Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • wigwam12
    • By wigwam12 11th Jul 18, 10:15 PM
    • 83Posts
    • 3Thanks
    wigwam12
    Help with a British Gas complaint please
    • #1
    • 11th Jul 18, 10:15 PM
    Help with a British Gas complaint please 11th Jul 18 at 10:15 PM
    HI
    I need to escalate a formal complaint to British Gas on behalf of my parents.
    Will do it in writing


    review and help with the complaint draft is appreciated:


    I wish to request an urgent investigation into the management of my account and reversal of unsubstantiated erroneous huge gas usage bills in late 2017.
    The alleged is so high that price comparison sites are not even to review my account as they recognise this as Industrial usage not domestic.

    To confirm this relates to my house which is a 3 bed mid-terraced house with a 4-year-old combi boiler and no other gas appliance except our stove, occupied by my wife and I. Nothing has changed in our energy usage over the past 18 months, as reflected by the stable electricity billing. And the usage before and after this outlier 4 month period.

    You will see that there had been an alleged massive spike in usage from July-November. Indeed, the claimed gas usage in July alone was more than our entire usage in 2016, and in September and October each month was double this figure. Clearly this is nonsense.
    I see that £2400 of gas charged were reversed but then £1400 of charged added in November 2017. No explanation was provided to me what basis was used to undertake this nor this prompted a meter exchange at my house.


    I did raise a complaint via the website but I received a substandard reply as documented below which does not explain any of the discrepancies above. Clearly it is for you to explain this huge discrepancy – which I feel prompted the change of meters in the first place. Given the magnitude of the error I do wonder if the meter had begun to erroneously submit KwH readings which were being interpreted as cubic meter readings?

    "I’m sorry you received a very high bill and for the delay in my reply.
    I’ve checked your bill for the period 16 June 2017 to 16 November 2017 and I see that there was a high usage of 2008 units during 16 June 2017 to 17 August 2017 leading to a bill of £1327.06.
    This may happen if an appliance left on or kept on standby mode. The readings we’d received were from the smart meter. Also, there was a meter exchange done at the property after which the readings were consistent. "


    In the interim, hardship being caused by my direct debits being almost tripled to recoup an erroneous gas account arrears and I request the direct debits are returned to manageable levels until the matter is resolved – preferably with immediate effect by you, or else via escalation to the Ombudsman.
Page 1
    • Jackandn
    • By Jackandn 11th Jul 18, 11:14 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    Jackandn
    • #2
    • 11th Jul 18, 11:14 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jul 18, 11:14 PM
    I would try to change the letter more into a letter of concern rather than being accusative but include if the issue can't be resolved you will go to the Ombudsman. As there has been a clear error and an unusually high bill produced you should instead request an investigation into how this error has occurred. Also did the error continue to happen after Aug 2017 and if not try to find an explanation on why it did stop. They should be able to give an explanation into the problem rather than just saying that it is your parents unusually high use on an industrial scale.

    In the mean time I would directly ring up British Gas about paying an amount your parents can afford via direct debit rather than the triple amount they normally will agree to most amounts as long as the total debt does go down. If you and British Gas can't agree on an amount you can get your parents to comfortably pay cancel their direct debit and to pay either via cash (and pay in a shop) or to set up a standing order to prevent hardship but ensure that the total debt is going down (to avoid your parents being cut off)
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 12th Jul 18, 7:10 AM
    • 3,197 Posts
    • 1,660 Thanks
    dogshome
    • #3
    • 12th Jul 18, 7:10 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Jul 18, 7:10 AM
    So there was a Meter Change ?
    Quite common for suppliers to screw up the billing when meters are changed

    The change crew should have left a label on the new meter showing it's installation date, reading when installed, and the reading on the old meter as it was removed - CHECK the meter Meter readings on the billing against those on the meter label.
    • wigwam12
    • By wigwam12 13th Jul 18, 12:01 AM
    • 83 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    wigwam12
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 12:01 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 12:01 AM
    So there was a Meter Change ?
    Quite common for suppliers to screw up the billing when meters are changed

