British Gas, boiler cover and gas and electricity supply giant, does not have the best reputation for billing. In fact, no energy company does; earlier this year, uSwitch.com found that almost 10 million households have received an incorrect gas and electricity bill in the last two years.
But most people’s billing problems look almost insignificant when compared with the trauma Roger Patrick has had to go through for over a decade. Mr Patrick has been locking horns with British Gas for almost 12 years after the company attempted to charge him £80,000 he did not actually owe.
The 74-year-old, from Burton Latimer, ran Burton Park Country Club’s community social and sports facilities until 2010. The grandfather of six did not experience any problems until his gas meter was changed in 2000, noticing in 2002 that his electricity bill seemed unusually high and that he was being charged for gas he was not using.
British Gas amended the bills, but continued sending particularly high estimates, with Mr Patrick continuing to be billed for energy he was not using. In 2011, he brought his complaints to the ombudsman service, which partially agreed with his case. However, he claimed that British Gas did not do what the Ombudsman asked of them.
The energy supplier later instructed a debt recovery firm to recover Mr Patrick’s alleged £72,337.57 debt, eventually leading the customer to contact Wilson Browne Solicitors’ partner Kevin Rogers. Mr Rogers contacted the local magistrates court and managed to stop the debt recovery order. After a “year of patient negotiation”, the solicitor managed to eradicate the bill.
Although Mr Patrick said he incurred a lot of expenses as a result of British Gas’ failings, including income lost through closing the club, he does not intend to pursue the boiler cover and energy provider in the civil courts due to ill-health. Mr Rogers confirmed that he advised his client that “costly” legal proceedings should be thought of as a “last resort”.
A British Gas spokesperson apologised for the difficulties Mr Patrick faced and said the company “made every effort” to quickly resolve its customers’ complaints.
However, they admitted that Mr Patrick’s account had problems since 1999, which led to the billing problems. They said they had difficulties reading the property’s gas and electricity bills “for a number of years”.
The representative said British Gas takes the outcome of ombudsman complaints “very seriously”.
If you’ve been struggling with billing errors from your boiler cover provider, switch to 247 Home Rescue as soon as possible; you’ll want to be receiving a good standard of service before the cold weather hits!
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Instead, call us on 0345 3192 247 and we can help. Our technical team will run through some simple troubleshooting to see if your problem can be resolved on the phone or they can book one of our friendly and knowledgeable Gas Safe registered engineers to get you back up and running as soon as possible.