Landline number to British Gas: 0113 338 1499 — don’t pay for the 0845 calls.

I had so hoped that my previous post about British Gas would have been my last. However, I have now reached the point of having made or received 20+ calls to them since September, and 6 calls in the last 2 days alone totalling 4 hrs. I tried to switch to a new provider, Scottish Power (who by the way I speak to without waiting and they have all my info correct), but until BG got their stuff straight, they wouldn’t let go of me.

It turns out that when BG put me in their billing system, they screwed up just about everything that could be. Instead of one person id that covers both gas and electric, they made two. For electricity, instead of just billing me for my house, they also decided to also bill me for the house down the road. So I had 3 customer reference numbers and 2 id numbers associated with me. For whatever reason, no one there could figure out that that was wrong and how to fix it until I kept pushing on them.

After 2+ hours on the phone yesterday, I got the electricity side finally wrapped up, I thought. But the person that I spoke to sent me off on a wild goose chase for information about my Gas line, which come to find out later when talking to another BG person she should have known in 1 minute of looking on her own. She supposedly gave me a direct number to get back to her, but I called the number 3 times (waited on hold a total of 45 minutes in the process) and no one there had ever heard of her or could connect me.

So I call back again today, and still never got back to her. I got tranferred again. It seems that there was no name attached to my gas account, though they clearly knew my name from when they set up my direct debit on the bank. So I had to talk to someone to set up my gas account–put a name on it, so I could turn around and close it. When I got transferred to the house move department, I eventually ended up with the best person I’ve met at BG. He realized that the gas account I had was linked to the wrong gas meter (the house next to me), so BG was never my supplier in the first place! (Though they sent me bills from the time I moved in.) He cancelled account and refunded all my payments from day one. The irony is that 90% of my trouble has been b/c of the electricity account, but I went with BG for electricity since we supposedly already had BG for gas from the previous resident…

So I think I may have ended up with £40 in discounts for all my trouble, but I would rather have never gone through the 20+ calls and 10+ hours on the phone. The rub is that you have to pay for all those calls, but I finally got a direct number for a local call so I could use my mobile minutes for it (0113 338 1499).

I still think they have overbilled me for the electricity, and the basic person in their billing department could not explain to me how the amounts are computed. They don’t take monthly meter readings, so they base some of your bills off of estimated readings. The trouble comes from the fact that you are charged two different rates, and depending on when the estimate is taken you may pay more at the higher rate.

Hopefully, I’ll never talk to them again. Don’t take this as a mark against the British. I have no doubt that if the first person I talked to at a US company had screwed up my record like this, I would have had the same issue. In fact I had a problem with Comcast before we left, and it was similar (but definitely not on the scale of BG).