    The change crew should have left a label on the new meter showing it's installation date, reading when installed, and the reading on the old meter as it was removed - CHECK the meter Meter readings on the billing against those on the meter label.
    Originally posted by dogshome
    That’s a problem as they changed the meter twice in quick succession.
    I suspect they saw a problem which is why they changed it first and they’d a few weeks later they changed it again as it was the wrong type or something.
    • wigwam12
    • By wigwam12 13th Jul 18, 12:40 AM
    • 83 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    wigwam12
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 12:40 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 12:40 AM
    I would try to change the letter more into a letter of concern rather than being accusative but include if the issue can't be resolved you will go to the Ombudsman. As there has been a clear error and an unusually high bill produced you should instead request an investigation into how this error has occurred. Also did the error continue to happen after Aug 2017 and if not try to find an explanation on why it did stop. They should be able to give an explanation into the problem rather than just saying that it is your parents unusually high use on an industrial scale.

    In the mean time I would directly ring up British Gas about paying an amount your parents can afford via direct debit rather than the triple amount they normally will agree to most amounts as long as the total debt does go down. If you and British Gas can't agree on an amount you can get your parents to comfortably pay cancel their direct debit and to pay either via cash (and pay in a shop) or to set up a standing order to prevent hardship but ensure that the total debt is going down (to avoid your parents being cut off)
    Originally posted by Jackandn

    Thanks for this - appreciate and agree with the change of tone.
    How's this?


    I wish to request an urgent investigation into the management of my account and reversal of what is clearly an error leading to huge gas usage bills in late 2017.

    The alleged usage is so high that price comparison sites are not even able to review my account as they recognise this as Industrial usage not domestic.

    To confirm this relates to my house which is a 3 bed mid-terraced house with a 4-year-old combi boiler and no other gas appliance except our stove, occupied by my wife and I. Nothing has changed in our energy usage over the past 18 months, as reflected by the stable electricity billing and the usage before and after this outlier 4 month period.

    The online usage records list a massive spike in usage from July-November. Indeed, the quoted gas usage in July alone was more than our entire usage in 2016, and in September and October each month was double this figure. This I am sure you agree must be a mistake.

    I see that in November 2017 £2400 of gas charges were reversed but then £1400 of charged added back. You can I am sure appreciate that this is the source of significant concern and merits an investigation and explanation. It was around this time that my gas meter was changed not once but twice and I wonder if these changes contributed to the errors?

    I did raise a complaint via the website but I do not feel the reply as documented below explains any of the discrepancies above.



    Given the magnitude of the error I do wonder if the original meter had begun to erroneously submit KwH readings which were being interpreted as cubic meter readings?

    "I’m sorry you received a very high bill and for the delay in my reply.
    I’ve checked your bill for the period 16 June 2017 to 16 November 2017 and I see that there was a high usage of 2008 units during 16 June 2017 to 17 August 2017 leading to a bill of £1327.06.
    This may happen if an appliance left on or kept on standby mode. The readings we’d received were from the smart meter. Also, there was a meter exchange done at the property after which the readings were consistent. "


    In the interim, it is a hardship to have my direct debits being almost tripled to recoup what are almost certainly I feel erroneous arrears and I request the direct debits are returned to manageable levels until the matter is resolved. It is my hope that following your investigation this can be resolved swiftly and amicably by yourself without the need for escalation to the Ombudsman.
    • Jackandn
    • By Jackandn 13th Jul 18, 7:10 AM
    • 23 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    Jackandn
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:10 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:10 AM
    That sounds fine to me. From their point of view It sounds a lot more like they can respond to you and more likley want to help you. Leaving the ombudsman in just highlights to them you are aware you can go there but are giving them the chance to stop it from getting that far.
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 13th Jul 18, 7:14 AM
    • 3,197 Posts
    • 1,660 Thanks
    dogshome
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:14 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:14 AM
    As already posted suppliers often foul up the billing when meters are changed, with two meter changes in quick succession the risk is doubled

    WRITE to the supplier heading the letter *Complaint, setting out the history of the meter changes asking them to supply you with Opening & Closing readings of each of the 3 meters involved
    * This puts the problem onto an official basis where the supplier must resolve it in 56 days.

