Sometimes.. Well most of the time.. Companies will screw you over in unbelievable ways. Its almost impossible to fight against them, will often cause way more stress and financial heartache than giving in.
This is my story of how i battled with British Gas for 1-2 years regarding a bill. Mutable phone calls, letters and threats. Through the entire ordeal ive never been so stressed in my life. Had i known it would of gone on for so long, i would of just paid the bill. As the conclusion was not worth the aggravation. This is quite a long one.
So, I move into a new house. Small 2 up 2 down thing terrace. Was living on my own at the time so was perfect, i didnt spend much time at home as was either at work or out and about. It had storage heating, which i knew to be ridiculously expensive to have on. So during the year or two i lived there, i only used the gas fire or threw on a jumper when it got cold.
Six months or so of living there I notice i havent received electricity bill.. Had gas, water and council tax etc.. No electricity change over letter at all. So i go about discovering who supplied my electricity, this took a long time. Manweb and British Gas couldnt decide who was supplying me, eventually British Gas saying they were. They even had to send an engineer out to look at the meter to figure it out.
Apparently the meter had been installed and never registered, so people living at the address for the last 2-3 years had received free electricity essentially (Maybe i should of kept my mouth shut).
So engineer guy tots up what i ow them using averages, was a very high. £200 (for 6 months considering i was hardly ever in the house). We argued a bit about it, he refused to budge. So it was either pay him or kick him in the face. I decided to pay. Paid in cash, got a receipt and he informed me he would setup an account for me and credit it with the cash. Bonza.
12 months pass.. Not one bill through the post from British Gas. Having had enough of them, i never enquired about it. I had moved out of the property 3 months earlier, so just expected a 9 month bill to land eventually from the previous property. Oh boy, did it land. I get a bill through the post.. £875.. Obviously a little frustrated at the thought of paying £100 a month for electricity in a house i hardly ever used electricity in.. I called them up. Oh sorry sir, a new bill is coming out to you. Just wait for that.
One week later.. New bill arrives.. £1300.. A sort of blank expression on my face as i read it.. Called up again, yet again told another bill was on its way to me with a different total. Around 3 days later i get another bill.. £1490.. So in the space of 9 months, i consumed £1490 of electricity.. Mmmm.
I call British Gas up and they inform me its the correct amount. Its been worked from meter readings by Manweb when i first moved into the property. Apparently the landlord had the meter readings done before i moved in.. Very confusing since initially neither Manweb or British Gas knew whether they supplied the house.
So understandably i launch into what could only be described as torrent of hate at this little twonk on the phone. Not only because he refused to believe that with living on my own and receiving a £1490 for 9 months may be slightly disproportionate, but also the fact he acted so laid back about it.. Seem to be no motivation to investigate it or help me out. £165 a month.. I dont think so
Im then informed.. Sorry sir, that is for over the 18 months you lived there.. I discover they have no record of the engineer visiting me OR taking £200 for the initial payment. Oh and get this, to add insult to injury. He said a new bill was coming, changed again. £1840.
Over the course of the next 12 months i talk to customer managers, escalation teams and every custom service agent at British Gas it seems. Often promising to sort out the situation and agreeing with me, never to get back to me or help me out.
I received new bills monthly, letters, debt collection.. Court threats.. You name it, they did it. I consulted a solicitor who helped me construct some letter replies and the madness ensued. Preparing myself to end up in court or have some big black guy called Leeroy come to my door to take my TV and furniture for payment. I start to lose the will to carry on and consider just paying it.
Eventually, i get a call from someone quite high up. Within one week shed managed to find that £200 i paid initially stuck in some dormant account... Sorted the meter reading issue (wrong ones had been taken).. Wiped the entire debt and gave me £1000 as compensation for the hassle caused.
One person One week. It took almost 2 years to reach that person. Funny thing was, for a few weeks after she resolved it i still received bill letters.. Had to ring up and get her to sort those out again.
Ive never been so stressed and battered. Anyone else got any stories like mine?