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    • Hollo
    • By Hollo 13th Jul 17, 11:56 AM
    • 1Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Switching nightmare
    • #1
    • 13th Jul 17, 11:56 AM
    Switching nightmare 13th Jul 17 at 11:56 AM
    It's a long story, sit tight!

    Hello Money Saving Experts J

    Energy switching

    I hear Martin repeatedly say ‘switching is easy’ - I’d like to share my story with you.

    I have been a customer with British Gas for as long as I have been a homeowner – ~24 years. I didn’t just pay the standard rate though, I had their ‘May 2015 fixed price tariff’ for gas and electricity. I don’t mind using the internet and had set up my account online with British Gas – however my logging on was continually a problem. I still got paper bills sent when they were overdue – so I had resorted to paying the bill when the overdue letter came, which still gave me 10 days before I incurred any charges, so no real issue.

    British Gas sent me notification that my deal was about to end on May 31st 2015, so I decided to take your advice and shop around. I used ‘’ and decided on a dual fuel switch to First Utility. I had also done this through Quidco and got myself an extra £28 for switching – which was paid. Confused sent me an email on May 24th 2015 saying I now had a 14 day cooling off period and then the switch would take 3 days. So I figured that would take me to June 7th 2015 before the switch happened.

    In the meantime, I’d got an overdue bill letter for £334.69 from British Gas, dated May 6th 2015. I didn’t get around to paying this until May 18th 2015 – beyond the 10 days allowed – so I’d incurred a £13 late payment fee. Fair enough, my mistake. Just to re-iterate - because this seems to be the crux of the matter; I was billed £334.69 on May 6th 2015 and paid £334.69 on May 18th 2015.

    Back to First Utility – They were in contact with me, set up my account, and told me they were having problems with British Gas objecting to the switch. On June 8th 2015, I logged onto my British Gas account – inputted my current meter readings and paid the bill of £163.88 it said I owed. On June 9th 2015, First Utility emailed me with my direct debit confirmation, and on May 17th 2015 took the first direct debit payment from me.

    Sounds like the switch happened doesn’t it? It did to me anyway! But I’d never done it before, so I don’t know if anything else should have happened.

    This direct debit continued to be taken on a monthly basis for the next 18 months or so. Yes I know I should have switched again by then! Also, British Gas had been sending me late payment bills and also debt collectors had started turning up. I told them that I was not a customer of British Gas and showed my First Utility direct debits. They left, just saying that I ought to sort it out with British Gas.

    I had recently had another poor experience with British Gas regarding my gas supply – that was eventually resolved in my favour – but I did not enjoy dealing with these people in the slightest, so was under no intention of contacting them to resolve, what I presumed to be, their administration error.

    So, I continued to pay First Utility and ignore British Gas until;

    In autumn 2016, I decided that I’d like to do some home renovation and re-arrange my mortgage – so I got in touch with my Building Society to make the application. To cut the story short – I was turned down because I had bad credit due to a utility company marking my credit file. Yes, British Gas! So now I had no option but to get in contact with them.

    I started off with phone calls – many of which were very difficult to understand due to the foreign accent - but they were adamant that I was their customer and that I’d had been since 2003. So, I contacted First Utility and raised a complaint with them. They quickly confirmed that they had not taken over the supply of my energy – saying British Gas had objected every time they had applied. First Utility then re-credited me with everything they’d taken from me and closed the complaint.

    I’ve since been in a long, long, long series of emails with British Gas – who still maintain that they’ve done nothing wrong. So I involved the Ombudsman and raised a complaint about British Gas – and the Ombudsman has also concluded that British Gas are correct in all they have done.

    So at this moment in time, I’ve got a bill in excess of £2000, bad credit, stuck on the most expensive rate, and have British Gas trying to install a pre-pay meter at my house.

    I hope this story is of interest. I would love some help. But even if you can’t help – what do you think I should do next?

    Best Regards

Page 1
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 13th Jul 17, 12:31 PM
    • 5,741 Posts
    • 3,524 Thanks
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 17, 12:31 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 17, 12:31 PM

    Pay up I am afraid. I suggest that you ask BG for a repayment plan: this will probably involve the fitting of a pre-payment meter unless you use all the money re-paid by FU to reduce the size of your debt.
    • G1ZQC
    • By G1ZQC 17th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    Energy switching
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    Interesting read. I too looked at switching, using the Money Savings Website. Wow, what a headache.
    I looked at alternative energy companies, but decided as I had arrears with my current supplier, which are being paid via the meter, I decided not to switch.
    Then got mail thanking me for switching. Now this was done without my consent.
    It took several phone-calls to put right, I was facing Two bills, one for current supplier and one for the arrears.
    So, be very aware of these switching schemes, it appears someone is monitoring and completing without consent.
    I have made complaints to both the website and the energy supplier who I had erroneously switched to .
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