    Two meter changes in quick succession ?In a recent post on this site, a customer had a meter change to a particular Digital model made by Landis & Gyre which was known to quickly failThe supplier then fitted another meter, but this meter was an old re-furbished Analogue meter - Re- furbished meters are not adjusted to read zero, and stillshow the reading registered when they were taken out of service
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 13th Jul 18, 8:31 AM
    • 1,427 Posts
    • 1,192 Thanks
    House Martin
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 18, 8:31 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 18, 8:31 AM
    British Gas would have fitted their metric smart meter on the last exchange unless there was an objection to it going in. This would have started at 00000, or 99999. On the meter would be a yellow sticky label showing the date of exchange, meter serial number and the reading of both the old meter and the new meters start reading.
    If it is a smart meter BG have accurate metering for at least that period it was installed.
    A fairly common mess up is for suppliers to bill customers on the old Imperial meter rates even though they now have a Metric meter. This results in the bill almost tripling . You can see on the bill if they are billing for the correct meter when they multiply gas units used to kwhs
    • wigwam12
    • By wigwam12 13th Jul 18, 3:09 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    wigwam12
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:09 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:09 PM
    It!!!8217;s slightly more complicated.
    The spikes in !!!8220;usage!!!8221; started in July and Aug (£400/£800pm) before Sept and Oct recorded as £1600!
    But the meter was changed in Nov with the reversal and semi-reversal also in Nov.

    So I!!!8217;ve assumed they saw the trend and figured the meter was faulty so changed it. But as there were 4 months of recorded silly usage I!!!8217;m not sure the label on the first meter would help me even if they found it.
    I think my mum said when they came that the one they had was the wrong type for their house which is why it was changed again within a couple of weeks in early Dec.

    I!!!8217;m struggling to get that across in the letter without leading them to a possible answer they would just debunk without !!!8220;proof!!!8221;

    Even the intial reply above confirms the readings became consistent after the meter change which I feel makes it even more likely that first meter started to go doolally in July
    Last edited by wigwam12; 13-07-2018 at 3:34 PM.
    • wigwam12
    • By wigwam12 13th Jul 18, 3:10 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    wigwam12
    As already posted suppliers often foul up the billing when meters are changed, with two meter changes in quick succession the risk is doubled

    WRITE to the supplier heading the letter *Complaint, setting out the history of the meter changes asking them to supply you with Opening & Closing readings of each of the 3 meters involved
    * This puts the problem onto an official basis where the supplier must resolve it in 56 days.

    Two meter changes in quick succession ?In a recent post on this site, a customer had a meter change to a particular Digital model made by Landis & Gyre which was known to quickly failThe supplier then fitted another meter, but this meter was an old re-furbished Analogue meter - Re- furbished meters are not adjusted to read zero, and stillshow the reading registered when they were taken out of service
    Originally posted by dogshome
    Yeah letter will be headed “Formal Complaint” and then dad’s account details.
    Comments re meter in my reply above
    • MoneyMate
    • By MoneyMate 13th Jul 18, 6:16 PM
    • 2,982 Posts
    • 13,585 Thanks
    MoneyMate
    Why not use Resolver it's free and simple ?

    https://www.resolver.co.uk/companies/british-gas-complaints
    There are more questions than answers
    WARNING ! May go silent for unfriendly replies
    Please excuse me Spell it MOST times
    UK Resident
    • wigwam12
    • By wigwam12 13th Aug 18, 11:47 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    wigwam12
    Hi just to update that I spoke with BG today as a written reply had not been forthcoming
    They have decided to based it on previous average usaged and credited back a further £900 to the account.
    They are sending me an email to show the working but seems reasonable so I think that's settled
    • wigwam12
    • By wigwam12 13th Aug 18, 11:48 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    wigwam12
    Thanks again for your help
    • Mike kent
    • By Mike kent 3rd Apr 19, 9:32 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Mike kent
    Issues with British Gas
    I purchased 2 cameras from John Lewis (HIVE could not supply the camera at the time) but arranged for them to be installed by HIVE. The camera was installed and after the first day, one of the cameras did not work. The problems with HIVE products start when you have issues, as they are impossible to deal with.

