no electric bill for 3-4 years british gas

in Energy
6 replies 2.8K views
I have received a electric bill today from british gas (we moved from these bunch earlier this year.)
Stating we owed them £275.00
When i called BG and asked how they came to this amount, the operator refered me to another section whom admitted they had made a mistake.
The mistake was when we moved here 4 years ago they replaced the token/ voucher machine with a normal credit meter, they didnt update the computers their end, so until recently they have assumed we have been paying via voucher.
And as we were always in credit and my otherhalf used to rip up the bill, because we were in credit. I wasnt aware we were not paying the electric.
now I am unemployed, my other half is disabled, we have debt problems and are on a plan with the cccs, we have no money to pay their mistake.
What can happen, oculd happen and what can we do about it.
I am plaining to see the CAB about it anyway, but any usefull advice is very welcome.


  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    Hi there,

    Sorry to hear about this, I was in a similar situation. A mistake was uncovered when a new computer system was installed and BT told me I owed £85.00 (OK so not as much but still the principle is the same).

    I wrote to them telling them that I rejected this claim, and that I wasn't liable for their mistakes.

    They wrote back and told me that the error was only just discovered and had been caused when we changed Gas companies and their had been an overlap (underlap?) of payments and the two Gas companies had been arguing back and forth as to who was liable. This was then forgotten or "lost" as I preffered to call it and the change to a different accounting software had uncovered all these "lost" outstanding balances.

    So I wrote back and told them that I was not interested in the technicalities, their mistake, their problem. The CAB told me technically I was liable for the bill as I had used the gas and therefore I was liable to pay for it. But as more than a reasonable length of time had elapsed before being notified of the amount they couldn't expect the whole sum to be paid immediately.

    So I phoned them and made them an offer, I told them that I felt that £25.00 was fair, I was not admitting liability this was an "Ex Gracia payment in full and final settlement" (the key phrase!) Which could be added to my bill and spread out over a year.

    This was accepted in principle and I was told that I would be notified in writing that this was the arrangement. So a few weeks went past nothing, I called again, and was told notification would be made. Weeks rolled past (couldn't have wanted my money that much). So I then phoned them and told them that as my offer had not been accepted within a reasonable time period I would not be paying any of the money.

    They went a bit bolshie, but I told them that if they wanted to take me to court for £25.00 they were perfectly at liberty to do this. But I felt that I had made a reasonable offer, which had been accepted but not formalised in writing. If they wanted me to formalise it then I would but it would cost them £25.00 in admin fees. I would also be charging for my time to deal with this as I felt it was not my responsibilty to sort out the accounts of BG.

    Net result, an apology and a waived bill, paid out nothing.

    So my advice is to go back, be nice to start with then lean on them when they fail to keep up their end of the bargain. Be Reasonable at all times and get tough with them when they fall down on their promises (which they probably will do)

    Good luck, keep us posted.
  • gibbygibby Forumite
    426 Posts

    sorry to hear of your problem

    from a similar experience you have a few options

    firstly you can offer to pay £10 a month and they have to accept it - due to your circumstances - just tell them you cant pay it

    however you can also contact energy watch - a gov body to sort out the mess & Im sure they will ask for the bill to be scrapped as its a mistake by BG and they ahve got you into debt.

    Energy watch are a little slow but good.

    also try complaing to anyone on the board of BG and keep at it.

    I recently had a similar probelm with BG and they will not admit they have made a mistake - whlist admitting they have made a mistake.

    each dept cant talk to the other and the legal team is just after money - with no thought of the customer.

    hope that helps

    never take advice from broke or unsuccessful people

    Jim Rohn
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    as Gibby says

    1) they'll write most of it off

    2) when the manager ur talking 2 says they can't do anything more, ask to speak to their manager. The higher u go the less they will want 2 argue. I've cn SM's clear accounts of 1000 pounds rather than argue or be superceeded to their manager


    p.s. Enjoy URself, lol
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    If companies ever do this to me (which they haven't yet - good stuff!) simple response will be....

    See you in court.

    It won't be long before I end up there, when I refuse to pay council tax that is too high.

    I pay what I know I owe - no more. I'm not reckless, I always pay bills on time - there is no way, if I was the original poster, that I'd roll over and pay what they want. I'd more than likely go into their offices, wave the money in their faces and tell them to 'come and get me'!

    Boy, am I nasty when someone annoys me! ;D
  • anniecaveanniecave Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I would definately complain to Energywatch - they are an independant company that put pressure on your supplier (eg british gas) to resolve complaints quickly. They may agree to wipe some of the debt off - it was their mistake. Try to agree a payment plan with BG - even if it's only £5 a month - it will stop them generating letters or chasing you up for not paying the debt immediately - debts can get sent out to collection agencies to chase and they can be even more nasty!
    Indecision is the key to flexibility :)
  • loon_2loon_2 Forumite
    180 Posts
    Cracker... BG are talking rubbish.

    When someone makes a payment on a pre-payment meter, the card automatically tells the supplier how much you have paid. ie if you put £10 on the card, give it a couple of days and call your supplier, the credit will show on your account. if they thought you had a pp meter, they would have despatched you a pp card and would then continue to monitor your account. after at most, three months, they should have queried the fact that they had received no payments. however, on the flip side, did you mention to bg that you have not had a bill, at most after six months? if you received no bills and did not contact bg, you are equally to blame. however, if you did query this and bg did nothing, feel free to complain. but if you ignored the fact, unfortunately... you reep what you sow.
    Beware the green?
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