tariff you would still be charged the same fixed rates as long as your switch was initiated within 20 working days. This would then be automatically applied to your final bill.

I know the post is from 2017 and so could have been out of date but I also received an e-mail from BG just four days before my tariff was due to end confirming it was still their policy...



I received my final bill on 16th November 2023 but there was no adjustment applied to the rates between 1st October and 26th October which was when I switched.

I first complained to them via chat on 23rd November 2023 and was told that the issue had been successfully escalated with one of their dedicated teams and the person I chatted with told me they had personal follow up on my account for the following 7-14 days and that once the issue had been resolved they would send email confirmation.

I received no e-mail and no revised bill was sent so I contacted them again on 11th December 2023 and explained all of this to someone else who told me they had asked the original person I got in contact with to email me with a resolution. Again, I heard nothing.

I then decided to open a case through Resolver on 30th December 2023. They finally replied on 2nd February 2024 and informed me that starting from 1st October 2023, my tariff was automatically switched to Standard Variable Tariff and that this change in tariff was the reason why I had been charged based on the standard variable rates for the period between 1st October and 25th October 2023. I was also "assured" that the charges applied to my account were correct.

So I wrote to them again, pointing out that not only had I already provided a screenshot of an e-mail that BG themselves had sent me informing me of their policy but that it was also part of OFGEM's standard conditions for all suppliers (section 24.9). This applies to gas as well.

What's even more shocking about their response is that BG has previously been fined over this issue (thanks to evidence from MoneySavingExpert.com) and yet their customer service is still giving out the wrong information, even when a complaint has been made pointing out their policy!

This is their latest response, copied and pasted for clarity:

"Thank you for your response and for sharing the supporting documents with us. We appreciate your cooperation.

However, I wanted to inform you that whenever there is a change in the tariff or tariff end, we proactively inform the customer by email to choose a new fixed tariff or another tariff at least a week before. This ensures that our customers have enough time to select an alternative tariff that suits their requirements before the fixed tariff ends, preventing them from being charged on a different randomly assigned tariff.

I understand how you must be feeling at the moment, but I wanted to inform you that in your case as well, you should have chosen either a fixed tariff or another suitable tariff. This would have prevented you from being charged on the standard variable tariff and instead, you would have been charged at a lower rate with the fixed tariff. Please be informed that if you do not select any alternative tariff before your fixed tariff expires, your account will automatically be moved to the standard variable tariff. This information is clearly mentioned on your online account when there is a tariff due.

Furthermore, I wanted to inform you that the charges of the standard variable tariff are considered and applied as per the regulatory moderation by Ofgem."

Please can someone tell me I'm not insane. Have I got this all wrong? If I have, I'll hold my hands up, but how can I be wrong with all that supporting evidence?

At first I was angry but now I'm just feeling upset. :(

Comments

  • Petriix
    Petriix Posts: 2,018
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    Escalate it to the Ombudsman. There is zero chance that anyone at BG will even understand your point, let alone resolve it correctly. They don't understand the rules and don't actually bother reading things properly. 
  • wynn65
    wynn65 Posts: 31
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    hi just read your post and can't really comment on your situation, but BG took me to court saying that i owed them money and i didn't even have a connection to gas in my village!! my heating was oil at that time ....  so it may be of little consolation, but i wish you the very best of luck and doubt very much if you are losing your mind! it appears that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing at BG !! all the best 
  • BobT36
    BobT36 Posts: 515
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    wynn65 said:
    hi just read your post and can't really comment on your situation, but BG took me to court saying that i owed them money and i didn't even have a connection to gas in my village!! my heating was oil at that time ....  so it may be of little consolation, but i wish you the very best of luck and doubt very much if you are losing your mind! it appears that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing at BG !! all the best 
    LOL wow, please tell us how that went. 

    I'd love to read the transcript, too. XD
  • sparky0138
    sparky0138 Posts: 479
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    elsien said:
    Please don’t confuse gaslighting with sheer incompetence. 
    It does a disservice to people genuinely suffering from abuse and gaslighting.
    Fair enough. I've edited the title.
  • Isn't that a boilers job?
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,338
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    elsien said:
    Please don’t confuse gaslighting with sheer incompetence. 
    It does a disservice to people genuinely suffering from abuse and gaslighting.
    Fair enough. I've edited the title.

    British Gas incompetence? Or is it me? 

    Could always be both ;) 


    +1 to follow Petriix's advice to escalate to the ombudsman. It's been more than 8 weeks since your first complaint so you're in time.

    Just bear in mind that the ombudsman does not investigate or compel the supplier to provide any info so your case file should include evidence to back up everything you're saying (you can upload documents and screen shots etc).

    Keep it simple and chronological - your complaint is for the difference in tariff rate, plus if you wanted to claim an amount for the bother/poor customer service (£30-60)
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • sparky0138
    sparky0138 Posts: 479
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    elsien said:
    Please don’t confuse gaslighting with sheer incompetence. 
    It does a disservice to people genuinely suffering from abuse and gaslighting.
    Fair enough. I've edited the title.

    British Gas incompetence? Or is it me? 

    Could always be both ;) 


    +1 to follow Petriix's advice to escalate to the ombudsman. It's been more than 8 weeks since your first complaint so you're in time.

    Just bear in mind that the ombudsman does not investigate or compel the supplier to provide any info so your case file should include evidence to back up everything you're saying (you can upload documents and screen shots etc).

    Keep it simple and chronological - your complaint is for the difference in tariff rate, plus if you wanted to claim an amount for the bother/poor customer service (£30-60)
    Thanks for your advice. It didn't occur to me that I could escalate it to the ombudsman now. Resolver gives cues to when you can escalate and obviously they've been basing it on the date I first went through them so they're still saying there's 12 days left but you're right, it's more than eight weeks since my first complaint.

    I've been keeping a thorough record through Resolver so providing all the information should be pretty straight forward.

    I'll update when I get a resolution.
  • sparky0138
    sparky0138 Posts: 479
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    edited 23 February at 11:22AM
    So I opened a case with the Ombudsman. I've never dealt with them before and I'm utterly impressed with their service (what I've experienced so far anyway). Within about TWO MINUTES of me submitting the information I got a phone call from my case handler explaining the process. I couldn't believe it. Lovely guy who was also quick to respond to a question I had later on too.

    Anyway, on to British Gas, who I am NOT impressed with...

    I've just received a phone call from them to explain their side. Basically it all boils down to what a working day is!

    I requested to switch within 20 working days which should have qualified me to keep my previous tariff rates but apparently, in the energy industry, because they work 24/7 they class 20 working days as 20 calendar days. This does NOT seem right and I pointed this out. I said that the general public does NOT class a Saturday and Sunday as a working day and that it should have been made clear in the e-mail. Looking online, it doesn't appear to be the legal definition either.

    Anyway, we kind of came to an impasse on that and the result was that as a goodwill gesture they would offer me the difference in tariff that I WOULD have received had I been within the 20 "working" days and an additional £20 for my trouble. I'm tempted to accept but I can't get past this 20 working days. Any opinions please?
  • sparky0138
    sparky0138 Posts: 479
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    Ha. Remember OFGEM's standard conditions for all suppliers that I referred to in my first post?

    Working Day:
    means any day other than a Saturday, a Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day that is a bank holiday within the meaning of the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.
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