    I called on Friday 8tH March but after discussed an appointment was arranged for Monday 11th. The camera was fixed but again that night we had problems so again I had to call HIVE this morning. I was told that although the camera was purchased at John Lewis HIVE had installed the camera that it had to be returned to John Lewis. I spoke with John Lewis who informed me that they were more than happy to change or refund the camera but they would return the camera to HIVE so they could not understand why HIVE would not sort it out. I had an attempted burglary and I am caring for a severely disabled partner but HIVE made it crystal clear they could not care less. If you want to speak to a manager it is near impossible. I spoke with British gas that was exasperated with HIVE and the latest is that they can't sort this out for at least 8 days. I was told a manager would call me but to date nothing.

    I would say that the HIVE boiler is excellent but avoid the cameras as nothing but issues. John Lewis are apparently not going to stock the external camera in future which speaks volumes.
    I spoke with Which Magazine so I will be doing a review in there as I feel it needs to be exposed the way they treat customers is shocking.
    They state that there are issues with my Internet connection but even British Gas stated this was not possible as the rear camera works and I have the maximum Internet speed available with Virgin Media.
    When they reply to your Trust pilot review it is always polite but when you deal with them you see another side. I will update with what happens next so people are not afforded the same treatment as me. I also have written another complaint to British Gas who own HIVE regarding my experience to date.

    I spoke with HIVE who now advised the earliest I can have an appointment is on the 22nd March. Left message for HIVE manager yesterday morning but to date no call back as apparently they have 72hrs to call you back. British Gas own HIVE so, therefore, they need to deal with this situation. I bought a lot of products from HIVE/British gas but deeply regret it.

    Kevin from Hive Reference: 8010357288. Called me at 12-38am to ask me if British Gas had been in contact to reschedule the appointment, which was from 8 am to 1 pm. I informed that I had no contact from British Gas.
    He responded he was totally confused he had spoken the British gas at 8-30am and they advised him the appointment was all scheduled to take place today.

    Kevin from Hive called British Gas again to confirm that the appointment was taking place.
    British Gas assured him again the appointment was running on time. Then he called them at 12-30 to get an update, as they would have been on site. British Gas told Kevin the appointment was rescheduled for Monday and that they had contacted me directly to arrange this. British Gas is a liar as no one contacted me.
    Kevin from Hive informed me he would call me back as he was confused and he was going to call British Gas and get another engineer.

    Kevin called me back shortly after 1 pm to inform me he had gone nowhere with British Gas as they did not have an engineer with a health and safety certificate to climb a ladder which by the way is 2.5 meters from the ground.
    Kevin was very apologetic unlike other people from HIVE. He added there was nothing further he could do as he tried to sort this matter given the mess to date.

    The appointment was rescheduled for Monday 25th March now bear in mind we were told it needed a specialist engineer which in fact turned out the be one that had installed the camera the first time and came back subsequently.

    I have taken 4 days off work and update camera is still not working. I was advised that it needed a technical specialist to come out from the HIVE as he was only trained to do the basic installation. I am not having the impossible situation of dealing with HIVE and British Gas as they will reply at the bottom of my review being all willing to help but the reality is far different.

    So I purchased 2 cameras over 4 weeks ago and one of them as not worked. I have wasted numerous phone calls and waited around for return calls.

    3rd April still no camera working and took day off work to be called by British Gas who was supposed to move the camera that they are not turning up today as crossed wires to be clear now nearly a month with no cameras working. I have now wasted another day off.
    Cullum from British gas was quite dismissive that taking off another day of work was not a big issue.

    British gas are challenging my trustpilot review but to be clear HIVE supply the product but British gas do the installation and most of the problems with appointments being cancelled is British gas.
    Customer reference 8010357288
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 3rd Apr 19, 10:04 AM
    • 4,149 Posts
    • 2,649 Thanks
    Robin9
    Are BG under contract to Hive ? If so the complaint should be to Hive.

    Mike - hope not your real name , best to use something made up. Please also delete the customer number as it can identify you
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • stewie_griffin
    • By stewie_griffin 3rd Apr 19, 11:06 AM
    • 572 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    stewie_griffin
    Hive are owned by Centrica so have the same parent company as BG.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 3rd Apr 19, 11:28 AM
    • 4,149 Posts
    • 2,649 Thanks
    Robin9
    Hive are owned by Centrica so have the same parent company as BG.
    Originally posted by stewie_griffin
    Agreed but who is the OP's contract with ?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,332Posts Today

6,427Users online

Martin's Twitter